Publisher Profile

2010 CES Coverage 14

Nola/Audio Research, Kondo, Octave/Dynaudio, Myst?re/Martin Logan/Prima Luna/DH Labs

By: |

Nola/Audio Research

Gorgeous looking loudspeakers from Nola with an open baffle ribbon tweeter. The Nola Metro Grand Reference is priced at $22,000 the pair and sounds considerably more open in the upper frequency response than many other loudspeakers. There was solid bass depth and good stereo separation. The speakers offer a bigger sound than you would expect from the small cabinet. If there was a sticking point for me, it is how the treble matches up with the rest of the frequency spectrum. Still, I’d like to audition these speakers with different front-end electronics and my own recordings.


Kondo brought some interesting Field Coil 4-way loudspeaker prototypes to T.H.E. Show and were having some trouble with driver integration – very large speakers – and not a very large room. For that to work I would think the seating would need to be a lot further away. Still there was some nice sound that could be made out no doubt due to superior electronics. I wished though that they had taken out a much larger room in order to get a full sense of what they’re about. I think there are more in the sonics than this show could illustrate. Pricing? If you have to ask…


The first thing I noticed about the little Dynaudio Contour S1.4 standmounts at $3,500.00 pair was their impressive bass depth coming from relatively tiny boxes. I would not be at all surprised if they were hitting in the 40Hz region. Bass was deep, but I felt it was affecting the pace and timing of the speaker a little, masking the midrange and treble, creating a less open dynamic presentation. Then again, with the continuous jazz vocals in every room it’s sometimes difficult to tell if it’s the sometimes sluggish music being played or the speaker doing a fine job of bringing the source disc to the room. Overall I liked the sound – rich and enveloping. It’s just that when pressed for time and in a busy room we don’t always get to hear enough diversity in the music replay. So this room is one of those where I really would like to hear it again with a lot more time and in an appropriately sized room for such small speakers.

Mystère/Martin Logan/Prima Luna/DH Labs

This room came somewhat of a surprise to me because it’s not often that I see Martin Logan paired with tube equipment. The other surprise was that for the first time ,a room managed to get the panel portion to match up with the dynamic woofer. This is one of the best sounding Martin Logan demos I have heard in a long time, I can’t think of a better one, in fact. These are the newer Summit X speakers ($13,995 pair) matched up to very nice sounding and affordable Mystère equipment based out of Netherlands. Mystère is new to me and I hope they stick around with separate preamp and power amp for a hair over $5,000 with what appears to be very nice build quality and nice looks; it’s really hard to find fault in this room. There was some real bass kick here without duress or compression and the panels were extended smooth and of a piece. The Mystère guys said they had a lot of trouble the first day getting the panel to work with the room – ahh the joys of panels – but the hard work seemed to me anyway to have paid off. Some credit should also go to the fine Prima Luna Prologue Eight CD player which was sounding well balanced. Indeed, the whole room sounded well balanced.

Mystere CA 21 preamp ($2199)
Mystere PA 21 power amp ($2999) using Red Wave power cable 1.5m ($750)
Prima Luna Prologue Eight ($2999) using DH Labs Revelation interconnects 1m ($449) and DH Labs Red Wave power cable ($750)
Speaker cables DH Labs Q-10 8 foot pair 10awg per conductor ($320)

DH Labs should be in the title here too as they were doing all of the cabling.

  • (Page 1 of 1)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Popups Powered By :