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Audio Ramblings – The PranaFidelity Vayu/fs Loudspeakers

11-01-2015 | By Dave Clark | Issue 82

rambler

In past reviews of loudspeakers I presented the notion that products, for me at least, tend to sound like the personality of the designer. How so…? Well…

From Issue 64…"So how do they fit into the idea of being cut from the same (or similar cloth) as the designer? That is… do they present the music in a way that is reminiscent of the designer's personality? If you go back to my review on the PBN Libertys I had suggested, in my experience, that too often a product appears to reflect the designer's personality. That is, if he (or she) is brash, so goes the speaker, shy and demure, then there ya go… big and loud, okay… honest and dry, got it… cold and humorless… bland and lifeless… whimsical and yet quaint… solid and robust… angry and crude… and so on. Well with Stuart Chapman Jones, getting to know him is quite easy. That is, Stuart is rather easy-going, open and friendly, avoids any sense of airs or attitude, is generous and kind, and is not one to boast or put others down. He comes across as someone who enjoys life to its fullest, and yet is neither rash nor impulsive. He is what you see… no hidden agenda, no pretense… just Stuart. The old, "what you see is what you get" fits him quite well.

Hey, just like his speakers. They present the music as it is with a wonderful sense of kindness, openness, and no hidden pretense. They leave it alone by not adding to or subtracting from… nor do they spotlight any one area. Like Stuart, what you see is what you get… or hear. The T8s offer you a big friendly presentation."

And from Issue 65… "Pretty much like Richard Vandersteen, the man himself. Besides, what do you mean Richard's calmness? Friendly and cordial, Richard is a man of a few words. He presents calmness while eschewing excitement or aggravated engagement, unless of course you get him to open up, then you realize that not only is Richard crazy smart about loudspeakers, but also about a lot of other things. Like airplanes (he built his own and flies everywhere) and anything else requiring an engineer's intellect on how best to make something 'work' better. Richard is a loving family man with a keen wit and big sense of living life right. Open-minded but with a strong opinion on what is what, Richard is a cool guy.

Just like his speakers! The Quatros are so thoroughly engineered, so tweaky in how to deal with the room and upstream electronics, so well thought out with respect to working 'right'… that they sing as one piece. One piece of musical 'completeness'… a loudspeaker lacking seams, colorations, or anything that I could put my analytical finger on and say this about that.

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So here we have the Vayu/fs from Steven Norber of PranaFidelity (for those who are unfamiliar with Steven and his previous ventures… he was a founding partner with Edge Electronics.). The PranaFidelity Vayu/fs feature:

  • 2-way quasi line array
  • quad 15 cm woofers
  • 30 mm tweeter
  • frequency response: 29 Hz—22 kHz
  • 8 Ohm nominal impedance
  • sensitivity: 89.5 dB @ 2.83 V, 1 meter
  • dimensions: 47.5" h x 10" w x 19" d
  • weight: 94 pounds
  • Retail price: $6950

But who is the man behind the PranaFidelity Vayu/fs loudspeakers? I mean, tell us more! Well, see Steve also practices and teaches yoga. He is also a vegan and sees the world from a place of respect and honor. From the Balanced Being site… "Steven Norber integrates a life long history of body awareness with an inquiry into what it means to be human. With a wide array of experience, including a career as a professional dancer (classical ballet), ballet instructor, physical therapy assistant, social service worker, counselor, neuromuscular therapist, and yoga instructor, Steven works with people to create an authentic space for health and wholeness."

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Steve is rather intense and yet he is quite calm and collected. He shows great passion in his endeavors and possesses an honest and loving heart. He is a really cool guy too!

So what do I hear from his loudspeakers? Well they do play way above their $6950 price in that the dynamics, slam, and bass extension is scary good. I mean, crap. These smallish guys will scare the crap out of you … unlike Steve who is sweet and yet not scary but he is … well intense. Like his speakers.

See the Vayu/fs will play scary loud and go scary deep without a stumble or hiccup. These speakers go places many other speakers at several times their price only dream about. I tossed on Jesus and Mary Chain’s latest recording Psychocandy Live at Barrowlands and wham. The kick drum at the beginning of "Just Like Honey" will punch you in the chest while sending you to the back wall in tears. Tears for fears. It will hit you like a real kick drum live through say… a VUE Audiotechnik Line Array at 110dB at a concert… same feel, same experience. Crap. Damn, where is the volume before something gives in? No worries. The Vayu/fs will take you there. No sweat. No fear. Slam. Bam. Punch. Scary.

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Deep and powerful. Extended and clean. No hint of distress. It is there. Insane how low the Vayu/fs will play. Insane how they do it so cleanly and yet… with such grace and articulation. Fast. Start and stop. Weird as the woofers are moving and shaking all about like there’s no tomorrow. These little drivers can really pump. They play loose, but they do it with style. Clarity and presence… though perhaps more laidback than my more forward Reimers.

The Vayu/fs are neither in your face nor really speaking from a distance. They pretty much are just there. That is, they present the music with little if any editorializing—like Steve, the Vayu/fs are honest and friendly. What goes in comes out. What he does is who he is. Nothing fake or phony. Same with the Vayu/fs… what you hear is what you get. What is there is what you are presented with. They present the music with respect and sense of organic oneness. That is, the music comes from a cohesive cloth of sonic bliss where nothing seems out place with anything else. Nothing is hidden and nothing is lost. The Vayu/fs are not tilted up or down. Sweet and musical. Way cool.

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And these guys are tweakable as hell too. Meaning you can change, to a degree, what they are doing. How so? The speakers come with a selection of ports featuring different depths—longer gives you more and perhaps looser, less gives you less and tighter. Find the right match as there are two ports per speaker… mix and match to your heart’s content. Same with the switch on the rear that allows you to not only slightly alter the crossover slope, but the type of material as well. I found that the standard worked just fine but yeah, differences were audible. Different for sure, but for me it was more about being different and not really necessary to have fun with my music. A more upfront or extended treble. Cool if the music needs it… or a slightly less so perspective. So ditto. I was fine as it was.

Fit and finish is quite nice as is the overall experience of packing and set up. They do not come with spikes nor threaded inserts so you have a wide open opportunity to use what you prefer. I went with BDR cones allowing for easy set up—though the speakers will slide a bit on whatever cone or foot you place under them. As to placement I found a decent 4-5 feet out and slightly toed toward me to be just fine. Easy to place but for sure the joy is in the details—get them just right and wham, they will disappear and play baby play with such an aural engagement that it is quite the cat’s pajamas.

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In the end, I can add these to the few speakers I could, or would, live with for long term. They are certainly on my short list and they should be on yours as well. Highly Recommended.

PranaFidelity

www.pranafidelity.com

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