January 1, 2008
Ultra Audio's Product of the Year for 2007 -- Rockport Technologies Altair Loudspeakers
No link of the audio-system chain shapes what you hear more than the loudspeaker does. The speaker is the device that actually produces that physical phenomenon called sound, transforming the electrical signal delivered by the amplifier into soundwaves. In my experience, that metamorphosis is where the magic happens or it doesnt. Its where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.
It is therefore of utmost importance that you choose your speakers carefully. If youre going to be fully satisfied with your hi-fi system, it is that purchase, above all others, that youve got to get right. Pick a great speaker that couples well to your room and build your system around it. That motto has served me well for many years.
The Rockport Technologies Altair was designed and manufactured by Andy Payor in Rockport, Maine. I was not prepared for the experience, in late 2006, of going to Rockports listening rooms and becoming acquainted with the Altair -- it is engineered and built to stunning perfection. I knew I had to hear it in my Music Vault listening room. A review was arranged.
Although my experience with loudspeakers is broad -- Ive heard, and in some cases owned, what many consider to be the finest -- the Altair shook my foundations. It was at once the best loudspeaker ever to grace my listening room, and the single most impressive audio product Id ever written about.
Fast-forward to the present. Ive had the Altairs in my listening room for about six months now, and my admiration for them has only grown stronger. When Im listening to music through them, I am in awe of what they can do. They get all of the audiophile bits right, of course, but more important, they blend all of those elements into a whole better than any other speaker Ive heard. The Altair is a complete product in other senses as well: Youll experience no greater pride of ownership than with the Altair, because its construction and finish quality are beyond reproach. In fact, its build quality ranks at the top of all audio products Ive ever seen. And for a build-quality nut such as I, thats saying something.
As you can tell from my glowing description, there was no contest this year -- and this was a good year for Ultra Audio in terms of products reviewed. At $89,500 USD per pair, the Rockport Technologies Altair is expensive -- but its a product like no other. Its simply spectacular, and easily Ultra Audios Product of the Year for 2007.
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