To Jeff Fritz,
I’ve followed your writing over the years and found myself gravitating towards tastes similar to those you’ve endorsed in the past. For example, I’ve owned a pair of Devialet 800 monos, and currently own a pair of Vivid Audio Giya G2s (Series 1), both partially on your recommendation, and been a very happy listener for many years. Unfortunately, I recently damaged a driver in one of the Giyas and am contemplating using this as a convenient excuse for an upgrade.
I have loved the open, transparent, and refined sound of the Giyas. My previous speakers (Wilson Audio Sashas), by comparison, had a darker, more forward sound. Currently, my electronics are a Pass Labs X250.8 amp with a dCS Rossini as the digital source. I’m now wondering what would qualify as a speaker upgrade at this point. The new Giya G2 Series 2 seems only to be a comparatively incremental uplift. I’ve been referred to Vimberg loudspeakers and looked at the Tonda, which seems to have garnered excellent reviews; in particular, as an outperformer at its price point. I know you have specific experience with this speaker, although the high-density fiberboard cabinet gives the snob in me pause for thought. Also on the list is the Estelon X Diamond, which I’ve read a lot about and whose design I am warming to. And then, the usual suspects of Magico and Rockport Technologies. I know the price points of these speakers are very variable, but I’m willing to pay a bit more if it’s getting me an appreciable improvement over the Giyas. I feel like your advice here would be invaluable, given the experience you’ve had with my current speakers as well as those I’ve mentioned, and greatly look forward to hearing from you.
The first thing to consider is why you want to upgrade your speakers. I’m actually writing an “Opinion” article on this very subject right now. If it’s for sound quality alone, then bettering the Vivids you already own is going to be a tall order. The only way I would be willing to write a check for an upgrade to the Giya G2 would be if I had actually compared the Vivids with their potential replacements in a space I am familiar with. With some products I could easily endorse an upgrade based on what I know of company A versus what I know of company B. But not in this case.
Vivid makes some of the absolute best loudspeakers in the world, period. So do Magico, Rockport, Tidal/Vimberg, and Estelon. Many times when considering which of these brands to purchase, the choice comes down to certain sound characteristics that could be filed under “listener preference.” One model may do some particular thing better than another, but then fall just short in another area. There are many other factors involved as well, such as design aesthetics and just wanting a change to keep the hobby interesting.
My advice would be to fix your current Vivid speakers and see if you can set up some appointments to get out and hear some of the alternatives you are considering. I know that is a tough proposition in our current environment, but hopefully some private auditions are doable for you. Replace those Vivids only when you fall in love with something else, and not a moment before. . . . Jeff Fritz