Award time. The Acoustic Plan system, featuring Acoustic Plan's Veena speakers ($28k), Sarod preamp ($13000), Santor power amp ($11000) and Vadi CD player ($TBA) was one of the most impressive and talked about demos at the show. Shooting the breeze with one big name reviewer, I was told I had to check out that "open baffle thing with lowther drivers." I'm glad I followed his advice. Alas, great sound comes with a steep price tag.
The sound style falls into the Emotional category, leaning towards the Smooth group. The sound from the Lowther drivers and hybrid amps was warm and friendly with the signature non-fatiguing dynamics the Emotional and Smooth fans love.
The entire presentation was seamless from top to bottom and not at all what one would expect from a Lowther-based system of this kind. While there were plenty of the traits that single driver fans desire, serious work has gone into taming the white cone's issues and handling music in all genres. The sound was fast and detailed and offered that signature musical midrange. The tube hybrid amplification and mechanical qualities of the drivers did a fine job of compensating for the nastiness in some of my torture tracks without sacrificing clarity and detail.
Naturally, the entire system -- from Acoustic Plan Veena speakers to CD players and amps -- works together harmoniously. Component synergy exists and the Acoustic Plan system will have people rethinking a life component-swapping madness.
The slim Veena speakers are open baffles featuring 6" Lowther drivers, the hallmark of emotional systems, combined with four 10" powered woofers (a passive version is also available). The active system runs at 96dB while the passive version drops to 88dB, both with an 8 ohm impedance. The bass can be adjusted, though it's not as customizable as a full-blown sub (and nowhere near a DSP system). No frequency specs are listed, but the dipole-radiating subs reach low enough to be highly satisfying. The bass was also of a smooth, fast quality unique to dipole systems. A smaller speaker called the "Avarta" is also available and features double 10" woofers and the same 6" Lowther.
The Santor amp is a hybrid system with 50 MOS-FET watts and tubes in the signal path. The preamp and CD player are both tube-based and feature some of the classiest chassis construction around.
Big pics next page...