Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

Rockport Technologies' Listening Room

One of Rockport Technologies' goals is to make best-in-class loudspeakers. They do this with the help of an in-factory listening room that is undoubtedly one of the finest you'll find at any company.

Like almost everything else at Rockport Technologies, Andy Payor designed the room from scratch. He used unique materials and construction techniques for the walls, floor, and ceiling. The attention to detail in this room is as impressive as Payor's speakers, and it's very important for the processes he has in place at Rockport Technologies, since he feels that a product must not only perform well in objective measurements but also replicate that kind of performance subjectively in the listening room. As a result, he wanted to have the best listening room in the world to validate the performance of his designs.

Listening room

The large, spacious listening room has a "living room" feel to it, but it was designed for a serious listening experience regardless of speaker size -- the ceiling is extremely high, and there are ample acoustical treatments (primarily from RPG) that run floor to ceiling, which is necessary when Payor tests the tall Arrakis loudspeakers in this space. (Here's an interesting thing about the RPG BAD panels that you can see on the side walls: behind each stack of two panels is an angled, hollow cavity built into the wall that acts as a bass trap.)

Rockport's listening room is extremely impressive to look at and to "hear." The moment you walk into it you realize that it sounds natural, but that it also has a noise floor that's so low that you're able to hear your own ears, which is a little disconcerting at first (it's the same thing happens when you walk into an ideally controlled anechoic chamber such as the one at NRC that we use for our speaker tests). That low noise floor allows you to hear everything that the speakers are putting out.

Listening room components

The rest of the components in the room are top drawer. On the far left in the photo above is Rockport's System III Sirius turntable, while electronics from Gryphon Audio Designs, Blue Smoke Systems and MSB Technology flesh out the rest of the front end, and all sit atop a Harmonic Resolution Systems double-wide rack.

Gryphon Audio Designs amps

Although Payor tests his speakers with a number of different amplifier types (solid-state, tube, class-D designs), most of his listening is done using Gryphon Antileon Mono Signature amps, which are each rated to deliver 175W of class-A power into 8 ohms, and are stable into 1-ohm loads and can deliver 1300W of power. The speaker cables and interconnects used when we were there were from Transparent, which is also located in Maine.