Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

Have You Seen?


It’s easy to fall in love at an audio show.

It’s easy to fall out of love at an audio show.

It’s easy to be taken in and swallowed up by marketing and the hype at an audio show.

It’s easy to be a cynic and to deride the marketing and the hype at an audio show.


All of it is easy, always, all of the time. That’s the hard part, that it’s so easy—to be affected by emotion, by experience, by the throwing off of guardrails and being bowled over by the movement, any moment that is guided by the ones who know and have built for those who are receptive and curious (and critical). For better and worse.

I am curious, and I explore. Do I love?

Such were the thoughts and questions I considered when sitting in the Embassy Suites Hilton’s large Westshore room, formerly the cigar smoker’s terrace, now occupied by Acora Acoustics from Ontario, Canada.


A pair of black granite monoliths sat at the front of the room, and between them was Roger Waters on his stage, constructing his wall, brick by emotional brick. I sat at the back of the listening area and heard concert-level dynamics from vintage vinyl: Roger was 30-feet tall but contained within the recording; I wasn’t prepared for the sound of Nick Mason’s drums to grab me by the chest, as if existing outside of the recording, demanding my own blood-pumping life force to get in step, in time, and away from my own internal vibration. It was exhilarating.

What did this?


The zeros on the spec sheet for the equipment attached to the room totaled well over $300,000 (all prices in USD), including VAC and Ideon Audio electronics and a J.Sikora turntable. They’re immaculate, and they obviously play a big part in the room’s sound’s story. But my focus was on Acora Acoustics’ 2.5-way floorstanding SRC-2 loudspeakers ($37,000 for the pair). Each cabinet features two 7″ sandwich-paper cones and a 1″ beryllium-dome tweeter. The 244-pound sculpture is immovable to touch, by design.

On Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, by Ernest Ansermet conducting the Royal Ballet Gala Performances (LP, RCA Victor), I was drawn in by the shape of resonance. That thought is purposefully abstract, and it’s the same emotion derived from a sound’s shape that I mean when I say I’m searching for the thickest, fattest, nastiest metal riff. It’s the cinnamon-roll-stuck-to-your-pallet sound of goosebumps. It drives at something intravenous, a cocktail of mixed metaphors, picked up by multiple senses: that sound is tasty, and I would like to feel some more, please.


When the room cleared out, I moved up front, into the sweetest spot, in time for sales and marketing director Scott Sefton to queue up nu-metal act Korn and the second part of its version of “Another Brick in the Wall.” By then, the room was mine.

Jonathan Davis’s vocals floated above me, and the sense of place changed from being played at to being within the circle of playing. A simulated omnipresence.


For Acora’s CEO and designer/builder, Valerio Acora, who likens the experience to simple math and physics, granite is the densest, most homogenous conductor of energy. His materials and designs minimize inefficient energy waste. To illustrate his point, he asked me about baseball, and why players use aluminum bats.

“Trampoline effect,” I replied. “The ball jumps off the bat’s thin, pliant walls, propelling it into a further space.”

“And if the barrel was granite?” he countered, rhetorically.

Straight into the ground.

Sefton then asked me to place my fingers on one of the driver’s metal baskets, where it was mounted to the speaker’s front baffle. It was as still as if no music had been playing at all. In fact, with vigorous source material, the cones were visibly aroused. All of the perceivable energy was fed into the drivers’ cones.


I am curious and I explore.

When you give yourself to the room and the music, it is easy, always, all of the time to become a fan. It’s so easy to be affected by the experience. To be moved. To want to fall in love. If that’s the hard part, simply leave: returning will confirm it:

It’s easy to fall in love at an audio show.

Jason Davis
Contributor, SoundStage!