American company Rockport Technologies for a long time and deservedly takes high places in the ranking of the best world manufacturers of loudspeakers and embodies a carefully fulfilled audiophile dream. The sense of elitism and complex approach, focused on the independent development of fundamentally new solutions in accordance with stringent requirements for sound, have become those inviolable values that the company offers the consumer.
The history of the brand dates back to 1984, when the compact satellite/subwoofer pair saw the light under the flags of Payor Acoustics Inc., named after the founder and chief designer Andy Payor. The first component, bearing the name Rockport Technologies...was introduced later, in 1991. And for more than 30 years of existence, the company has collected many awards and gained a serious reputation in a very narrow sector of the market of exclusive audio equipment and high-end loudspeakers.
Andy Paior's ideas and designs are implemented in specialized manufacturing facilities and resources focused on the main plant, which is based in South Tomaston, Maine, but some of the company's components are supplied by highly qualified suppliers who are able to change parameters according to the needs of the brand, based on internal technologies and the results of experiments. To open access of a life in the dead form - certainly creative process, but technical realities quickly descend from heavens in a rigid landing mode. The combination of design, assembly, comprehensive evaluation of the action on the model systems using 3D CAD-modelling, structural, vibration, acoustic analysis, linear circuit analysis, with subsequent testing to ensure quality - all this clearly reflects the specific weight of the engineering approach in the creation of systems.
At the beginning of last year. Rockport Technologies reported the purchase of the company by Joch Clark, with whom Andy Paiora had a twenty-year friendship and working relationship that began in 1997 when Clark began his career in Transparent Audio as Operations Manager and Development Director. This creative alliance allowed for much more productive support for the most ambitious and technically advanced projects, focusing on research and development, marketing and further development of the dealer network. And thanks to the official distributor, the company... Prime Solutions it became possible to have loudspeakers of this caliber in Russia.
Rockport Technologies ATRIA II stands on the bottom step of the four loudspeaker range, but it uses the same advanced technology and expensive finishing as the older models. The perfectly stiff, heavyweight, streamlined cabinet is made in a glossy black piano lacquer and is a three-layer construction made of MDF, with a carbon fibre interlayer combined with epoxy material, and in essence operates as an inertial reference. The most solid of the front panels is 4 inches thick, with a sloping surface narrowed to the top and glued with soft felt to optimize the acoustic environment. The enclosure is loaded on a heavy, solid base, with adjustable floor decoupling cones, has large wide chamfers and a common tilt back for coherent sound, while smoothly curved side walls and partitions with areas of varying thicknesses virtually eliminate diffraction anomalies. The result is a sturdy structure that is not subject to resonance.
The rear wall is a stepped structure. There is also an aircraft grade aluminum alloy reflex port with deep rounded edges to prevent turbulence. As well as a pair of gold-plated Cardas acoustic terminals over a round solid patch panel. The enclosure has a sealed compartment designed for the crossover, using premium components manufactured exclusively for the Rockport Technologies, - Film/foil capacitors, special induction coils and Caddock power resistors. All components are strictly matched to each other and configured for the specific drivers with which they are used. Buyers have Rockport Technologies there is no problem with color selection, and for an additional fee you can order almost any RAL. The painting process consists of several stages, which include the application of several individual layers of innovative paintwork - to ensure a quality comparable to the finish of luxury cars.
Rockport Technologies are distinguished by a non-standard approach not only to the architecture of the building. In accordance with the stringent requirements for sound, the company has reoriented to independently develop fundamentally new solutions. The 3-way loudspeakers received a new 9-inch bass unit, created from scratch, the company did not arrange ready-made proposals even the highest level. Together with the 6-inch midrange, they belong to a new generation of composite cone drivers with a sandwich-base structure, a variable thickness cut from a pressure-heated Rohacell core and a carbon fibre weave just 0.004 inches thick, pre-impregnated with a custom epoxy compound. The reinforced ratio of stiffness to weight of the cones ensures that the speaker operates accurately in piston mode over the operating range.
To the specific features of the system you can add radial ventilation of the voice coil with a framework made of titanium and extremely rigid cast aluminum frame, as well as modern 2-inch ultra low distortion ultra low distortion ultra powerful motor systems, capable of huge deviations to achieve incomparable resolution with a large dynamic range. Made to custom specifications by Scan-Speak engineers, a 1-inch beryllium dome tweeter mounted on a shallow waveguide allows you to take advantage of the shape of the front of the cabinet to improve the alignment of acoustic impedance at the lower end of the range, reduce distortion and improve energy potential, and balance the dispersion performance at the point of intersection of the tweeter with the midrange, providing extraordinary transparency in the high frequencies, complementing the quiet expressiveness of the midrange. Grills with pin mounts are included to protect the speakers from accidental damage.
The proper placement of the loudspeakers remains a difficult issue, however Rockport can sound amazing if they're properly installed and in the right room, although it's generally believed that ATRIA II get by well with medium to small size rooms. But even if the room is focused on listening only, many other factors influence the sound. For example, loudspeakers need a solid and sensual partner in desperation, even though the speakers themselves are not easy to handle. In different rooms, with different amplifiers, these speakers have very different facets, but it's enough to lower the gain class a little, and some voices and instruments can become dull and simpler. Rockport's good manners, room experiments, room spacing and amplifier selection have shown that speakers are tolerant enough, but with some suggestions they transform by a wide margin. And there was no process more difficult or more interesting than folding this solitaire.
The location in the huge interior room was slightly wider than other speaker models, maximizing the width of the sound stage, and for proper positioning the listening point was moved further, but the room itself became "musical". In the final position, the speakers were moved closer, moved a little forward, with a small turn inside. This provided a deep sound stage with good focus and dense filling. The combination of Rockports with the Ayre KX R Twenty preamplifier and monoblocks, the Ayre MX R Twenty is perfect and there's no question of any twist in their relationship. The pair Gryphon Audio Zena and Gryphon Mephisto looked impressively organic. The massive power pack and new preamplifier kept control well, and the contrasts between the quiet and loud sounds in Hi-Rez orchestral recordings were significant and impressive.
The required degree of purity of this material is so high that the awe-inspiring, incredible voice of Sondra Radvanovsky in Medora's piercing novel from Giuseppe Verdi's opera Corsaire is often used as a stencil that I attach to the sound of a system. Gracefully orchestrated, with a slight accent of instruments framed by wind and harp, this counterpoint melodically creates a stunning engagement against the backdrop of the diversity of the flying voice register and with the nuances of the sound that cautiously reveal the piercing movement of the voice and its timbre purity. The loudspeakers' resolving power easily pulled out the intonations from which the voice acquired a noble tint, permanently displacing the conventional pattern acquired by previous listening.
Some music required a nostalgic frame, and the loudspeakers coped with it perfectly, without traumatizing the usual tracks with the "lamp" perception of the old records, which the older generation of music lovers long for. Rockport's ultimate modernity instantly turns to the past with sound images and metaphors of cultural memory, and the sound combinations seem appropriate, harmonious and precisely selected. Looking at the Russian romance from the point of view of the American sound, which suddenly penetrated into the Slavic charm, seemed to know all its background, complements the generally accepted age-old rules with a strong melodic beginning. And the flow of original folk sympathy for the heavy female share left a feeling of healthy and full of strength genre.
The sensitivity of the loudspeakers to timbre and dynamic changes made it possible to try out the solvency of the macrodynamics in Brahms' Third Symphony, which literally shone with a deliciously lively sound overflowing with events, articulated in a plastic language, interspersed with explosive moments of incarnation to complete tenderness, differing even on complex turns at the right pace. And as dynamic tension increases, it realistically marks the orchestral contrast between statics and action.
The layered superheavy compositions were skillfully focused, and the grim power of this music is full of heavy guitar sound, which is simple, and perfectly clear voice. The richness of the events, the scale, and the smouldering spirit of aggression underlined the feeling of a strong rhythmic support when the drummer clearly wants to be in the foreground, but Rockport takes it under control, adhering, though not obvious, but still tough parameters of neutrality, while sometimes managing to combine the impassivity of poker face with almost tactile effect of presence. The bass mobility is excellent, with intonation separation and articulation, with timbre tones when the register is lowered, but at the deepest depths you can hear some restraint, perhaps lacked a little pressure, which was also swallowed up by a huge, acoustically untreated room. At the same time, the energetic and weighty mid-bass produced a dynamic and powerful sound, coherent and confident.
Low strings are sensable, and performing nuances on lyrical fragments with incredible colors allow to estimate the magnificent sated middle, without any formal seam smoothly correlated with both low-frequency and tweeter, and at high volume not showing signs of stress or distortions and without accents on any segment. The detail and purity of the upper register is noticeable, but the percussive variety of plates and bells with a defined tone fading and light aftertones leave no metallic taste. They are much lighter and more detailed than the nuances of instruments in a different frequency range and look like a scattering of stars of different brightness and range in the night or pre-dawn sky with a bottomless, deep textured shade.
A sense of harmony at all levels allows you to combine the traditions of luxury with industrial style and the impossible combination of sober rationality with the magic of sound, which can be considered art. As a result, in the dry residue, music lovers have received stunning loudspeakers, which are proposed to take only as the starting point of the brand, despite the fact that from the initial position they immediately go into a high price segment, indifferently looking at epidemics and crises.
And while preferences and tastes may change over time, the rule of "The Best and Others" remains inviolable, as people with significant purchasing power even in bad economic times will not stop listening to music. Unbelievable space in Russia is ready for it. And Rockport loudspeakers are the place to be.
The author of the review: Anna Guryanova
Rockport Technologies ATRIA II
3-way floor standing loudspeakers, 9″W, 6″MF, 1″Berylium HF, range 28-30000, 4 Ohm, 87.5dB, amplifier min. 50W, weight: 70kg
Price 2 544 000,00 Rubles
Test system cosists of:
Lumin X1, Ayre Acoustics V-5xe, SPL Performer M1000, Gryphon Audio Zena, Gryphon Mephisto, Ayre KX R Twenty, Ayre MX R Twenty