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Thread: Some Members Discuss Their Nola Speakers

  1. #11
    Pretty amazing. I understand regarding the YG. I have had many other speakers, including some like Magico and Wilson which basically "steals the shows" by reviewers and hence people often follow the reviewer crowd, while NOLAs get such little press or audition time. I look at it as other people's losses.

    I can't say what you will lose going to the CGRG from your NOLA GR6G, maybe Carl can chime in, BUT I can tell you my CGR IS the best speaker I have ever owned or heard. Once a person hears the magic of Carl's speakers "PROPERLY" set up it is hard to go back to others. I am driving mine with ARC REF10 Pre, ARC's new GS150 (one of my favorite components of all time), MSB Diamond Plus with Valhalla II. I was using the REF75 with amazing results and Carl's amp of choice but I am not sure if he has heard the GS150 as yet. It is just an amazing setup.

    I look at Carl's speaker as craftsmanship (sound not necessarily looks) similar to a fine watch. He tunes his speakers like few others do with abilities few other have.


    It is difficult to explain the sound of the Grand Reference 6 Gold so I will share a couple of my Grand Reference experiences.
    There was the time when we first showed the system at CES. I was playing the Reference Recording of Fanfare for the Common Man. A reviewer who was at the original recording session came running down the hall because he thought the drums were real.
    Another reviewer who lived in LA was using our restroom while I was playing the soundtrack from Jurassic Park. He came running out thinking it was a real earthquake.
    Cary Audio was above us and they frequently commented that their floor was flexing up and down.
    By the end of that show we had managed to blow off half the leaves of the ficus trees we were using for room treatment. They sat on the floor when the rental florist came to pick them up.
    At the Munich Show in 2012, a reviewer complained that the bass could be heard two floors below--and yet the bass balance in our demo room was not exaggerated. The 4 towers were being driven by 1 pair of 80 watt 300B mono blocks.
    At this show, we were jammed by wall to wall people all 4 days such that is was often difficult to get a good demo. And this in a 65 sq m room that is more like an airplane hanger than a room.
    Many couples took photos of themselves standing in front of the towers--as if they are some kind of landmark. This was a humbling experience for me and my family. I had never seen anything like this.
    To sum up I would say the Grand Reference is the least boring loudspeaker I have ever run into and provides a different level of experience.
    President Nola loudspeakers

  2. #12
    Junior Member
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    Finally I Will keep my GR6G in my House in Mallorca, Carl told me to put a smaller screen so they will fit my room.
    I love my GR6

  3. #13
    Hi Guys,

    I have eventually the time to post on the forum.
    Happy to discover the dedicated part for Nola !

    In few weeks it will be the 2nd anniversary of my Metro Gold Reference :-)

    My system has made a lot of progress and even if some are still to be done i spend some very pleasant time listening to my music and particularly live music.
    My Nola are associated with: One Stereo Luxman M800A power amp, a Zanden 3000, Grimm Xlr cables, some High Fidelity Ct1e speakers cables and a Lumin A1.
    I currently test the Totaldac Dual of one of my friends and i can tell you that it fits very well with my Metro Gold which give all the détails and fluidity of this network player.

    The Metro need space and i have reorganized my room to try and give them some fresh air :-) to produce what they are capable of. I would be very curious to test a Trinnov room/speaker optimizer on them as my living room is not as good as a dedicated room could be.

    It's a pity for me that Nola is not well known in France but that's still a reality.
    I've read the review of the French Magazine Haute Fidelité and i hope it will be good for Nola in France.

  4. #14
    since my experience is with Nola's previous incarnation, Alon, i will keep it brief;

    these are not loudspeakers, they are transportation devices


  5. #15
    Junior Member
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    Scottsdale, AZ
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    Glad to see some other Nola lovers here!

    I have an older set of (Alón) Exotica Grand Reference. My setup is somewhat unorthodox, being fully digital with DSP crossovers, I do not use the outboard factory passive or line level subwoofer crossovers. Rather I have each driver group directly connected to a modified TacT S2150 amplifier which is programmed with a custom filter that implements crossover, target curve, and room/driver correction along with gain matching and time delay. The amps are connected to a modified TacT RCS2.2X which is only used for measurements, master volume control, and digital signal distribution. Attenuation is cleverly done, being completely separate from the signal path. Volume is reduced by dropping voltage on the output rails of the amps so there are no lost 'bits'. The RCS accepts or upsamples the incoming PCM stream to 24/192 and passes same along to the amps.

    All equipment is plugged into a PS Audio P10 regenerator/conditioner. Had some bad experiences with PS Audio regenerators in years past, but this one is a winner sonically and it has been flawless in operation - think they finally got it right this time around. An Aurender N10 is the primary source. I received it recently and absolutely love it. Cabling is Acoustic Zen (S/PDIF & AES/EBU digital links and custom made Hologram/Absolute quad speaker cable harness, which I have buried into the concrete under the carpet). I use exclusively Michael Wolff (RIP) carbon ribbon power cords.

    Here are some pics... still waiting for a few last things including baseboards and a coffee table 'shroud' to conceal the equipment, which should be done in the next week or so. If anyone has any questions or wants to see the specific filters I designed for the Grand Ref, just ask.













    The factory crossovers I have - which are not the latest version - held back the system's potential in my opinion, mostly in the suboptimal integration of main and sub towers, but also in dynamics. As fantastic as the Raven R-1s are, they really don't perform well below 3kHz or so, and using a steep crossover on them was sonically very beneficial. Nola's alnico midranges - which sure look like "new old stock" Vifa M13Mi-08 - are phenemonal drivers. As are the Seas W22EX001 woofers in the sealed enclosures - they are very tight and fast, and also improved with a high pass filter cutting output in the bottom two octaves where they fast run out of gas. I have them crossed to the subs at about 50Hz with a steep slope; the subs are sonically invisible, all the bass seems to come from the main channels, which is the way it should be. With the factory crossovers, the larger overlap in output and time/phase differences seemed to always preclude perfect integration.

    The middle graph here is the frequency sweep of the fully corrected system at the listening position, which is basically my target curve.



    Last, the aquarium... this photo is from my old house. The new tank should be filled in the next couple weeks. I will have the same amount of livestock, plus a couple larger fish, in about twice the gallons (235 > 450 display tank). I'm often asked if the bass bothers the fish. As powerful as the Nola subs are, compared to a whale whose low frequency vocalizations can travel thousands of miles through the ocean, they are nothing... And the air-glass-water interface is very inefficient for transmitting sound. So in short, it does not really bother them.


  6. #16
    Member Sponsor [WBF Founding Member] FrantzM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ekovalsky View Post
    Glad to see some other Nola lovers here!

    I have an older set of (Alón) Exotica Grand Reference. My setup is somewhat unorthodox, being fully digital with DSP crossovers, I do not use the outboard factory passive or line level subwoofer crossovers. Rather I have each driver group directly connected to a modified TacT S2150 amplifier which is programmed with a custom filter that implements crossover, target curve, and room/driver correction along with gain matching and time delay. The amps are connected to a modified TacT RCS2.2X which is only used for measurements, master volume control, and digital signal distribution. Attenuation is cleverly done, being completely separate from the signal path. Volume is reduced by dropping voltage on the output rails of the amps so there are no lost 'bits'. The RCS accepts or upsamples the incoming PCM stream to 24/192 and passes same along to the amps.

    All equipment is plugged into a PS Audio P10 regenerator/conditioner. Had some bad experiences with PS Audio regenerators in years past, but this one is a winner sonically and it has been flawless in operation - think they finally got it right this time around. An Aurender N10 is the primary source. I received it recently and absolutely love it. Cabling is Acoustic Zen (S/PDIF & AES/EBU digital links and custom made Hologram/Absolute quad speaker cable harness, which I have buried into the concrete under the carpet). I use exclusively Michael Wolff (RIP) carbon ribbon power cords.

    Here are some pics... still waiting for a few last things including baseboards and a coffee table 'shroud' to conceal the equipment, which should be done in the next week or so. If anyone has any questions or wants to see the specific filters I designed for the Grand Ref, just ask.













    The factory crossovers I have - which are not the latest version - held back the system's potential in my opinion, mostly in the suboptimal integration of main and sub towers, but also in dynamics. As fantastic as the Raven R-1s are, they really don't perform well below 3kHz or so, and using a steep crossover on them was sonically very beneficial. Nola's alnico midranges - which sure look like "new old stock" Vifa M13Mi-08 - are phenemonal drivers. As are the Seas W22EX001 woofers in the sealed enclosures - they are very tight and fast, and also improved with a high pass filter cutting output in the bottom two octaves where they fast run out of gas. I have them crossed to the subs at about 50Hz with a steep slope; the subs are sonically invisible, all the bass seems to come from the main channels, which is the way it should be. With the factory crossovers, the larger overlap in output and time/phase differences seemed to always preclude perfect integration.

    The middle graph here is the frequency sweep of the fully corrected system at the listening position, which is basically my target curve.



    Last, the aquarium... this photo is from my old house. The new tank should be filled in the next couple weeks. I will have the same amount of livestock, plus a couple larger fish, in about twice the gallons (235 > 450 display tank). I'm often asked if the bass bothers the fish. As powerful as the Nola subs are, compared to a whale whose low frequency vocalizations can travel thousands of miles through the ocean, they are nothing... And the air-glass-water interface is very inefficient for transmitting sound. So in short, it does not really bother them.

    Speechless .. Keyboard..less???

    Woah!!!
    Frantz
    __________________________________

    "For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."
    —Carl Sagan
    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."
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    (mis-attributed to A. Einstein)

  7. #17
    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] amirm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ekovalsky View Post
    Last, the aquarium... this photo is from my old house. The new tank should be filled in the next couple weeks. I will have the same amount of livestock, plus a couple larger fish, in about twice the gallons (235 > 450 display tank). I'm often asked if the bass bothers the fish. As powerful as the Nola subs are, compared to a whale whose low frequency vocalizations can travel thousands of miles through the ocean, they are nothing... And the air-glass-water interface is very inefficient for transmitting sound. So in short, it does not really bother them.

    I don't know what is more stunning, your audio system, its performance and room, or this tank! Unbelievable color and diversity in that tank. Love to watch them and listen to music on that system!
    Amir
    Madrona Digital
    Founder, Audio Science Review Forum
    Contributing Editor, Widescreen Review Magazine

  8. #18
    I had an "audio" friend over from out of state the other day. He never heard the NOLA sound before coming over. After his brief listen, I think he liked the sound a lot (and was complimenting of the overall ease, detail, depth of stage, height of stage, etc etc). But, he felt the presentation differed too much compared to his current, electrostatic type speakers (to be unnamed). He felt the rendition was lacking a bit of intimacy, meaning he felt he was sitting in the mezzanine of a live event, rather than 1st row (partly because of the vast depth of my system, which he said was deeper than anything he's ever heard before). I guess with the sound being diffuse, his ears are not used to it. I told him it sounds more like 10th row seating, or 3rd row (depending on how close mic'd the performance is, for example, an acoustic solo). I'm not sure why people feel sitting right up on stage with the performers is the right vantage point. I know whenever I go to a concert or a venue, I like to sit at around 10th row in an amplified event to let the sound system hit me with a cohesive sound. My guess his speakers present the sound as if he is on the 1st row, ready to reach out and touch the performer? I'm not sure, since I never heard those speakers before. Anyways, he gave very high compliments (as in, the best system he's ever heard, regardless of price, that perhaps doesnt totally suit his listening tastes). I gave him my personal experience. When you first hear the NOLA sound, your ears need a little time to adjust back to how it "should" sound. If you're used to razor sharp imaging and focus like what maybe a YG speaker will do, then sure, you're going to feel the sound from NOLA is very diffuse and lacking razor sharp focus. I also felt the same (at first listen). But over a short period of time, once my ears adjusted back to what I now consider "normal", I found the "diffuse" thing people talk about actually is a cohesive blending of the instrumental stage that is exactly how it would sound if listening live. For example, one instrument is not highlighted as playing "all by itself". The total sound emanates from the stage, blended beautifully with all other instruments that are playing on stage in their time and space. Instruments are whole and the stage is full. This happens while still preserving as much focus and precision as what should be considered real for a live performance. I can still tell exactly which location sound is coming from.. and there is much better delineation, in fact, than any speaker I've ever had before, especially in the depth and height dimensions (once you really relax and start to listen to music, rather than dissect audiophile like qualities). I think what throws people off is the sound being so cohesive and diffuse (free flowing). The typical audiophile ear is not used to such "proper" sound IMHO. I think my friend would have come around if he got a chance to listen more (we only had a couple hours to mess around with a few of his "test" tracks). He did also compliment the looks of my speakers. He did admit maybe he is a bit "weird", because he is not really into the "live" concert like feeling. He wants the total intimacy feeling (possibly like reach out and touch the performer on stage feeling, or feeling they are in the room with you). Funny thing is, if we got to playing more apt tracks, I think he would have felt the intimacy he was looking for. Since I'm very familiar with my own system, I can say it lacks no sense of intimacy, when recorded as such. The speakers just convey what is on the recording, at what depth they have been recorded with. You can't ask for any more than this.

  9. #19
    Hi,jp
    I am thinking of getting Canary audio ref. 2, I see you have one, are you happy? Thanks

  10. #20
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    The perspective that owners of the big systems bring is helpful as a comparison to other models. I own several generations of Nola, from the L'il Rascals to the Lotus Elite to Reference (crossover separate from boxes) to Contenders.
    What pleases me most about Nola speakers - aside from the musical presentation - is their ability to reveal you've just changed your speaker cable or placed a Shakti Online on top of a Nordost interconnect. The lack of straining to hear the change in sound places them in august company. One never need wonder, as I did with my Hales Revelations (a very good speaker, by the way), whether or not I had lifted the ground correctly on a component or not. Of course, exquisite setup trumps everything. No matter how good a speaker is, if placed in the wrong position - by a matter of 1/2" - one loses noticeable musicality. For those familiar with the excellent speaker setup (and also, the sound of (live) music), 1/2" matters more to the satisfaction of the soul than in other areas, more of concern to Eros, where some prize size.

    A Contender is capable of generating a vast sound field, as noted by Jonathan Valin in the April 2011 CES coverage issue of TAS - which piqued my interest, as I am no longer interested in speakers that weight a bit less than I can bench press. I want a speaker I can carry under one arm easily, and the Contender fits nicely. What is also phenomenal about it is how it shows the stage of break-in: the Nordost Frey initially put you in 3rd row center, hearing every intake of breath Ella Fitzgerald inhaled. After breakin, Ella was less breathy, but this only enlightened me to the fact, that, if I wanted 3rd row center, I should get an Audio Research preamp or one of the "front-and-center" school of components.

    To have a component that is invisible enough to prevent you from making expensive purchasing mistakes is a godsend. I can now decide if I want Nordost power cords or Shunyata (I discovered while playing Hair on vinyl the other night, that the Python VX power cord imbues a voice with an exceptional realism and power, along with vibrato, in contrast to the Nordost Brahma I purchased recently, which, with its lack of subtlety - along with other traits of the Nordost line of products - revealed the plug had been modified, and all the subtleties of a Nordost unit, although not as vibrant in the you-are-there sense as a Shunyata of that generation, were absolutely and completely gone. Cord returned forthwith.

    Even in the so-called "budget reaches" (which, if 'twerp 1987, would be considered reasonably expensive) remember that the WATTS, when they first[I] came out in 1986, were "only" 4,400.00. People were outraged that a monitor cost that much. Nowadays, $4,400 is considered "low cost" (sure, sure), Nola brings the quality. About the only thing one could wish for is that there were more repair facilities available, or dealers who had at least had expertise in repairs.

    Consistency, no matter the price point, is what allows a feeling of comfort about a purchase. To get the music on top of that in High End, is cause for rejoicing.
    Last edited by Mcbrion; 03-23-2016 at 02:03 PM.

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