Albert Von Schweikert Visits Audio Nexus

Frank Alles

10 November 1997

Yessiree, Ms. Anna logg told me not to miss the Schweik-man with his Lexus of the Nexus, VR-6 speaker system. Soooo, on the evening of this past November 13th, I made the scene with sidekick Paul Ginder. Other NJAS members in attendance included Joe Arches, Valerie Kurlychek and Bob Scott.

To start the festivities, VonSweikert's "fall guy" David Kersh (VP of Sales and Marketing) posed this question to the group: "What do you think an ideal loudspeaker should do?" This was obviously a loaded question, so I responded, "Make a Symphony Orchestra sound like one," (guffaw, guffaw!) an equally loaded answer. Kersh then proceeded to give a general overview of VonSweikert's design philosophy and implementations. He stressed the importance of the speakers ability to launch a broad spherical wavefront, which, he asserted would allow the listener a much broader sweet spot than is possible with most competing designs. Kersh went on to explain that crossover design was another key factor in achieving optimum performance from a loudspeaker. He explained that VonSchweikert had developed a "Global Axis Integration Network" (GAIN?) which is a modified 4th order circuit, claimed to "blend all drivers harmonically, both on and off axis, to achieve correct spherical soundwave reproduction similar to live music."

The driver compliment includes two 9 inch Eton built woofers, utilizing lightweight Kevlar honeycomb cones and two 5 and a quarter inch Audax woven carbon fiber midrange units with oversized vented magnets and unique surrounds made of a new material called Norsorex. A pair of Focal titanium inverse 1 inch dome tweeters (one potted and rear firing for ambiance) complete the array. The tweeters are ferrofluid cooled and sport enormous 1200 gram magnetic structures.

The bass drivers are contained in their own aperiodically vented enclosures and are tuned to a sixth order Chebychev alignment for extremely fast, deep and controlled low frequency performance. The separate mid/top module sits atop the woofer enclosure from which it is isolated by means of carbon fiber cones resting on carbon fiber discs.

The two modules enjoy the same cabinet styling, compliments of VonSchweikert's son, which to me, looks like a more comely version of Wilson's Grand Slamm. This makes for a very handsome and unobtrusive (for their size) package. Also worth mentioning is the efficiency of the system, which is rated at 96 dB per 1W at 1 meter anechoic! Recommended amplifier power range is from 5 to 1,000 watts peak input! I can see the single-ended fans salivating now...

The system was comprised of the new BAT VK-D5 CD player into the BAT VK-3i preamp, feeding a BAT VK-60 power amp. Speaker cable was of the silver variety by Kimber, connecting the VR-6s to the amplifier.

Newsflash: Prince Albert Lets Music out of the Can--er, Box!

Okay, specs and technology are great, but how did it sound?? Unfortunately, I must report that in spite of the technical onslaught by Albert VonSchweikert & Company, the sound was actually quite remarkable! I use the adjective "unfortunately," because at $12,500. for the pair, many of us simply can not afford the sonic splendor they are capable of providing. VonSchweikert claims this technology will trickle down to his less expensive models in the not too distant future, so hopefully we can all hold our collective breath until then. For now, I'm like LeAnn Rimes--Bluuuuuee, Oh So Blue!

First of all I must congratulate Team VonSchweikert on their set-up savvy. I've witnessed all too many audio demos (I know you have too!) where a presenter may have $100,000. worth of equipment to work with, yet due to some neglected area of proper set-up, incompatibility of gear or simply poor acoustics, the sound ultimately falls short of our expectations. On this occasion, this was not the case.

From the get-go it was evident that the VR-6s were capable of providing a vast transparent soundstage. Images were very clearly defined and ambient information was noteworthy. Treble detail was exceptional and the bass was rich fast and natural sounding. On some recordings I thought the treble was just a tad "in my face," but on most material, it was pretty close to ideal. Transients were clean and crisp, but without the common overbite of lesser speakers. Dynamic contrasts were exceptional and crescendos on symphonic works (like that on the Mahler symphony contributed by our own Bob Scott) could almost knock you off your seat!

The overall frequency response from the low bass right on up to the highest perceivable treble tones seemed very smooth and linear, but perhaps the single most striking feature of this fine speaker system was its ability to maintain a credible image no matter where I stood or sat. Indeed, Bob Scott was amazed that he could hear almost no difference in sound with someone standing directly in front of him (He was seated at the time!). With these speakers you can literally roam around the room and still maintain the realism of the performance--and that my good friends is very impressive.

In an adjoining room there was a home theater system, comprised of VonSchweikert VR-2000 main speakers, a LCR-30 center channel unit and VonSchweikert TS-300 rear channel speakers. The surround electronics were courtesy of Rotel. Many people seemed to be taking immense pleasure in watching selected scenes from Jurasic Park--The Lost World. From the rumblings going on therein, I thought the dreaded Tyrannosaurus might be coming through the door any second!

All in all it was a fun time with some good people. I'd like to thank Ken Gould and the good folks at Audio Nexus for hosting this informative event and Albert VonSchweikert and David Kersh for their outstanding presentation (even though David wouldn't play Tom Waits when I asked him to!)