Vivid Audio Giya 3 Series 2 Loudspeakers by Bill Wells
Not having fully recovered from my most recent and very positive experience of auditioning, evaluating, and ultimately reviewing the truly outstanding Vivid Audio Kaya 90 loudspeakers (reviewed here), I now have the good fortune to host a pair of the uniquely styled Vivid Audio Giya 3 Series 2 loudspeakers (i.e., G3S2) in my home reference system. Also, not knowing quite what to expect as this new loudspeaker represents a move to the higher-class Giya series in the company’s line, the memory of my recent experience with the K90 speaker created both a sense of excitement and anxiety. Beyond any potential sonic differences, the actual physical appearance of these two models is also quite different, with the Giya presenting a definite artistic, exotic look. Additionally, while the K90 came in one of the company’s primary color offerings (i.e., Matt Grey), the G3S2s that came to my home had a gorgeous Range Rover Belgravia Green high gloss finish. This particular color (and finish) represented one of the manufacturer’s many options.
Due to a busy schedule on my part, when these speakers first arrived, initially, they were stored safely in my garage. Once my schedule settled down, once again, Dick Diamond, GTT Audio sales leader and the local dealer for Vivid Audio, made arrangements to assist in moving the loudspeakers to my listening room. Needless to say – I was grateful to have this level of support, including an expert set up by these two professionals. Essentially, I was in charge of moving and rearranging furniture in my listening room and clearing a pathway to where the G3S2s would be placed. As an initial starting point, we placed them almost precisely where the K90’s had been placed previously.
Installation, Setup, and Placement
To ensure my assessment and evaluation of these loudspeakers were consistent with the approach for reviewing the wonderful K90s, all electronics, cabling, and various system components in my listening room remained the same. Once the G3S2s were appropriately placed, we conducted a brief initial listening session to ensure that these loudspeakers’ placement didn’t create any specific sonic anomalies. With a few minor tweaks in moving the G3S2s slightly and in terms of toe-in and distance from both the rear and side walls – things seemed to be at a reasonably good starting point. As with the K90s, each speaker was placed approximately 31 inches from the side walls (to the middle of the G3S2s) and 56 inches from the back wall (to the front center). For the G3S2s, the tweeter height was slightly lower than the K90s, being approximately 39 inches or so from the floor.
Additionally, with this initial setup accomplished – it was also apparent that the speakers would need a bit of refreshing. To begin this process, I started with running random music through the system continuously and at a moderate level. Fortunately, this particular pair of G3S2s had been broken in previously. As a result, after several hours of music playing through them, their sound started opening up quite nicely, with music impressively flowing from them. After two days of continuous music playing, I can easily say that these 92-pound dynamos were clearly punching above their weight and certainly beyond the level that I had expected. In fact – if the G3S2s were considered in the so-called welterweight division, I might suggest they move up to the next class.
Similar to the design of the K90s, the G3s2s also incorporate side-firing woofers. As such, consideration is needed regarding placement and proximity to the side walls. For the G3S2s, I started with the placement close to where the K90s had been positioned. At first, listen – the bass was slightly diffused and not as tight or articulate as hoped. Fortunately, this issue was addressed very effectively by moving the speakers slightly and adjusting for both toe-in and further away from the side walls.
Additionally, the speakers were placed approximately 9 feet apart from center to center, with my preferred listening position remaining 12 feet away. With some additional tweaking, the G3S2s started producing a wonderfully open sound field, including superb imaging and an ever-illusive disappearing act. With this being my second experience with Vivid Audio speakers over the past six months, I’ve realized that this particular sonic characteristic is part of the magic this company provides. And there’s even more.
Physical Design, Appearance, and Aesthetics
Regarding the configuration and drive units for the Giya 3 Series 2, the specifications are listed as a 4-way, 5-driver speaker design. The specific drivers are aluminum alloy drivers, including a 1” dome tweeter, 2” dome midrange, 5” lower cone midrange, and two 5.3” cone lower bass drivers. Also, the top three drivers feature tapered tube loading, and the bass loading features an internal exponentially tapered tube-enhanced bass reflex design. The overall dimensions of the speakers are 45.7” H, 13.5” W, and 22.8” D. The lower portion of the speaker has a slightly bulging figure with non-parallel sides housing the two woofers. Also, as you go up from the lower section, the speaker narrows progressively to house the lower midrange and the upper midrange and tweeter drivers. Speakers weigh 92 pounds each. The cabinet material is a glass-reinforced sonic-cored sandwich composite with colors including Piano Black, Pearl, and Oyster Matte, and optional premium colors for an additional $2,500. Sensitivity is rated at 86 dB with a nominal impedance of 6 Ohm, while the frequency range is 36HZ – 36KHZ (-6dB). Recommended power is 25W to 500W.
Getting to the Sound – Musical Appreciation vs. Hi-Fi
Despite the Giya series having a different physical design than the Kaya series, the G3S2 model shares some of its sibling’s technological innovations. And without much surprise, after a sufficient time for reconditioning through continuous music flowing through the G3S2s, it quickly became apparent that many of the virtues and praise I had for the K90s were evident to an even greater extent. Perhaps the primary difference had more to do with the overall presentation of the soundstage, with the K90’s seemingly ever slightly more upfront with a significant degree of presence, not brightness, and the G3S2’s being ever so slightly laid back and engaging with the same level of presence. Both loudspeakers exhibit a noticeable open and wide soundstage, with the K3S2s extending even further.
Here’s the interesting and perhaps tricky part of the description for these two wonderful loudspeakers: both models provide superb levels of presence that allow music to have a tangible, organic, tactile feel. And at no time is the music forward as in your face. Also, nothing seemed distant, perhaps just ever so slightly, with improved depth of field for the more expensive model. Specifically, the G3S2’s soundstage opens up slightly more, with an even greater sense of the music emerging effortlessly. In fact, with the G3S2s in my reference system, the walls of my listening room don’t seem to be there and do not create a sense of being a barrier to either the left or right extension of the soundstage. Instead – music emerges beautifully from a dark, deep, transparent soundstage with the artists authentically placed within the stage. Beyond this – the layering of the sound stage is very convincing and accurate.
Among the numerous recordings used for critical listening and evaluation of the G3S2 speakers, I returned to one of my favorite and outstanding recordings by Herbie Hancock titled “Tribute to Miles” (Tidal). On the selection titled Elegy, the G3S2s handled the rendering of complex dynamics along with the precise tonality of the various instruments in a genuinely excellent manner. Additionally, the music projected from the soundstage into the listening room with authority, dynamics, punch, and composure, allowing each artist to be revealed within the mix. Additionally, there was a jump factor and excitement to the music that was appealing. Another of my favorite artists and superb jazz vocalist, Kurt Elling, on his excellent recording entitled Night Moods (Tidal)– here Kurt provides an intimate and superbly elegant singing style that reveals his signature catchy phrasing, nuance, and subtleties. Check out The Awakening selection for a truly engaging and moving listening experience, as Elling’s marvelous voice is cleverly intertwined with the exotic-sounding acoustic bass. Simply delicious. Also evidenced throughout this recording is Elling’s rich, harmonic tonality that flows easily through the K3S2 most naturally and realistically. In fact – there was much of what I call the “Wow” factor while listening to this recording, along with the impression of Elling being right there in the room.
Other stunning performances were provided by the gorgeous, creamy, smooth, enchanting, and warmly expressive voice of Jon Lucien singing his classic version of Lady Love (Tidal). On this recording, the Henry Mancini orchestra provides a superb musical background that further renders this performance outstanding. In particular, with vocals – the G3S2 delivers pure textures that provide an awe-inspiring and convincing portrayal of the artist with that magically “you are there” type of listening experience, much like having your own intimate, private concert. Beyond these musical characteristics – the G3S2 quickly revealed the ambient recording spaces of the various recordings. The sound was clear and with an impressive open soundstage, including performers illuminated very realistically.
Specifically, the G3S2s are spot on in tonality, with outstanding inner detail and resolution. Imaging is very realistic, with excellent width, depth, and height. As I did with the K90s, listening to the interplay between artists Marc Johnson (acoustic bass) and Eliane Elias (piano and vocals) on their beautiful recording titled Swept Away (Tidal, MQA) – the midrange is organic, authentically textured, clear with layering and superb depth. Switching to something more upbeat and full of dynamic life – check out Joey Alexander’s selection titled Blue on his album Continuance. The beautiful interplay between trumpet, piano and bass is on full display with the G3S2’s very authentically expressing every measure of musicality this recording provides. Beyond these recordings, I also listened to various recorded music, including instrumental, vocal, small, medium, and large-scale performances. In each instance – these wonderful loudspeakers brought home the goods and did not seem to leave anything behind. I could go on and on regarding the superiority of how the G3S2s sounded in my room, and hopefully, you get my drift.
Sonic Attributes – Frequency Spectrum Revealed
Thus far, I have focused more on the overall musical presentation of these speakers, and for a very good reason. Simply put, they can provide a very high degree of realism when revealing recorded music. This has resulted in a very high degree of enjoyment and satisfaction. Interestingly, this has been the same general reaction of numerous friends, including those who are strictly music lovers and some who are more on the audiophile spectrum. All have been impressed and in a very positive way. Are the G3S2s perfect? Likely not; I could easily live with them on an extended basis without hesitation.
One issue I found with the G3S2s that needed attention had more to do with how they energized the room. This had more to do with the mid-to-upper bass energy being rendered more than previous loudspeakers in my system. As impressive (and even exciting) as this might seem initially, it also becomes noticeable that it’s a bit much compared to real life. To address this issue and considering that I had placed the G3S2s almost exactly where I had the K90s, placement became my starting point for a hopeful fix. Ultimately, shifting the toe-in slightly and moving the speakers a smidgen further away from the sideways seemed to help tame the slight excess energy. It brought the tonal balance of the full bass into proper perspective. Additionally, the manufacturer provides two sets of spikes (i.e., six per speaker). One set is made of a rigid plastic material, and the other is metal. In experimenting, I found the metal spikes to be preferred and further enhanced the coupling to my carpeted floor (over concrete). My final adjustment included using the Townsend Seismic Platforms under the G3S2s. The use of these very effectively addressed isolation issues provided a noticeable improvement in bass control and further enhanced clarity through the midrange. With these adjustments, here are some of the specific sonic attributes that I found most compelling with the G3S2’s:
· Bass/mid-bass is full, organic, dynamic, taunt, controlled, and with no overhang. Additionally, the bass is nicely articulate and detailed;
· Midrange is open, transparent, textured, and very dimensional;
· Higher frequencies are extended, smooth, superbly open, airy, and with excellent articulation;
· Transients are quick and very natural, with the trailing edges superbly revealing a very natural decay and ambiance;
· Coherency between drivers is seamless from top to bottom – providing a level of enhanced clarity at all frequency bands;
· Soundstage is revealed in a wide open and convincingly wholistic manner;
· Speakers provide a relatively easy load and the ability for music to emerge realistically in a full-range manner and at sound levels ranging from low to high while achieving excellent results at all times;
· Reproduced music at its finest.
Final Thoughts – Conclusion
Before the arrival of the Vivid Audio Giya 3 Series 2 speakers, I had enthusiastically gushed over the performance of this same manufacturer’s less expensive model, Kaya 90 speakers. While I remain as impressed as ever with those particular speakers and stick with everything I stated in my review – I must admit that my recent experience with the G3S2 has easily elevated my listening enjoyment beyond what I expected. What I find so compelling about these wonderful-sounding loudspeakers is the way they communicate music so that I quickly forget everything while listening except the performance.
For me, it’s all about the realism of how music sounds and how your audio system can take you to musical nirvana. With the Giya 3 Series 2 speakers in place, I have found that place as often as I chose to listen to my system: quite an accomplishment, and congratulations to the folks at Vivid Audio for producing such an outstanding loudspeaker.
Price: $43,000 for standard finishes, including Lexus Pearl White, Oyster Matte, and Piano Black.
Also, $46,000 for optional finishes in any PPG automotive color is available upon request.
Name: Vivid Audio
Co-Founders: Philip Guttentag / Laurence Dickey (Designer)
Address: Kaap Hoomdreef 60, 3563 AW Utrecht, The Netherlands
Tel: +31 6 267 767
Web Site: www.vividaudio.com
US DISTRIBUTOR / IMPORTER:
Company: GTT Audio & Video — Bill Parish / Dick Diamond
Location: Long Valley, NJ 07853
Tel Number: 908-850-3092
Bill’s Associated Equipment
Amplification & Digital Playback System
· Bel Canto Design – Black System: ASC2 Asynchronous Stream Controller (line stage/rendered) and MPS1 Power Stream units (monoblock amplifiers w/internal DACs)
· Tidal and Qobuz – Hi Rez streaming services
· BCD Dynamic/Horn hybrid
· Kharma Elegance DB7S
· Vivid Audio Kaya 90
· AT&T Fiber optic interconnection link
· Cardas Clear Beyond XL – power cords, speaker cables, plus Nautilus AC power strip
· Essential Sound Products (ESP) – Renaissance power cords and power distributor
· Fidelium – ribbon speaker cables
· Synergistic Research Atmosphere Euphoria SX speaker cables
· Furtech NCF Nano AC receptacles
· Matrx Systems equipment rack
· Shakti Hallographs
· Synergistic Research – FEQ Frequency Equalizer, Black Box, HFTs, and cable lifters
· Townsend Audio Seismic Podiums (speakers) and Isolation Pods (electronics)
· Ultra Resolution Technologies – isolation base
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