Roy Gregory Reviews Vienna Liszt

Wed, 20 Jul 2016

As I’ve already suggested, the core strength of the Liszt lies in its ability to present the tonal and harmonic structure of instruments and voices, their body, shape and presence. It throws an impressively dimensioned and coherent acoustic space and peoples it with convincing, three-dimensional images.
But as impressive as these Vienna Acoustics speakers are on large-scale classical recordings, their quality really starts to shine on smaller, more intimate material, where their portrayal of individual instruments is almost ghostly at times. Just listen to the track "St. Thomas" from Sonny Rollins' Saxophone Colossus LP [Prestige OJC20 291-2] and you’ll hear it in the attack and hollow tone, the different volume and timbre of each of Max Roach’s drums. You’ll hear it in the unmistakable nature of Rollins’ sax, the column of vibrating air and bell-mouth that produce the sound. And you’ll hear it in the effortless separation of the four instruments on this mono recording. There’s a real sense of instrumental presence and substance, harmonic development and tonal breadth to the sound, with no glaze, glare or edge to distract from the work and identity of the instruments. But it’s on tracks like this that you get to dial in the Liszt’s performance. That natural tonality and harmonic development are pretty much a given with this speaker. The dynamics, transparency, rhythmic articulation and immediacy all come from the setup. So if the speaker is sounding overly warm or muddled, you’ve got some work to do. Fortunately, their design and nature make things easy for you
Of course, there’s more than one way to skin the audio cat, and different folks will be looking for different strokes, but the Liszt’s rounded, well-balanced and impeccably mannered performance deserves to win it a lot of friends. Like Vienna Acoustics’ other speakers, this one’s a keeper, a speaker that aims to deliver long-term satisfaction and a lasting musical relationship rather than a quick and torrid affair. Unlike some of the more expensive models in the range, it’s not quite as shy about its qualities. The flagship Vienna designs don’t exactly trumpet their virtues, but the Liszt should leave listeners in absolutely no doubt, either about its qualities or their appeal. Let the games begin.
Roy Gregory, The Audio Beat, February 2016

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