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Details about  Rockport Technologies Ankaa NEW LOWERED PRICE

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Rockport Technologies Ankaa NEW LOWERED PRICE
Rockport-Technologies-Ankaa-NEW-LOWERED-PRICE
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Item condition:
New other (see details)
Ended:
28 Jul, 2014 19:39:44 BST
Price:
£16,499.00
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£450.00 Standard Delivery from outside UK | See details
Item location:
Greece, Greece

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eBay item number:
181451426168
Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing.
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Item specifics

Condition:
New other (see details): A new, unused item with absolutely no signs of wear. The item may be missing its original packaging, ... Read moreabout the condition
 

    This is our Demo pair of this outstanding pair of Rockport Technologies Ankaa speakers.The speakers are in excellent like new condition,fully boxed in their original crates and they only for approx      40 hours on them.

    Their retail price when new is 30,000GBP

    If you are looking for an even lowered price please contact us for purchase directly via bank wire.We will give you the lowest price possible as no fees applied...

    Rockport Technologies Ankaa Loudspeakers
     POSTAGE WILL BE DISCUSSED IN MORE DETAIL WITH THE BUYER DEPENDING ON THE COUNTRY...



    ULTRA AUDIO SELECT COMPONENT 



I remember the first time I really became aware of Rockport Technologies. I was sitting in the chilly courtyard of a hotel in Toronto, Canada, just before sunrise. I’d awakened early that day because of a voicemail I’d received the evening before, from Ultra Audio’s Jeff Fritz. The message had been brief and not very revealing, but I could tell by the tone of Jeff’s voice that he was excited about something. So I got up half an hour earlier than I needed to to prepare for my tour of the Paradigm factory, and made my way through the hotel lobby and into the dark courtyard to call him. Jeff told me that he’d just had a conversation with Rockport Technologies’ founder and owner, Andy Payor, that had greatly increased his interest in Payor’s loudspeakers. Several months later, Jeff visited the Rockport facility in the eponymous town in Maine, to listen to their creations. He left impressed.

A few months later, Jeff took delivery of a pair of Rockport’s Mira speakers ($15,000 USD per pair). I helped him lug each 140-pound Mira up into his second-floor Music Vault, then watched as he hooked them up to his power amplifier. From that moment, my idea of what a full-range loudspeaker should be was forever changed.

In the Music Vault, I have become intimately familiar with the sounds of many of the world’s best and most expensive loudspeakers, from the YG Acoustics Kipod to the Ascendo System M-S to three speakers from Wilson Audio Specialties: the original X-2 and Sophia, and the WATT/Puppy 8. But the Rockport Miras’ low-bass output was better than any other speaker I had ever heard there, providing levels of articulation, detail, and depth that were revelatory. In fact, the Miras’ combination of these qualities threw Jeff and me for enough of a loop that we didn’t quite believe what we were hearing -- until we took a few measurements. The results indicated a very smooth, extended frequency response that went down to below 30Hz. (Rockport’s published spec is 35Hz.) A short time later, I purchased a pair of Miras for my own listening room, where they reside to this day.

One of Rockport’s newest models, the Ankaa ($27,500/pair), was introduced at the T.H.E. Show in Las Vegas in January 2008. When Jeff asked me if I wanted to review the Ankaa for Ultra Audio, I couldn’t wait.

Ankaas arriving

In late January, Jeff and I traveled to Maine to pick up my review speakers. Andy Payor took us into his workshop, where he was building a pair of Ankaas. Sitting in the middle of the floor was a single Ankaa, its crossover exposed; trailing from the rear panel was the internal wiring by Transparent Audio that’s used in all Rockport speakers. Payor used the MLSSA measurement software to show us how he acoustically measures an Ankaa, so that he can then adjust the crossover to properly integrate the outputs of the three drivers, to optimize both the overall frequency response and integrate the drive-units’ phases. While I would love to show you a photo of this, Payor insisted that we take no pictures of the crossover; our cameras remained in our bags.

However, what we saw drove home just how much of an art and a science designing a speaker is. Looking at Payor’s graph of the midrange and tweeter, we were able to see that their combined frequency response was +/-1dB from 20kHz down to just below 200Hz, and that the response was just as smooth at the crossover point as in the rest of the range. To further prove how exceptional was the phase alignment at the crossover frequency, Payor removed the leads from the midrange portion of the crossover, wired the midrange driver 180 degrees out of phase to the tweeter, and conducted the test again. The result was an astonishing dip of 42dB at the crossover point, which indicates essentially perfect summing when the drivers are wired correctly. Such coherence of phase and flatness of frequency response are hallmarks of Payor’s designs.

After that informative day at Rockport Technologies, Jeff and I faced the long drive home in an 18’ truck loaded with speaker crates. But only when we’d returned to North Carolina did the real test of our dedication to audio commence: getting the crates out of the truck. Luckily for me, only two of the eight crates were mine. We used Jeff’s refrigerator dolly to maneuver the massive Ankaa crates off the truck and into my kitchen. Each speaker weighs 200 pounds, and the shipping weight must top 300. Each Ankaa is expertly packed in its crate, and fairly easy to free. Three polyethylene foam molds -- one each for the top and bottom, and one that slips down over the top down to the middle of the speaker -- keep the Ankaa safe during travel. Once the speakers were out of their crates, we stood them upright and removed the top and middle blocks of foam. We then discarded various pieces of plastic and protective wrap, and finally lifted the speaker out of its base block.

The Ankaa’s standard finish of piano-black paint is exquisite and incredibly attractive. The surfaces of the review samples were void of any the slight indentions or flaws so easy to see in glossy black finishes. Seeing the reflections of my carpet and cables in the Ankaas’ surfaces made me think I was gazing into a mirror rather than at a loudspeaker. Andy Payor may insist that "There’s no such thing as a perfect speaker cabinet," but visually, these came mighty close.

The Ankaa is 60 pounds heavier than the Mira and somewhat larger, at 45.83"H x 15.31"W x 27.56"D; the increases of 5" in width and 7" in depth create a larger internal volume, and Andy Payor claims the Ankaa can thus go 5Hz lower, to 30Hz. Like the Mira, the Ankaa is a three-way floorstander, and the two speakers’ corresponding drivers are the same size. On the Ankaa’s front baffle is Scan-Speak’s newest ring-radiator tweeter, the 1" Revelator D30; below it is a custom-built Audiotechnology 5.25" midrange driver, whose proprietary cone is made of a sandwich of carbon fiber and Rohacell foam. Andy Payor designed the cone profiles and developed the tooling to create these cones because he felt he could improve on the polypropylene cones used by Audiotechnology with their widely respected motor systems. He chose the cone material for its lightness and stiffness. The only driver actually shared by the two speaker models is the 10" paper-cone woofer, which provides bass extension down to 35Hz. At that point, the Ankaa’s 4" rear port allows it to play down to its rated lower limit of 30Hz, -3dB. Unlike the Mira’s plastic port, the Ankaa’s is made from machined aluminum. I’m not sure this makes an audible difference, but it does make the Ankaa a little easier on the eyes. Also on the rear panel is a single pair of binding posts. During my listening, I didn’t use the detachable plastic-foam grille that covers the upper two drivers; the grille covering the 10" woofer is fixed.

Like the Mira’s cabinet, the Ankaa’s is built of MDF, though the material is not used in a standard way. Payor’s approach to constrained-layer damping includes bonding together panels of MDF with a layer of viscoelastic material to make extremely stiff cabinet walls (due to the increase in section thickness) that are also well damped. The viscoelastic pulls double duty, acting as adhesive and damping material. The Ankaa’s massive front baffle is no less than 4" thick; the rest of the cabinet walls are up to 2.5" thick. The cabinet is also designed to prevent edge diffraction anomalies (as the speaker’s radiation transitions from 2pi to 4pi space with descending frequency) and Payor told me that the real key to minimizing diffraction anomalies is the Ankaa’s gracefully changing baffle contour, which is devoid of sharp edges or hard corners. The midrange and tweeter are solidly mounted to the front baffle, and the baffle surface is covered with a flush-mounted fabric insert that reduces reflections from the baffle itself. In the last few years I’ve performed the knuckle-rap test on the cabinet of every speaker that has visited my and Jeff’s homes, and of every speaker I’ve heard at audio dealers; the Ankaa’s cabinet was about as dead as any I’ve heard -- save for Rockport’s own larger and more costly Altair and Arrakis models.

The footprint of the Ankaa’s base is a bit larger than that of its actual cabinet. The four threaded feet are inserted through the bottom surface of the base, then screwed upward until their tops rise just above the base’s top surface; the speaker itself sits on the feet. The base also houses the speaker’s fully potted crossover.



Ankaas away

At first, Jeff and I placed the Ankaas in the positions the Miras had occupied. Then, during the first 30 minutes of listening, we decided to move the Ankaas closer to the listening position, to free them from being too deep in a corner. The result was a very smooth frequency response that also provided greater soundstage depth than I’d ever been able to get with the Miras.

However, the first difference to grab my ear was how much deeper the bass was. I’d been a bit skeptical that the same 10" woofer as is used in the Mira would be able to play noticeably deeper in the Ankaa, but it did. The Ankaa’s larger cabinet meant that the speaker was able to produce significant output down to almost 20Hz in my room, and the amazingly good coherence between the midrange and woofer outputs benefited the detail and articulation of the bottom end. For instance, when I played "The Battle," from Hans Zimmer’s score for Gladiator (CD, Decca 289 467 094-2), I was able to hear much more detail in the lower registers than I could with the Miras, or with any other speaker I’ve had in my house. While the Miras are able to play low and reproduce much of what’s in this track, the Ankaas outclassed them in bass depth and articulation. Just after the one-minute mark are a few heavy drum strokes, followed by a drum roll. Through the Miras, the roll is present but not quite as detailed as heard through the Ankaas. The Ankaa was able to better retrieve the individual drum strokes that make up the roll. This wasn’t a night-and-day difference; if I weren’t so familiar with this passage, I might not have noticed it at all. In the past I’ve used "The Battle" to display the Miras’ dynamic range -- their ability to play as low as needed and with more than enough power. But the Ankaas played even lower in frequency, with even greater power, all while remaining nimble enough to reproduce the small details that we audiophiles spend thousands of dollars trying to reproduce. From low-level passages to extremely high-level passages, the Ankaas let the music expand and contract in a wholly natural way.

A great rock track that someone recently turned me on to is Melvin Taylor’s "Dirty Pool," from his album of the same title (CD, Evidence 26088). Taylor is a guitar virtuoso ΰ la Stevie Ray Vaughn, and "Dirty Pool" begins with Taylor’s guitar ripping its way through the intro in a fantastic solo. Clean and quick, each note was reproduced perfectly by the Ankaas, while its decay trailed away with attitude. The solo is accompanied by a drum beat that was also ultra-transparent. The snap of the drum was quick and sharp, with no overhang, while the shimmer of the cymbal was also very natural and crisp. Taylor’s vocal is a little raspy and isn’t a dominating presence in this track, but through the Ankaas it was properly scaled within the soundstage.

To test the Ankaa’s upper midrange, I popped in the Wailin’ Jennys’ version of Neil Young’s "Old Man," from their album 40 Days (CD, Jericho Beach 0403). The track begins with an acoustic guitar that, through a very transparent speaker, should seem to be in the room with you, and the Ankaas didn’t disappoint. However, the focal points of "Old Man" are the voices of the three ladies who comprise this band. Reproduced correctly, each voice occupies its own space between the speakers: right of center, center, and left of center. But when they join in harmony, it’s almost as if the sharp outline delineating each voice disappears a bit because of how well they blend -- as if the three voices then form two additional images just to the left and right of dead center, the new images comprising the frequencies that overlap. Faithfully reproduced by a pair of speakers with neutral tonal balance and exceptional transparency, this stunning track can be breathtaking.

The Ankaas were just such speakers. Throughout the review period, I consistently noticed how much more energy their Scan-Speak D30 tweeters and carbon-fiber/composite midranges propelled into the room than do the Miras -- the reference volume setting on my Simaudio preamp was now typically lower. Both speakers are rated at 88dB sensitivity, but the Ankaa seemed more efficient, and provided levels of pop and presence the Miras aren’t capable of.

Scale of spaciousness is an important quality for a loudspeaker to reproduce, and only a full-range loudspeaker can do it convincingly. Before the Ankaas’ arrival, I’d attended a friend’s wedding. After sitting a while in the sanctuary before the ceremony, listening to the organist play, I turned to my girlfriend and asked her to remember the sound of the pipe organ in this large church: the natural decay of the acoustic, and how the low notes made her body feel as their vibrations filled the cavernous space. A month later, when the Ankaas had been in my room for a few weeks, I asked her to join me for a listen, and to remember the sound of that pipe organ in that church. Then I played organist Ales Bartα’s recording of the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor attributed to J.S. Bach, from Bartα’s Organ Surround Illusion (SACD, Exton OVGY-00001).

Most audiophiles’ loved ones don’t really get the whole audiophile thing. But now, as the weight of the organ-pedal notes grabbed hold of our bodies, with no sign of give from the Ankaas, my girlfriend turned to me, smiling in disbelief. The upper frequencies scaled with great ease, but at the same time with great power, even as the 10" woofers never loosened their death grip on the room. The ability of the Ankaas to reproduce all of these sounds at once, at realistic listening levels, without sacrificing detail or low-end impact, was a true indication of the quality of Andy Payor’s design. Many speakers, in my experience, would reveal their shortcomings in trying to reproduce such a recording. Even the natural decay of the sound in this recording’s church acoustic seemed to last a touch longer through the Ankaas than through the Miras. While no speaker can perfectly reproduce a live performance, a great speaker can come very close. The Ankaa is a great speaker.

Other considerations

Most of my listening notes describe the differences I heard between the Ankaa and my reference loudspeaker, the Mira. But I’ve also spent countless hours in Jeff Fritz’s Music Vault, listening to the great speakers mentioned above. In Jeff’s review of the Mira, he compared the $15,000/pair speaker to the likes of the YG Acoustics Kipod ($38,000/pair) and the Wilson Audio WATT/Puppy 8 ($27,900/pair at time of review), and said that, in many ways, the Mira more than held its own.

Both of those speakers are also competitors for the Ankaa. The YGA Kipods were and remain the best-imaging speakers I’ve ever heard. A recording of an acoustic guitar through them instantly grabbed me -- I had the overwhelming feeling that the guitar was actually present in the room. The Kipod is also a very neutral speaker, but doesn’t have anywhere near the Ankaa’s output capability, especially in the bass. Rockport speakers are usually considered to be slightly on the warm side of neutral, though sometimes such descriptions are made by people who haven’t heard a genuinely full-range speaker before and therefore lack the proper reference. The Ankaa combined an extended and articulate bottom end with a very smooth and extended top end. Its highs were easier on the ears than the YGA’s, but there’s no doubt that the Kipod’s highs are very accurate and precise, if at the risk of being characterized as borderline dry. The YGA Kipod is an exceptionally well engineered speaker created by one of the best speaker designers today, Yoav Geva, and is well worth consideration.

The Wilson Audio WATT/Puppy 8 is another top performer in the same price range that I’ve heard many times. Wilson speakers have always been able to play loud and clean, a quality their customers have come to love: They can sound very dynamic and downright fun. Another characteristic of the Wilson sound are slight frequency-response bumps in the midbass and midrange. Many Wilson owners claim that these bumps allow Wilson speakers to create the illusion of live music from a recording. The Rockport Ankaa could play as loud and as clean as a W/P8, but that it did so in a more linear, neutral fashion was evident in the more natural tonal balance I heard. A bump at 50Hz might create the illusion of deep bass, but if the response falls off below that frequency, you’re not getting true deep bass. In my room, the Ankaas had significant output at 20Hz, which allowed them to more accurately reproduce music in a way that many other speakers in the same price range can’t. Although the Wilson WATT/Puppy 8 is more energetic in the midbass, in my experience it can’t descend as far into the low bass as the Rockport Ankaa.

Conclusion

On first meeting, Andy Payor comes across as a quiet, modest guy -- until he starts talking about loudspeakers. Then he’s truly in his element. Payor’s knowledge of loudspeaker design, from driver components to cabinet, seems almost encyclopedic. Talking with him, I became very aware that my own knowledge of speaker design was little more than basic, and so treated his every word as a learning experience.

Loudspeakers aren’t the only area of Payor’s competence. He also builds the Sirius turntable, which is easily one of the most impressive audio components I’ve ever seen -- the level of detail he put into the design of this engineering marvel is mind-boggling. But the more I’ve talked with Payor, the clearer it’s become that he applies to everything -- whether redesigning the roof of his new house because it wasn’t built "right," or making the walls of his listening room 20" thick to handle the low frequencies created by his flagship speaker, the Arrakis -- the same level of intensity and striving for excellence that he brings to the design and manufacture of loudspeakers and turntables. Knowing that Payor obsesses over details large and small makes for a happy customer, and he’s continued that tradition in the Rockport Technologies Ankaa. It’s easily the best speaker I’ve had in my home, and one of the best I’ve heard anywhere -- and it’s the best I’ve heard for anywhere near its price.

  

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