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Highly resolving, effortlessly dynamic, utterly transparent, and full in balance, the Altair is one of the world’s great loudspeakers…In addition to this sonic performance, the Altair’s build-and-finish quality is as good as it gets. This loudspeaker is clearly the creation of a fanatical dedication to perfection in every aspect of its design and execution.
You should audition the Altair at your own risk; once you hear its magical ability to conjure up musicians right in front of you, your standards will forever be altered. I know that mine have. Robert Harley – The Absolute Sound
…this one goes to eleven
Remember the first time you heard your first “high end” stereo as a kid? Remember how it made you feel? The sense that a whole new world had opened up to you. It gave you butterflies in your stomach and maybe even a goose bump or two. I bet you even remember the first song you heard- I know I do. Time is fleeting, but your memory is not and a lot of equipment has passed through your life as you look for that feeling to return.
So what does all of this have to do with Rockport Altair loudspeakers? Simple: for me, they are the product that brought those feelings back to life. I have heard a lot of speakers, but none have moved me like the Altair. I was so smitten, I hopped a plane to Rockport Technologies to learn more about the speaker and Andy Payor, its founder, designer and chief bottle washer. The reasonably sized Altair proved to be not only a fantastic sounding speaker, but one with impeccable build quality and backed by a world class organization.
Keep in mind that by saying the Altair is “reasonably sized” I am refering to the Altair as compared to other leading full range speakers and to aircraft carriers. The overall size of the speaker is very reasonable 52″x 32″ x 35″ but more importantly, it is one heavy beast weighing in at over 500 pounds…each. The weight is not a happenstance or byproduct, Andy is a firm believer in using mass to eliminate cabinet distortion.
I bet you’re wondering how one packs 500 pounds into a “reasonably sized” cabinet. The Altair enclosure is not made of traditional materials like MDF or aluminum but rather is a molded cabinet made of three unique epoxy based materials poured in layers. This process provides better rigidity, better energy cancellation and eliminates construction seams and related aesthetic issues. The thick front baffle is bonded to the molded enclosure effectively making the Altair cabinet one piece. This unified design eliminates a number of issues plaguing speaker builders and provides Rockport with an incredibly massive foundation from which they build their speaker system free of unwanted cabinet distortions and negative effects cabinets can cause.
Along with the unique enclosures, Rockport Technologies also designs and builds its own drivers. The cones are made of a Rohacell core and sandwiched with a carbon fiber skin making them extremely lightweight yet stiff. The light weight makes them very responsive and the stiffness greatly minimizes deformation and related distortions in the music. So how cool is that? A speaker driver that uses a featherweight cone and is incredibly accurate and fast. No wonder Rockport speakers sound like nothing else…they use materials like no one else.
Andy Payor knows that the heart of any speaker is the crossover network. The Altair utilizes custom built components for the crossover and Andy himself measures and builds each crossover for every speaker. Andy explained that no two drivers, components or even enclosures are are identical so it is mandatory that every speaker is individually measured and tested to ensure that it is perfect. Once finished, the crossover is potted and installed. The highly regarded Transparent Audio wire is used throughout each Altair to further guarantee the sound and build quality of each speaker.
Technical details are nice, but it was the sound that made me get on a jet and make a pilgrimage to Maine. What does the Altair sound like? Hmmmm, tough to answer, but perhaps this will help. Imagine yourself going to orchestra hall, sitting in a great seat, closing your eyes and allowing the music to wash over you. The sensation is both aural and physical. You do not critique the inner detail or tightness of the bass, this is music and it is moving you. That is the Altair speaker. Technically wonderful yet musically moving. Forget about the stereo and let the music surround you and take you to new places. Ella is on stage singing for you, Gilmour bends those strings just for you. It is music and nothing else.
Done and done. The Rockport Altair II is a speaker that will float your boat, no question about it. About the only doubt you will have on audition is how you are going to move a 500 pound speaker. One listen and you will agree with me. The pedigree, the engineering and execution and most of all, the musicality is undeniably one-of-a-kind. Rockport requires no explanation to your friends and you will never cease to feel all warm inside when they whisper “he’s got Rockports”. Makes me smile just thinking about it.
Contact us today to learn more about the Rockport Altair II and how you can makes these gems a part of your life. We are always happy to make dreams come true.