Markaudio-Sota Viotti One Stand-Mounted
Who is Markaudio-Sota you ask. Well, they are not a UK-style cottage industry type of business, they are a specialist startup with big ambitions. What is really important to appreciate is that Markaudio-Sota design and build their own drivers so their speakers are highly individual. For instance, Mark Fenlon creates his innovative designs from the ground up whereas most other small to medium sized speaker manufacturers select drive units from the open market and build them into a box. Markaudio-Sota are 100% an audio company with their own design principles to uphold. "My view of these principles are that they cover gentle crossover slopes, wideband driver technology, wide dispersion, lightweight moving parts, ease of drive, high quality cabinetry," says Enjoy the Music.com's Clive Meakins "Note I say wideband drivers rather than full-range; full-range drivers tend to have compromises making them unsuitable for the more general market, wideband drivers are a far more fruitful approach. Wide dispersion is another characteristic; the in-room listening position is not critical and therefore several people can hear a top quality performance at one time."
Markaudio-Sota's Viotti One is in effect a largish bookshelf speaker with dedicated stands. The stands are in piano black gloss again there is hard wearing lacquer the stands are two piece affairs which the Viotti One drop onto and are then bolted in place. The base of the stands have four coned metal feet which can optionally sit on the supplied metal cups with rubber undersides, this is majorly useful for wooden floors. The coned feet include knurled washers so the cones can be made tight. The cones are not vicious spikes; they are blunter and safer than carpet piercing spikes. They are thoughtfully not made from ferrous metal so they won't rust and stain your carpet.
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers / Moanin' The "Drum Thunder Suite" was portrayed with fast and tight drums / tom tom notes which then led well into impressive trumpet and sax. The sound was very live, up tempo and realistic. On Come Rain or Come Shine' piano was reproduced very well, it's always a tough test and one that my live sounding room doesn't help. The double bass provided a good bass underpin demonstrating that the 40Hz lower frequency specification of the Viotti One doesn't hold it back, it some ways it probably helps as problematic rooms typically sound better without the deepest bass and many rooms are problematic with deep bass.
Jennifer Warnes / Famous Blue Raincoat "Bird On A Wire" is a track with strong impactful bass, tinkly subtle treble and palpable vocals which are imitate yet powerful. Again the Viotti One did not disappoint. Sure the occasional bass note didn't have the level of impact my 18" basses driven by 400 Watts can deliver but the Viotti One did an impressive job.
"Another point I'd like to make," says Clive Meakins, "is that the Viotti One give credence to the idea that you don't need to spend huge amounts on the rest of your system. The Viotti One are not budget speakers but they are not high-end priced either. Source components and amplification need to be good but do not need to be at the same price level. The Temple Audio Bantam One retails at around a third the price of the Viotti One. Yes it can be argued the Bantam One is bargain and that's true but it's not as simple as that. What we have here is the benefit of an easy to drive speaker which doesn't need an amplifier suitable to run an arc welder. This to my mind is sensible design. Getting the design of the loudspeaker drivers right results in an amplifier friendly crossover being suitable. Am not quite sure how we as an industry got into the vicious circle of hard-to-drive speakers needing ever more powerful amplifiers. Oh I've said enough, I'd better get off my hobby horse. You can tell that the Markaudio-Sota Viotti One deliver to many of my hi-fi principles. If you share my principles then strongly consider the Viotti One."
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