As you may know from reading my bio I am one of the early adopter to Vapor Audio's speakers with my own personal pair of Cirrus. Fortunately I also live in St. Louis and can get out to Ryan's shop in about an hour so I now can easily access his speakers. Thus asked to review the new Vapor Audio Derecho floorstanding loudspeaker and soon they arrived within my listening room. It seems at every turn Vapor audio is met with high praise and a share of drama to be sure. All the while Vapor has been continuing to develop and release world-class speakers across almost every price point. At AXPONA 2014, Vapor audio somewhat quietly released the new Derecho the entry level ($9495 as tested) for their floor standing line of speakers, with its' big brothers the Nimbus and Joule. It is clear that for their line of floor standing speaker, Vapor is trying to substantiate their use of the larger form factor to deliver higher quality bass while delivering higher efficiency rather than delivering a floor standing speaker that still sacrifices a corner of the efficiency, extension, and size. What I call the holy trinity. As typical of Vapor's line up this speaker feature the RAAL ribbon tweeter on top and an assortment of drivers below.
The cabinet is a beautiful, incredibly rigid
stacked ply affair similar to the Cirrus although much more impressive in scale.
Form follows function at Vapor Audio, every curve and angle has it's reason for
being. The large outward flare in front is what Ryan at Vapor calls a roundover,
and acts to eliminate edge diffraction. Interior walls in addition to be very
rigid, are damped with their "Inversion Layer" material. And the front to back
taper combined with the intricate internal shape reduces interior reflections
from escaping the cabinet through the speaker cones themselves. I had a fair
amount of time with the Derecho and put them through their paces and really got
to know the speaker.
The tweeter is as usual the fantastic RAAL 70-20XR ribbon; this is one of my favorite tweeters when implemented correctly from my Cirrus to the Kaiser Kawero. From my experience the RAAL has more resolution and leading/trailing edge detail while remaining just as musical as anything I have ever heard. The mid-range is handled by a high efficiency 6.5" carbon/paper cone from Dayton Audio. The midrange features a cutting edge motor with heavy copper shorting rings that reduce distortion; these copper rings are even visible through the dustcap. Although very capable and quite engaging, the midrange doesn't deliver quite the same level of nuance and refinement that the AudioTechnology drivers of the Cirrus Black and Joule Black. Ryan Scott, the owner of Vapor Audio, had already discussed designing a solution with Audio Technology midrange to replace the Dayton, should the customer want. As with everything Vapor makes, almost any part of the design is customizable.
Bass in the Derecho is handled by a pair of high
efficiency 8" paper cones from B&C, these are some of the most fun and full
bass drivers I have heard with a very dynamic and tactile sound. They scale with
the music quickly and effortlessly, seemingly begging to be pushed harder. The
bass drivers deliver a very pro sound type feel which really adds to live or
lively recordings, instruments are effortlessly handled delivering a very
articulate and spacious in room sound. Top to bottom the Derecho is a very
coherent design both technically and cosmetically. Moving and configuring the
Derecho within a listening room is a consideration. At around 125 lbs it is a
job that can be handled by two able bodied adults (for a case of beer.) They are
fairly easy to place in a room almost regardless of size as long as you can get
at least 15" off the front wall and sufficient cubic footage so as not to
overload the room with bass.
Finch's Murder By Death album is an amazing instrumental soundtrack to the book with the same title, by Jeff VanderMeer. Although I have not read the book, based on this album I would imagine it is awesome. Without the usual Johnny Cash-esque vocals of Adam Turla this album focuses on the musical chops and production skills of the band. The recording quality is good; I was lucky enough to have this album on vinyl and digital and listened to both extensively. With this speaker, the digital trumps the analog; the Derecho adds a certain analog-ness to recordings and is great at delivering the strong bass on the digital recording. The Derecho delivers its fun bass in droves on this recording. With the analog recording that was already analog, the sound was somewhat flat to be fair my analog rig is always a bit flat sounding compared to my much higher quality digital front end.