COINCIDENT SPEAKER SUPER VICTORY LOUDSPEAKER
My long time audiophile cohort said it best when he stopped by one day, soon after Coincident’s new Super Victory loudspeakers had arrived. He wondered aloud what I thought of the new ribbon tweeters. Nodding towards the sweet spot, I motioned for him to have a seat. It wasn’t more than 30 seconds into the music that I could see “a look” come over my normally poker-faced friend. “Holy high-end, Batman, the sound just slaps you right in the face.” I couldn’t help but laugh as I had been similarly “slapped” just a few days earlier. And I mean that in the best possible way.
The sound that didn’t surprise me too much was the “thud” of the price dropping on my Coincident Super Eclipse speakers with silk dome tweeters. (I hate when that happens.) While I’m still not ready to put them out to pasture quite yet, I can understand why they have been discontinued. For only a few dollars more you can buy a speaker that is significantly better. There seems to be a bit of a gap now between the Partial Eclipse (silk dome tweeters) at $4500 and the Super Victory at $9500. I’d dig deep for the Super Victory if it were my listening room, which is exactly what I’m doing right now. If anyone is interested in a pair of lady-driven speakers only used on Sunday to play chamber music, you know where to find me.
The Super Victory was introduced in 2008 as a scaled-down version of Coincident’s $15,000 Total Victory IV. I was impressed that owner and designer Israel Blume did not scale down quality, only the overall size of the speaker and number of drivers. There is one fewer 7** proprietary composite (treated paper) midrange as well as one fewer 12** side-firing Nomex cone woofer in the Super Victory versus the TV IV. Otherwise drive units in this three-way, nearly 4* tall floorstander are identical, as are the Extreme internal wiring, crossover components, enclosure construction and materials, and outrigger extender feet with oversized spikes. This is not always the case with some companies, as oft times “scaled down” can mean cutting corners or using similar but inferior parts. Israel Blume doesn’t make “cheap” speakers, only varying sizes to accommodate room and budget limitations.
According to Blume, the newly developed, isodynamic planar ribbon tweeter with a radiating surface less than the volume of a cubic inch of air is three times as large as the ribbon previously used in the TV II. This ribbon is a purely resistive load at a flat 8 ohms. Very high sensitivity is partly due to the use of a highly powerful neodymium magnet structure that measures 3** x 6** and weighs in excess of two pounds. An ultra-rigid, solid aluminum faceplate ensures resonant-free reproduction and the elimination of diffraction affects. All well and good, but how do they sound? Stunning!
With a sensitivity of 92.5 dB and impedance of 10 ohms (never dipping below 8 ohms), the Super Victory has a minimum power requirement of just 3 watts and a maximum of 500. I’ll admit to raising my eyebrows a bit, especially with the minimum 3 watt power requirement. I was fresh out of flea-powered amps at the time, but I did have several Atma-Sphere OTL (output transformerless) tube amps on hand that seemed an interesting alternative, as OTLs flourish on sensitive speakers. Add to the mix an Atma-Sphere MP-3 preamp and a Meridian 808.2i (the best CD playback I’ve heard to date) and I’m getting goosebumps. I know we all have our preferences, but for me, this tube-based system would be on my desert island short list. Was the Super Victory up to the challenge? In spades!
Neither the 60W Atma-Sphere M60 nor 100W Novacron with 6C33-B output tubes had any difficulty driving the SV in a medium/large 14* x 20* room. It was dynamics gone wild from the finely detailed precision of the gorgeously extended high frequencies to the tight control and definition of the side-firing 12** woofer. The M60 was more neutral with deeper bass, while the Novacron fuller in the bottom octaves with a touch more warmth in the midrange. Both amps flaunted nearly unrestrained dynamics through the SV, but without the type of in-your-face impact that will set you back in your easy chair. Based on my experience the unfettered and unforced dynamic range of the OTL is one of its truly unique characteristics, and the Super Victory could not have done a better job of recreating the experience.
I did swap out the OTLs for a Balanced Audio Technology 50W VK-55 tube amp with excellent results as well. BAT gear has always been blessed with a gorgeous midrange that is only further enhanced by the inherent fullness of the 7** midrange driver of the SV. The VK-55 was gutsier and more robust on the bottom end (another BAT hallmark) but never to the point of overwhelming the room. The Super Victory always maintained tight bass control, making for a more room-friendly speaker. (A good attribute in my book.) There’s nothing worse than getting your new pair of speakers home from the store only to find out you have to stuff socks in the ports to keep every pane of glass in your house from rattling. This might impress your friends, but I’ve come to appreciate articulation on the bottom end rather than having to leash my woofers to keep them from getting loose.
I initially set up the SV in a smaller 12* x 12* room, but ultimately preferred them in the larger room. The small room is fully treated with Echo Busters and sounds quite good, but I didn’t feel like I could sit far enough back to comfortably listen. If you don’t mind nearfield listening, they might be perfect for that spare bedroom converted to a music room. In the larger room the Super Victory was happiest about 3* from the front wall and 6–7* apart, with the woofers facing out. And I was much happier sitting further back with room to stretch.
I was initially concerned that perhaps the new ribbon tweeters would be more directional than the silk domes I was accustomed to, thus shrinking the sweet spot and forcing me to modify my listening habits. Unless I’m listening late at night and happen to doze off, I’ve never been able to sit in the sweet spot like a statue for hours at a time without moving. I cringe sometimes when I see the uncomfortable chairs some audiophiles sit on, one even stacked with books on the seat to be at the precise height required for the system. The thought of sitting in a chair like that, unable to move my head for fear of losing the center image just wouldn’t work for me.
It is true when you stand directly in front of the Super Victory you hear almost no sound from the ribbon tweeter, but as soon as you step back, the soundstage absolutely sparkles with depth and spaciousness that can be enjoyed by everyone in the room.. The precision, speed, and intricacy of the high frequencies with no edge whatsoever is quite addictive. I can’t say for sure what the dispersion is, but it quickly became a non-issue. No need to sit on a wooden straightback chair, atop a stack of books, with head clamped in place to hear the center image.
I’ve always liked the slim profile of Coincident speakers, and don’t even mind the missing grilles. A very long time ago when I first met Israel Blume I asked why he didn’t use grilles on his speakers. He answered by asking me if I’d put old jalopy hubcaps on a fine sports car. Good point. So for the last 10 years when friends ask why I don’t have grilles on my speakers, I simply tell them I enjoy letting my lug nuts hang out. One nitpick might be the lack of color choices. The cabinets are nicely made but your only options are black, light cherry, or dark cherry. My hands down favorite would be the dark cherry. Then not only will your speakers sound like you paid twice as much, but they will look it as well.
I’ve owned several pairs of Coincident speakers in the past and can attest to the fact they perform well with solid-state. But if I could afford to upgrade to the Super Victory, you’d probably only see the reflection of tubes in my eyes. Not only is the SV on my desert island short list, it’s also on my things-to-buy short list. Do you think Israel Blume would notice if I switched speakers and returned the Super Eclipse instead?
Specs & Pricing
Driver complement: One Isodynamic planar ribbon tweeter; one 7** treated paper midrange; one 12** Nomex cone woofer
Impedance: 10 ohms (always between 8–16 ohms)
Power requirements: 3W–500W
Frequency response: 25Hz–35kHz
Dimensions: 47** x 9** x 17**
Weight: 125 lbs. each
COINCIDENT SPEAKER TECHNOLOGY
19 Strausse Road
Thornhill, Ontario, Canada L4J 8Z6
Meridian 808.2i CD player; Atma-Sphere MP-3.1 preamp, BAT 3ix preamp, BAT VK-55 amp, Atma-Sphere Novacron OTL amps, Atma-Sphere M60 OTL amps; Coincident Super Eclipse speakers; Harmonic Technology & Coincident Extreme speaker cable; Chang Lightspeed Encounter & CLS 705 powerline filter; Echo Busters & ACS room treatment
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