Coincident Technology Total Victory
The Inner Ear Report:Vol. 15,#2, 2003
Source: Coincident Technology
Price: $11,500.00 US
Rating: Four musical notes-The Best We Have Come Across
Israel Blume is the head designer for Coincident Technology Inc. and, coincidentally, of course, owns the company, which has been operating for over 11 years. It seems that every one of those years, a new model has been introduced. Over the years, Blume has produced a number of excellent loudspeakers, most reviewed in this magazine and some awarded top rating. The speakers under review follow the Victory models which we reviewed about one year ago in Vol. 14 #2. Apparently Blume wasn't completely satisfied with one Victory (the model of course), which, although successful in the market place, wasn't high-end enough to make it a Total Victory (the model of course). The aspiration to achieve sonic superiority seems to have impelled Blume, resulting in the model under review which may, indeed, bring Total Victory.
All of Blume's designs have what our Editor calls "a sonic blueprint" designed to attain high impedance and super sensitivity, and to work particularly well with modern vacuum tube amplifiers, especially single ended designs.
Now to the nitty gritty, first the TVs'
Like the Victory models, the TVs are tall and slim with an outstanding cabinet finish. A choice of veneers is available including red cherry, light cherry and black lacquer. Each cabinet stands 52 inches high, 9 inches wide and 22 inches deep (the Victories measured 42x9x14 inches, thus a bit smaller) and weighs a hefty 200 pounds. They are designed to accommodate single wiring, with solid gold plated, five-way binding posts and stand on large spikes to decouple from the floor. They are rather easy on the eyes and fit readily into any listening room décor.
First, we had a look at the enclosure's build attributes-an important element as it must house all drivers and provide a rigid environment.
In the Total Victory design, Coincident Technology has used five computer designed internal braces to assure solidity and prevent resonances. All woofers are placed within their own sub-enclosures, which contain two braces each. We believe that Blume has succeeded in creating an enclosure with no or very little cabinet resonance-one heck of a job, but well done; this solidity may account for the very tight sound-more about this later.
There are a lot of drivers in each cabinet, beginning with one isodynamic planar ribbon tweeter, two 3 inch fabric dome midrange drivers and two 6.5 inch paper treated midbass woofers- all located on the baffle and mounted in its own sub-enclosure. As though this isn't enough, each cabinet has four 8 inch heavy duty paper treated woofers firing sideways- each within a sub-enclosure. That's a total of nine drivers operating in a rather slim cabinet and, though similar designs have been produced by other manufacturers, we haven't seen one that can claim better build quality.
According to Blume, the Total Victory is "the embodiment of all we have learned about full range, state of the art, high sensitivity loudspeakers". Indeed, the similarities with earlier designs are very obvious. For example, on the (front) baffle the drivers operate in a ported sub-enclosure within the cabinet (the exact size of the Total Eclipses), that houses 4 side-firing 8in. woofers (the same as used in the Super Eclipses), with each woofer in its own braced sub-enclosure. Likewise, the Total Victory seems to embrace part of the Victory model design except for the obvious addition of four woofers. In the Total Victory, the 6.5 inch midbass drivers are rolled off more than a full octave higher in frequency, resulting in greater excursion and better linearity in the midrange areas. The greater height of the Total Victory ( 52 in. vs 42 in. for the Victory), offers somewhat better vertical dispersion as well as superior imaging when listening near or far from the enclosures. The TVs upper section is contained in a ported sub-enclosure that has been computer designed to have its f3 at 81Hz and differs from the Victories' f3 of 36Hz. The subwoofer enclosure handles bass from 26Hz (down about 3dB) to the lower crossover point of 100Hz. The other crossover points of the system are at 1kHz and 3kHz. The frequency response is quoted from 26Hz-40kHz; sensitivity is 97db @ 1w/1 metre; system impedance is 10 ohms.
To find out what the Total Victories' can do, we used a number of different amplifiers, including the Wyetech Labs Onyx (reviewed in Vol. 13, #4), the Manley Snapper (to be reviewed), the Tenor 75 WI, the Bryston 7B SST monoblocks (both reviewed in Vol. 15, #1), all connected to the Orpheus (reviewed in Vol. 15, #1) and/or the Wyetech Labs Opal preamplifiers. Finally, almost as an afterthought because we received the components late, we also used the Naim amplifier and preamplifier, reviewed in this issue. Speaker cables included the Nordost Valhallas, and the low priced Gutwire Basics (reviewed in our last issure). Interconnects to amplifiers and our source component- the Audio Aero player reviewed in this issue- were Valhallas as well. As we had reviewed every component used for this evaluation, we thought that our listening sessions should be straightforward and, as a matter of fact, almost predictable, since we had also reviewed the forerunner of the Total Victory- the Victory.
Let us begin by comparing the two models overall sonic properties: we found that the sonic signature is admirably similar to the character of almost all Coincident products. They all have razor-edge resolution in the midrange and high frequencies, while upper and lower bass attributes vary slightly from model to model. When compared to the Victory models, the speakers under review exhibit similarities in the high frequency domain, but manage a more graceful flow and an endearing radiance not quite accomplished by the earlier model. The important midrange segment- always well done with CT's top models-seems more clear-cut and offers more musical vitality. The entire midrange seems to be enriched by harmonics, yet skillfully extracts (inner) detail without sounding bright or forward- an infallible characteristic of true high-end designs.
With the Tenor amplifiers, the TV's sounded absolutely musical, if not absolutely correct. Highs were, well, Tenor highs, beautifully blossoming, smooth as silk and obviously reaching into the dog whistle ranges without a hint of straining. The entire midrange section exhibited the same blooming tonal elements when called for by the program material, loads of space and air around instruments and voices and better than excellent inner detail.
Midbass was powerfully potent and harmoniously fulfilling, but this trait didn't continue all the way to the specified 26Hz. Rather, the low bass-although still full-bodied and potent-didn't culminate in resolution leaving a bit of unfinished business with bass-rich material.
With the Wyetech Labs Onyx monoblocks, the overall sound was a bit harder in texture, but never out of whack. Highs were easily handled and exhibited an effortless quality-a character that reached all the way to the bass regions. Upper bass was not as harmonious or full-bodied as with the Tenor amps, but did offer determination and resolution easily reaching to pedal note regions.
The Manley Snappers worked well and offered sweet highs and midrange information. Bass was unfinished, though offering plenty of bottom harmonics. Overall musical information was never less than high-end.
A surprisingly good match was found with the Bryston 7B SST's. This combination offered very impressive high frequency finesse-smooth and well extended, absolutely lucid midrange proficiency, harmonious, rich upper bass although not quite reaching fully resolute deep bass.
The best all-around performance was achieved in our studio with the Naim Audio components. You'll find the review of the Naim preamplifier Nac 552 in this issue and we also used the Naim NAP 25 amplifier (80 w/ch).
This system combination did everything the other amplifiers achieved, but with a heightened degree of accuracy AND musicality-and yes, now we heard the best bass performance, best resolution, best inner detail, etc, etc.
Have we found the best match? We think so; and this should remind anyone putting together a system that synergistic system combinations are unpredictable for two reasons:
A) We simply have to experiment, as nothing in brochures provides a clue, and
B) The best match is not made in heaven but is determined by a set of ears-your set.
Synopsis & Commentary
Before we go on, we'd like to point out that the Total Victory loudspeakers employ a ribbon tweeter which performs best after about one hundred hours of operation. A short (15 min.) warm-up period is required before any serious listening session. With all amplifiers, the Total Victories conveyed a sense of speed, along with great detail and transparency while maintaining a harmonically complete picture and remarkable tonal balance. However, the speakers' deep bass information wasn't achieved with most amplifiers (in our studio) which means that attention must be paid when choosing an amp.
Although the Total Victories perform like champions, they do this best with some, but not all, power amplifiers, making them a great choice for folks who have upscale electronics. The Total Victories have what it takes to reproduce every bit of musical information, but also reveal shortcomings in the signal pass, which include wiring, amps and preamps as well as source components. They may be the classic example of the old adage that the loudspeakers will only be as good as the weakest link in the system. This said, it should be understood that most high-end, high performance loudspeakers mercilessly reveal whatever they are asked to reproduce, but few fall into a "reasonable" price range. We know that the term "reasonable" is relative and only significant when considered in comparison with other products. Here are a pair of loudspeakers that are designed to fulfill audio information and, in the process, gratify the music lover-what more can one ask?
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