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Entering the factory, the assembly area showed current production and a very new G4 mockup not yet introduced to market or press when I visited. The Giya line is now as extended as the original Oval line. It starts from the top with the G1 followed by the G2, G3 and ending with the new G4 baby. As the G2 can be considered a smaller G1, the G4 looks like a smaller G3. Vivid's G4 is rather small as these photos show. My understanding of the divide between rear-firing woofer designs aka the Oval line and side-firing Giya models is that Dickie considers them two different layouts for different room dimensions and space interactions.

To scale down his G3 bestseller meant that the G4 shares the same design DNA. It's still a 5-driver true four-way design. All of its drivers include the trademark tapered-tube loading. This dissipates driver rear emissions whilst reducing unwanted resonances with a fancy enclosure that's made from a combination of fiberglass and balsa. This particular Giya is said to be more room friendly than previous Oval designs. About their enclosures in a nutshell, Dickie insists on pushing material resonances beyond the bandwidth of the associated drivers. That's why he exploits stiff yet very low-mass materials which can be molded into curvy shapes to push modal frequencies as high as possible

Giya 4 mockup at right.

Vivid enclosures are doubly curved leading first to the Oval then Giya ranges. In the past it was already demonstrated and quite comprehensively so how one of the worst possible shapes for a loudspeaker is the rectangular box. An organically rounded enclosure assists high-frequency performance as there are no sharp edges to re-radiate short waves by refraction from edgy discontinuities. This also allows the tweeter's hemispherical wave to have smoother faster propagation delay. That’s why all Vivid Audio cabinet shapes are the result of R&D into how sound propagates around speaker enclosures of different shapes and sizes.

Some will argue that clever crossover design can lessen interference effects but once a box radiates in a normal room with reflective walls, all the irregularities in its off-axis response will impact the overall result. Another shortcoming of flat baffle designs is the discontinuity of dispersion patterns between its different drivers, particularly between midrange and tweeter. That basic design idea usually suffers phase issues and an excess of off-axis HF.

The Giya line is based on a balsa-cored composite sandwiched between layers of quadraxial glass fiber [the green grids below]. During a vacuum infusion process resin gets literally sucked into and between these layers. In the Giya G1 ten fiberglass-reinforced grids placed laterally every six inches brace the cabinet. The resultant structure has a high stiffness-to-mass ratio to push up box-talk modes. This unconventional approach creates a very light but ultra-rigid enclosure capable of withstanding massive internal air pressures to maintain a very high level of neutrality even at very loud volumes. Dickie explained that "the vacuum-infusion process together with the uni-directional fiber in the skins keeps resin content and its excess mass to a minimum whilst the balsa core gives a good combination of low-density stiffness orthogonal to the skins plus added damping."

Vivid recently improved their vacuum infusion to facilitate the overall manufacturing process. The original process used a simple sheet of polythene-type plastic which was draped over the inside of the mold and sealed at the edges with adhesive paste. The new process uses a reinforced silicone rubber sheet molded into a precise shape which is thick enough to support some small irregularities even against the vacuum's force. This enables the molding in of small ridges which help align the reinforcing grids and locate the ports precisely. This silicone rubber sheet can be also re-deployed whilst the old plastic sheets and ancillaries were discarded.

The resin merely joins the main structural components but adds no stiffness itself. Structurally it's a kind of dead weight, hence Vivid's efforts to minimize it. In terms of manufacturing their vacuum infusion technique requires no conventional ovens. Another advantage of this approach is that the outcome is very light (the finished G1 shells are just 12kg each). Due to their proprietary reaction-cancelling woofer arrays, Vivid don't rely on high mass like high-end competitors Magico and YG Acoustics for example. As was already the case for the most current G3, the new G4 displays its tweeter and midrange tapers openly for lack of concealment space inside the enclosure.

Vivid's process is far from automated. As most players in this sector, Vivid's is a handcrafter credo. It requires almost three complete working days for example to get a Giya cabinet ready for the paint booth. The shapes of the Oval models are more basic by contrast whilst still being far superior to most cabinet designs. I love the elliptical look of my K1. It evokes a kind of fusion between African roots and modernity to echo what South Africa stands for today.

The story claims that the Oval range shape was inspired by a Zulu shield. I view it as a real piece of industrial design art and despite perhaps encountering some difficulties blending into its surroundings, it's the kind of hifi statement that might be hosted in a museum of Modern Art. Last year Laurence Dickie confided that he had worked hard on a new design to update the now 10-year old Oval range. His first attempts simply didn't eclipse the results he gets from the current K1 so he refused to release replacements that wouldn't represent a real improvement over the originals. Different just to be different isn't good enough for him.

Oval K1 and C1.