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Vox 3awf Redux

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz, Tidal, Denafrips Terminator+ clock-synced to Soundaware D300Ref SD transport/USB reclocker; Preamp: Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature with WE VT52/300B or Elrog 50/300B; Power amps: LinnenberG Liszt monos; Headamps: Questyle CMA-800r monos; Phones: HifiMan Susvara; Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Aurai Audio M1 [on loan]; Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, LessLoss C-MARC Entropic cords between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room so no wall behind the listening chairs
2nd system: Source: Soundaware D100Pro SD transport; DAC/pre: Denafrips Terminator or COS Engineering D1; Amplifier: Bakoon AMP-13R or Crayon CFA-1.2; Loudspeakers: Acelec Model 1 w. Franck Tchang magnesium super tweeters, sound|kaos Vox 3awf, Zu Submission subwoofer; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan];  Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~4x6m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win7/64; USB bridge: Audiobyte Hydra X+; Headamp: Kinki Studio Vision THR-1; Phones: Audeze LCD-XC on Forza Audio Lab cable; Powered speakers: Fram Audio Midi 120
Upstairs headfi system: Source: Soundaware A280 SD transport; Integrated amplifiers: Schiit Jotunheim R or Bakoon AMP-13R; Phones: Raal-Requisite SR1a, Audeze LCD-2, Final Sonorous X & D8000, HifiMan HE-1000
2-channel video system: 
Source: Oppo BDP-105; DAC: Kinki Studio; Preamp: Wyred4Sound STP-SE II; Power amp: Pass Labs XA-30.8; Loudspeakers: German Physiks HRS-120; Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail: €10'313/pr

Redux. It's a lot tastier than reflux. Past my review of Martin Gateley's sound|kaos Vox 3a, the Swiss auteur began to experiment with Louis Motek's LessLoss Firewall for Loudspeakers modules. Those are passive ultrasonic filters which install inline at the loudspeaker terminals to become de facto extensions of our speaker cables. Being as pleased with the results as I and Dawid Grzyb had been using them externally, Martin opted in. His clients could henceforth order his smallest speakers with these very effective modules installed inside their solid-wood cabs. Martin uses two per channel, a $1'656 layout at retail.

A pair so fitted then flew to Warsaw to be reviewed by our regular Polish correspondent. We published our syndicated outcome here. That review too ended in an award. If you want more reading material on the subject, here are two on the Vox 3f, one on Positive Feedback, the other (in German) on HifiStatement.

After his 3awf assignment, Dawid reviewed an elite €34'100/pr 2-way monitor. When asked which he'd rather have were cost no issue, he didn't hesitate to point at the Vox at 1/3rd the ask despite, for the occasion, commanding unlimited funds. Having reviewed the bigger brother to his alternate, I felt exactly the same. By November 5th, my own pair had hopped onto the flying FedEx freight train. Upon arrival, it would permanently displace Acelec's Model One as our compact new reference upstairs.

Also inbound was that system's new preamplifier with active 4th-order Linkwitz-Riley filter, an icOn Pro4 SE from Pál Nagy of the UK's Passive Preamp firm. This custom-configured Slagleformer passive with 1dB steps and remote control would give me three possible hookups for our Zu Submission subwoofer: 1/ satellites unfiltered, sub unfiltered out of the preamp to use its own 4th-order low-pass as I always had; 2/ satellites unfiltered, sub filtered out of the preamp to stack Pál's and Zu's filters for a 48dB/octave 'brickwall' effect; 3/ satellites and subwoofer filtered through the preamp's crossover for perfectly symmetrical handover, so Zu's own filter bypassed.