by Constantine Soo

The Nola Viper Reference II in true Piano Rosewood finish ($15,000 pair) came with outboard crossover, and as driven by the very affordable Jolida JD1000P (100wpc, $2,000) amplification, produced a very full-range sound that was imminently glowing in the midrange with beautiful texturing on instruments. It was reminiscent of a high-efficiency, single-driver loudspeaker as driven by an SET. For a multi-driver design to be able to conjure up such characteristics was remarkable.

This is indicative of a speaker design that is either meant to produce such sound, or a fundamentally neutral one that reflected the characteristic of equipment upstream. The Nola is a dipole, open-baffle design employing custom Alnico midrange and tweeter drivers. The external, passive crossover employs Mundorf 1,200-volt silver/gold/oil capacitors, and all inductors are air-core ones. Sumptuous.