Issue 5/2007


by Jaakko Eräpuu

First impressions go to "the non-speaker like" big and spacious soundstage, but secondly after that impression you notice the grand bass reproduction. In spite of the generous level of bass they are articulate and go fairly low. At normal music listening there is no need for subwoofer, although the lowest notes lack a little bit of weight. The soundstage is not pin point accurate, but it is focused enough and naturally open. The sound located extremely little on the speakers. Well- recorded acoustic music flows with ease. The best is that the speaker sounds believable also with lower sound levels (unlike Marten that needs higher than normal sound levels). Nola Viper Reference has a perfect command of rhythm and pace. Latino music flows and the ethno jazz of Zawinul is very lively. When you have a live recording, there is a very strong feeling of presence. Nola Viper Reference is also a very dynamic speaker. You can play fortes with ease and there is no compression even at the highest sound levels. The bigger the volume, the larger the sound. Tonally sound is on the warm side, it is grand and very lively. Cymbals have a nice natural sound. Also brass is produced in a natural way. Piano sounds sometimes a little dark because the speakers produce so much warmth in lower mid-range.

What I'm missing sometimes is some kind of "bite", but perhaps Nola is not intended for monitor-like sound. If your musical dream coming true is to get a roomful of music, then this Nola speaker is the perfect choice for you. The Nola Viper Reference's sound is a "big world high end sound", not an "unsophisticated hi fi-sound".

by Mikael Wederström

The Nola Viper Reference sounds massive, big and bold. The soundstage is deep, "non-speaker like" and extremely spacious. The orchestra seems to play at the rear wall with a deep arch. Even close-miked sound from Dire Straits jazz guitar does not seem to come from the speakers. Those are the first impressions. After a short analysis you can start to make deeper conclusions. The speaker is very revealing.(In the middle of the test we changed the interconnect cables which made a surprisingly big difference to the sound). The soundstage depth is also very accurate. Tonally there is a slight "loudness effect" in the speaker which can be heard especially in heavy bass sounds. In spite of the fact that the speaker was located far away from the rear wall, the level of bass was too high. This can be heard in all recordings. This heavy bass weakens the speakers groove, transparency and slam. Electric guitar may lose "bite" and presence. On the other hand this smoothness makes listening peaceful and non-fatiguing. There is sometimes too much energy in the upper mid-end, which was revealed when I was listening to Metallica and other hard rock type recordings. Even this shortcoming though didn't produce listening fatigue.

It seems that the Nola Viper Reference is not analytical . It is a very impressive sounding speaker. Musically the Nola Viper Reference is very satisfactory with a sound that isn't traditional hi fi.

Note: Nola Loudspeakers are distributed in Finland by Stars and Stripes OY. Email: