The Ear sur les VIVID AUDIO Giya G1 Spirit (Editor's choice)

"If you really want to hear your music at its very best the Giya G1 Spirit is very hard to match"

Editor's choice

I am used to wide dispersion loudspeakers, those that emitsound energy in a near 180 degree pattern and thus sound the same in mostlistening positions and are, ironically, less room dependent than moredirectional designs.

The total absence of straight edges on the Giya S1 cabinethowever means that dispersion is wider than 180 degrees and on first hearing this speaker you get a sense that the acoustic cosmoshas expanded, it truly is full scale in its capabilities.

The other obvious quality that is immediately apparent whenturning on the big Giya is that is has an uncannilyrelaxed presentation, literally the closest thing to an electrostatic sound Ihave heard from cones and domes in too many years of reviewing.

This is the result of all the effort that has gone into thedriver and cabinet design, it is the non-sound if you like of a loudspeakerthat doesn’t have the distortions that we take for granted in almost all of thealternatives. We have got used to a degree of edginess with dynamic driverspeakers that you don’t get with the better panels, it’s not something you hearwith acoustic music and isn’t part of the signal on good recordings of thatmost natural of musical forms, so it shouldn’t be added to the signal by aloudspeaker but it’s clearly difficult to do this whilst delivering decentpower and extension in the bass. Panels usually struggle to deliver powerfulbass, hence the addition of subwoofers to electrostatics, so a loudspeaker that has the naturalness of a panel with thepower of cones is a rare and beautiful thing.

 A loudspeaker is said to be only as good as the source andamplifier in front of it but the Giya S1 dispels that notion by offering up themost transparent and revealing sound with good but relatively affordable ancillaries.It proves that the loudspeaker is usually the weakest link in the chain bymaking such components sound absolutely stonking with a good recording andunveiling the pros and cons of lesser productions. Youreally know all about the way your music was made with these speakers and thebest ones sound absolutely superb, John Renbourn’s Another Monday onvinyl really shines with a natural balance and lovely tone from guitar andvoice. Nathan Salsburg’s much more recent and similarly acoustic guitar basedrelease Third sounds loud and compressed by comparison, both are on vinyl butthe former is an analogue recording with a better pedigree.

These speakers totallytransformed an album by MichaelFranks called The Art of Tea. Speakers Corner recently re-released this onvinyl and I wanted to review it but found the sound too smooth and lacking invariety on my regular speakers, with the Giya S1however all of the nuances that had been hidden came flooding through and itwas easy to enjoy the quality of the compostion, the brilliance of themusicianship and even the cleverness of the song writing. It’s asophisticated album that’s for sure but you need an equally sophisticatedloudspeaker to really appreciate it.

Another recent purchase that really took off with thesespeakers was Mari Samuelsen’s self titled album on Deutsche Grammophon. This sounded so real that I almost had to ask where did thesemusicians come from and how have they managed to bring a different roomacoustic with them. Mari as the albumis called is very well recorded and on these speakers it delivers a palpable sense of ‘being there’ inthe presence of the orchestra. I thought that the Rega P10/Aphelion 2turntable and cartridge was extremely good but didn’t realise quite how good itis until I heard it with the Giyas. One reason isthat this four way design is so seamless, by designing all the drivers in houseand using the same material to build them Vivid have created a multi-wayloudspeaker that has the coherence of a single driver design without thebandwidth limitations of the genre.

At the other end of the spectrum you have recordings thathave been amped up to sound good on headphones and lesser speakers where theloudness is rather too obvious with this degree of exposure, and a few wherethere is so much bass that my Moor Amps Angel 6 cannot control such a widebandspeaker in a room that is a little snug for them. Massive Attack’s Man NextDoor falls into this category as did a couple of other overly heavyproductions, but others reveal a depth of bass that even substantial speakershave not managed to unearth in the past. As with the mid and top the bass fromthe Giya G1 is not sharp edged, it is as rounded and extended as the recordingallows which is often very extended indeed, real dropping a heavy weight on theground heavy and incredibly solid.

I also like the way that theymake difficult music more accessible, this is a reflection of the lowdistortion allowing the compositions to come through in totally coherentfashion. I dabbled in some of Frank Zappa’s live albums and foundmyself enjoying tracks that had previously been a bit too much like hardwork.These included the Evil Prince on You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore vol.4, atune that was borderline unlistenable in the past.

Another thing that these oftenless than pristine recordings reveal is how sensitive the Vivids are to microdynamics, they track variations in level between instruments and voices in amix so much better than usual that it’s uncanny. It indicates an extremely low noise floor which isthe result of a cabinet that is effectively inert and does nothing to smear thesignal proper. In practice this means that you can listen to specific voices orinstruments in a busy mix very easily and appreciate just what each iscontributing to the overall sound. It doesn’t splitthe sound up and present it in an analytical fashion but merely reveals therelative weighting given to the different elements which in turn gives you abetter understanding of the performance.

This benefits everything that is played but does increasethe difference between the good and less good recordings, but there are a lotmore of the former in my collection at least including tracks like Adel’sRolling in the Deep which usually gets noisy when the chorus comes in. Here youcan here the extra compression/limiting that’s applied but it doesn’t shout atyou the way it often does, and her vocal is simply astonishing. These speakersare also a heck of a lot of fun when something like Subway Station #5 byPatricia Barber comes along and the intensity of the piano playing builds up toan extreme as the piece reaches its climax.

Conclusion :
I have liked every Vivid loudspeaker that has graced mysystem but the G1 Spirit is clearly in another league to those and mostloudspeakers around. It redefines what a loudspeaker can do by eliminating somuch of the distortion that is found with many of its competitors. The stylingis not to all tastes but this is a fundamental part of why it is so successfulat doing the job of turning an electrical signal into an acoustic one, aregular box shaped speaker will never be able to do this so well. If you reallywant to hear your music at its very best the Giya G1 Spirit is very hard tomatch.

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