After sitting down in Verity Audio’s room, I realized within 15 seconds just how much I’ve missed listening to the company’s speakers. It’s been well over a decade since I reviewed a Verity speaker. It was the Amadis, back in 2010. That sealed my fate, as the Amadis was probably the most musically satisfying speaker I’d ever heard in my room.
And here I was, flashing back to that time. It’s a long way to travel, from Quebec City, Canada, where Verity Audio is located, and whose facility I toured a lifetime ago, to Munich, Germany. But here I sat. Verity Audio’s new Florestan loudspeaker, which retails for $59,850 (USD—Verity does not quote prices in euros), has the company’s immediately recognizable graceful styling. It’s a timeless look, leaning forward just a little, reaching out to the listener.
This is one of those rare occasions where the sound matches the appearance. Or have my past experiences of Verity Audio’s loudspeakers Pavloved me into associating this look with this sound? Who knows? Who cares?
About that sound: from my first experiences with Verity’s speakers, I’ve wholeheartedly appreciated their relaxed, stress-free, grain-free sound. Something about the way their speakers project a recording into the room makes my shoulders drop, makes me relax in ways that no other component has managed to do before or since.
It’s not a rolled-off treble or a recessed midrange that makes me so calm. Verity has used several different tweeters over the years, but it’s managed to tailor the sound of each of them to achieve a combination of reach-for-the-stars extension and a complete lack of abrasiveness.
The new Florestan speaker does all of that. It’s like it’s 2010, and I’m back in my listening room. That said, I’d say the Florestan’s ribbon tweeter has just a hair more extension than that of the Amadis. It’s still like sinking into a bathtub of molten chocolate mixed with peppermint essence, like sliding into melted York Peppermint Patties.
The Florestan is armed with a 51mm (2″) ribbon tweeter, a 150mm (6″) Audiocontrol midrange, and a rear-firing 28mm (11″) Audiocontrol woofer. The Florestan’s bass isn’t the last word in tightness or control. It can’t match the DALI Epikore 11’s artillery-like delivery. But that’s not the point. The Florstan delivers deep, rich, and expressive bass. It’s natural in its sound and natural in its delivery. The Florestan’s bass soothes and relaxes me.
Case in point: I had no idea that Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s “From the Beginning” was so well recorded. Via the Florestans, this track, from ELP’s 1972 album Trilogy, sounded like it was recorded yesterday. I could hear right through the walls, right into the next building. On top of that insane depth, the Florestans painted a detailed, precise picture of every nuance in Greg Lake’s vocals. It wasn’t unnatural depth—it was realistic depth.
Can you tell I liked the sound of the Florestans? Supporting components were also of Verity’s manufacture. The Monsalvat AMP-60 power amplifier received its signal from the Monsalvat Pro-4 preamplifier-DAC. The AMP-60 is elegantly designed, looking quite compact from the front. But it’s long, deep, and heavy. Verity claims that the Florestan is 93dB sensitive, so the class-AB, 60Wpc AMP-60 had a fairly easy time of it. That said, the AMP-60 is seriously overbuilt, with a huge transformer and tons of capacitance, working off current rather than voltage, according to co-CEO Bruno Bouchard.
The Pro-4 preamplifier digitizes incoming signals and operates the volume control in the digital domain, upsampling the input signal to 128 bits so there’s no loss in resolution, according to Verity. While the Pro-4 has a built-in digital active crossover that can feed multiple amplifiers, in this installation Verity was using one AMP-60 and driving the Florestans via their internal passive crossovers.
It was a pleasure encountering Verity Audio at High End. It was a small piece of home transported to another continent. I’m sure the company will do very well with this speaker.
Senior Editor, SoundStage!