“Maritime” by Dave McGraw and Mandy Fer is a personal favorite and is played regularly. This CD is beautifully recorded and clearly sounds better than the stream on Tidal. We rarely play at high volume but this time we can’t help ourselves.
Every song is special and the vocals touch us time and time again. The Vela’s transfer this (folk) music without emphasizing anything. The music flows naturally from the speakers, sounds nice and loose and has an overall pleasant sound. The only thing we notice is that the tweeter can sometimes be a bit spicy with female vocals in our clean space and on our neutral set.
“Around the house” by Matthew Herbert is a fantastic house album. This professor of musicology works with everyday elements to make his tracks richer. We’ve heard this 1998 album countless times on different systems, but seldom did all the little accents come through so clearly. That JET tweeter is really special. We have a lot of fun while listening and don’t need to force ourselves to hear the details. The beats again have punch but sound just a bit less tight than some other competitors. You don’t have to see that as a drawback at all, it’s more a matter of taste
The third CD is from Massive Attack. “Heligoland” is not the best album of the British Triphop band, but there are some great songs on it. ‘Pray for rain’, for example, comes through with dynamics and appetite and the vocals leave the boundaries of the speaker quite well. The bass has enough power, especially with the Benchmark power-amp. At low volume, the balance is just a little less impressive.
Time to pick up a few other monitors starting with the Audiovector QR1 (1099 euros). This bookshelf is quite similar as it also has a ribbon tweeter (AMT) and an aluminium driver. The QR1’s handles complex music quite well and they are a little more forgiving to inferior recordings. However, they do not go as deep as the Velas and have a smaller sweet . The Vela wins easily have the edge when it comes to detail retrieval.
When we switch to the overperforming Vienna Acoustics Haydn Jubilee (1190 euro) we notice how well they can keep up with the Vela’s. The Vela’s are more insightful but the Jubilees have a bit more quality in the bass. The Jubilees are a little easier to manage and play a little more forward. The soundstage and imaging are almost the same for both speakers. Despite their different construction, the reproduction of both speakers is very close.
Finally we take out our Atc Scm19 v2 reference monitors (2800 euro) to see how the Velas keep up. The Atc’s are bigger, but because of their closed construction they do need a lot of power. In the highs it’s close but we find the mids a bit purer through the Atc’s. At the bottom we get quick and tight bass with the Atc’s that seems a bit leaner and quicker than the Vela’s. The Vela counters with a bit more ‘body and soul’. In terms of soundstage, the Atcs win, but in terms of imaging it’s pretty close again. The Elac Vela BS403 has a good price/quality ratio.