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Fried Vahalla System
4 Reviews
rating  4.75 of 5
MSRP 
Description: Three-Way Satellite/Subwoofer Transmission Line Speaker System


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Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Stuart K a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 30, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I have C/3-Ls # 3 and 4, so I got in early. :-) They were upgraded steadily up to MARS. I didn't agree with Bud on that one. (Too much like Carver Sonic Holography or the old Hafler "difference" trick)

What a fantastic pair of speakers. I use them alone or with the subwoofer from the "Duo" system (Beta w/mono sub). It's too bad that no other designer seems to have a clue.

Now if I could just hunt down those elusive references Bud made to the Danish researchers Liam, Ragnar, et al. :-)

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $413.00

Purchased At:   The Tune Room



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by David C. a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 27, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I started with a pair of C-3/L's back in 1988. I auditioned them along with about everything else available. Nothing could touch them. I later added a pair of D-2/s and was just loving it. A failed driver sent it all back to the store just in time for the shop to flood. So, insurance bought me a new 1995 Vahalla system (lucky me!) with the MARS circuitry. The overall improvement was significant, but was it due to the MARS system, the latest drivers or the superb woodwork? Though not certain, I am quite happy to continue my research.

Since then I have listened to a variety of loudspeakers priced both less and much, much more than the Vahalla's $6K price range and still can find no other system that sounds so good (to me). I would buy this system again (if I had about $6K sitting around and needed speakers...).

What I really enjoy is the transparent soundstage, as mentioned in previous reviews, that this system produces. The speakers just disappear, even in my less than ideal listening area. The speaker's range and accuracy are also quite good. Care should be taken to mate these loudspeakers to a quality amplifier. This speaker system is best suited for classical music and the like, less so for rock and movie soundtracks. That said, my system plays a little of everything and I am very pleased with it all.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Joel K. a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 23, 1999

Bottom Line:   
These are some of the finest speakers in the world regardless of price. If you take price into account, they ARE the greatest. I have the C/5 satelites and am using the OLD (circa 1978) Model "T" Sub which is a humoungous (about the size of a small coffin!) dual woofer transmission line design. Bud, still to this day, claims that this sub was "the best damn sub I ever built!" It is capable to hit 16Hz!!!! I started with the C3/L and upgraded once. Just talked with Bud a couple of months ago (the company has since went out of business) and he is still designing!! He has made some improvements on the drivers for the C's and Sub. My friend just ordered it and I can't wait to listen.....FYI, Bud gave up on the MARS system and is eagerly awaiting DVD Audio and its prospect for more accurate "ambience" and is heading towards a 4 channel setup in the future.

Anyway, I listened to a LOT of people's systems and I've never once been impressed like I was the first time my friend let me listen to his Fried kit he had built (C3/L, Model "T"). OH MY GOD! It was the most impressive stereo demo I had ever heard. I ordered a kit the next day and had my friend build the cabinets for me. I've probably spent a total of $2000 on these speakers and I'll put them up against anything out there under $15K. The thing I love most about them is that they are so "real" sounding. Now, you'll hear a lot of that word being tossed around by people reviewing speakers but if they heard my system they would understand what it REALLY meant. Friends come over and are awestruck, "I never heard that instrument in this song before!", "these speakers are so clear!", "I can't tell there are speakers there", "I hear sound coming from BEHIND me!" are just some of my favorite quotes.
The tell-tale sign for me was when we were at a friends demoing an amp on his $12,000/pair B&W Matrix whatevers and my wife (who knows nothing about hi-fi) turned to me and said, "that amp sounds terrible, don't buy it!" I had to then explain to her that his $12,000 speakers didn't have the same imaging or dynamic or bass response capabilities as our Frieds (that she's used to). Talk about summing it all up........

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1996



Overall Rating:4
Submitted by Ed a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: August 11, 1999

Bottom Line:   
I have been playing with Fried speakers for years. It started with some Beta's, then some of the Q-series speakers, then some of his subwoofers. Then, about 10 years ago I got my first C-series kit. I think it was a C3L, a two way transmission -line (TL) satellite and a 10" O4 TL subwoofer. Bud Fried used to sell his high-end TL's ready made at the factory or in the form of a "kit" composed of the drivers, crossover and plans for the construction of the enclosures. I am a pretty good woodworker, having built most of the furniture for our home, but building the first set of satellites was a challange.
The satellite looks a lot like a Wilson Watt, a backward slanting truncated structure. The pair of O4 subwoofers formed the base for satellites and allowed them to be "time alined". I was very impressed with the sound of the system as were others that heard them. Of course there was the TL bass that was wonderful, but there was also something right about the midrange.

Building that first set of Bud's TL speakers started me down the slippery slope of speaker building. I think I have made 5 or more generations of Bud's C-series TL designs. I had many a conversation with Bud about his designs and tried to do some improvements to both the crossover and the enclosure with each new generation speaker. So on with the Vahalla review. The Fried Vahalla system consists of the latest series (C6) TL satellite and a pair of 8" D2 TL subwoofers.

I think this system may still be commerically available, but am not sure. The review pair is somewhat modified over the factory made units. The internal dimensions of the transmission line and the damping are to factory spec as are the crossover values. The Vahalla system is a tall narrow system with the transmission line terminating on the top back of the satellite and the bottom front of the subwoofers. The version of the speakers that I am reviewing have the MARS crossover which uses dual voice coil mid and sub drivers. Bud uses series crossover networks that are first order or quasi-second order. I believe the crossover points are around 100 hz and 2,8K.

The sound of the system is very open, giving a large soundstage. When setup properly, the speakers just disappear into the soundstage. This is very much like a number of minimonitors I have heard. I dont know if it is the small front baffle size or what, but they can just go away when setup properly. The TL bass is always there, coherent, deep, pressurizing the room in its distinctive fashon. Playing testones I get a very strong in room response down to 25 hz, but there is still some action at 20 hz, suprising with an 8" sub driver.

A few years ago, I went looking for a speaker under 10K that did as many things well as the Vahalla system did, I did not find it. Are there problems with the system, yes, I think a few. Probably one of the biggest to my ear is that there may be a little too much upper midrange energy is some systems or on some recordings. There is also some sensitivity to room placement. The speakers like to be out away from the walls. Move them back toward the wall and you are swimming in lots of muddy bass. Put they 2-3 feet into the room and they are happy.

An interesting component of this version of the Vahalla sytem is the MARS system which uses a passive crossover to send out of phase "ambience information" to one of the windings of the dual voice coil drivers. This does a very good of giving a sense of the space where the recording was made. It actually does a better job of ambience retrival than using some very good surround sound systems I have tried. The effect is subtle or non-existant on some recordings, more dramatic on others. The MARS crossover was problematic in some of its earlier forms with some of the Fried speakers. The MARS version in the review Vahalla system seems to have worked out most of the problems seen in earlier versions.

Is the speaker perfect, no, is any speaker, not to my ear. I think the Vahalla system presents a very competitive package of positive atributes for a speaker in the 6-10K price range. There really is something very "real" sounding about these speakers. Is that because of the shape of the front baffle, the series crossover, the transmission line loading of the drivers? I dont know, but Bud Fried has been designing TL speakers for longer than anyone alive today and this is his current best effort. Its worth a close listen

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile




Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

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