Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2013 • Hot Product

The Vaughn Triode Plasma ($15,000/pair) is a version of the company's Triode III without that speaker's ribbon tweeter but with a rebuilt version of the DuKane Ionosphere plasma tweeter in its place. This vintage driver from the 1960s works on a completely different principle from a dome or ribbon tweeter, featuring a massless radiating element in place of a solid diaphragm. The sonic effect here was a treble range that was delicate and airy while also sounding extremely detailed, pure and natural -- in many respects like no other we've heard, even from other plasma tweeters.

The crossover point to the Fostex 208 Sigma 8" wideband driver, which is loaded with a rear-mounted passive radiator, is a very high 5kHz, so it's above the midrange and sonically like no transition at all, the Fostex driver covering a huge segment of the frequency range -- 5kHz all the way down to 80Hz. The speaker's powered bass section uses a 300-watt amp to drive a 12" side-mounted woofer coupled to a 12" passive radiator. Sensitivity is 97dB/W/m, so the speakers can be driven easily and to very loud levels with just a handful of watts.

Needless to say, the Triode Plasma is a lot of speaker -- one that on paper and especially in person would seem to cost much more than it does. True Best of Show sound.

A Vaughn-rebuilt plasma tweeter with its crossover and power supply.

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