Sugg. Retail: $9595 pr (CAN)
Size: 37 1/2″H x 10 1/3″Wx 13.7″D
Manufacturer: Verity Audio, Quebec, Quebec
Distributor: Audiopathic, 9108 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ont. (905) 737-5222
(Reprinted from the Summer 1999 Audio Ideas Guide)
Verity Audio is a Quebec City manufacturer that bases its claims to high quality loudspeakers on very fast, accurate drivers and extremely inert and solid cabinets. The Fidelio is quite heavy at close to 60 pounds. Though a single unit structure, the cabinet is in two parts joined by alternating layers of rigid and absorptive materials to keep bass energy away from the mid/treble unit on top.
The drivers here are a soft dome tweeter and a 5″ “underhung symmetrical drive” midrange with polypropylene cone. Both are designed for “quick rise-time symmetrical drive for light speed and authentic transients.” In the bottom section a 7″ long throw woofer with a carbon fibre impregnated cone is employed at rear in a ported enclosure. A single set of high quality gold plated 5-way posts is provided below the port. The “finest Italian polyester based lacquer” forms the finish for the cabinet, applied over black satin paint. Piano black finish is available on special order.
Careful attention has been paid to the front baffle’s acoustics, a fine felt flocking applied to it to minimize diffraction (the migration of sound across it to be re-radiated from the edges), and the tweeter is horn loaded to further minimize reflected energy. Looking at the acoustic design of this system, I would expect it to image well.
In our measurements the Fidelio showed its character in a dip above 2 kHz that increased as we moved off axis, though it was least apparent at 0 and 15o. In the Pink Noise Sweep (PNS) at top it is only about 2 dB, indicating that the overall energy radiated becomes smoother at the listening position, while the Summed Axial Response (SAR) is skewed by the pronounced dip that we see below at 60o off axis. This may even be a good thing, in that wall reflections will be well controlled, and will therefore not interfere with the direct radiation, again predicting good imaging.
Bass tends to roll off gradually below 60 Hz, down about 7 dB at both 30 and 40 Hz. Because the Fidelio has both driver and port at rear, it is very sensitive to walls and corners, and I believe the bass rolloff is intentional, so that proximity to these surfaces can be used to tune the deep bass output. Optimum setup should result in very smooth, extended bass, with extension into the 30 Hz region.
Looking at the impedance and phase curves, we see a crossover peak of about 45 ohms, the low of 6 ohms across the lower midrange. The phase angle between 2 and 4 kHz is quite steep, +/- almost 50o, and resulting driver lobing cancellations may account for the dip in the midrange, and the fact that it is largely resolved in the PNS measurement.
These measurements aren’t all that spectacular, but they should not prevent the Fidelio from sounding good, and delivering its promise of fast, uncoloured sound. In the PNS it is +/-2 dB over much of the audio range, and with a little boundary reinforcement, that smoothness should extend to quite low frequencies.
In listening I found this second-from-the-top Verity model to very quickly deliver its promises, its sound better than one might expect from the measurements. Its tweeter and midrange drivers are fast and agile, and the treble is open and just a little bright. The disparity of about 6 dB between mid and upper treble can be heard as a thinness, but it also gives the Fidelio a laid back quality that will serve it well in smaller rooms. I did hear a slight edginess on female voice and strings, but in most cases instrumental timbre was excellent, with a clean, dynamic sound on piano, and a very nice baroque cello sound on our Sergei Istomin Bach Suites.
What you didn’t hear, and this is very important for accurate musical reproduction, were box resonances and colorations. These speakers deliver only the output of the drivers and port, their rigidity making for very uncoloured sound. This allows a great deal of detail to be heard effortlessly, in as natural a manner as I’ve heard from a dynamic speaker.
And that detail leads to exceptional imaging that has both breadth and depth. The Fidelio is a very high resolution reproducer that can give a convincing impression of an orchestra or a chamber ensemble. It also has the speed and transient accuracy to make jazz and pop recordings come alive.
Though it’s not a speaker to play at very high levels, it does provide excellent dynamics, and colorations do not intrude with level as in some speakers where the box starts to sing along. As with many very good loudspeakers, the Fidelio is chameleon-like, accurately reproducing music of any type. It also does not interact with the room (except in the bass, as noted), the controlled dispersion making it able to image well in very live rooms where other wide dispersion speakers would cause severe reflection problems.
Overall, this second gun from Verity maintains much of the audio quality and design sophistication of the more expensive Parsifal system, and does it with panache and style.