atelier 13 audio
... driven by music ...
ROSSO FIORENTINO VOLTERRA 2
A Reference Sound behind its strong Visual Statement
This is Volterra, full, pristine sound, unconventional electro-acoustic solutions with a distinctive Italian design.
A floor standing loudspeaker design which embodies the heritage of the Rosso Fiorentino brand and its own, now classic and unmistakable style.
Aesthetically, the Volterra series 2 retains most of its original shape and proportions appearing similar to its predecessor. However, it is actually entirely redesigned featuring all the elements of our most recent engineering developments.
Volterra is a 2.5-way floorstanding loudspeaker. The principle drive unit topology at the heart of this system remains a unique approach to loudspeaker design. Its optimised dual hybrid loading volumes comprised of vented 6.5in mid-woofer and 8in closed box woofer, enables the Volterra to deliver an incredibly extended and controlled frequency response, a thoroughly captivating sound-stage, rich in details and dynamics, and, no small thing, the ability to fit perfectly into a large variety of living spaces.
THERE IS LIFE ABOVE 20kHz - At the top of the front baffle sits the “ribbon/soft dome” section, a Rosso trademark, which combines the silk dome tweeter with our new ribbon ultrasonic generator for an amazing detailed and extended high frequency response. The wide dispersion of the new ribbon ultrasonic generator perfectly complements the smooth and detailed 28mm neodymium silk dome tweeter and starts to function at around 30 kHz and goes all the way up to 100kHz. The resulting wide-bandwidth performance greatly enhances the “atmosphere” and naturalness of the reproduced sound, giving it a truly three-dimensional quality. Nowadays, the highly extended frequency response found in the Volterra is even more interesting, with the increasing diffusion of high-resolution digital formats alongside vinyl.
Volterra sports a modular enclosure design and was amongst the first Rosso speakers to implement the concept of using mechanically different materials in one composite structure where each material absorbs and damps the resonant frequency of another material in the system. The result of this ‘team work’ is a cabinet incredibly still and firm where panel vibration modes are drastically reduced revealing great micro and macro dynamic details in the sound.
This concept has been further developed in the Volterra series 2 by adding extra aluminium panels on the sides, new and advanced internal damping pads and a bracing system that, implementing a firm connection with the midwoofer and lower woofer magnet, significantly reduces the transmission of unwanted vibrations from these drivers to their front baffles. In addition, each module (upper-middle-lower) is further isolated from the others by the use of rubber inserts that join the modules without putting them directly in contact with each other.
$ 17,500 per pair
$ 1,500 per pair / Premium Finish
Type : 2.5 -way rear-ported floorstander
Sensitivity : 88 dBspl (2.83V, 1m)
Nominal impedance : 6Ω (minimum 4Ω)
UHF Driver : 1 x ø 26mm (1 in) hand treated textile diaphragm with wide surround
HF Driver : 1 x ø 28mm (1.1 in) silk dome neodymium tweeter
M/LF Driver : 1 x ø 165mm (6.5 in) nomex diaphragm woofer
LF Driver : 1 x ø 200mm (8 in) nomex diaphragm woofer
Frequency response (±3dB) : 38 Hz – 100 kHz
Typical in-room bass resp. : -6dB @35Hz)
Crossover frequencies : 60 Hz – 2.2 kHz
Recommended power : 70W – 200W into 8Ω with unclipped sound signal
Cabinet : 3 different internal absorbent materials / multi-layer composite construction comprised of aluminium panels, solid HDF fiberboard and rubber damping elements
Height : 1066mm (42 in) incl. plinth and spikes
Width : 279mm (11 in)
Depth : 315mm (12.4in)
Net weight : 40 Kg (88.2 lb) each
Cabinet finish : black matte coated aluminium front baffle / exclusive RF silky matte black coating / leather covering on middle lateral panels
Side panels : High gloss black / natural Italian walnut
Custom leather covering
Other finishes on request
what they say ...
HiFi BestBuys - UK
Tobey McCauley-Pyke | August 2016
Here’s an elegant floorstander from the Italian company that really gets closest to live music reviewed
"It goes without saying that hi-fi should emulate the sound of live music. But few manufacturers can claim to be in such regular contact with the real thing as Rosso Fiorentino of Italy. At its headquarters in the impressive Castle of Bisarno, this Florentine speaker maker maintains a prestigious listening space, La sala del Rosso, as a venue for regular concerts and recording sessions.
Naturally, the state-of-the-art sound system there includes Rosso Fiorentino’s top-of-the-range speakers, the Florentia. All of which, perhaps, helps to justify the company slogan ‘Reproducing Reality’. The four-way Florentia stands more than 1.8m tall and weighs 164kg, and even its smaller Flagship Series sibling, the three-way Siena, is a hefty 65kg. But in its Reference Series range, Rosso Fiorentino offers a more compact though still very impressive floorstander, the Volterra reviewed here.
Like all Rosso Fiorentino speakers, the Volterra is hand-crafted in Florence and comes with impeccable technical credentials. The company’s founder and chief designer Francesco Rubenni combines an engineering background with many years’ experience in professional recording work and, of course, a boundless passion for music. As a teenager, Francesco played percussion and went on to study harmony and composition. He also acquired a serious interest in the technology of sound and music reproduction. This took him from Italy to England, to study at the University
of Salford, where he gained a first-class degree in Electroacoustics. After this he designed some high-sensitivity horn loudspeakers and, back home in Florence, did much production work at the leading recording studio, Larione 10.
But by 2006, he was ready to launch his own loudspeaker brand and Rosso Fiorentino was born. With ‘elegance’ as his watchword, Rubenni named his company after the great 15th century painter Giovanni Battista di Jacapo, ‘the red Florentine’.
Auditioning the Volterras, it turned out, was a real delight. These loudspeakers really seem to have the gift of bringing music to life, with a sound that is always vibrant and yet completely unforced, and we found ourselves enjoying every track.
On orchestral music, the Volterras soon began to display an effortlessly natural, detailed sound, with a firm and authoritative bass quality helping to give the music a great sense of occasion. When we turned to some familiar female vocalists, the Volterras excelled there too. With Stacey Kent’s classic album Dreamsville, reissued on audiophile vinyl by Pure Pleasure, we heard the singer’s delicate vocal timbres and phrasing fully revealed in the most delightful way. With Carol Kidd’s Crazy For Gershwin, you could really appreciate the ‘live’ quality of this recording from Castle Sound Studios and producer Christopher Quinn, with a real sense of air around the voice and a bright crisp piano sound. And on Jacinta’s ‘Look Of Love’, from her album Here’s To Ben on 45rpm vinyl, the sound was really spellbinding as her lovely, flowing vocal floated over a solid, there-before-you rhythm section.
Staying with audiophile jazz, we listened to the DXD-mastered tracks on the special Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio disc What A Wonderful Trio, which indeed showed what a wonderful pianist he is. Herehe Volterras showed tremendous drive and swing.But whether you listened to classical music, rock or jazz, these speakers produced a full-bodied stereo soundstage that was really inviting, well founded on an excellent bass performance. For example, on the old DMP label’s Thom Rotella Band album, the Volterras produced a huge and deep bass sound, but without any boom or overhang, so that it never threatened to overwhelm the other instruments, as it can too easily do with this recording. With both hi-res material – where you’d expect there to be some content at frequencies above the usual 20kHz limit – and with CD, it did seem that the ‘ultrasonic generator’ played a significant role.
These speakers have a wonderfully clear, open sound, with the music effortlessly breaking free of the boxes. Whatever kind of music you favour, it’s clear that Rosso Fiorentino’s Volterra fulfills its designer’s avowed intention, to ‘freely deliver the emotional power of sound without altering its naturalness.’ And, as Francesco Rubenni intended, it does so with matchless elegance."
The Sound Advocate
Marvin Bolden | October 2018
The 2.5-way compact floorstanding Volterra uses one 6-1/2″ and and one 8″ Nomex bass/mid driver. They are held in place by means of a vibration-damping system. This feature allows an efficient control of structure-borne vibration, resulting in commandingly, sharp and controlled low frequencies.
For the upper mid/treble response, the Fiorentino employs a 28mm hand treated silk dome tweeter which is has a highly damped behavior within its bandwith, thereby providing a sweet, natural and accurate sonic signature. The high frequency unit easily combines with the woofers through the use of a complex and efficient crossover circuit made of meticulously selected components and placed in an isolated and well-damped box at the center of the system structure.
After letting the equipment warm up for about an hour, I put in Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly cd. What I heard on “Green Flower Street” was cymbal work that was light and airy throughout with not a trace of harshness. Fagan’s voice was placed a smidgen left of center and a foot above the speakers. Instrumental tonality was true to life; background singers were distinct and in the far back part of the sound stage behind the lead singer. The interplay in the background of Larry Carlton’s guitar was easy to follow. Percussive effects with the super tweeter gave an effortless rift across the upper mid-range and extended high end. Needless to say, the Volterra displays excellent stereo imaging!
I was now looking for some heftier male vocals to audition so I put on Leonard Cohen’s “You Want It Darker”. The cd’s title song starts out with a male chorus where you could pick out the individual voices on the sound stage; then you are hit with a throbbing bass guitar line before that baritone voice of Cohen comes in with crystal clear authority. Cohen’s voice has a lower chesty, upper tonality that sounds like it’s coming out of a bellows. This is music, no feeling of listening to stereo equipment; just real music. Listening to the male chorus and solos you can tell the Rosso’s have a flat, classically balanced style in their blood, and after all, is this not what is truly required for an well balanced loudspeaker design?
I listen to a lot of female vocals and one of my favorites is Jane Monheit. On her cd, “Come Dream with Me”, I just had to play “Over the Rainbow”. From the start you are hit with Jane’s big beautiful voice, which is front and center with a rich dark back ground. Just when you think it’s going to be all acapella, in comes the piano, then the bass and drums. Each instrument comes in with plenty of air around them with pinpoint stereo placement within the sound stage.
On the last cut, “A Case of You”, you can hear the fingers plucking the strings along with the volume inside the instruments. This shows how easy the Volterras convey spacial cues. It’s really eye (ear)opener when you hear a singer standing in front of you in your room with a background of total silence and being able to pick apart every movement of their lips. This is stereo imaging at its utmost!
ALL THAT JAZZ
Last but not least, I had to get my jazz fix on with “We Get Requests” by The Oscar Peterson Trio. This is a recording from 1965, and it is ironically funny how the sound quality of some older recordings will blow away a lot of the newly recorded material.
What can I say about “Days of Wine and Roses”? Every instrument that’s playing stands out as a unique performance unto itself. The piano is front and center stage behind the speakers with Ray Brown’s bass coming in on the right with the sticks hitting the snare drums and cymbals on the left side of the stage. I was transported to a perfect night club venue, eager to raise my hand for a waiter to order a drink.
Can you imagine sitting at your table with drinks in hand tapping “dem” toes? On the track “You Look Good to Me” the triangle floats in midair and makes the hairs on your neck stand.! Again, the bass work of Ray Brown is to die for. The bass/mid modules of the Volterras is seamlessly integrated with the silk dome tweeter as bass notes emanate completely free of the rigid cabinet structure.
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
I so love these speakers that I moved out the speakers I thought would be with me for life, having thrown away the boxes the same day I brought them home. Having said that, The Usher Mini Dancer 2’s at $5k/pr. are some of the best bang for buck bargains in the industry, and compare most favorably to speakers higher up in that ethereal $10k price range !
When comparing the Volterras to the Usher Mini Dancer 2, the leading edge in bass impact has to go to the Ushers while the Volterras would be considered more “organic” in sound. If you need that pound your chest bass response than you may as well look elsewhere as the Volterras will not do it. What they unmistakably do provide, is an even, natural bass response; which is as it should be.
The Ushers may be more detailed in the extreme high end with that diamond tweeter, whereas the Rosso’s have more air and musicality. They taper off gently and with supreme naturalness. The mid-range of the Volterras is true to life in instrumental timbres and reproduces some of the best piano I have ever heard. I also have the MasterSound compact 845 integrated vacuum tube amp on hand and plugging it into my system brought a whole new level of sonic richness and harmonic overtones that brought tears to my eyes. (We hopefully plan on reviewing this model, quite soon.- Ed.)
If you are looking for speakers in this price range, do yourself a favor and hunt them down as you will not be disappointed.