Purchasing a new piece of audio gear is always a very personal process, especially loudspeakers which – whatever the rest of the equipment is doing – still have to create the ultimate sound that the listener will enjoy hearing. In that respect, the Rosso Fiorentino Elba II loudspeakers were exceptionally good and I would definitely recommend an audition for anyone looking for a pair of speakers in this price range.
The Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo is that rare loudspeaker that is good at everything it’s supposed to be good at, and the few areas where it shows limitations are deliberate attempts at making a pragmatic design for the real world. I keep using the word ‘honest’ for a reason. This is a loudspeaker that makes a very honest sound, at a very honest price, and comes honestly recommended!
Volterra are speakers that are easy to live with. And if you like your music to be presented with as much naturalness as possible, without ever sounding harsh or sharp, these rare Italian jewels may be the speakers you never knew you’d fall in love with.
In loudspeaker terms, a specific look, standard of build and sound profile. The Pienza 2 nails all three. I kind of expected that. What sets it apart, and perhaps makes it more appealing to people not usually drawn to the standard Latin template, is the more daring style and a sonic character that preserves the elegant elements of natural tonality, balance and even handedness without ever lapsing into overt lushness.
If you are looking for speakers in this price range do yourself a favor and hunt them down as you will not be disappointed. Plan a trip to the Lone Star Audio State and prepare yourself for a real surprise!
Having talked with Norma Audio’s Enrico Rossi through a translator at Munich HighEnd 2013, I’d come away very impressed. His bonnet-up gear oozed obvious quality and showed very well-considered featurization, immaculate industrial design all accompanied by what seemed to be very fair Euro pricing. Without turning his uncommon specs into any primitive marketing stunt, Enrico had solid design reasons and was most happy to explain them.
Looking back on our review from 90 issues ago, Norma didn’t reinvent the wheel here and the sound of the Revo IPA-140 is tonally unchanged, but it builds on its strengths and strips back on its few vices still further. In other words, it’s every bit as damn good as it ever was; “if it ain’t broke, make it better!” This integrated amplifier is one of the audio world’s best-kept secrets.
The Revo IPA-140 is one of the finest integrated amplifiers I’ve heard at any price, and this is praise indeed for a product positioned so sensibly. Norma Audio sometimes describes its sound quality as “unfatiguing” but this is way too modest. It paints vivid soundscapes that simply sound correct, absolutely coherent and completely unsullied. And while some high-end amps can be revealing yet desiccated and insistent, the Revo IPA-140 just sounds astonishingly lifelike and natural.
The Norma IPA-140 is like a beautiful musical instrument – it exudes texture, refinement, musicality, delicacy, ambience, scale and accuracy to a truly high standard. The sound is highly defined, retaining its composure even through difficult passages of music. I believe that you would have to spend considerably more money to obtain a better sounding amplifier, making the Norma extremely good value. It really should be at the top of your shortlist, even if you’re intending to spend more.
The Revo IPA-140 is a wonderful device. Beautiful on the outside, beautiful on the inside, and as powerful as an American power amplifier weighing forty kilograms. Most importantly for an audiophile, delivering natural, dynamic, transparent sound with powerful bass and rich midrange, holographic space, and sublime treble. If someone asked me to put together the best possible stereo system for them, where speakers, source, cables, and accessories can be as big and expensive as they need to be, but at the center of it all must be an integrated amplifier costing no more than $10000, I would call the nearest Norma dealer and order the Revo IPA-140, confident that the mission would be accomplished.
The Norma Revo IPA-140 integrated amplifier represents a definitive choice for amplification. Its high power (140W/8Ohm) and the ability to drive the most demanding speakers, make it an extremely versatile amp. Versatility is enhanced by the ability to customize the input / output connections and to insert the Phono MM / MC board. The elegant and sophisticated style is perfectly in tune with its sound personality.
The Revo IPA-70B is a class act. It represents an understanding of musical refinement over dry hi-fi specifications. Where some higher end amps can tend towards harsh resolution and raw power, it instead focuses on greater insight and stronger expression. There is a shade more contrast, a hint more sweet detail and a tad more colour, all adding up to a great deal more presence and enjoyment from one’s music. The longer I spend with this Norma amplifier the more I appreciate just how multi-talented and easy to live with it is.
Right out of the box you can tell the quality of the IPA-140B by its feel and heft; this is no run of the mill stamped metal stuff here. The IPA-140B does pass the eyeball test without looking like it’s on steroids. The volume control is smooth when rotated, the blue LED’s are not the ones that have that piercing ray gun look in the dark.
What’s not to like about Norma Audio’s Revo IPA-140? Okay, the plastic remote control’s lack of volume sensitivity earns it a demerit; if I were buying, I’d opt for the metal remote. But, really — gorgeous Italian design coupled with solid engineering and world-class sound? An internal DAC option to boot? If I were in the market for a one-box integrated-DAC for $9600, here is where I’d start. Don’t need the DAC? No matter. Buy the Revo IPA-140 without DAC, and $1000 worth of music to play through it. You won’t regret it.
It sounds like an oxymoron, but we’re in the midst of a quiet revolution in loudspeaker design. In the past, loudspeakers were good at some things, less so at others. The Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo is that rare loudspeaker that is good at everything it’s supposed to be good at, and the few areas where it shows limitations are deliberate attempts at making a pragmatic design for the real world. I keep using the word ‘honest’ for a reason. This is a loudspeaker that makes a very honest sound, at a very honest price, and comes honestly recommended!
Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo Review
The UK based HiFiChoice awards the NORMA REVO IPA 70B with 5 stars out of 5 and gives it the “HiFIChoice Recommended” stamp