Finding a third Loudspeaker to retail alongside Tidal Audio and Avalon Acoustics is no easy feat. In fact, so difficult is the task of designing a truly linear, neutral and natural transducer that I had almost given up on the idea, until that is, I opened up dialogue with Rockport Technologies early in 2020 at the start of the pandemic. As a longstanding admirer I approached them uninvited and as it happened my timing couldn’t have been better because they had been recently pondering on perhaps taking a fresh look at their position in the UK marketplace and our initial fruitful conversations together helped spur them on. Some 8 months on from that and now we have a newly selected UK distributor, a very robust strategy for the UK and Lotus Hifi as the first appointed UK dealer under this new paradigm.
Rockport Technologies, based at the quiet coastal town of Rockport in Maine USA, probably guaranteed themselves near mythical status through the 1990’s when they steadily developed their first ever product, the landmark Sirius Phonograph, from launch edition to final Mk 3 status. Weighing in at around 250kg of astonishingly complex engineering, created in a 6 month build using no less than 60 different suppliers, Andy Payor’s truly ‘no holds barred’ onslaught on the problem of playing back a 12 inch piece of plastic has in fact, probably never been bettered. As a Vinyl source, it is still the ultimate reference point by which all other ultra highend record decks are to this day judged and nothing in the domain of its stratospheric engineering level will probably ever be manufactured, ever again.
“Through extremely carefully considered materials choices, coupled with strict adherence to mechanical, electrical, and acoustic engineering principles, our products are designed to maintain the absolute integrity of the original music signal. This allows for the greatest appreciation of one’s recordings, fully capturing the nuance and raw emotion of the original musical event, no matter how simple or demanding. Since our designs are inherently tonally neutral, associated equipment choices can be made without the need for additional tonal compensation.”
Moving forward the IV and the V versions of the Sirius never materialised. It’s hardly surprising but Andy Payor believed that the design could not be bettered. Instead Rockport focused their attention though the turn of the century back on that other transducer in the chain, the Loudspeaker. As you might expect the same level of engineering excellence, attention to detail and lack of compromise seen with the Sirius applies also to their electrical to mechanical transducer design. Understand that here is an organisation who, much like Tidal and Avalon, are really only interested in being at the very top or frontier of this industry and current technology and know how. This is precisely why the Sirius story is so illustrative.
For Lotus, Rockport Technologies mirror every value that we consider sacred. They use the finest materials and components, they design and manufacture free from financial or marketing pressures and are highly professional in every single aspect of their being and modus operandi. Perhaps above all else though, their speakers sound natural and this is really what is so difficult. Customers think they want lots of detail and resolution and want to be sonically showboated but at the highest level of this hobby you really are paying for greater and greater levels of naturalness or ‘absence of hifi’. By my reckoning, Rockport have this most difficult of aspirations completely sewn up. We are hugely excited and proud to showcase their wonderful products here in our demonstration room.