Owners of the original Carmelita (aka zA1.1) and Valentina (aka zA2.1) can have their pairs updated with new woofers or electronics, or upgraded by converting them from passive to active) or some combination. In the process, the speakers will be thoroughly evaluated, and any components that require attention will be serviced or replaced.
Convert P7 passive to A7 active. Remove passive components, modify cabinets, and install Hypex dual 250W/4Ω NCore amplification per cabinet, replace rear input panel, install analog and digital input cards, modify wiring as needed, install integrated vibration isolation and adapter plates.
8" woofer update. Modify baffles; replace 7" with 8" woofers. Conversion of passive version includes crossover modification: $2295/pair
Convert passive to A8 active. Includes 8" woofer update, plus remove passive components, modify cabinets, and install Hypex dual 500W/4Ω NCore amplification per cabinet, replace rear input panel, install analog and digital input cards, modify wiring as needed: $5795/pair
Update original active to A8 active. Includes 8" woofer update, plus remove original amplifiers, replace cabinets, and install Hypex dual 500W/4Ω NCore amplification per cabinet, add new rear input panel, install analog and digital input cards, modify wiring as needed: $6295/pair
Update A8 to A8-SE. This converts an A8 into what is perhaps the ultimate expression of what the Valentina is capable of: $3795/pair Each cabinet gets:
- a third amplifier
- three full range, low distortion, 3.5" drivers covering 200 Hz and up, one on each side and one in back
- software that creates two types of omnidirectional presentation
Whereas the original three presets are calibrated to compensate for a range of wall distances, the new ones replace presets 2 and 3 with two types of omnidirectional presentation. For wall distance, all three are now calibrated for a 20" [50 cm] distance from the front wall in a small to medium sized room.
One effect of the omni modes is that the sound is fairly uniform everywhere in the room, plus there's better imaging when far off axis. This is why the option is called SE for Stereo Everywhere.
The main benefit, however, is for music lovers who want the closest thing possible to attending a live concert when seated at home, details below in the Preset 3 description.
Preset 1 supplies the direct sound that you're used to, namely with a high degree of rejection of your room's acoustics.
Preset 2 is called Straight Omni. It radiates full range sound from the three indirect drivers.
There's a very brief delay applied to the indirect sound that practically eliminates the imaging blur that would otherwise occur. This works by giving the ear time to locate the positions of the instruments in the stereo image before the omni sound arrives, much as in a performance venue. A cymbal tap remains the width of a drumstick tip, and a cello remains the width of a cello.
What's added to the center image is a sense of air around it, which is generally nice, but the best part is it takes a close mic'd, dryly recorded performer and moves the in-your-face image out into your room.
There's also some additional EQ applied to the direct sound to keep the spectrum flat in the sweet spot.
Preset 3 is called Concert Omni, and there are three aspects that justify this name:
- It filters the spectrum of the indirect sound to reproduce the spectrum heard laterally in Boston Symphony Hall
- It adds a bit more delay to the indirect sound
- It adds a dip to the midrange of the direct sound that helps compensate for the how microphones pick up sound equally from all directions, whereas the ear perceives lateral sound as being louder than direct sound in that frequency range
This mode erases the hard edge that an omni tends to present, especially on loud crescendos and hard piano hammer strikes, and just leaves the music sounding natural and real. It's also nice for small ensemble jazz and other acoustic music that's not typically performed in large halls.
From your seat, you can select the mode that best presents the music being played at the moment, or best suits your mood. It's as if you have three quite different speakers instead of just one.
In case you're wondering how drivers that only produce sound from 200 Hz up can be effective at this, the sound from the woofers in front is emitted across at least 180° at 200 Hz, and by 100 Hz is omnidirectional, so adding more side and rear sound below 200 Hz wouldn't be helpful.
Some upgrades can be combined. Also, additional upgrades and updates are possible. If you have one in mind, please inquire.