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February 2015
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Superior Audio Equipment Review
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Vapor Audio Derecho Floorstanding Loudspeaker
An impressive speaker by Vapor Audio.
Review By Rick Becker


Vapor Audio Derecho Floorstanding Loudspeaker

  As you may know from reading my bio I am one of the early adopter to Vapor Audio's speakers with my own personal pair of Cirrus. Fortunately I also live in St. Louis and can get out to Ryan's shop in about an hour so I now can easily access his speakers. Thus asked to review the new Vapor Audio Derecho floorstanding loudspeaker and soon they arrived within my listening room. It seems at every turn Vapor audio is met with high praise and a share of drama to be sure. All the while Vapor has been continuing to develop and release world-class speakers across almost every price point. At AXPONA 2014, Vapor audio somewhat quietly released the new Derecho the entry level ($9495 as tested) for their floor standing line of speakers, with its' big brothers the Nimbus and Joule. It is clear that for their line of floor standing speaker, Vapor is trying to substantiate their use of the larger form factor to deliver higher quality bass while delivering higher efficiency rather than delivering a floor standing speaker that still sacrifices a corner of the efficiency, extension, and size. What I call the holy trinity. As typical of Vapor's line up this speaker feature the RAAL ribbon tweeter on top and an assortment of drivers below.

Vapor Audio Derecho Floorstanding Loudspeaker

The cabinet is a beautiful, incredibly rigid stacked ply affair similar to the Cirrus although much more impressive in scale. Form follows function at Vapor Audio, every curve and angle has it's reason for being. The large outward flare in front is what Ryan at Vapor calls a roundover, and acts to eliminate edge diffraction. Interior walls in addition to be very rigid, are damped with their "Inversion Layer" material. And the front to back taper combined with the intricate internal shape reduces interior reflections from escaping the cabinet through the speaker cones themselves. I had a fair amount of time with the Derecho and put them through their paces and really got to know the speaker.


First Impressions
The Derecho is a large floor standing speaker made with laminated Baltic birch ply. This particular pair was bare ply with a matte finish with ash burl tops (It is the same pair that was at AXPONA and the first pair to be made), it is a very modern looking finish overall with the custom milled outriggers and spikes and a very minimalist look. They are physically of good size measuring 44" high and 15" wide, however aesthetically they are less imposing with the soft curves and emphasis of the narrower baffle. These speakers would fit in most decors and can be finished in most veneers for an additional fee, I would recommend the bare ply look if you want this speaker to fit in a minimalist listening room or one of the infinite veneer and paint finishes offered by vapor for any décor.

Vapor Audio Derecho Floorstanding Loudspeaker

The tweeter is as usual the fantastic RAAL 70-20XR ribbon; this is one of my favorite tweeters when implemented correctly from my Cirrus to the Kaiser Kawero. From my experience the RAAL has more resolution and leading/trailing edge detail while remaining just as musical as anything I have ever heard. The mid-range is handled by a high efficiency 6.5" carbon/paper cone from Dayton Audio. The midrange features a cutting edge motor with heavy copper shorting rings that reduce distortion; these copper rings are even visible through the dustcap. Although very capable and quite engaging, the midrange doesn't deliver quite the same level of nuance and refinement that the AudioTechnology drivers of the Cirrus Black and Joule Black. Ryan Scott, the owner of Vapor Audio, had already discussed designing a solution with Audio Technology midrange to replace the Dayton, should the customer want. As with everything Vapor makes, almost any part of the design is customizable.

Vapor Audio Derecho Floorstanding Loudspeaker

Bass in the Derecho is handled by a pair of high efficiency 8" paper cones from B&C, these are some of the most fun and full bass drivers I have heard with a very dynamic and tactile sound. They scale with the music quickly and effortlessly, seemingly begging to be pushed harder. The bass drivers deliver a very pro sound type feel which really adds to live or lively recordings, instruments are effortlessly handled delivering a very articulate and spacious in room sound. Top to bottom the Derecho is a very coherent design both technically and cosmetically. Moving and configuring the Derecho within a listening room is a consideration. At around 125 lbs it is a job that can be handled by two able bodied adults (for a case of beer.) They are fairly easy to place in a room almost regardless of size as long as you can get at least 15" off the front wall and sufficient cubic footage so as not to overload the room with bass.


Listening Impressions
An oldie but a goodie as I am young and 2005 is almost a decade ago, John Mayer Try! With "his" trio is a set of accomplished musicians in their own right PinoPalladino and Steve Jordan. This album is recorded live from several of the ensembles first performances between September and November 2005. The recordings have great dynamic range and showcase Mayer's phenomenal talents with a Fender along with Steve Jordan's immense talents as a jazz/blues drummer. This recording showcases the Derecho's capabilities with Live recordings and electric guitar for that matter. The Derecho handles range of a Fender guitar with that 1970's sounding effects pedal on this album with aplomb. Some drivers can be grating in this range while the Derecho is silky smooth.

Finch's Murder By Death album is an amazing instrumental soundtrack to the book with the same title, by Jeff VanderMeer. Although I have not read the book, based on this album I would imagine it is awesome. Without the usual Johnny Cash-esque vocals of Adam Turla this album focuses on the musical chops and production skills of the band. The recording quality is good; I was lucky enough to have this album on vinyl and digital and listened to both extensively. With this speaker, the digital trumps the analog; the Derecho adds a certain analog-ness to recordings and is great at delivering the strong bass on the digital recording. The Derecho delivers its fun bass in droves on this recording. With the analog recording that was already analog, the sound was somewhat flat to be fair my analog rig is always a bit flat sounding compared to my much higher quality digital front end.

Vapor Audio Derecho Floorstanding Loudspeaker

The Vapor Audio Derecho is an impressive and fairly capable speaker that does a lot of things very right! The top end is world class, the bass is fun and involving, the midrange is balanced. The fit and finish of this speaker are among the best I have seen, the bare ply sides are impressive and beautiful and the quality of the ash burl used on the top of the speakers in impressive, the speaker is a clearly handmade work of art. The milled aluminum outriggers and spikes are a great finishing touch. Only one qualm I have with the speaker is the resolution in the mid-range, which is good but does not deliver on the level of the other Vapor speakers I have heard (if I were to order a pair myself I would ask to use a version of the 7" Audio Technologies driver from the Cirrus for mid-range duties.) Efficiency and bass extension are phenomenal, I might supplement them with a DSP tuned sub if I were in a room that overly loaded with bass but these are all considerations you can make when developing your personal pair with Ryan at Vapor. The guys at Vapor were a pleasure to deal with, delivering the speaker personally a few months after AXPONA and really being transparent and humble with any questions or critiques I brought to them while putting together the review. If you get the opportunity you should really get your ears on the Derecho or any other of Vapor's offerings they are really impressive.



Sub-bass (10Hz - 60Hz)

Mid-bass (80Hz - 200Hz)

Midrange (200Hz - 3,000Hz)

High Frequencies (3,000Hz On Up)



Inner Resolution

Soundscape Width Front

Soundscape Width Rear
Soundscape Depth Behind Speakers

Soundscape Extension Into Room


Fit And Finish

Self Noise

Value For The Money


Type: Floorstanding loudspeaker
Frequency Response: 38 Hz to 39 kHz
Impedance: 4 Ohms
Sensitivity: 93dB/W/m
Crossover: Three-way time aligned at 2.3 kHz and 350 Hz
Weight: 125 lbs. each
Dimensions: 44" x 15" x 16" (HxWxD)
Price: $9495


Company Information
Vapor Audio 
5962 Town and Country Lane
House Springs, MO 63051

Voice: (636) 375 0086
E-mail: ryan@vaporsound.com
Website: www.VaporSound.com













































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