The Vienna Acoustics Mozart Infinity: the audio system of the future – now?
By Roy Gregory
I have seen the future! It’s shiny white and a little over three feet tall…
If the Mozart Infinity speakers currently stood in my front room were finished in piano black instead, I’d probably be feeling like those astronauts confronted by the obelisk in 2001… except that, while the shock is nearly as great, the sonic experience is a whole lot more musical. Okay, so step changes in the audio industry aren’t as earth shaking as they used to be, but in market terms, the impact of this visually unassuming little speaker from Vienna could and should be genuinely seismic.
For years, companies have been chasing the Holy Grail of hi-fi, the compact system that offers style and convenience without compromising performance. You could argue that it started with the original Bose Wave Radio and has graduated by stages (if not in terms of actual musical performance) through B&O, Sonos and the Devialet Phantom. Despite the scale of the investment – not to mention the marketing spend – from those major players, who’d have thunk that the first company to really nail the solution would be a small, specialist (and extremely traditional) loudspeaker manufacturer from Austria? But then Vienna does have a history of hosting musical revolutions…
So first, a little background, just to set the scene.
Vienna Acoustics (the company in question) has a long history of and a well-deserved reputation for crafting beautifully finished speakers that offer exceptional material and musical value for money. Outwardly conservative (with an emphasis on the ‘small c’) the products have always followed their own distinct and carefully considered set of design priorities, resulting in speakers that trade lower efficiency for wider bandwidth (the exact opposite of the dominant market trend), that emphasise integration along with tonal and harmonic accuracy in place of an immediately impressive balance. Despite the beautifully finished cabinets, much of what made the Vienna speakers special was tucked away inside. An almost obsessive attention to detail resulted in carefully braced and damped cabinets and exactingly balanced crossovers, factors that contributed directly and mightily to the speakers’ un-intrusive and engaging musical performance. But this isn’t a company that simply follows the herd. Just how independent their thinking really is has only just become (shockingly) apparent.
The times they are a changing and slowly but surely, Vienna’s (previously, assiduously concealed) light has been spilling out from under their bushel. First evidence arrived in the in the shape of the supremely practical outrigger feet that now grace all of their floorstanding cabinets. That might not sound particularly impressive, except that speakers with the Viennas’ extended bottom end really, really benefit from precise adjustment of height and attitude – and few of the other outrigger systems on the market (irrespective of price) are engineered as well or are nearly as practical as the VA offering. Those substantial spikes make a very real contribution to the speakers’ set up and as a result, the system’s sound.