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July 3rd, 2013 0 Comments

Vapor Audio – the Nimbus Speaker

Ryan Scott of Vapor Audio casually admits that he hadn’t planned on going into speaker design as a career. “I have yet to meet someone who said, “when I was a child I wanted to design speakers.”  Thanks in part to some Clinton-era cutbacks, this now EX-meteorologist, found himself caught up in a perfect storm that would lead to the founding of Vapor Audio.

Audiogon’s President, Steve Clay, met Scott at T.H.E. Show Newport Beach while listening to Vapor Audio’s new Nimbus speakers.  Named after a type of cloud capable of producing thunder and lightning, the 250lb Nimbus speaker has a 15″ woofer, 93dB sensitivity with a booming output which maxes out at 125dB.  The drivers in the Nimbus are positioned for time alignment, which allowed Scott to reduce the number of internal components from nine to four.  A first order crossover helps achieve a flat frequency response across the audible range. Ryan thinks this is the ideal since it gives the audiophile the opportunity to create the sound he desires, with cables and choices of equipment.  “[The Nimbus] incorporates everything we’ve learned up to this point,” Ryan says.

nimbus

The cabinet choice was four curved walls joined together at compound angles.  This is a task not typically undertaken by bigger speaker companies since you cannot automate any of this process.  Ryan feels fortunate to have found and employed a musician and luthier who assembles guitars in this fashion on a daily basis. The desired result using curved walls is to increase strength and reduce the scale required around a 15″ woofer.  After careful thought, Vapor developed this  curved wall design  by molding thin layers of wood on top of each other, and placed in a buck which forms the shape. As the desired thickness was reached, the layers become rigid and tensioned.  Further improving the resonance control, roughly 30lbs of Inversion Layer material is flowed onto the interior before the front baffle is added. The final product delivers dynamic sound and scale that will blow your hair back, yet is relaxing and effortless in it’s delivery.

As a designer, Scott’s philosophy is to not have a philosophy.  He prefers a more organic approach with a lot of experimentation; identifying factors then pieces so there’s no need to force any component to do something they can’t.  “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” he says about his pragmatic style.  “The way music can speak to your soul like nothing else can, has always motivated me to build better and better creations.  Vapor Audio components give the listener  an emotional connection to the music.”

This is key for Scott, as he grew up in a house where music was always present but never in his face.  His father is a guitarist and accomplished vocalist.  After leaving the National Weather Service, he re-engaged with his love for music and realized that his “cheapskate” personality is much better suited to building his own gear. He feels he has become proficient enough to offer his wares to anyone seeking a great musical experience.