Vivid Audio’s Giya G2 retails for $50,000 USD per pair and is proof positive of the old saying that appearances can be deceiving. The Giya G2 doesn’t look anything like most reference-grade loudspeakers, but according to SoundStage! Network publisher Doug Schneider, in his review of February 1, 2012, "The Giya G2 is not only the best loudspeaker I’ve ever reviewed, it’s the best loudspeaker I’ve ever heard. It may be the best loudspeaker in the world."
The Giya G2 is the brainchild of Laurence Dickie, who used to work for Bowers & Wilkins, and created for B&W the formidable Nautilus loudspeaker design. Dickie designs Vivid speakers mostly in his home country of England, but the speakers are manufactured in Vivid’s factory in South Africa, under the direction of Dickie’s business partner, Philip Guttentag. Vivid Audio has been in business since 2004.
The Giya G2’s look is decidedly different, but nothing about its unique shape has been created for the sake of mere appearance. The G2 measures 54" high and weighs 121 pounds, and in real life looks a bit bigger than in most photos of it. Its bulbous, gracefully shaped enclosure was designed to give the drivers a near-perfect surface from which to launch their soundwaves. The speaker’s curled top is actually the narrow end of the "horn" shape formed by the entire enclosure, a shape that helps dissipate energy and reduce resonances caused by the outputs of the side-mounted woofers. Inside the cabinet, extending from the front to the rear panel, are three tapered tubes, one each for the tweeter and the upper- and lower-midrange drivers. This tapered-tube technology is also a Dickie design, as is the use of O-rings to affix the drivers to the cabinet, instead of the usual bolts or screws.
Every Vivid speaker uses drivers designed by Dickie, which the company manufactures to exacting specifications. The Giya G2 has five of these drivers, in a four-way design claimed to have a frequency response of 29Hz-33kHz, +/-2dB. That +/-2dB specification indicates excellent linearity, confirmed by our own tests of the G2 in the anechoic chamber at Canada’s National Research Council. Vivid specifies no -6dB or -10dB low points in the bass, but our own measurements and listening indicate that the Giya G2’s bass does extend to 20Hz in the listening room: it’s a full-range design.
Vivid also states that the G2’s total harmonic distortion is less than 0.5% throughout the audioband. This figure is surprising not only because it’s low, but also because THD is a specification that few loudspeaker makers publish. Once again, our measurements corroborated this claim, even when we pushed the G2 far beyond normal listening levels. All told, the Giya G2’s wide bandwidth, excellent linearity, and exceedingly low distortion mean that this speaker won’t color the signal: It’s extremely faithful to the source recording, making possible the playback of any type of music at any realistic listening level.
In his listening, Doug Schneider found that the Giya G2 had other sonic characteristics that bettered those of every other speaker he’s heard, but that a limited suite of measurements won’t necessary reveal. One was a remarkably uniform frequency response over a very wide, very tall listening window -- the G2s sounded largely the same whether he was directly in front of them or to their left or right, and whether he was standing up or sitting down. This means that you needn’t put your head in a virtual vise for these speakers to sound right, as is required with some high-end speakers whose dispersion characteristics aren’t so well controlled.
Another thing was the G2’s ability to sound lively and exceedingly detailed when played at whisper-quiet levels, and entirely composed and thoroughly effortless when played at wall-breaking volumes -- louder, in fact, than any other high-quality speaker Doug has reviewed or even heard.
Finally, there was the Giya G2’s uncanny ability to project sound so freely from its enclosure that when Doug closed his eyes, he could have easily convinced himself that the speakers weren’t even there. From his review: "The G2 also projected its sound in ways so immediately vivid (sorry) that if I hadn’t known where the speakers were positioned, I’d have sworn the music was appearing out of thin air. The B1s did a similar thing in terms of getting the sound out of their enclosures (boxes just doesn’t apply to Vivid speakers), but the G2s were simply better at it -- they completely ‘disappeared’ into the soundfield."
The looks of the Giya G2 aren’t normal, but neither is its sound. The speaker not only measures extremely well, it sounds extraordinarily good, and has a combination of wide bandwidth, excellent neutrality, outstanding clarity, astonishing transparency, and high output capability that, to date, is not matched by any other speaker ever reviewed in SoundStage! Hi-Fi. That makes the Vivid Audio Giya G2 an easy choice as a Recommended Reference Component, and a benchmark for judging other speakers.
Manufacturer contact information:
Vivid Audio Limited
The Old Barn
Rosier Business Park, Coneyhurst Road
Billinghurst, West Sussex RH149DE
Phone: +44 1403-78-2221