In 2009 a group of Southern Californian designers, engineers, and audio enthusiasts joined together to form Starke Sound -- a speaker company created for the audiophile. The founding partners felt that the current state of speaker technology, particularly multi-channel technology, was lacking creatively not only in performance but also in the design of the speakers themselves. So, the race was on to build a highly qualified multi-disciplinary design team to challenge the status quo and create a world class creative speaker company that combines state of the art technology with an elegant, contemporary design aesthetic.
The VLOT’s by Starke Sound are a brand new, small form factor project that was recently launched by the California based company. It’s a simple, plug and play stereo system of compact towers with built-in wireless connectivity and 150 watts per channel. The initial setup after the unboxing was very easy. You link up to your phone or plug in your source device and you're ready to rock! The input selector on the top makes it fast and easy to select your source to get those wavy tunes coming in nice and loud.
The VLOT's are finished in an ABS Varnish can be purchased in three different colors: black satin, white satin and the limited-edition wood grain. They are thin and very sleek. The magnetic grille has a coral style design and looked very appropriate with the black on the woodgrain. I normally remove the grilles from speakers completely, however these stayed on for the first time.
On top of the control speaker is an interactive input selector. On the back of the same speaker are the input terminals. It features RCA stereo inputs, a coaxial input, optical input, subwoofer out, power input and a five-way binding post to connect to the companion speaker.
When I was approached to review these units I had no idea what to expect, however I was very intrigued not only by their size but by the specs which boast an aggressive low end for the 4 inch drivers.
Let’s talk a bit about the sound quality. I felt that these speakers performed well with every genre of music I provided it with. Here are the three tracks I drove through these speakers that stood out to me. I used Tidal through my PIFI as well as my Bluesound Node 2i:
Novocaine For The Soul by Eels is a song I used to listen to when I was growing up and its just a nice chill song to enjoy and these speakers handled it quite well. Accentuating the bass but still maintaining clarity. Loved it.
Next on the list was Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys because I was very curious how they could handle that type of low-end bass and their high-pitched voices. The bass was not as low as it could have been having used a subwoofer however you knew it was there and it sounded good.
Finally, I wanted to hear the clarity since these speakers do have great mids and highs. I chose Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers and I was not disappointed. Each instrument was present and came through with precision, warmth and tons of character. Great work Starke Sound, you made my music sound fantastic!
The REW measurement is my way to shamelessly judge a speaker. Right off the bat I can tell you that they definitely tuned this speaker to excel in the low end by somehow making the 50hz-300hz range nice and dynamic. It has an odd null at around 2k hz which is probably about where they crossed it over. The highs however keep going past 20kHz. However, the speaker didn’t sound overly bright or fatiguing so that’s a definite plus. Aside from a few nulls, the measurement is nice and linear.
So, to sum it up, I think these speakers would be ideal for someone who has a small space, bedroom, dorm room, flat, studio wherever you need a really good sounding speaker in a smaller environment these towers will thrive. Can they fill a large room with audiophile sound? Probably not they are not meant for that. The 4 ½ inch drivers put out what they can put out and to be honest I think they go above and beyond expectations when at first glance you would not expect them to have such a nice soundstage for being so small. All in all, I think this is a huge win for Starke and what I would imagine will be an incredible product offering. Coming in at $1,299 for the white and black and $1,499 for the wood grain limited edition they are priced slightly higher than what I had expected, however given the connectivity, ease of use, great sound and overall build quality these would make an excellent edition to anyone's home audio setup.