Have a look at The $2,000,000 Living Voice System at Bangkok Show

The Living Voice is a no-holds barred system developed by U.K. designer and retailer Kevin Scott.

Scott also is a high performance audio dealer doing business in the U.K. as Definitive Audio. This 'dream' system includes Kondo electronics and a Burmester transport. It's a large, complex system with powered subwoofers and no expense has been spared in the wood working and veneers. However, no matter how you present it, it's not exactly "room-friendly", though people who can afford it can also likely afford to house it in a dedicated room.

Systems like this present enormous sense of scale and when done properly should sound both seamless and effortless as this one did, though the room issues produced some profound resonances in the mid-bass that strongly colored the sound. I'm sure it's not the system, but the room. I'm sure in the right room this system will sound superb. I hope to find out (not in my room--it wouldn't fit).

"How many such systems (if any) could they have sold?" you may be asking. Watch the video! And please don't let something so far out of reach for most of us (if not all of us!) get you angry or envious!

Cobion's picture

Thank you for posting that. I agree, envy can get the best of a person when seeing that, however it's the same kind of envy as looking at a masterpiece of artwork, it must be appreciated.

Interesting choice of materials used in the construction. From an engineering perspective, the consistency of some of the exotics is difficult to manage.

Jon's picture

Do they make a budget version in plain boxwood? :)

PAR's picture

I spoke with Kevin ( the manufacturer) at the Munich show a couple of years ago and he will make a plain version at a much cheaper price. However it is still hundreds of thousands of $. I guess if you can afford the plain one you can probably also afford the one with the expensive marquetry.

As you may tell from my remark I have actually heard the system. It is the finest I have heard and has enormous emotional impact.

PAR's picture

The correct name of the speaker system is Vox Olympia. Living Voice is the speaker company, not the product's name.

PAR's picture

As per the subject above.

Grant M's picture

Just slightly over the top? Sometimes less is more.

OldschoolE's picture

One thing that helps eliminate envy and other nasty thoughts about uber pricey audio and really brings it into perspective, is realizing the reality that while this system probably sounds amazing. Even a 5 digit or 4 digit system can sound equally amazing in the right room with proper set up.
Most importantly, if your current system gets your toe tapping then all is right with the world and no need for envy.

AnalogJ's picture

I was up north of the US border with a group of audio enthusiasts who were being hosted by audio enthusiasts who lived in that city. We got to hear a variety of systems, from modest to not-so-modest, from ones in small rooms with small speakers and flea wattage tube amps, to ones in large rooms with large speakers and powerful amps.

All of the systems were musical, but the one that the mega-dollar, mega-sized system could do that the others could not was to absolutely recreate the space in which the record was recorded. Listening to that mega-system, the hall in which the London Symphony played was absolutely in that room, or I was in that hall. The size of the hall, the walls of the hall, were absolutely recreated. Then a piano/cello duet recording was put on, and THERE was a life-size piano and cello; and again, I could "see" the walls of the room, hearing the smallest detail of ambience. Even a mono recording of the Duke Ellington Orchestra was rendered life-size with detailed front-to-back layering.

Going to a house with a more "modest" system, the speakers going for about $3000, that music lover's system could do just about everything the mega-system could do, except for reproduce the size variations to the astonishing degree that the other system did. The second system was really well balanced and enjoyable. I could absolutely live with that system. Another person's system, with good mini-monitors and the flea wattage amps were even more limited in terms of dynamics.

So my point is, there ARE things that a well-tuned cost-no-object system can potentially do that lesser cost systems can not, and part of that has to do with physics, or physical limitations.

Michael Fremer's picture
I've heard a few such systems in well-tuned large rooms and that spatial component is absolutely staggering. Mostly I've heard "Mini" Belafonte at Carnegie Hall" playback: credible but compact. Hearing that record on a system like this in a large space produces a greater sense of the real space, particularly in terms of the hall slap-back echo. It can be amazing. On the other hand that record was also astonishing when I used to play it on a pair of Spica TC-50s driven by Hafler DH-101 preamp and DH-200 amp kits. Less so on the system my family had in 1958 when it record was originally released! Yet, it was easy to tell it was an amazing recording. Considering it was produced 57 years ago, when you hear the latest iteration from Analogue Productions you have to sit there and say "Where have we gone wrong and how can we return there"?
dbowker3d's picture

Man, I had some TC50s and they really did reproduce space better than anything I've had since (though each since has been better overall).

oregonpapa's picture

I have the same reaction sometimes while listening to some of my mono jazz records.

J.D.'s picture

Hi, just posting to point out an audiophile misconception that maybe we all tend towards sometimes. Agree with your point that big, take-no-prisoners systems can absolutely do things that smaller/lesser efforts cannot, but ...

This thing where you're certain that a system can "recreate the space in which the record was recorded"-- well, I think not. It creates illusions, yes, sometimes much more forcefully or intricately than other setups. But seriously, let's be real and consider.

Have you or I heard *that ensemble* playing *that music* with *that instrumentation and personel*-- in that space ? No. Even the most faithful concert attendees will have to answer no, most of the time, even if they're world travelers.

Ever been in that hall with the London Symphony? Ever stood in front of the Ellington orchestra so that you know what "life-size with detailed front-to-back layering" would actually entail? Even if the answer could be yes-- scientists tell us that aural specifics tend to scatter or disappear as something recedes in time, so you'd have no certainty that your memory wasn't just wishful thinking.

So what do we mean when we say 'recreates the space' ...? Well, I'd say we mean gives a sense of a kind of acoustic illusion. By which, I mean the recipe cooked up by producer, engineer and musicians to incorporate presence, reverb, compression, L/R placement, foreground/background placement, slapback time, sustain and decay trail--- into a magic trick, one that most people would identify as 'sounds real'. But it is no more real than a hollywood movie is real.

Just think we should all be clear on this. Hirez, hifi, all of it is in service of an illusion created by artists. Touched-up, tweaked, massaged, eq'd and arranged into a "record" of an event that is changed by committing it to the groove or digit.

And yeah, an Ultra system design like the one MF is examining in the vidclip does that Illusion in deluxe fashion. No relation to "real", though. To use the movie analogy again, it's like seeing a tremendous film in 7omm Imax with perfectly calibrated projection. Looks convincingly real, but the source material-- is still a movie.

AnalogJ's picture

Uh, yes, I have been in some of those spaces. And I have been in front of big bands. I used to direct one. I have played and listened to chamber music in large halls and small rooms. When you're there, you hear what the walls of the room do. Whether it was engineers drumming up the space, or engineers actually capturing the space, what I suggest still goes. You can hear/see the boundaries of a room, particularly when minimal miking is employed, such as that was done with many of the recordings of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, or symphonic recordings done by Decca, RCA, and EMI.

Once you get into the 8 track recording era, then you can start talking with artificially manipulated soundstages.

Obviously, the whole soundstage is in front of us when we're listening through two speakers, unlike live. But the ability of the microphones and engineers to pick up the wall ambient reflection information still goes. And mega-systems will pick up that information on the record.

And I don't know if you have ever heard a 6 figure home sound system set up properly. With well-chosen source material, it's astonishing. And that recreation, or illusion, is far better revealed with those mega systems than with good value systems (and I have closer to the latter, admittedly).

J.D.'s picture

Didn't suggest that being in 'some' of 'those spaces' would let you credibly comment on how accurate the recordings were. Didn't ask if you'd been 'in front of big bands'. Nothing in the discussion requires knowing if you have 'played chamber music'.

That's a lot of wriggle wording to say, "to answer your question, no, I can't say I have witnessed those specifics, of those recordings, in those actual locations".

Tried to offer a polite thought or two on how audiophiles might get caught in non-defensible positions about the exact sound of the halls, etc. You want to ratchet up and say condescendingly that your expertise is really pretty considerable and blah blah blah.

If audiophiles are ever going to shrug off the 'snob' profile that we have in the rest of the world, the kind of response you offer (complete with its weasel-wording; yeah, 'some halls') is going to have to get edited for "modest". The smug "I don't know if you have ever heard a 6 figure system" bit isn't helping on that account.

Lame, bro. Take it somewhere where they're impressed.

AnalogJ's picture

To be said with the same charming British accent, "It's louder. You see, this one goes up to 11....because, well, it's louder."

AlanWK's picture

Don't forget the extended warranty....only $890,000.

Journeyman's picture

looking at a system like that is like looking at F1 and the sound must be just as impressive. I do not envy people who buy such a system because for me it's completely out of reach. Evil question so what cables did they run? Amazing power supply and yes that one I do envy! :-D

PAR's picture

I think that the cables used in the system are mentioned in the video posted by Mikey. They are Kondo silver.

Journeyman's picture

I usually associate the brand with other type of gear, anyway anything from Kondo has my respect including cables.
Tks for the info, I must watch this video again at home.

just another guy's picture

I hope 2 million includes the building this is housed in, along with all the components.

Otherwise :

I would buy a 500,000 dollar McMansion gutted, and turned into a giant listening room, a Maserati parked in the living room to look at while listening, and 3 of the best audio designers in the world for 3 months of their time along with the best materials in the world available to design an entire speaker system, and still CRUSH this... Probably still have a few bucks left over to invite everybody on this board over for pizza and drinks :-)

I love the speakers don't get me wrong... MAYBE 250,000 which is insane as it stands. ​

PAR's picture

$250,000? The main speakers are circa. $530,000 plus the subwoofers @ $180.000. Really ( prices based on Euro at Munich 2013).

Ortofan's picture

...impaired by "profound [room] resonances in the mid-bass that strongly colored the sound" or should it include some sort of signal processor with the capability to adjust/correct for them?

PAR's picture

If you can afford $2M for the systen you can afford to build a suitable room for them. Any sound processor to correct the mid-bass is then strictly OTT.The room used in Mikey's report is, of course, just a temporary home for them it being an exhibition hall.

warpig's picture

I originally joined more or less for the record reviews but it seems they are fewer and fewer. Most of these high dollar items I bet less than .001 percent of the individuals on this forum will purchase.

How about maybe more record reviews.

My 2 cents

marcel_kyrie's picture

It's kinda cool-looking, but the last place I would want some speakers is right in my turntable! Interesting, if gimmicky.

Banditcat200's picture

Heard this system at the Munich 2013 show, spent more then 2 hours here, keept coming back to hear more, the other rooms sucked, compared to this.
It is the best i have ever heard, anywhere
Only problem here is the Price and a room in which to use the system, which may only be purchased by rich oil barons or English lords.
Nothing for the average man on this planet.
But, that sound is something you will remember, there is nothing like it.