To Jeff Fritz,
Regarding Rockport speakers, can you tell me the following?
1) Having designed virtually his whole speaker line with side-firing woofers, Mr. Payor appears to be moving back to front-firing woofers (Alya, Atria, and Avior). Do you know if this trend will continue up the line to the Altair and Arrakis speakers? Has Mr. Payor alluded to any change in his design philosophy or is it a matter of economics?
2) On the Altair and Arrakis, is Rockport making the 15" cones also, or are they stopping at the 9" units?
Rockport moved to front-firing woofers in order to change the aesthetic perception of the speaker, nothing else. My understanding (you'd be better off calling Rockport directly on this; Andy Payor will gladly answer questions on his designs) is that there is not a sonic advantage either way -- both form factors can be equally successful if engineered correctly. I have been told the Altair and Arrakis will not change.
Regarding your second question, Rockport makes the drivers in the Atria and the Avior in their entirety -- cones, motors, baskets, etc. In the 15" woofers, Rockport makes the cones (their newest cone profile), but the motor systems are made by Audiotechnology in Denmark. . . . Jeff Fritz