I went over my test setup with Dr. Lirpa by phone. He had a number of strong requests. The first was that I only listen to vinyl. This was because, in his words, “It’s the only format designed by Americans.” Regarding amplification, he replied: “Class A only. None of that wussy, power-saving, Class A/B crap. If you use Class D, the terrorists win.”
No worries, I had a pair of home-built, single-ended triode amps. These have the advantage of not only using tubes but being assembled by me at my home in Southern California.
“Don’t get me started on California,” the good doctor replied.
But apparently I had, as the following 20 minutes were filled with some of the most inventive and colorful profanity to which I have ever been privy.
My first selection was a little Creedence Clearwater Revival from the band’s Willy and the Poor Boys album. The first track on Side 2, “Fortunate Son,” was the beginning of my indoctrination into the wonder that is the Liberty Freedoms. Even with the marginal power available from the SET amps, it was like strapping yourself onto a rocket sled and lighting the fuse. My trusty RadioShack SPL meter maxes out at 126 dB, and the needle was pinned well past that. The onslaught of sound was like no other. The bass was penetrating and impacting. The vast sound was three-dimensional in its three-dimensionalness. The Liberty Freedoms made the metallic sounds of Doug Clifford’s cymbals sound authentic without being biting or harsh. These speakers just disappear, and are commendably free, at least to my ears, of any obvious midrange bulges. The trickle-down tech from Lirpa’s former products is evident. They sound better than speakers 10 times their price.
Flipping all three toggles on the back resulted in an automated phone call from the USGS.
Up next was the first LP in the Woody Guthrie boxed set My Dusty Road. Track 1, “This Land Is Your Land,” sounded like it was recorded yesterday. The chocolatey smooth midrange coming out of the Liberty Freedoms was simply the best I’ve ever heard. Dulcified, full-bodied tones of Woody’s guitar enrobed me in effervescent clarity. The nectarous piquancy of his voice was matched only by the verdant, chromatic brilliance of the razor-sharp soundstage. Succulent balsamication of the milieu was zesty in its gratineed lusciousness.
My last selection was a personal favorite of mine, Bruce Springsteen. The title track from his 1984 release, Born in the U.S.A., has the big sound these speakers were made for, and the theme suits their design edict flawlessly. As soon as the stylus hit the vinyl, it was as if Bruce himself was in the room with me. At one point, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had leapt out of the speaker, spun around, and yelled, “Holy crap! These speakers are great!”
Without question, the Lirpa Labs Liberty Freedom 1776 A-FY tower speakers are in a class by themselves. There is literally nothing else like them on the market. From design to performance, Dr. Lirpa has created something unique in the marketplace. I can proudly say the Liberty Freedoms are my new reference speakers. Up next for Lirpa Labs is said to be a Class D tube amp. We can’t wait.
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