Offered for sale is my pair of NOLA Metro Grand Reference 2 speakers. I am listing them as 6/10 conservatively. They are in perfect working condition, but the rating reflects some cosmetic issues with the left speaker. The left speaker has two dings halfway down the rear right edge, and this alone is the reason for the 6/10 rating (I am using Audiogon's listed rules for ratings). Please see below for more details on how I have repaired the dings quite adequately so you would hardly notice them.
These are really beautiful sounding speakers - open baffle in part. The midrange and ribbon tweeter at the top are in the open section of the baffle, and the two ported bass drivers in the cabinet below go very low and deep. They work beautifully with tube amps and also I understand with high quality SS amps. I have been using my integrated VAC 160iSE amp with them. As they are the Version 2 of the Metro Grand (not Gold) they have the internal Nordost silver wiring and the revised crossover design. I have owned them about 5+ years.
The designer Carl Marchisotto has perfected his design over the years and I, for one, can definitely vouch for how good these speakers sound. Extremely sweet midrange and clean high treble through ribbons. Bass, as I said, goes low and deep, not the tightest, but I have added some Marigo tweaks that you will get if you buy this pair, and these tighten bass up very nicely. Soundstaging is superb, as the speakers disappear except when there is a very marked stereo separation in the recording itself.
You can read an Audiogon blog review I wrote up and some comments/questions there as well from a few years ago here:
Please note that I have filled in the two dings (on the rear right edge of the left speaker) quite decently with resin and a little bit of fiberglass mixture. I have also sanded over the fillings so that the surface is smooth and continuous, really hardly different from the original surface shape. The surfaces of the filled in dings have been painted over and finished with a high quality finish and look just fine. I matched the color quite closely to the NOLA's original coating color and have finished the covered dings with a high quality Grumbacher glossy finish. You will not notice very much at all except in close proximity or very bright light. The work is really quite acceptable. Of course, you can improve on the paint and finish if you have better skills than I do.
I have included a picture of the two repaired (filled in) dings on the left speaker. They were caused sometime last year when a steel block (that I was using as a weight on a nearby component) slipped off during adjustments I was making and fell to the floor dinging the side of the speaker as it fell.
The right speaker is cosmetically in very good shape, rated 8/10, I would say easily.
At the rear of each speaker you will see two small black discs. These are Marigo Audio N31 damping discs. They are very effective in reducing resonance from the wood cabinet and they made a very nice improvement to bass quality and really overall. They will be included for no additional charge (obviously). They can be removed, but there is a risk of residue which would then need to be cleaned. I would strongly recommend leaving them where are because they are unobtrusive and a free and clear benefit for you.
Each of the black stands that go underneath the speakers (see separate picture, not shown under speakers in my pictures) has a small ding, but nothing that is visible when under the speakers, and they will perform perfectly.
Having heard horror stories about shipping speakers, I really don't want to ship them, so a local pick up is hugely preferred. Besides, given the cosmetic issues I have mentioned above, you should look them over in person to confirm what I say. I am pricing the offering extremely well from your perspective.
I do have the original boxes and all original parts including the black cloth open baffle screens. As far as pictures go, I haven't included pictures of the boxes as these are in my storage room, but everything else originally provided is included among the pictures.
I am only selling to switch to a DIY-type 4-way open baffle design speaker. I have enjoyed the NOLAs thoroughly for 5 years and, if you buy this pair and are interested, I can give you some set up advice that could be useful. For example, I have a pair of Townshend Podiums that I could perhaps include with this sale for an additional $1200 (I paid $1800, and I believe MSRP is in the region of $2000-2200 (I say here "perhaps include" because I haven't fully decided whether to let them go as I could use them for my new setup too). The Townshend Podiums I have are the correct size for these NOLAs and they really are the best way to isolate these speakers, delivering a substantial improvement in sound (bass and everything else) when compared to NOLAs own stands/footers, or even compared to the NOLA stand with Stillpoints which I had for quite a while too. With decent set-up I think you really can achieve as good sound as almost anything of this refined type of speaker that excels in vocals, piano, orchestral and can play rock really loud and with deep good bass. When I heard them at shows, I never felt that the newer NOLA Metro Golds with their additional refinements, or even other top class speakers of this type, had much or any edge compared to my own set up.
I have a spare Raven tweeter that I got from NOLA and also some aluminum ribbons from Raven that I will include in the sale. Some time late last year, the aluminum ribbon in the right speaker's tweeter got displaced after the external screw securing the cable became loose (one needs to check that these are securely screwed in from time to time as for whatever reason they do get loose). So I replaced the original Raven ribbon on the original tweeter with a replacement ribbon I got from Raven. The replacement ribbon works just as well as the original ribbon in the tweeter, so no problem there. In any case you will also receive the extra Raven tweeter that NOLA sold me in case you ever need it, along with several spare ribbons from Raven. Carl seemed to think the factory ribbon installation would be better than what I could achieve. As Raven explained to me and as I learned for myself, I was able to replace the ribbon on the original tweeter perfectly by myself. In any case the result is you will have a spare tweeter should you ever need one (cost to me was $800, no extra charge to you).
I am the first owner having bought the speakers in essentially new condition from a local NOLA dealer - Xtreme Fidelity - who used them as demos for a year or so. I have all the documentation as well.
Payment by check is preferred. You can have the speakers when your check clears. I can accept Paypal payments but you will have to cover any charges.
Thanks for looking