Anybody have Experience with Alta Audio Alyssa Speaker

I have been reviewing speakers in the $5K price range and came across the Alta Audio Alyssa speaker. I have put these on my watch list. I am very interested in hearing if anyone  has personal experience in listening to these speakers. What other speakers would you compare them to. Interested in reading what you have to say.


I’d add the Joseph Audio Prism and Usher Dancer Mini-X to your list, both of which are a bit cheaper than the Alyssa. 

@tjraubacher I haven’t had the Alyssa but I did own the older Alta Lelantos floorstanders for a few years. One thing I learned with Alta speakers is that they need both power and current to truly wake up. If you can match them with the right amp, boy, do Alta speakers sound great for the money.

@soix provided decent alternatives, but I would still pick the Alyssa over those recommendations. The Alyssa will have a much bigger sound and reach lower, and its high frequency performance will surely surpass that of the Usher. 

That said, a great competitor to the Alyssa that is likely more expensive is the Joseph Audio Pulsar. I’d take that over any of the ones mentioned. 

@grislybutter That's a cool site, thanks for sharing!

@tjraubacher The Hegel is a great integrated amp and should be a fine match with the Alyssa. Clean sound (as the Alyssa is a bit on the warm side), and lots of power and current, as well as a high damping factor to control the Alyssa. I haven't heard the two together but from what I know about both units, I'd anticipate it to be a fine match.

The Alyssa will have a much bigger sound and reach lower, and its high frequency performance will surely surpass that of the Usher.

@blisshifi  I’m not so sure about that.  The Mini-X uses the same diamond tweeter used in Usher’s $40k flagship speakers and I believe is made in house by Usher. No slouch fer sure.

@soix It's just my personal opinion, but based from experience. I recently sold a pair of Usher DMD floorstanders and had some time to intimately gauge their performance while they were in possession. The Usher DMD range, both from when I've seen them at shows, and when I've heard them in my room, were a bit darker in the lower treble and boosted on mid treble. They are very good speakers for the money, but I could never live with them because they drove me wanting more and irritated my ears slightly.

@blisshifi  Interesting.  Thanks for sharing your experience.  I heard one of their top models at a show years ago and was one of the most memorable demos I’ve heard, but those speakers had the Be tweeter and I’ve never heard the DMD tweet.  Incidentally, at that show Usher gave out a custom demo CD that I’ve used for reference material for years.  You can’t find the CD anywhere anymore, but I found it on a website and the sound quality seems pretty good although I haven’t had a chance to compare it to the CD.  Here’s the link…

@soix Thanks for sharing the link! I’ll check it out when I get back in town in a few days. I actually have an Usher demo cd laying around. I’ll have to check if it’s the same one. If it is, I’ll be happy to give it to you if you want it. 

Don’t get me wrong, the Ushers are a very involving and soulful speaker, and they do make a great impression. I’ve been very impressed with them myself. I have a high respect for them, but having heard so many others, I know they are not the most transparent. There’s still a strong place for them where they fit well. 

@blisshifi  That’s very kind, but I actually still have the CD.  I think Usher made several demo CDs so odds are yours may be different, but ya never know.

@blisshifi @tjraubacher thanks so much! I am planning to add a few more features and data, when I have a little more time :)

I listened to Alta Audio Alyssa at an audio dealer (that I highly respect). I found them thick sounding... too much mid-bass for my liking. I guess some would find that engaging, but I found it distracting.

I listened to Alta Audio Alyssa at an audio dealer (that I highly respect). I found them thick sounding... too much mid-bass for my liking.

@audiojan  The reviews I’ve read of Alta speakers indicate they are a bit polite sounding up top that may also be feeding into your impressions, but it almost sounds like the speakers weren’t optimally set up in the room or maybe an equipment mismatch.  What do you think?

Anyway, the more polite house sound of the Altas is why I recommended the Prism and Mini-X above as they probably offer a lighter/airier perspective in the event the OP finds the Alyssa not to his liking/tastes.  All comes down to personal tastes after all.  Frankly, at $5k and as @blisshifi alluded to above, I’d go for a pair of used Pulsars and call it a day, but that’s me.

@audiojan and @soix - this is what I meant by careful matching with the amp. I found it took a lot of power and current to get the speaker tightened up and for the tweeter to wake up, but with the right amp, it really does come alive. Pulsars are the best bet of the ones mentioned, though!



It was hooked up to Luxman M900u and C900u with a good analog turntable (can't remember which one). Usually, they are spot on in their setup, but you never know for sure when you listen to something at a dealer.

I wonder how the new PS audio FR5 bookshelf speakers will stand up to the competition 3 to 4k.


So how would you compare the Alta Audio Alyssa speaker to the Fritz Carrera BE or Carbon 7 SE Mk2 speakers


I also have H390 and am beginning to look towards an eventual stand-mount upgrade.

I encountered many very positive reviews of the Allyssa, before reading the Stereophile review.

"Unfortunately, when the Alyssas were not thrilling me, they were disappointing me with a lower midrange that lacked focus—but was it the speakers I was hearing or their interactions with the room and my amplifiers? In a larger space, with lower levels of reflected bass energies, the Alyssas would, perhaps, present themselves with a more balanced tone and sharper lower-midrange focus. Perhaps another Stereophile reviewer can audition these speakers in a larger room".

I have no idea whether this is the same thing @audiojan experienced. No other review I’ve encountered so far has mentioned this, so perhaps it is a room issue, after all.

There is a pair of Pulsars on usaudiomart:



yeah I read that review too. A little concerning when that is combined with what @audiojan was saying.

I have been tracking all of the used Pulsars.  The really good deals are already sold. Based on what I have read the Pulsars sound like a pretty spectacular bookshelf. Can’t really justify the new price for them and trying to determine if there are other speakers that compare.


If you simply can’t afford it, I get it but compared to the new price for Graphene (12K), the used ones at 5K Plus the $2900 to have Joseph upgrade them to Graphene seems a good deal.

Consider that you might be totally satisfied with them, without the upgrade.



i can afford the 5K for used Pulsars. Based on the reviews of the regular Pulsars they sound great and I don’t think I would need the graphene upgrade. My bigger issue is trying to figure how to slide the Pulsars into my setup without the wife going nuclear on me. She does not share this passion.

By the way does anybody heard the graphene Pulsars and can speak to what that upgrade adds to the regular Pulsars?

Based on the reviews of the regular Pulsars they sound great and I don’t think I would need the graphene upgrade.

I 100% agree.  The graphene thing seems much more important for the Perspectives, and there’s no way in hell you’re gonna be disappointed with the original Pulsars.  Go for it!  You can always upgrade them down the road if audiophile insanity kicks in, but personally I wouldn’t bother as the originals are so damn good already.


Thanks for that thread. Very informative. Helps because it seemed like the graphene makes its biggest difference in the bass. I am not a bass freak.


You’re welcome. If I had the funds, now, I would probably buy those used Pulsars. BTW, one need not be a "bass freak" to appreciate standmounts that deliver bass that exceeds expectations in terms of the size of the drivers. But each to his/her own.  

Perhaps, if your wife is a music lover, you can play her favorites on the Pulsars to get her on board. Or is it purely a case of (visual) esthetics? 


Am I mistaken, or was it you who described the sound of Pulsars driven by Hegel as "mesmerizing" ?

@stuartk Not sure I used “mesmerizing” but I guess it’s possible.  I just remember hearing the original Pulsars at a show with Hegel electronics and they sounded excellent — very natural sounding.  I heard them previously at another show driven by Bel Canto electronics and they performed at the same high level with that gear as well to the point where I questioned my inherent bias against Class D because it didn’t sound “digital” in the least, and I could’ve easily and happily lived with that system (and the Hegel too).  My takeaway is the Pulsars can play nice with a variety of amps — yet another virtue to add onto the pile.

My stereo is not in the main living area. It is in the refinished basement where I have my office. So I would say the visual is probably not the most important factor. The wife it’s more about the money. She thinks it is a waste of money. You can hear the music fine on speakers that cost way way less.  Maybe someday she will get it.


That's a tough one. It's hard to make someone care about something they don't naturally discern/value. 

One of the youtube reviewers drove the Alyssa's with an H190 and H 390, which caught my attention. He didn't mention anything about lack of clarity in the lower mids, though. 


I could be mistaken. At  any rate, I recalled you were very positive about the Hegel + Pulsar pairing.  



I was all set to order these before I realized they weren’t the Pulsars. What a deal that would have been. Kind of got my eyes locked in on the Pulsars.


I’d guess the prospect of getting Pulsars for that price isn’t a "deal" so much as an impossibility.

Perhaps if you can’t bring yourself to spend 5K it would make more sense to set a budget you’re more comfortable with and proceed from there?



Several pairs of original Pulsars sold for under $4000 over the past year so a little patience may be all that’s needed as they do come up fairly frequently. 


yes I am going with patience. Not in a hurry and not making any expenditures until after we see if we can get a construction loan in next month. The $5K would not impact that but I don’t want the W to use it as a reason for not getting the loan. Besides if we get the construction loan I will have a separate listening room above the garage. A place where I can truly appreciate the Pulsars.

Besides if we get the construction loan I will have a separate listening room above the garage. A place where I can truly appreciate the Pulsars.

Awesome!  Sounds like a good plan and keeping my fingers crossed for you. 


Your disclosure that you may have enough funds for a separate listening room changes the picture you first presented quite a bit!  In that case, it wouldn't make sense to demo/buy speakers until the new room is set up. 


I am sorry; I did not mean to hide anything; I have been just doing research to identify potential speakers. Hence looking at the Fritz then the Alta Alyssa and finally the Joseph Audio Pulsars.  To me it looks like the Pulsars are the real deal. Right now they are my #1. I am still researching because I plan on this being my last speaker buy.  The house situation should be resolved soon. 
I really appreciate the excellent information and advice that I have received from the audiogon community. A wealth of knowledge that is shared with us wannabe audiophiles. Please accept my apologies and thank you so much for your help. Tom


No reason to apologize. It never occurred to me that you were trying to hide anything. ;o)

I simply meant it makes sense to hold off on buying any speakers until you find out whether or not a designated listening room is where you are headed!


For what it's worth, the British Audiophile just retired his much beloved ProAc speakers with the Alyssas.....his review is below



That review was extremely positive on the Alyssa. Makes me pause and think some. I guess I will try to get more info on the Alyssa.


Tarun (British Audiophile) is one of the few reviewers that I feel shoots straight, and he has been trying to upgrade his speakers for years; but never found everything he was looking for until the Alyssa.....for what it's worth

Yeah that makes it tough. Would be nice to hear them side-by-side. Has anyone heard both the Pulsars and Alyssa’s and can compare them?

I’ve only heard the Pulsars at shows, but just going by what I’ve read in reviews it seems one of the more defining differences may be in the treble where the Alyssa sounds like it could be a little more laid back relative to the Pulsars.  Not saying one is better than the other and just depends on what kinda flavor you’re partial to up there, but that may be an important area to explore further FWIW.

@tjraubacher A pair of Pulsar 2 Graphene just popped up on USAM. I have no affiliation, it just reminded me of this thread. Price is a bit higher than your budget but worth looking into. Looking at past listing, I’ve seen dealers sell this for less, so there may be some room for negotiation. 


I’m wondering if you’ve heard Fritz Carbons with Hegel amplification and if so, how you think they’d compare to the Pulsars and Alyssas.




Yeah I was wondering the same thing. The Fritz Carbon 7 MkII, Alyssa and Pulsars all have great reviews and are speakers that I have been looking at. It would be great if someone has experience with them that they can share.