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  • Writer's pictureKeith Cooper

Have I learned anything at all.

Purité Audio started with horns, Cessaro, first there was their 'Alpha' next came their 'Affasciniate', quite elegant really no bass of course, then the 'Chopin' not as elegant and even less bass. Finally the four way 'Liszt', these did have bass, active twin 12" woofers sited at the top of the speaker.

To my shame I was persuaded to sell ( for the very shortest period of time possible) some valve amps, absolute shit.

You can see the Benchmark AHB2, powering the Liszt, a proper amplifier.

I also had the compulsory trial period with high sensitivity speakers and lower powered amps, Trenner@Friedl 'RA' and a very cute Bakoon ( now called something else Enleum? perhaps) pre/power/phono set.

The RAs were ok they didn't upset the horses, no bass of course, I saw the price of a pair the other day wow they have gone up.

The four way 'Liszts' did teach me a very important lesson I learned what 'boomy' bass sounds like, they had enough extension to set off what I later learned was a 37.5Hz length and 45Hz width modes.

How to cure 'Boom', naively my first thoughts were black acoustic foam, proper stuff has a eggbox form is heavy and feels almost damp to the touch.

I covered the room in foam, I had metre deep rolls of it in every corner, covered the walls, laid it down in front of the speaker, did it make any difference to the low bass room gain, no, nothing ( I had a microphone and was using REW by this time) not an iota of difference, it did though make the room very quiet and somewhat oppressive to be in.

I began to look at EQ, Amarra software ( remember them ) had a tie-in with Dirac, I was the first UK importer for Trinnov who were strictly 'pro' audio back then, their corrections were to a horizontally 'flat' target which just sounded far too thin for domestic reproduction.

The excellent Christoph Faller and his 'Illusonic' IAP processors products were super bits of kit and a huge help, I made the measurements and Christoph sent back the corrections which were then loaded on to the Ilusonic units, they were and still are ingenious bits of kit.

With the Illusonic IAP processors I was for the first time able to hear in my room a more or less full-range sound without 'boom'.

Back to active:-

Genelec had just introduced their first 'digital' range of monitors, analogue or digital 'in' attenuation/processing all performed within the loudspeaker, they also introduced the first version of their GLM software, which was so ingenious, you connected everything the software automatically integrated subs, delay phase everything so convenient.

Constance above is demonstrating the 8260a mains and twin 'washing machine' 7350a subs, not the most attractive subwoofers ever created, Genelec's top of the line at that time.

There wasn't much kit around that could send a digital signal to the Genelecs hence the small Weiss INT converter, in the background a Metric Halo dac which were all the rage for a while.

I always tried to hear everything so I would have at least a semi-valid opinion, I tried some BBC types, Graham Audio in this instance next to an early pair of Grimm LS1s.( Chopin horns behind).

A pair of Lansche loudspeakers came an went, with their plasma tweeters, which seemed a good idea at the time.

Manger C1actives because their 'sound transducer' drivers looked interesting, not that interesting as it turns out.

PSI, ATC, Paradigm, some expensive Sony's, KEFs, GGNTKT, Hedd their 'Main Towers' were fun a modular design subs top and bottom tweeter upper/lower mids in the middle.

More latterly, Mesanovic RTM10s, Kii, Dutch&Dutch, Sigberg Audio, perhaps the only thing I have learnt is, read Floyd Toole's 'Sound Reproduction' as many times as it takes to understand it and that there is definitely a strong correlation between a speaker's measurements and its sound quality.

The better the measurements the more transparent the loudspeaker.

This idea of a flat on-axis and an off axis which mirrors the direct sound was really brought home to me with the introduction of the Kii THREE loudspeaker , Bruno Putzeys designed the Kii it was his second loudspeaker design the first being the Grimm LS1, the Kii THREE and the superlative Dutch&Dutch 8C which was released just a couple of years later brought together into one compact package just really smart engineering, clever ideas that while not new in themselves had never been brought together into one design before.

Full-range, cardioid response ( which just allows you to hear more of the recording) constant directivity, the concept of on and off axis response mirroring each other, supremely adjustable, being capable of adjusting their bass output, allowing them to be placed close to the front wall, sophisticated tone controls, built in parametric EQ, all of these features just assure you hear better sound quality in your room than ever before.

The Kiis and the D&D8Cs really were the sea-change in loudspeaker design and their lead is increasingly being followed by other measurement led manufacturers.

Thorbjørn Sigberg's 'Mantas' are dual cardioid, extending the cardioid response, he has taken the bold step in designing two four way models the 'Manta' and 'SBS.1' which must be used with a subwoofer believing that the main speaker works best when it can simply concentrate down to the mid bass, leaving the low bass to subs.

What does the future hold, well there is apparently a new D&D loudspeaker on the way, I don't know anything about it and even if I did I wouldn't be able to write about it, but it looks 'end game' ( I really dislike that expression) but in this case it might be apposite.

It really is a golden age in terms of sound reproduction, state of the art electronics are inexpensive, contemporary active loudspeakers designed to simply work in your room in any room, delivering sound quality that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago unless you were fortunate enough to have soffit mounted speakers in a fully treated room, ie effectively a room within a room.

Enjoy the music.

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