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When I once referred to researcher's researchers who specialize in some very narrow field of endeavor determined to find their very own G-spot with zero regard for fashion, propriety or what might sell, I had in mind exactly the kind of product Acuhorn's Superleggera Giovane85 represents. Hooking them up to a classic amplifier like a Soulution 710, 530 or on the lower end an Arcam FMJ A19 with high damping factor and rigid power supply would be a grave mistake. The sound emerging from Wojtek Unterschütz’s speakers then would repel anyone regardless of sonic conviction or experience. The audible attributes would be flat, thin and without even a hint of bass. [For one thing, ultra-light widebanders with good self damping are very often completely overdamped by ultra-low modern output impedances to exhibit seriously premature bass roll-off. They often also exhibit 'clipped' decays as though they'd lost their natural ability to let sounds ring out believably. Lack of bass and tonal thinness then end up sounding whitish, upshifted, bright and lean – Ed.]

There are various wonders in audio. Even though we can't explain many of them to base opinions on experiments and auditions, we have it ingrained somewhere that this is the right path - that listening tests and personal experience are more important because in the end it is us who do the listening, not test gear or theories. Even when equipped with this type of practical attitude, we are struck speechless when faced with the change that takes place when we connect this particular speaker to a valve amplifier like a Leben CS-300 XS for instance. With a now well-matched amp/speaker pairing we suddenly hear something that's generally hard to find in audio if we leave the money issue aside.

Let’s list today's minor miracle as internal coherence of all sounds; as complete lack of any tension introduced by the speakers itself which in turn releases the music's own emotional tension; and as a way of creating new space in the listening room similar to the best headphones like a Sennheiser HD800. In two words, a thrilling beautiful showing. But we'll also encounter issues. First let's cover the very agreeable aspects and how they manifest musically.

The most striking feature of the Giovane85 is how for almost every recording they create a new listening room reality. These are not mere instruments, vocals or general sounds projected in front of us fitted into the room acoustics where we enjoy the listening experience. The speakers from Gdańsk recreate not only the sounds but the whole recorded acoustics enveloping and underlying them as the contextual atmosphere of the recording including master-tape noise (if any). What we perceive is a bubble of overlaid reality very similar to headphones. The soundstage is as wide as we have set the speakers apart and as deep as we deem proper. The latter calls for an explanation.

Full-range drivers present soundstage depth and the depth of a given instrumental body in a specific way. When we focus our attention on the event per se it seems as though the soundstage was rather two-dimensional and that the speakers didn't differentiate depth. But when we focus on a specific instrument it becomes real, takes on shape, vividness and body. This bears an uncanny resemblance to a real life concert. Listening to Tomasz Stańko’s trumpet from his Lontano album I had very similar impressions to those I’d had two days earlier sitting in the Krakow Opera House during his concert with the New York Quartet at least where the spatial aspects were concerned. The concert was part of a tour promoting his new double album Wisława. Let me repeat, general focus equals lack of depth, specific focus introduces depth and reality. It's entirely up to us to decide how we perceive it and what we decide to focus on.

The way specific frequency bands are placed in space supports that end. In classic speakers where each driver reproduces a rather narrow bandwidth, higher sounds are usually located higher and on the level with the tweeter no matter how well integrated it might be with the other drivers. Here too we experience differentiation but on another plane. The high frequencies seem to be closer, almost tangibly so. They are not irritating or detached from the rest but the lower we go, the further the instruments seem to move away. The whole is incredibly fluid though and not torn up into individual bits. It is impossible to hear this anywhere else. Only widebanders are capable of it. They seem to create a sphere which extends towards the listener. The whole sphere is smooth and coherent but the high frequencies are closest to us. In classic speakers, dominant high frequencies will cause a disturbed tonal balance and we simply end up with bright sound, strong cymbals and overexposed sibilants. We all know this phenomenon and recognize it as a basic flaw. Not so with the Acuhorns though one at first is exposed to these very same elements minus the overexposed sibilants.

Again I refer to a musical concert. This is how you hear drums from the distance of about 8 meters. That’s exactly how I heard them sitting at the concert a few rows from Gerald Cleaver’s drum set. That’s exactly how I remembered them. Incidentally these speakers brilliantly showed the speed of the drums, their dynamics. But what was loudest and nearest to me were the cymbals. To me the reason is obvious. The reproduction of the instrument by these speakers is highly dependent on how it was recorded.