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While in Pnoe review mode, Hans Kortenbach of Musical Affairs brought by a pair of Grand Crescendo speakers. Traveling along was Graham Tricker—not only Hans’ UK distributor but also manufacturer of Tron tube equipment—and his friend Paul Bardo. They delivered a Tron pre- and a power amplifier for review. Graham has worked in the industry for a very long time and for many years has now carried the UK distributorship for Avantgarde Acoustic. After the obligatory but welcome audio talk, our British visitors asked if it was possible—-maybe, please, if not too much trouble, yes?—to have a listen to the Grecian horns.

We have seen grown men shed a few tears whilst listening to music over the Pnoe before. Now it happened again and not from Fisherman’s Friend extra strong lozenges. Hans Kortenbach is a widebander fiend. Most of his speakers are designed around the French PHY-HP built by the late Bernard Salabert. Hans has only one philosophy regarding loudspeakers. Listen. Forget all textbooks and conventional wisdom. Listen and you’ll know when it's right. His cabinets break audiophile rules hand over fist. Using only 4mm thin spruce for cabinet sides and what for him is massive 6mm spruce for tops and fronts, each loudspeaker is built like a musical instrument. While listening to the Pnoe, Hans just had to get up and walk over to them. His hands went all over the smooth outsides looking for resonances. There are none. So Hans went back to his listening seat and closed his eyes to enjoy music he was unfamiliar with.

Graham is used not only to Hans’ speakers but also Avantgarde horns. A combination horn/widebander should thus have been attractive by design. After one of our CDs Graham got up and went to his car to fish out certain current favorites, Concha Buika’s Niña de Fuego and Rupa & the April Fishes’ eXtraOrdinary Rendition. It was on Buika that Paul filled up emotionally. Her somewhat husky voice was presented so effortless and lifelike in height and width that Graham could not get enough. Nor did the other visitors who were equally mesmerized. When their CDs were done with, a lively discussion commenced on the merits of a round cross-section continuously expanding and folded horn design.

Graham praised the lack of distortion from absence of internal turbulence which always bedevils wooden horns. Hans with his anything-wood focus already abstracted a Pnoe-type horn from his favorite material by imagination. The British visitors were not only struck by the clean and clear sound but also by bass extension and the tautness of it - and all that from one tiny driver. They said they could easily listen for another few hours as the effortless presentation would not induce any fatigue. Very musical indeed! We already knew this but it was still rewarding to be confirmed in our assessment by some real industry veterans and one a speaker designer himself.

Though seemingly translucent in this photo, the enclosure material in fact is almost an inch thick at the rim and very massive. Here the sun's rays are simply hitting the inside of the right speaker as a reflection from the floor.

With the Pnoe, Arcadian Audio has authored a unique back-loaded single driver hornspeaker. Its smooth round physiognomy is unique but far from a gimmick. The round expanding profile of the sound path avoids turbulence and other disturbances whilst the 3-meter plus horn length ending in a 1-meter diameter mouth provides ample bass extension. As a result the output is uncompromised in frequency response, dynamics and typical horn distortion. With the AER MD3B as one of the most powerful uncolored non-field coil widebanders available today, the combination of transducer and horn is a perfect match. When one wants a speaker system with a very flat frequency response over a wide range that is capable of generous SPL and a grand stereo illusion, one needs room for the Pnoe and room to get it in.

With an asking price of €24.000/pr, the Pnoe is not cheap. When considering the many man hours needed to build up a pair however, the composite materials and drivers, the price relative to the far smaller Voxativ Ampeggio for example is certainly right on the money. Next to being a wonderful loudspeaker, the Pnoe is also a very fine piece of industrial art whose presence makes a statement even without any music being played.
Final setup and the Pnoes are here to stay...
Quality of packing: Very large but protective. At least two people are needed to unpack.
Condition of component received: Flawless except for a little chip which was repaired.
Website comments: Stylish and all the info is there
Human interactions: Quick, courteous and friendly. 
Final comments & suggestions:  Currently the Pnoe is only available direct from Arcadian Audio in Greece.
Arcadian Audio website