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This review first appeared in the February 2009 issue of and can be read in its original German version here. It is herewith translated and presented to an English-only audience through a mutual syndication arrangement. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end has a link below it to his e-mail should you have questions or feedback you wish to send. All images contained in this review are the property of or Audium. - Ed.

Reviewer: Ralph Werner
Sources: Analog - deck - Acoustic Solid MPX; tone arms - Phonotools Vivid-Two, SME M2 12-inch; carts - Denon DL-103, Ortofon MC Rondo Bronce, Zu Audio DL-103; digital - player - audiolab 8000CD; Computer & Co - Logitech Squeezebox, Readynas Duo NAS-Server, HP Notebook; D/A converters - Aqvox USB2DA-MKII, Benchmark DAC1 USB
Amplification: Phono - Aqvox 2 CI MKII; preamp - Octave HP 300 MK2; power amp - SAC il piccolo monos; integrated - Lua 4040C, Myryad MXI 2080, Octave V 80, Cary SLI-80 [on review]
Loudspeakers: AudiaZ ETA, Sehring 703, Zu Audio Druid mk4 and Presence
Racks & Stands: Creactiv, Taoc, Liedtke Metalldesign Stand, Shale Audio Base
Cables: diverse
Review component retail: €2.000/pr

Lover dearest has greeted more than one audiophile's hopeful lust nod at a man-sized speaker with a resolute "over my dead body only!" exhortation. Hopefully the segment that responds with grim rejection is the great minority. Meanwhile faced with "that li'l one which isn't sooo expensive can come home" before one has even assessed the first note will raise any bona fide high-ender's defensive reflexes: "Sure, not even one meter tall, narrow and with a silver pug nose. Of course she'd love it. My headphones probably have more bloody cone surface. Wait, something's very wrong here. Where the fig are they hiding the other drivers?"

The Audium brand has been revived just recently, May 2008 to be precise, but been in business prior for a while. During the 90s, we've seen speakers and tube amps under its name even though the sphere of familiarity will be quite restricted. The current offering spans three speakers: the monitor Comp 3, the Comp 5 tester and the comp 7 which is a scaled-up 5 in matters of bass. Shortly planned are rear and centers as well as a sub to accommodate home cineasts. As well, the end of the year will see partial or full active drive options for all Comp models. Certain readers will associate the developer Herr Frank Urban with other brands and rightfully so. Besides Audium, Urban deals in SolidTech racks, Visonik speakers (whose puny David has been around forever) and the French Atoll electronics (whose second-from-the-bottom CD 80 we've covered earlier). Urban operates out of Berlin where final assembly of Audium speakers takes place.

With each picture worth a thousand words, let's kick off in style. The Comp 5 is a 2-way with one solitary driver hacking away at everything above 200Hz; put differently, a widebander with bass augmentation. As the cutaway shows, the widebander loads into a 1-liter tube which assists frequency division such (put simply, smaller volume equals a higher F3) that the crossover slope can remain "relatively gentle" as Urban put it. That separate chamber of course also isolates Audium's small full-ranger from whatever havoc the woofer might wreak inside the main enclosure.

For the latter, Audium relies exclusively on MDF. With 95cm height, the speaker is quite demure and front and rear baffle stretch to merely 12.5cm width though the cheeks bulge outwards. That's not merely attractive but aids in minimizing internal standing waves to attenuate cabinet talk. Two internal braces pursue the same goal. The Comp 5 is fitted with a Nextel-gray plinth whose purpose exceeds cosmetics by creating a constant 2cm gap for the down-firing woofer and thus, an ideally defined radiation resistance as the maker claims. The woofer orientation is further believed to be less critical on room-mode activation to make for broader setup flexibility. Both woofer and widebander are developed in-house and the former is oval. While that's quite rare, here the profile maximizes cone surface with the Comp 5's oval cross section. Urban cites further form factor advantages in the weight/stiffness ratio of the membrane, which is air-dried treated cellulose. This woofer loads into a 26-liter chamber vented out the rear.

While it wouldn't work sans woofer, most the work here is performed by el cutie on top where it is fixed to a bonded and matching Nextel-gray baffle. A 6cm cone diameter won't induce awe but seeing there's no super tweeter assist to 20kHz, it makes for less beaming in the upper octaves where smaller is better. The alu phaser and external baffle are said to optimize constant dispersion. General advantages of widebanders include point-source behavior and, over a broad range, no network filters whose 'take apart' function the ears are supposed to stitch back together again. Nonbelievers casually confess these claims but retaliate by pointing out that widebanders are either too large to make real treble or too small to do bass and to compensate, start shouting in the presence region. Well, "too big" certainly isn't an issue with Audium.

Despite not having to reach deep, one could expect problems with this unit in its lower range since it doesn't offer much cone mass. The Comp driver - um, compensates with an underhung voice-coil geometry. This linearizes its stroke so the coil remains between both Neodymium motor's pole plates. Within its excursion limits, it never leave the homogenous magnetic field. The widebander diaphragm is bamboo-fiber-reinforced paper and untreated unlike the woofer. It's the spider that is treated here to damp spurious resonances. It took one year of calculations and tweakery before Audium signed off on this driver. Let's take it for a spin then.