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This driver kicks in below 80Hz. The crossover contains Mundorf silver/gold oil-filled capacitors and Tritec coils. To best match the Galaxy Ultimate to a client's room there's a choice of down-firing or front-firing woofer orientation. With all the finish options for the egg its pedestal remains a standard dark grey Nextel.
In Warsaw we'd spent quite some time in the Vaessen room. Even under show conditions the sound had been mesmerizing. We got carried away deeply into the music but not without effort. We had to concentrate and focus. Whenever attention slipped just for a moment, the spell broke. In a room where visitors came and went in constant flux the required concentration never lasted long enough but the speakers' innate promise became something that still haunted us back in Holland.
A few weeks later Koen and his audio companion Wilfried delivered the Galaxy Ultimate to our place. Well packed in large sturdy wooden crates, carrying the smooth and oddly shaped speakers at 55kg each upstairs required ingenuity and elbow grease but they eventually made it safe and sound into the listening room. Koen left some speaker cables with us which he found to make a nice match. He also mentioned that silver loudspeaker cables might overemphasize the tweeters. Taking his advice to heart we first used the recommended cables between our Ncore 1200 monos and speakers. Streaming source was a dedicated PC running XXHighEnd into the Phasure NOS1 DAC. The Galaxy Ultimate should be bi-wired and the provided cables came with 4 leads to enable that connection.
All Raal 140-15D ribbons ship with two foam deflector pads as shown above. These adhere magnetically to the ribbon’s mounting plate and provide a way to shape the dispersion pattern of the large driver. Without the pads partially covering its top and bottom, there's a 7dB boost at 15kHz due to beaming. The tall 140 x 15mm ribbon acts as a line source whose size exceeds the wavelengths it emits in the audible range. Using the pads the radiation pattern can be steplessly adjusted from a line source-typical cylindrical shape without pads toward a spherical shape with the deflectors covering more of the ribbon. Aleksandar advises to have the pads’ edges such that only 12 teeth of the mounting plate's edges remain visible. Setting up the Galaxy Ultimate wasn't too hard and the trio of attached Aktina footers made final leveling adjustments easy.
Our first musical selection was a mix of Renaud Garcia-Fons and Hadouk Trio tracks. These recordings offer quick insights into the capabilities of any system as a whole. With the current combination of streaming source and matching DAC with Ncore power amplifiers we’ve arrived at our most lifelike musical system thus far. Its ability to process transients as though there were no recording involved is unique. This results in a truly lifelike sound without any miniaturizing downscaling – if the rest of the chain is responsive. With the Raal ribbon tweeters covering a very crucial range, here the Vaessen Galaxy Ultimate should have been a good match.
Unfortunately there was no sign of spellbinding entrancement in sight. The music remained uninvolving, flat and hifi artifice. Adjusting the foam deflectors to open the ribbon windows made for little change. Neither did repositioning the loudspeakers deeper into the room or creating stronger toe-in make a dent. This was not what we'd anticipated. Time to disassemble the system and chase down the culprit.
Our winning source of streamer and DAC had not been recently changed. Innocent. The cabling from DAC to power amps was still the same balanced professional set and all power-related business was as before. Innocent. The only other change beside the speakers had been ... tada! - the loudspeaker cables. Guilty? Out they went and in came a customary pair of Nanotec #79 Special and Nanotec #79 SR. We use these very affordable pure copper cables with the red SR for the hot and the black Special for the return leads in an asymmetrical biwire configuration. This connects at the power amp’s side with a combination of spade and banana plugs and at the loudspeaker side goes all banana.
That simple swap of speaker cables made a day'n'night difference. Bloody hell! Now the loudspeakers cast a proper full 3D image between and behind them. There were no restrictions and musical attacks were as lightning fast as can be. The wide baffle of the droplet made for easy placement even in close proximity to the front wall. With our own Aquarius speakers the wide baffle is great at providing for very realistic images. The Galaxy Ultimate too surrounds its tweeter with a wide asymmetrical baffle which further minimizes deflection issues aside from the tweeter’s own saw-tooth solution. In the version reviewed the woofer was down-firing but caused no issues of exciting the wooden floor beneath. As a matter of fact—and we noticed this before—whenever playing music via the very advanced XXHighEnd player standing waves in the room do not occur. There's just bass and plenty of deep bass at that. This remarkable finding warrants more experiments to comprehend what really might be going on.