Full Range Electrostatic Loudspeakers

Written by on November 4, 2016 in Distribution South Africa - No comments

Read all about it here: The Audio Exklusiv P3.1 full electrostatic loudspeakers hit out shores.

Audio Exklusiv P3.1 (2)

For as long as I can remember electrostatic loudspeakers have been featuring in the lives of my family. Back in the day, late seventies about, my dad owned a set of the original Quad ESL-57’s and later in the eighties when Hi-Fi became his career he promoted the Acoustat brand of full range electrostatic loudspeakers on our shores.

I have fond memories of the Model 1+1’s which my dad used with the matching Acoustat active subwoofer, a first in many respects in those early years. Electrostatic transparency is something to behold and once sampled not easily forgotten or ignorantly passed by. The coherence of the entire audio spectrum produced by a single panel driver where there is no cross-over of any kind to interfere with the musical input coupled with the ideal of a line source array are but two key elements making electrostatic sound so fascinatingly real.

True electrostatic loudspeakers are of full range design where their frequency response dips right down into the low bass registers without the need for a conventional cone-type woofer. Those in the know will testify of low frequency transient speed unchallenged by conventional dynamic coil designs.

Perhaps a more arduously understood element of accurate sound reproduction is that of scale. For a musical representation to approach the realms of life-like realism it is essential for that performance to sound physically as large and true to life as the real event. Accurate scale representation in reproduced music is absolutely vital in order to draw the listener into an experience that’s believable and as entertaining as the real thing. Electrostatic loudspeakers possess two key advantages in this area by radiating sound from a large radiating area both forwards and backwards in equal amounts and at lightening quick speeds and reaction times due to the lightness of the driving membrane.

Music played through a set of electrostatic loudspeakers of the likes of the old Acoustat of yesteryear and now the modern equivalent, the Audio Exklusiv P3.1’s, sound physically big and truthful to real life. Sound pressure is exerted evenly across the entire panel’s radiating area from the floor right up to the ceiling forwards and backwards in equal volumes and pressure. It is not difficult to understand and picture the advantage toward the laws of physics here. More radiating area equals a bigger more effortless sound. It’s quite simple really.

The second key factor associated with this element of physical scale is that of frequency related scale. It is not at all difficult to understand as basically the same principles apply as set forth above.  When carefully listening to dynamic coil loudspeakers one can often experience a dissimilarity of proportion of instruments playing within the different parts of the audio frequency spectrum. Often the wood winds will sound disproportionately small to that of the cellos or even more problematic, the piano’s right hand will sound small in comparison to the lower registers of the left hand notes.

This, call it frequency related distortion of scale within the sound field, is a by-product of all but the very best and most expensive dynamic coil loudspeakers.  Again the laws of physics make it relatively easy to understand why this element is often hard to overcome. Picturing the piano as the easiest example, most of the right hand notes will typically be produced by the mid-range driver which is usually quite a bit smaller than the bass driver producing the left hand notes. In very simple language, the bigger driver makes the lower notes of the piano sound larger in proportion to the higher notes coming from a cone that’s smaller. This problem or limitation of design can be applied across the musical spectrum with various but similar disproportions often audible everywhere.

The electrostatic panel loudspeaker does not suffer from these distortions and it is believed to be one of the important aspects of recognizing an immediate form of freedom when hearing large full range panel loudspeakers for the first time. Everything suddenly sounds right because it is closer to reality in physical size and proportion. The instruments in relation to one-another is also proportionality more truthful.

At last year’s High-End Show in Germany the Audio Exklusiv Electrostatic loudspeakers reminded me again why it we have consistently longed back to the days of the Acoustat. They are refreshingly different because they are ticking more boxes of true high fidelity sound often ignored due to a lack of regular exposure.

Celestial Sounds is proud to be associated with German high-end audio manufacturer, Audio Exklusiv.

We have had the model P3.1 full range electrostatic loudspeakers taken up residence in our permanent reference system for more than a year now. I am happy to report that in this time we have tested and driven the P3.1’s with an extensive range of amplifiers, large and small.

My personal preference however are my fairly modest 140W Conrad-Johnson Premier 12 valve mono-block amplifiers. No power house or welding machines are needed. Load characteristics are such that the P3.1’s are very much valve friendly. Even my modified NAD 3020 from 1981 is doing a commendable job as long as sensible listening levels are practiced.

There are so many positives with line-source loudspeakers, yet the Audio Exklusiv’s do so much more. Their openness and transparency is something to behold. Transient response and total lack of box colourations were my reasons for going in this direction.

The P3.1’s present my listening room with a living, breathing, recreation of musical reality with a humanness and an emotional touch of excitement and intimacy only surpassed by the the real thing.  Going back to conventional cone type loudspeakers is very difficult unless it’s one of the hyper brands such as Magico.

At a Retail price of  ZAR135,000 the P3.1’s present fantastic value for money.

For demonstration appointments please call LEANDER on 082 088 6688.

 

 

Front (537x800)

Rear (522x800)

Rear Connections (800x537)

Rear Connections close-up (800x537)

About the Author

Audio Engineer, Critic & Retailer twenty years in the making.

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