NORT-SOUTH-CONNECTION TEST ACADEMY SONNET WITH ELECTROCOMPANIET ECI5MKII & EMC1UP 01.09.2012 HIFI-STARS-MAGAZINE ( GERMANY ) TEXT: DR. FRANK LECHTENBERG ( CHIEF EDITOR HIFI-STARS ) When the small motor boats glide through by the ice age softly rounded rock formations of the Norwegian south coast, then this has something of nordic peace and serenity. The sun stays in the summer season long over the horizon and the weather is often surprisingly pleasant. The spirit of the people here is comparable to the small fishing villages on the boot of Italy. I must just think about this beautiful image, because in my listening room, a Norwegian-Italian combination gives their tryst. The electronics comes from Electrocompaniet from Norway, the speakers are from the Academy-S-Series of the italian speaker manufacturer Chario. These are the candidates in detail: the source is the CD Player EMC-1UP, which is connected symmetrically with large amplifier ECI -5MKII. To convert the signals into audible sound waves are the two-way monitors "Sonnet" by chario responsible. These speakers found their right, precise balanced and very stable place on speaker stands also from the Chario manufactory. The entire chain exudes even before the first note high value and a touch of luxury. The norwegian electronics is presented in the typical design of the Classic Line. This includes the solid acrylic front with the right-sided rhombic mounted controls and the center-mounted power switch. Both cases have a great depth and bring because of the heavy material - according a lot of weight on the weighbridge. The Norwegians, with each of their 20kg, need quite strong arms, to place them in a rack, or in position. The Chario Sonnet with her 14 kg is also no lightweight. One cause of this is the characteristic is the solid wood casing that is processed in top carpenter quality. Nearly 10kg weight brings the visually successful, matte coated speaker stand made of wood and metal. Stand and speakers are connected with tidy threaded screws – this is rock solid. Solid and luxurious The Sonnet is the smallest representative of Chario’s Academy-S-line, the top line of the Italians. But it brings with sufficient reserves for all rooms to about 28m ², in this we’ll find most of local listening rooms. And also with their 90db SPL, she is very flexible in terms of the amplifier side requirements. Chario recommends themselve an amplifier of 100 watts at 4 ohms. Sonnet is a two-way model, the tweeter is positioned below the mid-woofer. The crossover frequence is - compared to the usual standards - with 1.180Hz comparatively low, so that the quite large, coated with aluminum 32mm textile dome has to manage a large part of the spectrum. The low and midrange takes a Rohacell membrane with 170mm diameter. This special hard foam is also installed in the wings of some Airbus models or found in many helicopter rotor blades. The hard foam is not visible from the front, because for cosmetic reasons, a single layer of a carbon compound forms the visible front side of the membrane.
Looking at the 17's from the back, you can see the grayish-white hard foam with its high internal damping. Independent Philosophy With her two-way technology manages the 45 centimeter high speaker the way down to 55Hz (-3dB). By support of the bass reflex port on the back side.. The crossover is built with highest quality selected components, separating the two drivers as already stated at 1.180Hz. This shows, how the choice of materials for the chassis, Chario's own way in speaker development. The by Chario favored principle works with different slew rates for high-and medium-woofer. These are calculated so, that both drivers are working, in the region of comparatively low crossover frequncy, parallel, and phase-optimized. Mastermind Mario Marcello Murace sees the best way to reproduce the environment information of a recording precisely and natural as possible. So it might turn the argument necessarily be easy, to demask data-reduced recordings with Chario's Sonnet, because there basically the masking effect of reverb will technically calculated out. But beyond the technical details of the Chario Sonnet makes a very good impression and haptic; total of 6 months it takes for the solid wood case and thus the speaker is finished. For example, the moisture content of wood is closely monitored and the technically perfect connection of the individual segments of wood always resist loads to be touched. As must the competition in the specified price range stretching mightily to get at this workmanship. If I might make a wish: the solid bi-wiring terminal has earned something better than the simple metal bridges. Therefore, I have them replaced for the test operation with high quality cable bridges. The analogous Idea The first CD, inserted into the EMC-1UP is Mike Oldfield's "Platinum". What is striking at first - although the '79 album of the British was not recorded really perfect - is the complete detachment of the music from the speakers. Who listened to "Platinum Part 2", knows the light variations in timing of the band after around 90 seconds. Here the pulls the band, which has Mike Oldfield composed for the album, the tempo slightly, simultaneously pumped and grooves the accentuates played electric bass, the drums go with committed and for the British guitarist is enough space, to perform long solos on this musical groundwork. The Norwegian-Italian reproduction-team here plays absolutly perfect, without concealing the slight shortcomings of the recording. The guitar would be in a different current production, more clear and open recorded, also the drums based on the listening habits of the late 70s. But then, the razor-sharp brass-section appears in the third part of the Opus. Clarity and openness are there and perfectly present. Again impressed me the high pressure, that the Chario Sonnet supplies into my listening room. I feel transported back to the day when I heard this extraordinary album for the first time and because of the wonderful combination of progressive elements, free improvisation and catchy pop structures being amazed no longer came out. The speakers I have just a little angled towards my listening position, so in my listening room arises the optimum mixture of direct sound and early reflections. It is recommended, to align the Charios very carefully, so they can play out their full potential. For this we should know: The Italian designers have ensured that their speakers play perfectly in "normal" listening rooms.
Open and detached David Sylvian has found his way into a the EMC 1UP. "Small Metal Gods" is extremely well recorded. The voice is loud and clear in the middle, in the background, bass and guitar improvisation on a sound carpet for experimental sounds and effects. The art here is to separate all the levels from each other as possible without changing the musical context. That the north-south combination works very well! The bass has enough belly, the guitars sound maybe a little too big. David Sylvian's distinctive voice occupies the foremost position on the broad soundstage, behind which positioned the bass, the guitar surrounded him, as well as the background noise, which is constructed in a wide semi-circle behind the most popular instruments and realistically constructed voice. I would try to verify my impression that the Norwegian-Italian system builds more a broad than deep stage. Kari Bremnes "I dine skap" seems to me entirely appropriate to confirm this. This comes damn close to the subjective impression of a live concert, these north-south connection is capable transfer the transients very fast and dynamic the receptive ears of the listener. That is always very fast and always very direct! Incidentally: The change of the source, amplifier and speakers quits directly with the disclosure of the unadorned character of the players. Regardless of whether it is vinyl over my phono-pre amplifier or another CD player - the respective strengths and weaknesses, the Electrocompaniet-Chario-Connection clearly shows. Always dynamic and enthusiasm remains, but especially in the dimensions of the stage, there are certainly differences worth mention. The EMC 1UP supplies musical events live like in the listening room, I feel almost like the near field monitors in my studio, so direct, so fast, so clearly is the signal from the digital turntable. When I switch the source, the dimension of the imaged environment appears deeper! The performance looks, depending on the source signal, even a little bit more floating, but at the same time the stunning directness of the EMC-1UP get lost. That means in turn of the argument, also that the Chario Sonnet, together with the ECI 5MKII, is able to reproduce really very accurately the details supplied by the source, and thus to differentiate from one another, different CD player. Mainly due to the dimension of the imaged environment can this be moored. For me, Mario Marcello Murace has achieved his goal perfectly, always to project optimal information of the environment from recordings into the listening room.
To the Point The north-south connection proves as a playful installation, always very close to a live experience. Here, each component has its own strengths. The EMC1UP is the metronome, and the open big tempo maker in the chain. The ECI- 5MKII comes very close to the ideal of the reinforcing wire and supplies the properties of any source device unmodified to the speakers - the guardian of the nordic serenity. The speaker, in this case the Chario Sonnet, that filled always very detailed, clean and - although completely detached from a physical sounding speaker - with a very good portion of energy and temperament my listening room. A combination that keeps acoustically what it promises optical! DR. FRANK LECHTENBERG
Published on Jun 3, 2014