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BENCHMARK

LOUDSPEAKER

AUDIONEC RESPONSE V2

Music Maestro! AUDIONEC IS A YOUNG FRENCH COMPANY THAT IS BECOMING POPULAR THANKS TO THEIR ANSWER LOUDSPEAKER FEATURING STRANGE TRANSDUCERS ASSISTED BY A DIGITAL PROCESSOR. FAR FROM ANY FANCY, THIS RATIONAL APPROACH ROCKS THE HOUSE AND RECEIVES A WORLDWIDE AND JUSTIFIED OVATION. HERE IS RESPONSE V2, REAL THAT SINGS LIKE A DIVA.

T

he loudspeaker market has followed the same rules for many years. mainly based on Close or Bass-Reflex cabinet work, electrodynamic loudspeakers and passive filter, all are the ingredients of the same recipes, however decorated with various sauces. Some manufacturers finally dare to venture into uncharted land. In France in particular, Cabasse is known for their digitally amplified and assisted Sphere and Ocean. And then comes the "rookie" AudioNec who makes the audio headlines around the world since the launch of their Answer. These new Response V2 respond to the same unique philosophy.

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TECHNICAL DATA Origin: France Price: 37 000 euros (loudspeaker and DSPV2 processor) Dimensions : 1 490 x 400 x 470 mm Weight: 72 kg Sensitivity: 96 dB/W/m Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz à 0 dB after calibration or configurable by DSPV2 in amplitude, frequency and balance Nominal impedance: 8 ohms DSPV2 outputs: 4 XLR analog (2 « low-pass», 2 « high-pass»), 2 digital XLR AES/EBU DSPV2 inputs: 4 XLR analog, 2 digital XLR AES/EBU, RCA S/PDIF adaptor on request,1 optional FireWire input for Mac & PC

THE CHOICE OF ORIGINALITY The starting point of the designer who is also an expert in digital electronics is final. Indeed, achieving a realistic reproduction is absolutely impossible without taking into account the imperfect behavior of the listening room. Furthermore, the disappo- intment to listen to very high level systems has led him to consider other re- production methods that he applied when designing the formidable Answer. Besides the very original transducers, including an Infr- aplanar bass panel and a Janus broad- band cell both designed and manufactured in France, these loudspeakers are assisted by a digital processor whose numerous features (including filtering and acoustic correction) allow, finally and everywhere, a flat frequency response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. The Response V2 associated with the integrated PC DSPV2 processor follow the same philosophy in a lighter version in the means but with the same ambition in terms of sound results.

A VERY SUCCESSFUL CONSTRUCTION This three-way loudspeaker houses a 30 cm woofer of Iberian origin. It is mounted in a vented box with two flared rear vents. Made from high density 32 mm medium (42 for the baffle support), it has internal plywood reinforcements located between the sides. A broadband driver takes over at 200 Hz. It works naturally as a dipole at the center of an independent support made of HDF 60 mm medium and mounted on the bass cabinet through spacers. The transducer consists of an 8shape longitudinal membrane in stabilized paper. Its voice coil placed between magnets thus works in push-pull and makes an acoustic line wave. Its response slopes gently down from 10 kHz, there it is relayed by a ribbon tweeter placed at the top of the Response V2. It is passive filtered at 6 dB towards 20 kHz, thus the resulting response between 10 and 20 kHz is linear. An HDF medium cover houses the back of these two units, an integrated acoustic screen controls the broadband backscattering. The set is finished in a stunning black piano lacquer, it rests on HRS flat feet, and the four binding posts are sumptuous Furutech FT808. The traditional passive crossover, a source of bias, phase shifting and energy loss, has been banished between the bass driver and and the broadband driver for the benefit of a digital crossover operated by the DSPV2. The drivers are directly connected to the amplifiers that receive a filtered signal in frequency, slope and delay from the processor housed in a great black anodized aluminum enclosure. The parameters are set through a screen and mouse or a tablet. It starts with a calibration of the system in the room with a series of measurements carried out using a Trinnov 4-head probe microphone. The processor then processes the received data and takes the necessary adjustments for the response at the listening point to be absolutely linear. Please note that it is then possible to save 30 different settings in terms of frequency response and other parameters. Then just turn the power on to recall the last saved settings, a tablet or the supplied remote control are enough thereafter to use the unit daily. The DSPV2 room acoustic correction section, soundproofing and preamplification part including volume controlling are original

Trinnov with AudioNec optimization. The processed audio signal can be directed to the analog or digital outputs available on the DSPV2, just as it is possible to select an input from the two digital and four analog inputs. The DAC section has also been developed by AudioNec, it has four converters dedicated to bass and mid-high ways.

MANUFACTURING & LISTENING Construction: The French manufacturer has not skimped on how to make the Response V2. Parasitic vibrations were inhibited using of very dense and inert cabinetworks. We especially enjoyed the vented

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BENCHMARK

LOUDSPEAKER

AUDIONEC RESPONSE V2 box harmony optimization with the installation of large diameter (silent flow of air) and very long (extent of the response without disturbing over pressure) vents. The broad and acute band part carriage by spacers on the woofer cabinet is indeed simple and very effective. The processor enclosure is superb in terms of manufacturing and aesthetics, the internal work is very professional. Components: Absolutely no loudspeaker sold on the planet is like an AudioNec in general and a Response V2 in particular. Whatever the visual or material angle under which we look at the product, nothing is designed in accordance with traditional and consensual technical and technological processes. The bass section is ahead of competition because the manufacturer has cleverly chosen high performance (96 dB is maintained on the bass) based on a large diameter loudspeaker. Reliability, power handling and remarkable response fluidity characterize the registry in particular. Beyond 200 Hz, the realism of broadband reproduction is enhanced by its operation as a "level-headed" dipole (back wave sound controlled by an acoustic screen), its very high yield will help working with the best believed amplifiers. However Response V2 would not be what they are and ring as they do without the AudioNec processor which allows settings that are simply breathtaking. You prefer the response a straight line, so be it. After the two initial calibrations, the response curve at the listening point is drawn perfectly straight. Even here, absolutely no other system on the market at any price can compete. But this is not all because this truly "benchmark" setting may be modified later according to the customer's desires and tastes. More bass here, less treble there, magnificent!

LISTENING SYSTEM Electronics Nagra CDP (drive) FM Acoustic stereo unit F-30B (mid high) FM Acoustic stereo unit FM611 (bass) Cables Absolue CrĂŠations Tim Reference (modulation XLR) Absolue CrĂŠations Ul-Tim 2 (Speaker) HiFi Cables (AES/EBU)

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Bass: One could expect short and pumped up bass by discovering the small folds suspended woofer. It would be forgetting the substantial work done on the loudspeaker harmony by AudioNec, on one hand, and the digital stream processing quality on the other hand. Furthermore, the various memorized settings allow for the response accommodation of the system at all levels. As early as the starting postcalibration configuration, the registry asserts itself thanks to its speed, its total lack of dragging, its remarkable linkage and an unexpected exploration of the bases. On the track "My Treasure" performed by the Danish Sinne Eeg (The Dali CD, volume 3), the double bass introduction is of captivating realism. Each bowed string produces deliciously woody resonances which give the instrument a presence, colors and dimensions that are undoubtedly realistic. The frankness of the attacks is simply outstanding as is the virtual seizing relief that arises from the specifically documented harmonic variation. Medium: Our ordinary vocabulary suddenly seems poor to describe what Response V2 are able to convey in terms of accuracy of tones, cropping of notes, am plitude differentiation and constant fluidity. Music flows both at low and high level. Listening with AudioNec is amongst the most prodigious experiences in which your servant has participated. The harmonic acuity and extreme reac tivity of the French set allow for a more in depth pen etration of each record and for a chance to iterally re discover one's CD collection. On the track "Gotcha" (CD A Fortnight in France in public from Patricia Barber), we see that some reverberations from the work (with a marketing focus ...) of the sound engineer seem more insistent (amplitude, delay) on the AudioNec thanks to their outstanding analysis, whereas they artificially favor the aeration impres sion with conventional loudspeakers.


Response V2 are provided with Furutech binding posts of extraordinary quality. The dynamometric tightening has automatic clutch.

On the track "Mother" (CD The Wall of the Pink Floyd), the voice of Roger Waters receives a dose of studio reverb which gives an intentional artistic relief to the song. The effect is beautifully restored with the AudioNec while it seems desperatly pallid with most conventional loudspeakers. Treble: The soft transition between broadband and the ribbon brings the additional harmonic finish and spun in the notes. Despite an abundant digital processing (active filtering, room acoustic correction, preamplification, DAC), we feel no tendency to dryness or roughness in this part. Instead, we are totally surprised by the lightness and legibility of the registry specifically on complex messages. As a proof, the Marche de Radetsky of Johann Strauss seemed fundamentally revisited by AudioNec. The drum introduction is of wonderful realism. We distinctly hear the harmonic envelope every time the sticks stricke the skin with a particularly luxuriant gradient in the higher ranks. Indeed, the sensation of the skin tension is perfect and we immediately perceive the many special sonority of the instrument resonating chamber. Then the orchestra starts the piece. We then remain speechless in front of the general resolving power and the ability to distinguish and separate each instrument in the band, on the one hand, and in front of the great ability to modulate each music stand without legibility problem, on the other hand, specifically in relationship with the

cymbals, fabulously precise and chiseled. Dynamics: Given the electronic artillery implemented in order to appropriately test Response V2 and their DSPV2 processor, we expected to experiment serious dynamic hurricanes on each transient. Yet such is not the case. Such is not the case because the AudioNec system does not cheat. It is the opposite of a demonstrative system and is only able to reproduce the actual dynamics encoded on the media by deploying it in accordance with the contents of the partition. Each transient request matches an energy boost which Response V2 seem to accurately deliver. The kick drum hits on the track "Sleep Like A Child" performed by Joss Stone exudes a savage and brutal power which calls up the volume. Hence we irresistibly raise it and then we understand that the system seems limitless because no subjective constraint, absolutely none, and no amplitude drop are found. Ditto on the Marche de Radetsky played at a very comfort able volume. There is so much energy deployed while the orchestra conducted by Harnoncourt started that it seems that the full-scale performance is happening right in front of us. Note attack: All the loudspeakers implemented by AudioNec possess exceptional characteristics within their category, characteristics very often missing from the transducers used by the competitors. Yield, bandwidth, linearity, all assembled without passive crossover, or the ingredients of a highly effective recipe meant to release the expressiveness and spontaneity of the system. And those are precisely the faculties associated with the remarkable digital "switch" of the processor that create the unique sound alchemy of AudioNec. Whatever the listening level, there

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distributeur ACCENTUEL AUDIO 01 53 24 93 51 roger.olivier@neuf.fr The DSPV2 processor is housed in a beautiful solid aluminum enclosure. It includes a PC (connection at the bottom left). All circuits are symmetrical, analog and digital inputs and outputs are on XLR.

www.hegel.com 29


BENCHMARK

LOUDSPEAKER

AUDIONEC RESPONSE V2 Programming in auditorium before starting listening. Below, the two double curves (green and blue) show the calibrated bass and mid-high responses and corrections made. The third shows the calibrated system response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz in a straight line. Below is a manually changed response sample after calibration. In the center, saving a setting.

is systematic immediacy in the restitution. Impact and attacks speed allow a very precise harmonic identification of the notes (abundant gradient) so that one can easily detect tonal differences between instruments.

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On track "I Love You Porgy" (The Melody at Night, with You by Keith Jarrett) the piano takes surprisingly reliable dimensions through the matter and density of the distilled notes. Sound scene: Listening to the AudioNec Response V2 inevitably involves a challenge especially when it comes to talking about holographic, three-dimensional or aerated sound scene. Sound outcomes of these extraordinary speakers go far beyond what we usually listen or test. While the subjective performance of some rival products well deserves these qualifiers on this criterion, the AudioNecs are leading the way in terms of spatial presentation, sources focusing or width and depth stacking of the various planes. We are really carried on the place of the sound recording, we can guess to the millimeter where is located such instrument or such interpreter, we perceive the slightest environmental noise, the slightest reverberation. On track "Animal" (CD Sarbacane by Francis Cabrel) in its pure 1980s acidulous sound, the presence and localization of the musicians in the studio impress by the extremely precise placement in space. Transparency: It is impossible not to adhere to loudspeakers like those AudioNec. You swim in full transparency, you soak in complete neutrality, and you fly on a cloud of extreme musicality. The highest possible score reached by Response V2 for all our criteria almost makes you forget a key point that distinguishes these loudspeaker from the rest of the production: the absolute consistency of the reproduced message. The result is a musical "evidence" and smooth execution that make you forget the physical presence of the system. Quality / price ratio: Response V2 are expansive. On one hand they require two stereo amps but on the other hand they no longer require a preamp or DAC. The numerous audio qualities of the AudioNecs make them reach an unusual

and exceptional level of musical realism. Whatever the justification for such a price, this product is in any case beyond reach of the vast majority of audiophiles. Sob!

VERDICT After the consistent glowing reviews of the last High End Munich show on AudioNec Response V2, we were eager to make our own comments judging by ourselves. Actually, these loudspeakers are quite exceptional in terms of pure musicality and technology. There is no more talk about of tense bass, mid tone or chiseled treble, we rather discuss the music, piece interpretation or the sound recording quality. They are completely forgotten despite their XL size. Not to mention the unique capabilities of the "a la carte" settings through the DSPV2 processor, the simple fact of being able to effectively overcome adverse influences of an average listening room absolutely benefits the sound results. A dramatic and innovative approach for a remarkable restitution from end to end.

Dominique Mafrand CONSTRUCTION COMPOSANTS BASS MEDIUM TREBLE DYNAMICS NOTE ATTACK SOUND SCENE TRANSPARENCY QUALITY/PRICE

not applicable

ResponseV2  

BE response V2 GB

ResponseV2  

BE response V2 GB

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