There are hundreds of new audio product launches at Munich High-End this week, but one of the most important will be the new QR range of loudspeakers from Audiovector. The two new loudspeakers – a two-way €1,000 QR 1 bookshelf and a three-driver, two-and-a-half way €1,800 QR 3 floorstander – replace Audiovector’s popular entry-level Ki range and are designed to deliver the kind of performance associated with the brand’s higher-end models, but at considerably more attainable prices.
We had an exclusive peek at these two new loudspeakers, within the context of Audiovector’s existing higher-end lines, at the company’s Copenhagen factory recently. From the outset their importance both to the music loving community and the company itself was clear. “We decided that we would like to offer a more affordable luxury product,” said company founder Ole Klifoth, “with more quality than you are normally usually used to in this price range.”
Where most models at this price point are variations on the ‘cone and dome’ concept, typically featuring a dome tweeter made of fabric or metal, this ported two-way design features an AMT ribbon tweeter, with effectively a double rear chamber to reduce compression. This highly-respected, complex, and hitherto very expensive high-frequency drive unit has long featured in the upper regions of Audiovector’s upgradable SR range and the flagship R11 Arreté tower speaker.
It may be a €1,000 loudspeaker from a company better known for making loudspeakers that cost many times that sum, but nothing about the design looks compromised or cut down to a price. The AMT tweeter for example, sits in a tungsten/titanium housing that is brushed in two ways to give the sense of depth and a feel of quality. Meanwhile the slim letterbox port at the bottom of the speaker contrasts well with the rounded enclosure and gloss finish. Audiovector even went as far as designing the loudspeaker to fit in an Ikea bookcase, rather than notionally calling the loudspeaker a ‘bookshelf’ design and have it only fit into a bookcase made for a giant!
It’s not all about looks though. The port, for example, is designed in that letter-box shape to limit port resonance, and has a degree of internal damping to limit chuffing sounds without undermining bass response.
The bass driver is a bit of a departure for Audiovector. It is a sandwich design with two layers of aluminium with a fibre filling and a foamed glue. Audiovector calls this a ‘pure piston’ driver, because it retains the aluminium driver’s ability to act like a piston, but the foam/fibre filling prevents higher frequency break-up. This means the bass unit can be used up to 3kHz, as opposed to about 800Hz in conventional 150mm aluminium bass drivers. This means no special equalisation in the crossover, just one component per drive unit in fact, and ultimately means an easier load for the amplifier.