How this pans out sonically is a loudspeaker that delivers outstanding stereo imaging, excellent detail and surprisingly deep bass. But more importantly, it does all these things with a sense of natural drive and energy. You will hear more open sounding midrange and treble performance from many standmounts, but that isn’t the point; if that midrange insight comes at the expense of the overall presentation, the rival loudspeaker falls flat. And many just do that.
What this loudspeaker does so well is forgive music its sins. Casualties of the Loudness War don’t seem so badly wounded through the Olympica I, while the best recordings are still allowed to shine. So when playing ‘The Lover of Beirut’ from Anouar Brahem’s The Astounding Eyes Of Rita CD [ECM], the sense of space around the oud, bass clarinet, bass and middle eastern percussion highlights the track’s atmospheric feel more than usual. However, the ability to separate bass from bass clarinet is not easy with less than full-range loudspeakers and the Olympica I’s portrayal here is little short of mesmerising. It can also handle itself when things get a little hairy – I tried comparing 16/44.1 and 24/88.2 versions of the classic Kleiber/Beethoven 5th Symphony [DG] and Liquid Spirit from the album of the same name by Gregory Porter [Blue Note] and after some close-knit listening, it was time to kick back and play it loud. The Olympica I can more than handle itself at surprisingly loud levels without cracking up or changing tone. I don’t recommend using these loudspeakers in destruction testing, but they work well at healthy volumes.
If I had to sum up the Olympica I sound in a single word, it would be ‘exquisite’. The Olympica makes the right balance between the rose-tinted sound of old and the requirements for a more accurate and clean loudspeaker today. It looks great, sounds amazing and makes a nice big and powerful sound in many rooms. Highly recommended.
Type: 2-way, two-driver stand-mount monitor with aperiodic loading
Driver complement: One 29mm dome/ring radiator tweeter, one 150mm doped mid-bass cone mid/bass driver.
Inputs: Bi-wire loudspeaker terminals.
Frequency response: 50Hz – 30kHz
Crossover frequency: 2.5kHz
Impedance: >4 Ohms
Dimensions (HxWxD): 354 x 222 x 368mm
Finishes: Natural walnut or graphite medium gloss.
Price: £4,398 per pair, £849 (stands)
Tel: +44(0)208 971 3909