Test special edition "Stereoplay 8/96
A place of reverence, a location that could be described as a birth of cults, perhaps the only true Mecca for truly High End in Germany. We are the Pilgrims expecting the Gurus. And with them comes an experience, which will be reviewed in one of the official listening areas in Stuttgart. Loudspeakers that can be likened to Formula 1 of High Fidelity. More! For the Ferraris, Williams and McLarens, the internal test tracks are enough for evaluation, but the way we wish to review and enjoy the Acapella, the domestic domicile would make excessive demands of the structure and surroundings. In order to present this Audiophile event in Stuttgart using the same comparative guide lines as Formula 1 to present a true picture of the Acapella, only the best asphalt track would be used with projectiles with rocket motors for power.
Standing before us, in all its splendour, the Acapella Triolon, the answer of the Duisburg Manufacturer to produce a product which would be every Hifi enthusiasts dream loudspeaker, a dream without giving a second thought to the price. With a six figure price tag, the Triolons must face fierce competition from the Wilsons, Genesis and more recently, the Avalons.
The Acapella Triolon, without doubt, reaches a new plateau in design and concept. They come with a pedigree and hierarchy from one of the oldest Hifi Manufactures in Germany. They are heavy for a loudspeaker; they can only be lifted with extra muscle power. Shipped as separate units, once assembled, the living space suddenly seems a little cramped but looking very majestic they can be accommodated in any living environment. Standing approximately four meters wide the Triolon satellites will enhance any living area. With a price of tag of 92K Euro they become a very expensive piece of furniture.
Germanys Hi End HiFi summit
Setting the minimum listening distance from the overall system and taking everything into consideration, we place the Triolons six meters from the wall before sitting in front of one of the most exciting transducers of all time. Alfred Rudolph (53) and Hermann Winters (43) are the two Gentlemen who created this master piece of work. These two Gentlemen have written the most important chapters of the German High End history. Their Audio Forum in Duisburg is a High School and further education Institute of the German High end fraternity. Respected and considered by many to be the developers and designers of today's loudspeaker technology. We sat enthralled for two whole days, hanging onto every word that came from the lips of Alfred Rudolph, as he explained how loudspeakers actually function. A select few will change their lives to enter the World of Hifi to create a product that would elevate them into a special place in the HiFi Hall of Fame. The Audio Forum is a cell, in which the HiFi Bacillus prospered magnificently. The end result is a product that can reproduce a live concert hall in your living room. Today, the Rolling Stones are on the program, "which tracks do want you to hear?" Perhaps the ballad, "Love in Vain" would be a good place to begin. Keith Richards and Ron Wood shoulder their guitars, Mick Jagger seizes the microphone, Charlie Watts checks to see if his drums are in place, and finally the fifth member of the group, a certain Daryl Jones, strums the e-bass. "Love in Vain", live, and only for us. It would be beautiful if the illusion could continue but reality checks in and we bring our thoughts to the present. We reached into our souls and our hearts to believe our ears. Completely at ease, a change of mood was requested, the music emanating from the excellent produced LP "Stripped" (Virgin) flows over the audio review panel. Are we hearing the term ultimate "High end"? We have seen and heard this expression many times in the past, sometimes all too generously doing the rounds. What we hear from the Triolons have little in common with the concept of the small fine details normally expected from a loudspeaker, we hear and see in our minds eye, a picture of true reality of the acoustic wall of sound. At least we must ask ourselves whether we should not extend our vocabulary, Extreme High End or The Highest High End are expletives that glide like a ghost as thoughts, through our heads.
Horn systems do not necessarily indicate the ultimate point for audiophiles when pointing at the truth. Horns are noted for their ability to play loud; this is due to their extremely high efficiency. This high efficiency facilitates the use of coupling together with amplifiers that have a low output power of 30/50 Watts. The result is a signal that is clean, uncoloured and with a true realism that is as close to the original source. The deficits of Horn Systems, size and weight are outweighed by the advantages, a true and faithful reproduction of the original source.
The developers have done their homework, and more. Technology takes the upper hand and wins. The accurate computations of the horn size and shape, the material employed together with the quality of the workmanship reach a resultant factor equalling excellence; these are the three virtues which distinguish the Duisburg tradition from the competition. Acapella invented, at the end of the 70's, the "spherical" horn function. Contrary to conventional exponents of Horns, which bundle the sound together and proceed to reproduce an extremely flat sound front, spherical horns on the other hand reproduce a sound that radiates spherically, behaving nearly like classical dome. The plus side to this principle the Horn behaves as if producing a tidy round spray dispersion effect. All this with minimum power from the amplifier due to the high efficiency of the Horn. The exception being, the use of conventional speaker chassis used in conjunction with the Horn, for the Mid/Bass frequencies specially prepared chassis's from Dynaudio and Seas, are used in the upper bass and two 46cm Bass drivers are used to reproduce deep and firm bass. The superb open and airy high frequencies of up to 5 KHz are produced and managed by the internal Ion tweeter TW 1.
A unit of extremely complex construction which only a few manufacturers of loudspeakers have allowed themselves to indulge and yet with technology so advanced they are capable of offering up-to-date modifications to this present day. The Ion tweeter is not a new invention; it dates back to a Telefunken patent from the 1920's. The principle, using special transducers produce sound completely without movement of mass; this is achieved by ionizing air by means of a pulsating arc. The Transducers are coupled with a complex HF circuit.
A true piece of technology, the procedure of reproducing smooth transparent high frequencies comes with a plus. The Ion tweeter finest tones are produced without the negative by-product of a smell of ozone. This is where Acapella shows true superiority: A small ceramic tube in combination with a Bronze horn works like a catalyst and prevents any discharge from the aluminium slot escaping into the environment..
The Triolon comes with a long history and pedigree, (see "The history of the Horn"). It was never cheap but became a commercial success which was a surprise even for Hermann Winters. The success story continues even today achieving over seventy clients over the past ten years with an obligatory order for the three-horn speaker. The Triolon is manufactured exclusively for each individual customer. A customer who may have special requests is catered for and these can be installed during the manufacture of the speaker.
The Triolon enthusiasts have ensured that the eleven-year old speaker stays in production while receiving constant updates and modifications, but the 96 model has experienced a fundamental upgrade. They had a narrower housing to the current version; the formerly mandatory base plate, which provided stability for the diagonal incline up to the satellites ensuring they did not tilt is now omitted. An extremely firm and rigid housing constructed from lead/wood/felt-sand yields guarantees a cabinet that is virtually resonance free. New chassis behind all the Horns together with a totally newly designed cross-over using pure Silver wire ensures the smoothest of sounds. The Triolon ' 96 is a new speaker which has nothing more in common with its ancestor other than its shape, the end result is a speaker that lives up to its ancestry and is proud to carry the same family name.
Before we experienced the full force of the large Triolon in all its splendour and massive Horns, we examined another variant called Triolon Delta. The satellites are identical; two slim bass columns with four 26cm Seas chassis which handle the Bass frequency band between 35 and 150 Hertz, classically a dynamic power house supporting the Horn system.
This was not at all.
The Triolon Delta did not shrink from the competition when making a comparison to the best loudspeakers of the world, probably however the very best ever used at Stereoplay. The big question for us, with what competition should we compare the overall sound quality? With speakers, that are in the same price arena or cost ten times as much plus the rank and name classification list should represent the absolute top class + 10. But, before the rejoicing begins and the reviewers drift into the immeasurable realms of calculating life insurances to be relinquished in order to rent an empty standing factory building for the Triolon Delta, a few comments on the product itself.
The 1996 version of the Triolon Delta certainly plays more time-correctly than their same named predecessor, reproduces clear, live and defined clarity. The Triolon Delta sharpened all the finest details, every microscope tiny piece of information which helps to identify the human voice more easily, every timbre of the vocals clearly defined. We cannot cast aside the breath of fresh air a Horn speaker sounds; there is no "discoloration" to describe.
Inside view: Two exclusive 46cm special Bass drivers produced exclusively for Acapella reproduce Subwoofer frequencies with enormous power level with Horn support.
The Triolon with its fascination has achieved a cult stature. The pure insanity of amplifiers with a yield of level of output of 50 Watts per channel to be able to drive such a massive speaker, realizing the same output power that most powerful amps when powering conventional loudspeakers resulting in nerve-killing Clipping - if at all matching the same power. But practice is in achievement however modest. When using an amplifier like the legendary Burmester 909, the efficiency-high Triolon Delta achieves an audio quality that is nothing but superb.
After few hours of accommodating the Triolon Delta the listener becomes enveloped in a audible paining, which increases with every note. Sound is not only projected and felt but the practical audible experience is nerve tingling. If the author colleague, who could not attend the Acapella sessions, of the Full horn Triolon with wall bass reported, it card to the proof briefly the shirt sleeves highly. "you, I see get still a goose skin, if I think of history in the audio forum." Because with the Triolon put Rudolph and Winters to the building of boxes on the crown. It is decisively superior to the delta configuration for two weighty reasons.
First of all the Bass Horn, a design which achieves a sound dispersion of over seven square meters. Integrated with the Mid/high Horn it becomes immediately apparent that they belong together. The small amount of sand used to reinforce the stability in the medium high tone spectrum. Now the sound, in particular trained voices were so close to the original it was frightening.
Secondly the efficiency of 95 to 100 dB, the speakers cordially welcome the achievement of technology now used in the small tube designed amplifiers. These did not even have to work with maximum volume or full Power. For example, the Unison Absolute producing 25 Watts from their 845-triodes met the challenges of the Triolon with ease. The overall sound quality of the Italian Tube amplifier was something we did not wish to omit from ourselves here, but a symphony orchestra in full ensemble, one hundred in strength, came alive and with uncanny realism leaving the listener wanting more.
There were not any doubts or questions coming from us. Start to look into the property Ads of your local newspaper for a house property with the possibility to expand a room to the size of a concert hall. These Speakers are definitely the flavour of the month with us.
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