United Kingdom | 2023 – Many listeners love the coherence and impulse response of a single driver loudspeaker, full range electrostatic or magneto-dynamic panel, but cannot live with the large physical size, limited bandwidth and colouration/uneven frequency response, particularly in the case of some classic folded horn speakers. Maximum loudness limitation is also a problem with some direct radiating single drive unit loudspeakers.
The Etude 5
…addresses these issues head on, via use of a line array of four 85 mm balanced mode radiator (BMR) wide-band drive units which are driven full range via a parallel LCR baffle step equalisation network, as is the case with the Curvi-BMR loudspeakers. The BMR drive units are mounted on a machined aluminium baffle and are clamped in place circumferentially via 4 mm brushed stainless steel bezel. Frequency extremes are bolstered by a ring radiator tweeter which starts to contribute to high frequency output at 5 kHz and extends output to 40 kHz. The low frequency end of the spectrum is underpinned via a pair of side mounted force cancelled 200 mm 75 mm voice coil Morel woofers, contributing to bass output from 100 Hz, and substantially filling in below 50 Hz, down to an in-room 20 – 25 Hz. Fundamental, and most harmonic, frequencies of the majority of musical instruments and vocals are therefore covered with no interruption by the BMR line array, this provides unrivalled, speed, coherence and transparency. The line array also provides excellent stereo imagery, which is sharpened thanks to the tweeter. A novel feature of the Etude 5 is that the BMR array and the force-cancelled woofers share the same transmission line, simulations have shown that modulation of the BMR units by the woofers at low frequencies is not significant. Sharing the line provides excellent bass speed and timing due to the woofers and the BMR units driving the same column of air – the “time-base” is the same for both sets of drive units.
Rigid mounting of the BMR units and circumferential support of their chassis contributes substantially to the quality of transient response.
As taste and room acoustics vary; the depth of the baffle step filter notch and tweeter output are variable via solderless connections. All filter components are of high quality and include Falcon, Jantzen and Mundorf inductors (including a 1.8 mm thick wire air-cored inductor from Mundorf or Jantzen for the baffle step notch filter). Capacitors are from Mundorf and Jantzen. Parallel thick film resistors are used in the baffle step notch filter and tweeter attenuation; a parallel resistor network gives improved dynamics and allows one resistor to be soldered in place whilst the other is solderless swappable to enable changes in the resistance value. Connection to the amplifier is via a single pair of large high quality binding posts.
The 25 mm higher density exterior grade MDF cabinet (with 36 mm thick baffle) is coupled to the floor via an 8 mm laser cut and forged steel base, equipped with bespoke spikes. The forged profile allows the cabinet to sit low in the plinth, thus maximising stability. For enthusiasts with listening rooms with excitable suspended floors, or floors with poor acoustic insulation, the Clipaudio Mute Point isolation bases are highly recommended at £1200 / pair supplement.
Here are the basic specifications – listening will of course reveal the true quality of the Etude 5.
approximately 85 dB/W
Frequency response: (see plots):
20 Hz (in room – size and positioning dependent) – to 20 kHz (measurement limit – the tweeter maintains output to 40 kHz with no breakup)
Impedance: (see plots);
minimum 3 Ω at 24 Hz, 4 Ω at 100 Hz 21 Ω at 1 kHz, 9 Ω at 20 kHz, Average 10 Ω. 4 ohm tap on valve amplifiers recommended in first instance.
Dimensions (excluding plinth):
1090 mm (h) x 490 mm (d) x 183 mm (b)
Overall plinth dimensions ((including Etude spikes and spike shoes)
35 mm (h – cabinet platform to floor) x 390 mm (b) x 550 mm (d)
Mass per loudspeaker
(packaged) (kg): 46
Etude 5 frequency response plots
Top, chirp frequency response at 0.8 m; bottom, in-room frequency response of stereo pair; at 2.4 m in a 55 m3 room (x), at 3.2 m in a 137 m3 room (+), the average of the two room responses (●). Audiomatica Clio Pocket hardware and software was used to generate the data which was imported to MS Excel for plotting.
Etude 5 Impedance and Phase plots
Impedance (top), phase (bottom). The Etude 5 is not a particularly reactive load, though lowish
impedance in the bass may not favour certain valve (tube) amplifiers.
Price: £13000 / pair (introductory price for first four production pairs)