In a previous article, I made a big deal about the fact that more and more serious speaker companies are now building their own drivers. Another example is Raidho Acoustics from Denmark, and their flagship C4.0 speaker (85,000€ per pair) was making some mighty fine music in Munich. In the case of Raidho, their driver designs consist of a proprietary sealed ribbon tweeter along with ceramic cone drivers of varying sizes featuring neodymium magnet systems. The result is a trademark sound that's both full and detailed, expertly walking the fine line between "musical" and revealing.
As good as the C4.0 is, perhaps even more exciting is that you can get the same ribbon tweeter and a more simplified version of their ceramic driver in a much less expensive loudspeaker, the new S2.0 (8500€ per pair).
The neo magnets in the C4.0 have been replaced with ferrites in the S2.0, and the cabinet is less ambitious for sure (no aluminum baffles). But I'm very curious to see just how much sound quality they can get out of this little brother at a much lower price point. All I can say is that the speakers from Raidho Acoustics are very, very promising indeed.
Although they don’t make their own drivers, Germany's Kaiser is a relatively new and exciting company. Their new Vivace loudspeaker (25,000€ per pair, base price) had to be the looker of the show. The day I visited their room I got to hear their Classic -- the big brother to the Vivace -- and it was electrostatic-like in its speed and transparency. It was as if the drive units themselves were directly coupled to the amplifier; such was the immediate nature of the sound.
Will the Vivace's Mundorf ribbon tweeter, the carbon-fiber baffle, and the top-of-the-line Scan-Speak midrange and woofer all add up to impressive sound? The design brief is like looking at the window sticker of a fine sports car -- drool inducing!
As disparate as Raidho Acoustics and Kaiser are in their speaker designs, their sounds are quite alike only in that they're completely engaging and musically relevant. Which would I prefer? Only some extended auditioning will reveal . . .
Editor-in-Chief, The SoundStage! Network