Review: AudiaZ Cadenza Floorstanding loudspeakers: A new hearing? For many, in a certain way, yes, because in the mid-high range the Cadenza already set standards
Long time no see. The last AudiaZ launch was over 13 years ago. And yet recognized immediately. Which is not too difficult with AudiaZ loudspeakers. The manufacturer calls this OVO-Design: one woofer looking half to the left and half to the right, which grasp the V-shaped baffle of the tweeter and mid-range speaker. Instead of the usual six areas, the AudiaZ Cadenza has seven. It is imperative to add one here or visual independence by the devil were, according to developer Dr. Helmuth Weber, however, does not have the primary development goals. Rather, the Cadenza’s cabinet, which is laborious to learn to be a carpenter, should serve to implement acoustic objectives.
But let’s take a step back first – what are we basically dealing with with the AudiaZ Cadenza? As passive three-way bass reflex floorstanding loudspeakers with 87.5 dB / W / m efficiency , they do not really differ from many other loudspeakers at first glance. Given the Cadenza’s price tag, which is a bit wider, what is unusual is the size and weight class in which you enter the ring. The AudiaZ Cadenza are a manageable 112 centimeters high and with a fighting weight of 32 kilograms each stand on a floor space of just 25 x 25 centimeters.
“Top-quality floorstanding loudspeakers for medium-sized rooms” (I would even say for small ones, from at least 20 square meters upwards) is the official mission, with which they then differ more from many other loudspeakers on the market. I think that’s a good idea, (too) large speakers in rooms that are specially branched off for listening, but often smaller rooms in the apartment, are ultimately just as suboptimal as the family dissent about whether expensive (mostly: large) speakers are also allowed in the shared living room.
Okay, what do the AudiaZ Cadenza have to offer in a price range in which many loudspeakers are already practically themselves real estate?
Allow OVO …
Let’s start with the OVO design, of which the Rosenheim-based manufacturer, with its 23 years of market experience, is particularly proud. Because the baffle does not have parallel edges, AudiaZ wants to counteract the negative effects of the so-called baffle step at the root. As a reminder: shorter wavelengths emitted by a driver tend to experience a higher reflection and directionality from the baffle towards the listener than larger wavelengths that go beyond the boundaries of the baffle and are lost through spherical expansion in the different directions of the room – and therefore less Direct energy towards the listening position. A fact that, if left untreated, has a direct effect on the amplitude curve of a loudspeaker.
Even diffraction effects or Edge reflections should be effectively reduced to two after sharp downward tapered baffle edges due to their non-parallelism and their respective relatively shallow 45-degree angle: The 90-degree edges of conventional loudspeaker enclosures are significantly more prone to phantom sources effects that they had on Audiaz found, even if these are provided with generous radii.
As further advantages of the elaborate carpentry work of the OVO design, AudiaZ finally mentions the inherent stiffness of the housing walls and the pyramid-shaped rear volume of the midrange speaker, which is provided with its own base plate: “The Accuton-C90-6-724 midrange speaker is generously open on the back , the sound absorption on the back without reflection is particularly important here, ”says Helmuth Weber. The mid-range chamber, which tapers to a point at the rear, is therefore – keyword “cavity resonance”, see next paragraph – additionally dampened with tawron (“angel hair” from Mundorf) and wool felt on the walls.
Precisely such measures contribute to the fact that the typical reservations about ceramic drivers – all of the AudiaZ Cadenza drivers come from Accuton / Thiel from Pulheim – are completely unfounded, AudiaZ promises: “Basically, the Accuton chassis require significantly more effort in development, the housing construction, the materials used and the crossover network. This results in the high costs of all excellent loudspeakers that work with Accuton drivers. For example, the Accuton midrange driver used in the Cadenza has three frequency ranges to be considered: First, the built-in resonance, which is pronounced due to low mechanical losses (due to non-conductive titanium voice coil former and open design), then the pronounced diaphragm resonance due to the hard diaphragm – and also the cavity resonance of the ring-shaped open one Magnet system. “
Undisputedly, the Accuton drivers, which are expensive per se, but apparently cost-driving in several respects, are among the finest on the market, especially when it comes to the (fine) dynamics criterion. The two 173 mm basses emit a total of 90 degrees to the left and right and are supported by a down-firing bass reflex system with a tuning frequency of 34 Hertz. Interference Incidentally, there is nothing to be feared with this bass arrangement, according to Helmuth Weber, but there are advantages in terms of “first reflections on the bottom” and the avoidance of cancellation during bass transmission. In terms of design, this reaches up to 180 Hertz, then the aforementioned 100 mm cone takes over the transmission, which in turn is replaced relatively early, namely at 2 kHz, by the 30 mm tweeter.
Speaking of switches and transfer points: Special correction elements take over the fine-tuning of the flank shape, according to AudiaZ, the individual non-linear deviations of the mentioned chassis at their transmission limits are corrected accordingly by the switch design. This is also decisive for the long-term, stress-free sound of the Accutons. The same applies to the high-quality ingredients of the crossover, in which plain electrolytic capacitors naturally shine through their absence: Instead, there are solid foil capacitors , pure silver solid foil capacitors or mica capacitors. In addition, there are metal foil resistors from Isabellenhütte and air-core coils as well as a complete pure silver Teflon internal wiring, which, by the way, is soldered to the contacts of the chassis and not just connected with a plug.
Audiaz Cadenza: Sound test & comparisons
To fall straight into the house: The Audiaz Cadenza are among the most extraordinary loudspeakers that I have been able to check out in my listening room so far. Not only visually, but also in terms of break-in time, set-up – and ultimately sound.
Let’s start with the recording procedure: Although the Cadenza already had playing time on the clock, for the first few days they sounded rather harsh on the top, in the fundamental / upper bassnoticeably too slim and in the (deep) bass too plump and strangely – my listening room usually doesn’t bother here – boomy. Over the months (the Cadenza didn’t run every day, but I actually had the feeling that it was funny as it reads that it was good to just stand still) initially the harshness disappeared – completely! In addition, the “hole” between the middle and the bass gradually became smaller. On the bass side, the droning disappeared completely; it helped that I tightened the screws on the bass driver very gently (helpful for many speakers, including new ones). The fact that devices have more than three months to metamorphose is rather unusual and is due to my current workload – but in the case of the Audiaz Cadenza it was exactly the right “coincidence”. From larva to butterfly,
No food loathers
The bad word “harsh” has already been mentioned and I can imagine that sensitive listeners will already be concerned if they just look at the built-in drivers. The following: If there is one thing you can’t say about me, it’s that I don’t have enough thin, scratchy, scary, and therefore poor recording quality in my record cabinet or on my hard drive: The super-likeable The Bevis Frond, indestructible Legendary Pink Dots discs , Greek Metal ( Movement Of Static), which I spontaneously pulled from Bandcamp late at night after delicious wine, which was followed by a nice exchange of mail with the combo from Thessaloniki despite the advanced hour (you can’t buy music better), or the sometimes scratchy recordings from Primus – I have them all heard with the Cadenza.
And they were all as enjoyable as I know it from long-term, non- artificial-analytical hi-fi components. But a pure clearance certificate would be – especially in this price range – not enough for the Cadenza. So let’s try one of my favorite guitarists: John Frusciante will be known to many of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and I especially appreciate his cruder solo albums. Not only because of the guitar, but also, yeah: the singing skills. The 2009 album The Empyrean is also not a (typical) audiophile pearl, but has a very authentic charm in terms of recording technology, a Steve Albini would certainly be happy: The noise of guitar amplifiers or overdriven microphones is just part of it, as well as the rather uncompressed dynamics (!) of some songs as well as the somewhat gruffly captured voice of Frusciantes, who fervently works in “Song to the Siren”, for example.
Well, the AudiaZ elevate what is offered to a work of art, as I have never been able to experience with this track before: The inadequacies of the recording are revealed just like its strengths in the form of the wonderfully direct voice captured with all its beats and roughness, such as that should be the case for a high-precision loudspeaker. And at the same time interwoven so harmoniously into an organic whole that I have no choice but to remain fascinated on my sofa. And hit the repeat button.
Both the throaty vocals and the mid-range reproduction of the AudiaZ Cadenza are not for romantics and warm listeners. The extremely fine texturing, the subtle dynamic gradations, the clarity (the Cadenza certainly have excellent low distortion in terms of measurement technology ) as well as the tonal color and spatial freedom of the voice at its finest. Neither pleasant sound design nor annoying eardrum ticking. The Cadenza simply provide the immediate, real material.
Warmer? More flattering?
My Sehring 903 , which also sounds clear and undistorted like spring water, can keep up in terms of purity, but in terms of fine dynamics and resolution, my Spendor 9 sound more diffuse and restless. Even the recently tested Ikon Avara Final do not achieve the fine pixel quality of the resolution and the stupendous immediacy of the fine dynamics of the Cadenza. All excellent speakers, by the way! And even a look at the fairaudio test archive in the direction of even higher price ranges leaves no memories of loudspeakers that would have raised the bar even higher in terms of mid-range / high-frequency reproduction. Quite the opposite. Or with a different taste: there are loudspeakers with warmer, more sonorous or more flattering midrange reproduction.
Nevertheless, I never miss such specimens while listening to the Cadenza. Assuming that the amplifiers are clean and playful – for this test I mainly use the fall-neutral combination of Funk MTX and Bryston 7B³ . Then Anja Lechner’s wistful cello and Frau Lechner sound like Vassilis Tsabropoulos’ piano strokes drizzling rain in “Song of Prosperity” in terms of color absolutely convincing and therefore uncolored neutral. However, in the direction of overtones, it is more open and luminous than I usually know, which means that the instruments automatically appear in a slightly brighter light from a hearing-psychological point of view.
For my taste, however, this is exactly what is considered a quality feature and strength of the AudiaZ Cadenza: complexity and complexity, the tense “staying on the ball” when listening are increasing. Actually, it should already have become clear from what has been said, but expressis verbis to be on the safe side: The whole thing has nothing to do with “tonally too bright” or even “garish”, the high-quality mid / high frequency reproduction of the AudiaZ Cadenza exudes despite its transparency and Openness always has an elegant, subtle, sensitive flair.
Off to the desert
It goes without saying that such talents are also ideal for electronic music: The crackling, tingling and metallic scraping noises placed over the female chant in Burial’s “Etched Headplate” shine so clearly outlined, defined and against a black background clear as little stars at night in the Atacama desert. But not only in the mid / high range, but also on the bass side, the AudiaZ Cadenza let abrupt impulses swing in and out cleanly: Good to hear with the densely bubbling beats in “Turbulence” by Free the Robots (album: Ctrl Alt Delete) or the bouncy, pulsating beats Bass figure in C evin Keys“Bob’s Shadow” (album: The Ghost of Each Room). Ergo: The Cadenza also sound accurate in terms of coarse dynamics.
A bit of character …
However, the AudiaZ Cadenza have their own character that sets them apart from many other speakers in this price range. The fact that larger speakers with more powerful bass drivers move even more air or, like my Sehring 903 with its ingenious bass system, offer more depth – for free. After all, the Cadenza are deliberately designed for small to medium-sized rooms that would be overwhelmed by many speakers in this price range, both visually and acoustically. Still, don’t worry, the Cadenza clearly sound like grown-up floorstanding speakers and not like oversized compacts. In short: I feel that the Cadenza is basically perfectly balanced on the bass side with a view to its intended areas of application.
However, you should know that the level between the (upper) bass and the fundamental is a little restrained. At least in my listening room, which does not tend to thicken, when set up free with a distance of more than one meter from the rear wall: The bass beats and figures mentioned in “Turbulence” and “Bob’s Shadow” do not quite develop the pressure in their upper parts, not quite the significance that I know from other loudspeakers and seem a little more reduced, less generously extended. A calculation that, given the room sizes targeted by the Cadenza – keyword: installation close to the wall including the accompanying room acoustics increase in lower tones – can, however, work out. In addition, according to the manufacturer, the quality of the stand area plays a role here – on request, AudiaZ can provide its customers with appropriate bases.
One fascination is still missing: the spatiality. There are definitely loudspeakers with more strict or studio-monitor-like rastering and concerted, sculptural drawing; I do not perceive this aspect as either a strength or a weakness of Cadenza. The openness, spaciousness and detachment of what is offered are top notch, however, the image of the Audiaz exudes something very unobtrusively captivating in a very special way, yes: consistent that allows you to immediately connect with the music. To be honest, it is difficult to describe this phenomenon in an analytical and tangible way, because the usual criteria somehow do not work one hundred percent. Also the fact that you get a comparatively intact stage (far) outside the sweetspot and not only in the middle of the sofa,
A new hearing? For many, in a certain way, yes, because in the mid-high range the Cadenza already set something like standards. Sure, there is always better – AudiaZ is not offering a diamond dome for a surcharge for nothing. And differently: Even more analytical, silky or, in particular, even more full-bodied is always possible – here, however, it is less about objective quality than about individual taste.
Although I can imagine that the aspect “fullness / sonority” is particularly popular with many listeners. The strength of the AudiaZ Cadenza, on the other hand, is – also promoted by its outstanding fine dynamic qualities – in the unsolviness, immediacy and complexity of what is offered. Without the loudspeakers analytically “turning too fast”.
With the playback of voices (and corresponding recordings), the feeling arose of being able to witness them very closely, live, because their multitude of facets was passed through so unvarnished, unreduced, and therefore unfiltered. More romantic aspects such as “mid-melt” or “warmth of timbres” take a back seat – also because the Cadenza sounds extremely pure and perceived (certainly also in terms of measurement technology) without distortion and knows how to please without any cosmetics.
Pay attention to high-quality, no less pure sounding, tonally neutral amplification and cabling (AudiaZ offers speaker cables, if in doubt, just try it out) and allow the Cadenza to run between 20 and 40 square meters depending on the characteristics of the listening room. An installation closer to the wall can even be advantageous due to the slightly slimmer upper bass / fundamental tone; the sound can evidently also be significantly influenced with sub-bases. By the way: The AudiaZ Cadenza are properly level-proof, so your immediate neighbors can listen in if they like, but the Cadenza is not really suitable for obsessive parties. More important, especially for the application area “smaller rooms”: Even when quietly listened to, the Cadenza offers a lively, dynamically finely profiled sound image.
The AudiaZ Cadenza are characterized by …
- an extremely audible as well as pure mid / high range. Without make-up, immediately, unfiltered. Not for romantics, but for fans of the real material!
- Exceptionally good fine dynamics, not least being able to listen to the fine beats of voices, is a real listening experience.
- a very open, airy, honest, but with appropriately clean amplification / cabling, fine-pixel high tone suitable for long-term use, free of annoying artifacts.
- transparent and “fast” mids that allow the most subtle insights, tonally more on the slightly light than full-bodied / sonorous side.
- An accurate bass, which does not astonish you qualitatively as much as the mid / high range, and it simply fulfills its duty. Tonally slightly reduced in the upper bass / fundamental. Adult draft. The physical experience of bass and orgiastic party levels were deliberately not part of the development goals for these loudspeakers.
- an engaging spatiality: image sharpness that is not so much bred for monitoresque, compact sound bodies, but for openness, spaciousness and detachment. But by no means uncomfortably diffuse. On the contrary: the space is one of the icing on the cake of these sound transducers. The image also appears comparatively coherent away from the sweet spot.
- Understatement. Extremely well crafted in detail and interesting, independent design. Nevertheless, the loudspeakers fit into the living environment rather than immediately wanting to be the focus of attention.
- Model: AudiaZ Cadenza
- Concept: 3-way bass reflex floorstanding loudspeaker with ceramic drivers
- Price: from 28,000 euros, diamond tweeter for an extra charge
- Dimensions & weight: Dimensions: 1120 x 244 x 244 mm (H x W x D), approx. 32 kg / piece
- Versions: pearlescent black, pearlescent white, golden ebony high gloss
- Efficiency: 87.5 dB / W / m
- Nominal impedance: 4 ohms
- Other: speaker cables adapted to the internal cabling are optional
- Guarantee: 5 years