In the ever-evolving landscape of audio technology, the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact emerges as a distinctive contender, challenging the conventional trajectory of escalating prices in the realm of high-end speakers. This review delves into the intricacies of this intriguing audio offering, exploring the nuances of its design, features, and performance. Priced at 9,300 euros per pair, the Cylindric Compact not only introduces a more budget-friendly option compared to its modular predecessor but also showcases a departure from the modular design, opting for a continuous housing that opens new possibilities in terms of material choice and internal cable routing. As we unravel the unique characteristics and sonic capabilities of the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact, we aim to provide a comprehensive insight into its potential to redefine the expectations of audio enthusiasts and discerning listeners.
Amidst a market saturated with conventional speaker designs, the Cylindric Compact promises a spatially expansive and immersive listening experience. Beyond its technical specifications, this audio gem captivates with its ability to liberate music from the confines of a virtual box, presenting a wide and free sound field that extends well beyond the traditional stereo boundaries. In this introductory exploration, we embark on a journey to understand how the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact challenges the status quo regarding pricing and redefines how we perceive and interact with music in our living spaces.
Audiophile FAST, the Frankfurt-based loudspeaker manufacturer, is a testament to innovation and precision in high-end audio. Led by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Bruns, the company has carved a niche for itself by pushing the boundaries of conventional speaker design. Renowned for its line array concepts, Audiophile FAST has garnered attention not only for the exceptional sonic qualities of its products but also for its commitment to delivering unique solutions. The company’s pursuit of audio excellence is evident in its ability to blend cutting-edge technology with a keen understanding of spatial representation, resulting in speakers that reproduce sound faithfully and redefine the way listeners experience and connect with their music. As audiophiles and music enthusiasts eagerly anticipate each release from Audiophile FAST, the company continues to shape the landscape of premium audio with its forward-thinking approach and dedication to providing immersive and high-quality listening experiences.
- Modell: Audiophile FAST cylindric compact
- Concept: 2-way line array speakers, closed housing
- Price: 9,300 euros
- Connections: active: analog via Cinch or XLR, digital via AES/EBU (XLR); passive: Speakon speaker terminal
- Dimensions & Weight: 150 x 60 x 40 cm (HxDxW (Speaker/Depth & Width: Base)), 45 kg/piece
- Versions: Painting is possible in all RAL colors
- Other: The active version is standard (2 x 250 watts); There is a passive version of the speaker
- Warranty: 2 years
In examining the design similarities between the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact and its modular counterpart, it becomes evident that both variants share a fundamental two-way loudspeaker configuration. Despite the armada of 28 chassis per channel in the compact version, a first glance might mislead one into thinking otherwise. The critical separation between frequencies occurs at 250 Hertz, a characteristic that unites both models. What sets them apart in the lower frequency range, extending down to 30 Hertz (-6 dB), are the four Dayton Audio DCS165 woofers utilized per box, each enclosed in a separate housing of approximately seven liters. In front of these woofers are six broadband drivers, specifically the 1.5-inch Dayton Audio DMA45-4, with 24 drivers per channel, creating a sound-emitting line measuring 120 centimeters long and roughly three centimeters wide. While complex in its composition, this configuration forms the basis of the line array concept present in both the modular and compact iterations of the Audiophile FAST Cylindric speakers.
Active and Passive Options:
Delving into the active and passive options offered by the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact, it’s apparent that the company provides a versatile range to cater to diverse preferences in audio setups. The active model, under scrutiny in this review, boasts an advanced ICEpower Class D module with integrated DSP functionality, including a crossover feature, delivering a robust 2 x 125 watts of power per box. This active configuration facilitates control through analog (Cinch, XLR) and digital (XLR) interfaces. An intriguing aspect is the absence of a built-in analog preamplifier, making it essential for users to employ a player with volume control capabilities, whether a streaming bridge or a music server. This renders the need for a separate analog preamplifier unnecessary for digital audio enthusiasts. The passive alternative, though described as having a more marginal significance, showcases the meticulous engineering philosophy of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Bruns, the chief developer at Audiophile FAST. Tailored primarily for owners of tube amplifiers, the passive version offers a complex switch allowing adjustment to individual output impedance. This dual-option approach underscores the company’s commitment to providing a tailored audio experience, whether users lean towards the convenience of active setups or the nuanced preferences of those opting for tube amplification.
The design differences between the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact and its modular counterpart represent a significant evolution in the pursuit of audio excellence. A pivotal departure lies in the structural composition, as the Cylindric Compact eschews the modular concept in favor of continuous housing. This fundamental shift allows for the use of MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard) as the primary material. This choice provides mechanical stability without needing the solid wood employed in the modular version. This alteration substantially reduces material costs and streamlines manufacturing, ultimately contributing to a more cost-effective final product. Moreover, the adoption of continuous housing enables the internal routing of cabling, resulting in a cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing speaker back compared to its modular counterpart, where a wiring harness with Speakon connectors is externally attached. The refined appearance of the Cylindric Compact, coupled with the option for a clean paint finish in various RAL colors, enhances its elegance and adaptability to different living spaces, offering a departure from the more rustic aesthetic associated with the modular variant. These design differentiations underscore Audiophile FAST’s commitment to innovation, cost-efficiency, and visual refinement without compromising on sonic integrity.
The spatial characteristics of the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact speakers are a standout feature, contributing to an immersive and unique listening experience. The term “cylindric” in the product name alludes to the distinctive radiation characteristics of these speakers. Unlike conventional line arrays, the convex shape of the loudspeaker contributes to a spatial representation that is both broad and free. The line array design radiates sound widely horizontally while maintaining a bundled vertical dispersion, creating a unique cylindrical sound field, according to Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Bruns, the owner and chief developer of Audiophile FAST, says this design choice offers advantages in perception, as the convex shape produces a more natural and spacious sound.
The Cylindric Compact successfully differentiates itself by moving beyond the limitations of a virtual soundstage. Rather than confining the music within the conventional stereo boundaries, these speakers can liberate the sound throughout the room. This spatial liberation allows the music to extend beyond the physical confines of the speakers, resulting in a more natural and engaging auditory experience. The speakers’ ability to present a wide and free sound field contributes to an unconventional yet compelling listening atmosphere, making them an ideal choice for those who appreciate a departure from the traditional stereo soundstage. This unique spatial characteristic positions the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact as a distinctive offering in the audiophile landscape, appealing to those who seek a more expansive and involving sound representation.
The performance of the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact unfolds as a testament to the meticulous engineering and sonic prowess embedded in these speakers. Characterized by a slightly warm and sonorous tonal profile, these speakers evoke a balanced and pleasing impression to the discerning ear. The incorporation of 48 one-and-a-half-inch broadbands contributes to a nuanced and coherent sonic output, dispelling any sense of overcast. The bass, extending two finger widths in-depth, and a subtle enhancement in the fundamental tone underscores the speakers’ prowess in the lower frequency range. At the upper end, the 48 broadbands provide a clear and unified sonic landscape, favoring a closed and cohesive sound presentation.
The real strength of the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact lies in its unique spatial representation. By daring to extend the stage beyond the typical stereo base, these speakers breathe life into the music, avoiding the confinement of a virtual box. The line array design positions the stage notably in front of the listener, creating an expansive and natural sound field stretching both to the physical limits’ left and right. This spatial characteristic stands out, particularly as it avoids the common compression of the depth dimension seen in other front-facing loudspeakers. The result is a stage that feels exceptionally natural and free, providing an immersive and engaging listening experience.
While the Cylindric Compact performs similarly to its larger modular counterpart tested previously, the nearly 30% reduction in price significantly enhances its overall value proposition. The speakers maintain a remarkable balance, delivering a tonally pleasing experience with an added focus on spatial representation. This quality resonates with audiophiles and music enthusiasts seeking a departure from conventional soundstages. In essence, the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact not only upholds its familial sonic characteristics but does so at a more accessible price point, making it a compelling choice for those seeking high-quality audio without compromise.
The spatial representation achieved by the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact speakers is a defining feature that sets them apart in the audiophile landscape. The “cylindric” terminology alludes to the distinctive way these speakers project sound, marrying the characteristics of a line array with a unique convex shape. Unlike traditional line arrays that spread sound in a cylindrical shape, the convex shape of the Cylindric Compact contributes to a more spherical sound dispersion. According to Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Bruns, this design choice results in a spatial representation perceived as exceptionally natural.
What distinguishes the spatial representation of the Cylindric Compact is its ability to break free from the conventional stereo boundaries. The speakers venture beyond the limits of a virtual box, allowing the music to breathe and extend into the room. The line array design ingeniously moves the stage noticeably in front of the listener, creating an expansive and engaging sound field that stretches beyond the physical confines of the speakers. This spatial liberation adds realism and freedom to the listening experience, making it more like a live performance. By avoiding the compression of the depth dimension commonly found in other loudspeakers, the Cylindric Compact achieves a spatial representation that feels natural and immersive, offering listeners a unique and captivating sonic experience that transcends the boundaries of traditional stereo soundstages.
In conducting a comparative analysis, the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact emerges as a distinctive player in the audiophile realm, offering a unique blend of characteristics that set it apart from competitors in its price range. While maintaining tonal balance and a slightly sonorous quality, the Cylindric Compact excels in its spatial representation, creating a wide, free sound field beyond the typical stereo base. This quality is a defining feature that caters to those who appreciate a more immersive and involving listening experience.
In contrast, for listeners prioritizing maximum dynamics and iron-hard bass impulses, alternatives such as the Genelec S360 SAM, priced at 8,120 euros, might be a compelling choice. However, the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact shines in its resolution, organic three-dimensional representation, and fine detailing in the midband, making it particularly well-suited for enthusiasts of classical and jazz music.
For those seeking an even higher level of resolution and action at the frequency extremes, the active Abacus Oscara 212 is mentioned as an option, albeit at a higher price point of just under 15,000 euros. While the Abacus Oscara 212 may offer more in terms of criteria, it lacks the distinct spatial presentation that defines the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact.
Ultimately, the comparative analysis highlights the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact’s unique strengths, combining spatial freedom, tonal balance, and a more accessible price point, making it an appealing choice for music enthusiasts who value an unconventional yet captivating listening experience.
The Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact speakers demonstrate a genre-specific performance that caters to the nuanced preferences of classical and jazz enthusiasts and those who appreciate acoustic music. The speakers’ tonally balanced and slightly sonorous impact aligns well with the intricacies of these genres, offering a sound signature that complements the characteristics of acoustic instruments and live recordings.
When exploring jazz or acoustic tracks, the Cylindric Compact speakers excel in portraying expansive soundscapes, often sought after in these genres. The unique spatial representation, with a wide and free sound field, effectively conveys jazz compositions’ intricate details and dynamic nuances. For example, when playing tracks like Nils Petter Molvær’s “Tlon” from the album Khmer, the speakers showcase their ability to stretch the room, providing an immersive experience that enhances the free-floating trumpet tones in a way that resonates with the demands of jazzy electronica.
Switching to classical music, such as Sofia Gubaidulina’s “Dialogue: Me and You” performed by the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Cylindric Compact speakers shine in their representation of breadth and depth. They manage to create an organic staggering of instruments, allowing listeners to discern the studio-generated room from the real room acoustics captured in classical recordings. The speakers’ capacity to portray a confidently deep sound level, as evident in the placement of instruments like the timpani, enhances the immersive quality of classical compositions.
While the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact may not be the go-to choice for techno or metal enthusiasts seeking powerful bass impulses, its genre-specific performance tailored for classical, jazz, and acoustic music showcases its versatility and thoughtful design. For those whose musical preferences align with these genres, the Cylindric Compact offers a tonally balanced, lively, and informative listening experience, solidifying its position as an ideal companion for acoustic and classical music fans.
Usability and Functionality
The usability and functionality of the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact speakers are integral components contributing to their overall appeal. The speakers offer various options, accommodating different preferences and setups.
One notable feature is the availability of both active and passive configurations, allowing users to choose based on their specific needs. The active model, the review’s focus, incorporates an advanced ICEpower Class D module with integrated DSP and crossover functions, delivering 2 x 125 watts of power per box. This simplifies the amplification process and gives users control over various parameters, enhancing the system’s flexibility.
Including analog (Cinch, XLR) and digital (XLR) connectivity options ensures compatibility with a wide range of audio sources. For those inclined towards a purely digital setup, the speakers eliminate the necessity for a separate analog preamplifier. However, users need to be equipped with a player, such as a streaming bridge or music server, possessing volume control capabilities due to the absence of a built-in analog preamp.
While not overly complicated, the setup process requires users to make analog or digital operation decisions. While this might not be as user-friendly as a completely plug-and-play system, it grants users the freedom to tailor the setup to their preferences.
The decision to offer a passive version underscores the manufacturer’s commitment to accommodating diverse user preferences. Though more complex, the passive switch adjusts individual output impedance, primarily targeting tube amplifier owners. This dual-option approach broadens the appeal of the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact, making it accessible to a range of users with different amplification preferences.
Regarding design and aesthetics, shifting from modular to continuous housing reduces costs and gives a more elegant appearance. The internal cable routing, facilitated by the continuous housing, enhances the visual appeal by eliminating external wiring. A clean paint finish in various colors enhances the speakers’ adaptability to different living spaces.
The Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact speakers balance flexibility and user control. While the setup might require some decision-making, the range of connectivity options and dual active/passive configurations make these speakers versatile and suitable for a diverse audience of audio enthusiasts. The thoughtful design choices in functionality and aesthetics contribute to their overall usability and appeal.
Craftsmanship and Unique Features
The craftsmanship of the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact speakers is marked by meticulous attention to detail and innovative design choices, contributing to their unique sonic performance and aesthetic appeal.
Craftsmanship: The transition from a modular to a continuous housing design is a key aspect of the craftsmanship. Opting for continuous housing reduces material costs and allows for using Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF), a softer material than the solid wood required for the modular version. This decision streamlines the manufacturing process and results in a more cost-effective final product without compromising mechanical stability.
The internal routing of cabling within the continuous housing showcases thoughtful craftsmanship. This contributes to a cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing speaker back and eliminates the need for external wiring. The speakers, therefore, present a refined and elegant appearance, with the option for a clean paint finish in various colors, enhancing their adaptability to different living spaces.
- Spatial Representation: Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the Cylindric Compact is its spatial representation. The convex shape of the loudspeaker, combined with the line array design, creates a sound field that is both broad and free. This departure from the traditional stereo boundaries offers a more immersive and natural listening experience, setting these speakers apart from conventional designs.
- Versatility in Configurations: The availability of both active and passive configurations adds a layer of versatility. The active model features an advanced ICEpower Class D module with integrated DSP and crossover functions, giving users control and flexibility in tailoring their audio setup. Though more niche, the passive option caters to tube amplifier owners, allowing adjustments to individual output impedance.
- Tonally Balanced Performance: The tonal balance of the Cylindric Compact, characterized by a slightly warm and sonorous quality, aligns well with acoustic and classical music genres. Using 48 one-and-a-half-inch broadbands contributes to a nuanced and coherent sonic output, delivering a pleasing and well-balanced listening experience.
- Elegant Aesthetic: The shift to continuous housing impacts the internal components and enhances the external aesthetics. The elimination of the external wiring harness and the option for a clean paint finish results in a more refined and visually appealing speaker, making it suitable for various living spaces.
In summary, the craftsmanship of the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact speakers is evident in the thoughtful design choices that balance performance, cost-effectiveness, and visual elegance. The unique features, especially the spatial representation, contribute to a distinctive listening experience that appeals to those seeking innovation in high-end audio.
In conclusion, the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact speakers are a captivating and innovative addition to high-end audio. The meticulous design choices, such as the departure from modular construction to continuous housing, showcase a commitment to cost-efficiency and aesthetic refinement. The speakers’ unique spatial representation, characterized by a wide and free sound field, challenges traditional stereo boundaries and offers an immersive listening experience, particularly appealing to classical, jazz, and acoustic fans. The versatility of active and passive configurations and a range of connectivity options grant users flexibility and control over their audio setup. While the setup process may require some initial decisions, the payoff is a nuanced and engaging sonic experience that resonates with those seeking a departure from conventional soundstages. Moreover, the Cylindric Compact’s nearly 30% reduction in price compared to its modular counterpart enhances its overall value proposition, making it an attractive choice for discerning listeners who value both performance and affordability in their pursuit of audio excellence.
Reasons to Buy:
- Unique Spatial Representation: The Cylindric Compact’s exceptional spatial representation sets it apart, offering a wide, immersive sound field beyond conventional stereo boundaries. For those who value a more natural and engaging listening experience, especially in genres like classical and jazz, these speakers provide a captivating sonic environment.
- Versatility in Configurations: The availability of both active and passive configurations adds a layer of versatility, catering to different user preferences and setups. With its advanced ICEpower Class D module and DSP functionalities, the active model is ideal for those seeking a modern and controlled audio solution.
- Aesthetic Elegance: The shift to continuous housing contributes to a more affordable price point and enhances the visual appeal. The clean paint finish options in various colors make the Cylindric Compact adaptable to different living spaces, presenting an elegant and refined look.
- Tonally Balanced Performance: With a slightly warm and sonorous tonal profile, these speakers cater to those who appreciate a balanced and nuanced sound reproduction, particularly well-suited for acoustic and classical music genres.
Reasons Not to Buy:
- Preference for Maximum Dynamics: If the top priority is maximum dynamics and iron-hard bass impulses, especially for genres like techno or metal, alternative speakers, such as the Genelec S360 SAM, might be more suitable.
- Simpler Setup Preferences: While not overly complex, the setup process requires users to make decisions regarding analog or digital operation. For those seeking a plug-and-play experience without such decisions, other speakers with simpler setups may be preferable.
- Budget Constraints: While the Cylindric Compact offers a more affordable option than its modular counterpart, the price point may still be a limiting factor for some buyers. Alternatives available in the market at different price ranges may better align with budget constraints.
In essence, the decision to buy or not the Audiophile FAST Cylindric Compact hinges on individual preferences, usage scenarios, and budget considerations. For those seeking a unique spatial experience, versatile configurations, and an elegant design at a competitive price, the Cylindric Compact presents a compelling option. However, those with specific preferences for maximum dynamics or simpler setups may find other speakers more aligned with their priorities.