Divine Acoustics – heavenly acoustics, the Polish loudspeaker manufacturer Len HiFi from Duisburg, has recently added to its portfolio but doesn’t do it underneath. The floorstanding loudspeakers that Len HiFi entered into the race for this test are called Bellatrix, Latin, and means warrior in German. This could be taken as a declaration of war. The means used by Divine Acoustics Bellatrix (9,000 euros) are peaceful, but they try to win with design, technical finesse, and sound.
Craft meets design
This sets the schedule for this audio report. Let’s start with the design. Without wanting to serve cheap clichés – these beautiful loudspeakers could come from Italy. Where: credit where credit is due; the processing quality is Polish because Polish craftsmanship rightly enjoys an excellent reputation. Narrow, high (1.25 meters) columns with an irregular octagonal cross-section, slightly tilted backward and clad in fine veneers – make a powerful impression and show craftsmanship.
The veneers are expensive snakewood with an elaborate, ten-layer high-gloss finish (a limited edition of which only 10 pairs will be built) or ash in the shades of mocha and smoke with a satin finish. The top panels of the loudspeakers are tilted forward and are made of steel, which is covered with an insulating layer that looks like a leather covering. Practically, nobody would think of abusing the slender columns as flower stands. A closer look reveals the “backpacks” that the Bellatrix wear on their backs. The obelisk-like, carbon-foil-clad external enclosures house the crossovers.
The entire loudspeaker rests on elegantly shaped base plates, with some unique features that still need to be discussed. Before I try to describe the successful design, I prefer to refer to the pictures. I was fortunate that Len Hifi initially provided me with a pair of Divine Acoustics Bellatrix from the stunning Limited Edition but exchanged them after two weeks for a series pair in Smoke. The beautiful Snakewood couple had found a paying lover… Well, now I can show you both versions in pictures.
Asterix, Obelix, Bellatrix – and a crossover in the backpack
Let’s get to the subject of technical finesse. There are, for example, those backpacks that the Bellatrix carry on their slender backs and are a bit reminiscent of menhirs. Bellatrix, menhirs – if you don’t think of Obelix … But while you never really find out exactly what the menhirs are that the powerfully built guy is heaving around for, in the case of the Bellatrix, you can pretty much do that say. These are external enclosures that house the speaker crossovers .
Placing the crossovers in separate housings is a good idea in principle because the components are better protected from the sound that the drivers radiate into the interior of the housing and the associated microphonic effects than if they were inside the loudspeakers. It would be quite logical if the housings stood separately on the floor and had no mechanical connection to the loudspeakers at all; then they would be even better decoupled. Well, the piggyback cases are a significant step in the right direction.
Visually, the whole thing is still exciting. Especially since the crossover housing, which is covered with carbon foil, has a window on the back that allows a view of the crossover components. What can be seen here comes exclusively from the top drawers of Miflex, Jantzen, and other well-known manufacturers. A total of 51 (!) components ensure that the frequency spectrum is divided between the three chassis on the front of each Bellatrix. The lower seven-inch woofer is taken out of the running at 250 Hertz; the upper one can continue to play up to 2900 Hertz before it is handed over to the one-inch ring radiator. It is, therefore, a two-and-a-half-way system .
Fine drivers and elaborate housing interior
The chassis of the Divine Acoustics Bellatrix itself is also of noble provenance. The mid-bass drivers came from the German manufacturer Eton and were modified according to the specifications of Divine Acoustics. The tweeters are ring radiators from Scan-Speak’s Illuminator series. Divine Acoustics has decoupled the tweeters very elaborately from vibrations, using the same technology (“CeraGem”) that Divine Acoustics also uses for the vibration-absorbing speaker feet. This is to protect the tweeters of the Bellatrix from unwanted influences, i.e., vibrations that emanate from the woofers and spread through the baffle to the tweeters.
The impressive effort continues with the housings of the Divine Acoustics Bellatrix, which have complex inner workings. It is a mixture of a multi-chamber bass reflex system and a quarter-wavelength line, i.e., a short transmission line, whose opening is directed downwards towards the ground. The boards that form the chambers and sound guides also reinforce the housing, which is insulated with mineral mats. The tweeters have their chambers within the cabinets to protect them from the rearward sound of the other drivers. The speakers rest on steel floor plates, which in turn stand on “Keppler” vibration absorbers developed by Divine Acoustics. These absorbers are exciting constructions made of ceramics, artificial gemstones, and various metals that are supposed to dampen vibrations very effectively.
Connected to the earth at the push of a button
The connection terminals of the Divine Acoustics Bellatrix, which can accommodate both bananas and cable lugs and are made of copper, similar to Cardas terminals, are also unusual. What I find even more exciting is what is underneath the actual connection terminal: a grounding clamp and a toggle switch with which you can switch the loudspeakers between “normal” operation and one with external grounding. Grounding speakers is not an entirely new idea. The traditional Scottish manufacturer Tannoy and the new company Fyine Audio generally offer this option. And a speaker developer friend recently raved to me about the positive effects of grounding the chassis. Curious, I do the listening test.
Divine Acoustics Bellatrix: Sound Test & Comparisons
Now it’s time to determine whether the Bellatrix can win me over regarding sound. The switch from my Horns FP 12, also from Poland (6,750 euros plus stand), to the Divine Acoustics Bellatrix, is brutal at first. However, this is less due to the Bellatrix than my treasured horns. With their massive, boxy, squat housing and their 30-centimeter mid-bass drivers, they are already a completely different house number than the elegant, slim, and high-shooting Bellatrix.
And the speakers are also worlds apart in terms of sound. Initially, it’s not so much about better or worse. The two loudspeakers set entirely different accents. In my spatial conditions, with a listening distance of a good three meters to the loudspeakers, the horns still offer an almost near-field listening impression. That’s big and immediate. Attack and transients are in the foreground here. The resolution is okay, but a deep black background, which allows you to follow the finest decay processes down to the last detail, was not so high up in the specifications. I like it, but I’m aware that I have unique preferences.
The Divine Acoustics Bellatrix is more capable of winning a majority. I have to admit that the first impression doesn’t blow me away. “Sounds okay, but I know why I like my horns” is about what goes through my head at first. However, that surprises me. Typically, Björn Kraayvanger from Len HiFi has a pretty good ear. And if he is enthusiastic about a loudspeaker, there is usually something to it. Also, I don’t want to believe that the immense technical effort is an end in itself. There has to be more.
Sophisticated positioning and magical spatiality
I’m experimenting with the lineup to find out what’s really in the Bellatrix. Here the Polish warriors turn out to be demanding. If the initial situation is not correct, their commitment is limited. After some back and forth, the sound snaps in audibly. In my listening room, this happens with only slight angles to the listening position with a relatively small base width. This results in a quite narrow sweet spot, which has it all. The Bellatrix offers a plastic, downright holographic spatiality!
It’s almost magical how precisely they set up what’s happening on stage in front of you. What I appreciate most is that the Divine Acoustics Bellatrix doesn’t open a proscenium stage. So you don’t get the impression that the sound is happening in an artificial space, suggesting you can look in or listen in from the outside. Instead, they place you authentically in front of what is happening, depicting them as neither too big nor too small, neither too close nor too far away, but just right. I hear the music, precisely how the picture would be if I were their life.
Singers and instruments are positioned and concretely outlined. The illustration takes place at a comfortable distance, which is just right to keep an overview on the one hand and to get all the details on the other. The Bellatrix has no problem convincingly staging a large concert hall or a vast open-air stage in my listening room.
The Rolling Stones are allowed to express their “Sympathy For The Devil” because I always like to play the piece, and because of its vast stage, it is a kind of reference in terms of stage imaging for me. Oh, that not only rocks excellently, as usual, but the image also sucks me into the recording. The width of the stage goes far beyond the limits of my listening room – I know that from other boxes too. But the Bellatrix also delivers a dimension of depth that I have rarely heard in this form. A Progressive Audio Extreme III (around 8,000 euros) produced a similarly impressive room image and offered a more prominent sweet spot. But that should also be the case with a coaxial system .
Tuning: External Ground & Wire
This is not the end of my tuning measures. I connected the mentioned ground wires to the speakers and set the toggle switches next to the ground terminals to “external.” The effect is immediately audible. The individual tones become more concrete, the background blacker, and in addition (or precisely because of this), I perceive a little more to it in terms of fine dynamics and resolution. Grounding loudspeakers or drivers may not always help, but the effect is evident if it is part of the design concept.
Finally, I’ll address the cable issue. And since Divine Acoustics has included a couple of cables, as many loudspeaker manufacturers are currently doing, I can still hear myself through the range of cables. Incidentally, I think it’s justified when a loudspeaker manufacturer gives cable recommendations or offers the right cables right away. After all, the developer should know best how his loudspeakers react to cables and which cables harmonize well with the loudspeakers.
As expected, I’m stuck with Divine Acoustics’ top cable, the Copernicus (2,000 euros/2.5 m). The Halley that is also included (650 euros/2.5 m), which essentially corresponds to the cable used for the Bellatrix’s internal wiring, is definitely a recommendation and brings almost what the Copernicus offers. But the Bellatrix should get the chance to play out their maximum potential. And I like the Copernicus a nuance better, especially in the bass, because it seems more controlled here than the Halley.
Let’s let it rip – the bass
A lot is going on in the bass on the album Poems of Thunder by Yim Hok-Man – here, it’s deafening. The “Master of Chinese Percussion,” also described as the Chinese one-man variant of the Japanese kodō drummer, performs magic on large Chinese drums, which were the models for the Japanese taikos and sound very similar. The whole thing is a small challenge in terms of depth but a considerable one in terms of dynamics.
The Divine Acoustics Bellatrix masters both challenges with absolute ease. The crisp drumbeats hit the room with a relaxed, matter-of-factness. This is fascinating but at the same time, a possible reason for criticism. I am sometimes downright frightened by my Horns FP12 when the violent blows explode in space. The more relaxed Bellatrix doesn’t convey this extreme suddenness quite so dramatically. On the other hand, they give me more detail, letting me hear that successive beats differ in tiny nuances. The Horns don’t work out these fine nuances so meticulously. The Bellatrix tell more about what happens when the drum is hit, how the head reacts,
And no, the Divine Acoustics Bellatrix is not slow; they don’t quite reach the extreme immediacy of the FP12, which is impressive in this respect. And like I said, the Horns sacrifice detail for that effect.
The tonal tuning of the bass of the Bellatrix goes through as neutral to tends to be slim, which suits small to medium-sized listening rooms or a set up a little closer to the wall. Nothing booms here so quickly.
I’m sure the Bellatrix will inspire more listeners with their enormously differentiated playing style than the Horns, who act almost coarsely. In addition, the Bellatrix reaches half an octave lower by ear. I like the way the bass is played, which is slim, deep, and precise at the same time, especially since it should be compatible with most listening rooms. However, if you are struggling with a lack of bass due to room acoustics, you will certainly prefer a more prominent loudspeaker at the bottom.
Nuanced and with substance: the midrange
In the mids, the Divine Acoustics Bellatrix convince with sovereignty and fine detail. ‘No Sanctuary Here’ on Chris Jones’ Roadhouses & Automobiles album ( listen on Amazon ) is a little older but still has me hooked. The deep bass line, the choir and the haunting voice of Jones convey the divine warriors in a differentiated, haunting manner and with great timing.
Jones’ voice sounds cleanly separated from the choir, has substance, and in no way blends or blurs with the accompanying vocals. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve heard the song about mediocre boxes. The Bellatrix act spotlessly clean and differentiated.
The Bellatrix also presents female voices flawlessly in the world’s best sense. September in Montreal by Anne Bisson stages them richly nuancedly, depicting the finest articulation details. The Bellatrix tops my previous midrange reference in this price range, the Bryston Middle T (10,000 euros). They work as a three-way system with a dedicated mid-range driver, which should have an easier time since, in contrast to the 7-inch bass-mid-range driver in the two-and-a-half-way concept from Poland, it doesn’t have to struggle with low frequencies. Nevertheless, the Bellatrix is even more detailed and differentiated.
The highs: Balanced, but not jumping
The high-frequency performance is excellent and fits well with the overall relaxed character of the Divine Acoustics Bellatrix. Again: relaxed should not be misunderstood as boring here. The Polish women don’t create drama like “Now listen, don’t we sound spectacular?” but act with an engaging sovereignty.
That’s precisely what they do in the treble. Everything is there: resolution, sound colors, and what you can expect from a good treble. Quantitatively, the Bellatrix are not defensively tuned here, but the treble doesn’t jump out at you. If you like speakers with AMTs or ribbon tweeters, you might miss the last bit of radiance with brass instruments, for example.
I recently enjoyed listening to an Aperture Edena Evolution (8,900 euros), which represents a slightly different definition of treble with its large ribbon tweeter. And yes, something is engaging about this unbelievable lightness and transparency the French women exude. However, I have never perceived treble live in this way. But that’s probably a question of taste. The Bellatrix deliver a clear, finely resolved high tone – but ethereal subtlety is not their thing. At least I could listen to the album On by jazz trumpeter Nils Wülker without a break and with great pleasure. And I can’t do that with all speakers, including my horns.
The Divine Acoustics Bellatrix are loudspeakers that you should have heard if you are looking for floor-standing speakers in the price range of around 10,000 euros. The design is chic, the workmanship is above average, the technology is complex, and the sound is impressive. If you make an effort with the setup, choose the proper peripherals, and allow the speakers to be grounded, they will reward you with a neutral sound, high resolution, joy of playing, and impressive spatial reproduction. They don’t put their stamp on the sound: the Bellatrix are speakers that may not blow you away at first glance, but the more you engage with them, or rather with the music you hear through them, the more you learn to know and appreciate their qualities.
Characteristics of Divine Acoustics Bellatrix:
- Contrary to what they look like, the Divine Acoustics Bellatrix doesn’t put on a show when it comes to sound. They do without effects, are tonally neutral, and want to be heard.
- No plug & play: You should consider optimal conditions to exploit their full potential. The loudspeakers react clearly and audibly to placement, cables, and connection to an external ground.
- The bass of the Divine Acoustics Bellatrix is balanced to slightly slim, reaches deep, and appears “controlled” but not “choked”. That is to say: the loudspeakers reproduce low tones in an exceptionally controlled manner but still leave them room to breathe. The Bellatrix doesn’t unleash substantial elemental forces, but they don’t tend to get you stoned either.
- The Polish warriors deliver a fine, excellently resolved, and dynamically exceptionally nuanced playing midrange. Many three-way speakers with dedicated midrange drivers are in this price range. The Bellatrix proves that this doesn’t have to be an advantage.
- The Bellatrix’s treble is straightforward and linear but never sharp or uncomfortable. This is mainly because they act silky clean in the highest positions. They always play authentically, don’t exude any unique flair, don’t “make” any airiness, but sound very airy.
- The spatial imaging of the Bellatrix is in a class of its own. They set up what is happening at a realistic-sounding distance before the listening position. The image size also looks natural. The loudspeakers develop a three-dimensional, downright holographic spatiality when set up correctly.
- If the Bellatrix are highly differentiated in terms of good dynamics, they should not be overused in coarse dynamics. They eventually lose their excellent homogeneity and sovereignty if you run them at very high levels. They are less recommended as party speakers but all the more so for cultivated listening pleasure. Proven quiet listeners will undoubtedly be delighted with the Divine Acoustics Bellatrix because they show their talents even at low listening volumes.
- Model: Divine Acoustics Bellatrix
- Concept: passive two-and-a-half-way floorstanding loudspeaker with external grounding and double-chamber/TQWT bass cabinet
- Price: 9,000 euros
- Nominal Impedance: 4 ohms
- Efficiency: 88dB/2.83V/m
- Frequency Response: 35Hz – 40kHz
- Dimensions & Weight: 125 x 32 x 35 cm (HxWxD), 29 kg/each
- Colors: snakewood (limited), ash mocha, ash smoke
- Guarantee: 2 years