Driade, It is a name that disappeared from the audio shops, popped up here and there at Marktplaats, but has never really fallen into oblivion. Spiritual father and founder of the first hour, Arnold Heres, could not resist blowing up the name and designing a series of loudspeakers that meet the current standard. The focus was on build quality as possible, and the old form of a Driade has to fall back into the store.
At home I got the second smallest model the Premium Model 2, which goes through life as a two-way system. Unknown with the old models, or at least I never used them at home, I go into the review with a blank slate to experience what the name Driade really stands for.
The internal cabling consists of conductors with 98 wires, made of carbon, silver and copper. We also deliberately opted for a single-wire connection of the loudspeaker that goes to a separation filter with many components needed to give the hexacone cone its uniform appearance. Hexacone is a beautiful but difficult material, a diva under the cones. The hard-wired separation filter makes Driade itself and uses solid OFC coils and pure silver wire interconnections in this model. The capacitors are made of polycarbonate and the resistors are a mix of carbon composite and ceramic.
The housing of the Premium Model 2 consists of two compartments. In the bottom part is the separation filter and this part is completely filled with very fine sand and damping material to prevent the filter from vibrating due to the sound pressure from the woofer. The upper compartment is a bass reflex housing with a large port on the front, tuned around 40 Hz. The specified frequency range is 32 Hz to 25 kHz within -3 dB, the efficiency is 88 dB and the Premium Model 2 can handle 80 Watts, of course that can be much more with most music at peaks. The impedance varies between 4 and 8 ohms. The 22 kilogram box (including sand filling) stands on three round, aluminum discs in which the spikes can be turned. The disks protrude slightly outside the enclosure. Without counting the spikes, the cupboard on its feet is 96.5 cm high, wide maximum 24.5 cm, although it looks narrower due to the sloping surfaces on the corners. The Driade triangle shape makes the cabinet 29 cm deep, I then count the ball of the unprotected tweeter and the connections behind it not. Driade supplies no front wipes as standard, the extra price is € 180, – per two. The cabinets are sprayed or veneered, there are many possibilities according to the wishes of the customer. The price for the Premium Model 2 is € 4,500 per set. the extra price for this is € 180, – per two. The cabinets are sprayed or veneered, there are many possibilities according to the wishes of the customer. The price for the Premium Model 2 is € 4,500 per set. the extra price for this is € 180, – per two. The cabinets are sprayed or veneered, there are many possibilities according to the wishes of the customer. The price for the Premium Model 2 is € 4,500 per set.
Although Arnold Heres first skeptically looked at my Townshend Podiums that completely disconnect the loudspeaker from the floor, they were put on it anyway. I connected them with Crystal Cable Speak Reference cables to my Pass Labs X250.5, which in turn is controlled via a Yter XLR cable through an Audia Strumento No.1 line amplifier. Sources are a NAD M50.2 digital music player, combined with a digital AudioQuest Diamond XLR with a Metrum Acoustics Pavilion Level II DAC and again a Yter XLR analogue interlink. In addition, a Magnum Dynalab tuner is in use and a Humax decoder for TV sound.
I get power from an audio group specially made for this by Kemp, with an Atlas Eos Modular 4.0 distribution block for the Pass Labs and a PS Audio Powerplant P5. The latter provides the sources and line amplifier with clean voltage. Even in a small space, the Premium Model 2 proved usable, although I had to close the reflex doors with foam to prevent excessive bass. The space is actually too small for this format speaker, it listened with closed ports or enjoyable. In the large room the standing wave is around 40 Hz and there is also the own frequency of the gate. A soft, air-permeable cushioning material in the gate was enough to neatly tune speaker and space. The same effect is achieved by filling the gate with straws, an old trick that few people seem to know.
After a few weeks of enjoying music on the above systems, the moment comes when the Driade’s are picked up and the experiences have to be put on paper. I start very quiet this time with the ripped CD ‘Silent Light’ by Dominic Miller. Fine guitar music that is projected loosely in the room in a beautiful bubble of sound. The guitar seems to stand slightly in front of the speakers, certainly not too close to the listener and comes without any problem from the baffle of the Driade. After a few tracks I want to live a bit more in the brewery and with When I close my eyes from another CD of this guitarist I get that with a bass, drums and other (mostly electronic) instruments. Again nice from the speakers, which I could experience the entire period.
That the Driade can deliver sufficiently low has been proven, yet it remains controlled and controlled in my space. How well controlled the bass sounds his brand I also A lover in Berlin, sung by Kari Bremnes. The lady does a lot of low in her recordings and that regularly gives problems. Not this time, the bass is layered with the necessary details. Her voice is just before the band and thus forms an organic whole. Intonation and intelligibility are fine, the band is lively and small percussion instruments echo sharp and fast. It does not have to be very hard to keep engaging. If Kari is humming in the background during the instrumental part, that’s good to pull out between the instruments. A guitar ahead and the suddenly more fierce piano notes show the dynamic characteristics of the Driade. The whole is lively, fast and certainly dynamic.
I keep hanging between the ladies with Katie Melua and her River from the CD ‘In winter’. The voice of Melua is fine, it concerns me more the Georgian women’s choir that fills the background with singing and humming. The ladies are scattered throughout the room, each time a different part of the choir sings and that part can be pointed out exactly. Not as precise as with a top system that costs 10-fold, but in a way that makes the display of this quiet number enjoyable and fascinating. What is striking, because Katie is small in length and the choir is on a raised stage, is that her voice is low.
No matter how nice Katie sings, I stop her and turn to Keith Jarrett and his ‘The Köln Concert Part 1’. Solopiano on a brilliant piece of music from the master himself. I would like to hear more of the acoustics of the hall here. I experience stage sounds, including the stomping of his foot and the operation of the pedals. In addition, we can “enjoy” the singing of Jarrett, something he will not bring the main prize in The Voice. It is part of this concert, after I discovered it in 1975 it was turned gray from LP, later CD and now ripped. Looking for more piano I more or less accidentally pick ‘Halla Troll’ from the Helge Lien Trio. Not really my favorite music this experimental jazz, it does show what the Driade is capable of and how fast the reproduction is. A lot of percussion, a bass that will be mistreated and I think electric piano or keyboard. I do not discover a line in music, with admiration I can listen to the system that the musicians follow flawlessly and quickly. I know that Arnold Heres likes to run fast, I challenge him to demonstrate this standard to the clientele on a deafening level. It is certainly impressive.
Real piano by Gottlieb Wallisch and his CD ‘Mozart in Vienna’. Here the Premium Model 2 leaves a dash by giving the wing too little body. If I remove the fluffy damping from the reflex port, it will not be different. What happens above the lowest tones is fine and the Driade reminds me a bit of a monitor instead of a floor standing model. Not surprisingly, the cabinet consists of two parts separated from each other. Well a big monitor. Now a large orchestra, the Concertgebouw Orchestra with a performance of Haydn’s symphony No. 44 Trauer-sinphony. The gentlemen and the ladies play happily and the Driade likes to take over that enthusiasm by creating a convincing image, not very big, but detailed and layered. Basses provide the support, dynamics are rich and the violins are not too sharp in the view. With pleasure I let this continue while I am looking for a nice ending work, the result is that the whole symphony No. 44 first to pass, too beautiful to let go and then Angelina Wismes can climb the stage with her renditions of Barbara’s songs. She is therefore very successful in France and rightly so when you hear her sing. The Premium Model 2 shows the passion, the orchestra, the flowing piano and especially the voice of the lady. A worthy conclusion to a review period in my eyes and ears.
Driade was a name from the past, reincarnation is in full swing, just like building a dealer network. This will not be easy on a crowded market. That is why the tradition of quality continues, this time with new materials, new drivers, more knowledge and modern production methods. As far as that is possible, after all, building a hard-wired separation filter that is so complex still remains manual work. The introduction at home with Driade I liked and what I can recommend is to listen to the Driade yourself if you are in the market for new speakers and are looking for this price range. A different sound than B & W, other than KEF, Dynaudio or Focal. A touch of nostalgia and old values resound in the Driade, a precious touch that we should not forget in the world of contemporary technology.
Driade Premium Model 2 per pair
White stained oak €4.500, –
Satin lacquered black or white €4.500, –
Walnut American €4.700, –
Teak € 4.950, –
Driade Systems | www.driadesystems.com