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Review: Grandinote Mach 2R Compact speaker

Review: Grandinote Mach 2R for Anyone looking for a relatively compact loudspeaker for a medium-sized room and values ​​excellent image quality.

Because the Grandinote Mach 2R cannot be described as really compact or even small. With a height of 51 centimeters, 26 centimeters wide and 40 centimeters deep, a resulting volume of 30 liters and a weight of a good 20 kilograms, they are definitely quite full-blown representatives of their genus. Strictly speaking, the Grandinote model range is still a size smaller – or a few centimeters. The only physically more compact model is also called Mach 2, but the number is followed by a “P”.

The bigger difference lies in the housing principle. The Grandinote Mach 2P has a closed housing, while the Grandinote Mach 2R allows the internal pressure to escape in a controlled manner via a rear-opening, slit-shaped bass reflex port . Inside the Mach 2R is a construction that Magri describes as a “short transmission line that only works with light compression”. And he continues: “In case of doubt, I would have waived the last Hertz downwards in order to guarantee the naturalness that I expect from my loudspeakers. But that wasn’t necessary, because the ‘Semi-Resonant Tube’ (SRT) in connection with our self-developed drivers and their special treatment achieves a bass quality that surprised us. ”

Holistic approach

The drivers that Magri talks about sit in a double pack D’Appolito-like above and below the tweeter in the front of the speakers. And I consciously say “in” because two things stand out straight away. First: All drivers are mounted a good two centimeters backwards into the baffle. So you sit in front of a kind of “horn stub” or waveguide. And secondly, one would expect drivers from (at least) the 16 to 18 centimeter league with a loudspeaker of this size, but instead two 13s are almost shyly hidden, which appear even smaller from the rear due to the recessed mounting that covers the basket than they already are.

The 25 mm silk dome of the Grandinote Mach 2R only kicks in at 12800 Hertz

And actually, when I mentioned a tweeter before, I should have said “super tweeter”. The 25 mm silk dome does not set in until 12,800 hertz. It is limited at the bottom with a single capacitor, i.e. it runs out to lower frequencies with a first-order filter (6 dB per octave ). Conversely, this means that the woofers have to play “somewhere in this frequency range” – and the logic already provides the first indication of why Grandinote does not use larger membrane areas at this point: the larger the membrane, the earlier it “breaks” , produces distortions and bundling effects . The self-developed cone drivers of the Grandinote Mach 2R are not made by oneCrossover kept in check, but tapering towards the top without any crossover components . Strictly speaking, it is therefore a broadband chassis . Actually, Massimiliano Magri is not at all a fan of ordinary full-range drivers, because they “nibble” too much for him in the lower treble range. His solution: a mechanical damping of the membrane with a diluted adhesive as well as the use of polyester wadding in the housing volume, which together should bring about a controlled decrease in frequency.

Special forces

The fact that Magri likes to think “out of the box” – and very successfully, as the Magnetosolid technology of the Grandinote amplifiers proves – has a method: “The market is full – no, super full – with an infinite number of “normal” products. We want to manufacture special components. Our amplifiers are the first step in this direction. The speakers came after that – and I only built them because I discovered something special, namely SRT and our broadband approach. If I hadn’t had something so special to show, we would have just continued with the amplifiers. ”

To illustrate the consistency with which Magri does his thing, a look at the other Grandinote loudspeakers helps: in the maximum case called Grandinote Mach 36, the listener finds himself facing a pair of two-meter-high, almost 60-centimeter-wide sound cabinets on their fronts 36 cone drivers and 25 tweeters of basically the same design and configuration as in the Mach 2R. Basically because, according to Magri, the requirements for the adhesive damping of the “woofers” and the resulting cut-off frequency of the tweeters (with the Mach 36 this is 7900 Hertz) and the configuration of the SRT differ with the respective number of drivers. Just as natural as the measurable results that I gave you with the (now stay strong!) 90. Mach 36, which costs 000 euros, does not want to withhold out of sheer joy in the extreme: The data sheet shows an efficiency of 105 dB / 1W / 1m and a lower limit frequency of 18 Hertz. Whose auditory muscles do not flinch with relish (yes, I know, there is no such thing), there is probably no more help.

On the back of the Grandinote Mach 2R is the single-wire terminal and in the lower area the opening of the so-called ‘Semi-Resonant Tube’ (SRT)

But the Grandinote Mach 2R also does not spoil it: After all, 92 dB efficiency and a -3 dB point at 37 Hertz are certainly perfectly adequate for most needs. Those who want to go even lower can purchase the identically equipped Grandinote Mach 2 floorstanding loudspeakers from 12,000 euros, which, according to the manufacturer, go down to 27 Hertz.

Massimiliano Magri does not use a bi-wiring terminal in order to keep the impedance curve close to the nominal 8 ohms of the Grandinote Mach 2R, even in the high frequency range. According to him, the parallel connection of the tweeter and bass-midrange driver helps to avoid the generally high impedances in the high frequency range – and the separation necessary for bi-wiring runs counter to this: “With the double wiring, we would lose some of the Mach magic.”

I have already mentioned that the Grandinote Mach 2R are not too small. Of course, they don’t attract attention, because the design is a success. The color-contrasting side walls on the black body reminds me a little of Focal models from the late 1990s and early 2000s, only without the usual horizontal kink at the height of the tweeter. The Mach enclosures are classic boxes. The veneered side panels made of 22 millimeter thick MDF have a flawless satin gloss finish, there are no unclean burrs or edges anywhere, and the solid and stable single-wiring terminals could hardly be of higher quality. The remaining housing walls are also made of 22 millimeter MDF. According to Massimiliano Magri, the larger Mach models sometimes have significantly higher wall thicknesses.

Grandinote Mach 2R: Sound Test & Comparisons

In my listening room, the Grandinote Mach 2R take up the same space on the solid steel stands as the closed and significantly less voluminous ATC SCM19. And that’s where they stay after some back and forth. This is a little surprising, because the ATCs tend to be slim-tuned speakers, and bass reflex models usually like it a little further away from the back wall in my listening room. The Mach 2R, however, feel right at home even with only 60 centimeters of air in their backs. They are – tweeter to tweeter – 2.2 meters apart and about 2.6 meters from the listening position. The angle of the speakers towards the listening position should not be exaggerated. Tonally, there are hardly any differences, but the relationship between spatial width and focus of the image is audibly more natural at moderate angles.

The Norma audio combination of preamplifier converter SC-2 / DAC and stereo power amplifier PA-150 acts as the playing electronics. As a loudspeaker connector, after a short trial and error, I favor the very open, high-frequency sparkling and overall quick-precise pure silver cable Albedo Monolith (1,595 euros) compared to the selection of high-quality copper cables that are available to me.

Olympicus Maximus

In the bass, the Grandinote Mach 2R act with a tendency to athletic, energetic firmness and leave inflated pseudo-pumping completely (poorly tuned) “normal” bass reflex constructions. Almost everything that happens in the frequency lower house is served by the Grandinote Mach 2R as energetically tense as a well-trained muscle – efficiently and to the point. Quantitatively, it has a very balanced and neutral effect, the magic here lies in the “how” and not in the “how much”: the big drum in “Missa criolla” as interpreted by Mercedes Sosaexplodes between the speakers. The Mach 2R put the emphasis on the flail stop and not so much on the voluminous body of the drum. The Mach 2R are not too dry, however: The 2R traces the reverberation of the heads in a controlled manner, even through the dense sound wall of the choir. After just a few pieces I understand what Massimiliano Magri means when he says that he tunes the bass of his speakers as naturally as possible and, in an emergency, foregoing the last depth or maximum volume.

With the usual suspects like “Colomb” by Nicolas Jaar or “Kiss the Cloud” by YelloHowever, the Grandinote Mach 2R prove that they can play powerfully down to just under 40 Hertz in the listening room. And there, too, they do it in a tight, controlled and nuanced manner. They let the lowest notes fade out so consistently towards the bottom that the objective lack of the subcontractive octave neither disturbs nor is it really noticeable at all. Magri’s philosophy is almost in contrast to other competitors. The Swedish Qln Prestige Three (7,800 euros) should be mentioned as a representative: These rather delicate two-way floorstanding speakers are true full-range speakers despite their physique. They play deeper than the Grandinote and even apply real pressure at the bottom – but operate the entire bass range neither as precisely controlled and fast, nor as balanced and differentiated as the Italians.

Fundamentally fascinating

Anyone who reads my reports from time to time may know that I can hardly resist a transparent, clearly defined and yet powerful, grippy purring basic tone in particular. The Grandinote Mach 2R thinks: “Let’s make the Bruss really happy and check off all the criteria!” Nothing here actually covers the fine phrasing of Jaco Pastorius ‘ fretless instrument , the nuances of the electric bass in “Sorrow is the Color “by Katharina Nuttall (album: Cherry Flavor Substitute) or the flowing piano in” Pyramid Song “by Radiohead (album: Amnesiac ) in the basic tone. The duet of the fretless bass with the guitar in “Oblivion” from the current Lunatic Soul albumThrough Shaded Woods  can be easily differentiated and tracked in a pleasantly unobtrusive way. Great!

Make the mood for the middle!

The exemplary real-looking voice reproduction of the Grandinote Mach 2R is one of the best I know – neither the Qln Prestige Three nor the Dynaudio Contour 30i have female voices like Jacintha’s , but also the sonorous David Bowiesound so open and so solid, so physically tangible at the same time. The fact that no compression, no dynamic limitation – neither coarse nor fine – seems to hinder the development of the vocal parts contributes significantly to the astonishingly realistic impression. This characteristic reminds me a lot of the ATC models with the famous “bear nose” (a grandiose 75 millimeter midrange dome). Below are a few more words about how the mid-tone qualities of the Grandinote are reflected in the imaging precision.

The tester on the pea

And yet there is a very small pea under twenty mattresses and twenty eiderdown duvets. In other words: If you want to look for a less perfectly executed discipline in the Grandinote Mach 2R, you could find it in the lower high range. In other words, where most normal loudspeakers at least partially cede the responsibility for playback to a tweeter, but the Mach 2R still completely trust the 13 mm chassis. And they seem to me to emphasize the distortion components of the guitars minimally in some distorted guitars such as Katatonia’s “Forsaker” (album: Night Is the New Day. Even the hard-hit metal sheets in radio heads“The National Anthem” come across a bit snottier (or more realistic?) Than I’m used to from the Qln Prestige Three. However, this means explicitly not that the Mach 2R play audible unclean in this area – you can just not quite the outstanding “black” cleanliness of a Dynaudio Contour 30i  in these frequency regions or the silky texture of Qln with its Scan-Speak -Expect the revelator.

Above that, the middle and upper treble are inconspicuous in the best sense of the word, neither defining themselves with an exceptionally silky nor crystalline-glass textured nature. Even recordings present in the treble come across with the necessary freshness, but do not run the risk of being annoying even at higher volumes . The super tweeter then fades into the action rather inconspicuously and yet effectively enough. The curious attempt to “take it out of the game” with the help of a self-made cover clearly shows that its contribution is essential: Without it, the unobtrusive airiness of the Mach 2R collapses, which is also reflected in a more grainy resolution of the action expresses itself in the sub-super high frequency.

Well done!

I have to admit, I’m somewhat impressed with the well-balanced tonality of the Grandinote Mach 2R. Tends to be tight, but not particularly slim; colored, but not pasted up; fresh, but not intrusive – it just goes well together and defies rough classifications such as “warm” or “cool”. Perhaps this tonal characteristic, which is quite balanced for the broadband concept, is the greatest surprise of the Grandinote Mach 2R. Or is it the amazing amount of details that the 13 mm chassis can bring to light? In any case, while listening to music with pleasure, I don’t really miss anything from the classic “grass-grow-hear-corner” in the subtleties of the sheet metal work in “Lonesome Lover” by Max Roach, even if some “normal” concepts of this class such as the aforementioned Dynaudio Contour 30i or the very detailed playing Starke Sound IC-H1 Elite  dig a little more micro-information from the recording.

Zack!

Transients and impulses in well-produced electronic or acoustic music really turn on the Grandinote Mach 2R and have a lot of fun. I hardly know any – okay, no – loudspeaker in this price range that without horn support presents a slapped funk bass or hard-hit snare rim shots so dynamically so freely, tonally so openly, chronologically so accurately and energetically so mercilessly to the point as the Grandinote Mach 2R. Old designer!

Grandinote Mach 2RThe Sehring S803 (from 5,600 euros), which is otherwise impeccable in these disciplines, does not quite keep up. The Qln Prestige Three also throws in the towel when listening to loud, impulsive tracks, before the Mach 2R even starts to sweat. In the case of the Qln, this also applies to the coarse dynamics, while the Sehring S803, with its heavy-duty Wavecore 17 and 22-centimeter passive membrane, can go one better and the Dynaudio Contour 30i counters with sheer force in the bass – but both can do it not to comprehend large dynamic leaps in the midrange and treble so nimbly. By the way: As with the Sehring, you can hear very quietly with the Grandinote Mach 2R: dynamics, space (more on that in a moment) and tonality remain intact.

The best comes last

It is not quite so surprising that the stage representation, in addition to the impulse and transient reproduction, is perhaps the greatest strength of the tonally and temporally extremely homogeneous Grandinote Mach 2R. How superior the spatial performance of the Italians is to all of the aforementioned speakers is a surprise again. Especially when it comes to votes.

Grandinote Mach 2R

Basically, the Mach 2R place the action on and slightly in front of the loudspeaker level than behind it – and voices like a little closer to the listener. I think I see David Sylvian standing right in front of my nose in “The Banality of Evil” (album: Snow Borne Sorrow). In general, I’ve only heard this holographic three-dimensionality, which is almost reminiscent of a near-field situation, and the razor-like sharpness of the edges of the depiction of individual actors and sound events at home with Lansche No 3.1 SE , which is almost three times as expensive – if at all. This type of illustration in connection with the extremely open voice reproduction is what I am hunting for in Katharina Nuttalls“Sorrow is the Color” one shower after the other down your spine. Incidentally, the stage can also expand to the rear – only it is moved a little forward in its entirety. The distances between the actors are preserved and relationships of size and the localization of the individual musicians on the stage are always clearly understandable and stable. The horizontal and vertical expansion of the stage is enormous, and the panorama is completely detached from the loudspeakers.

Grandinote Mach 2R Conclusion

Anyone looking for a relatively compact loudspeaker for a medium-sized room and who particularly values ​​excellent image quality and brilliant impulse and transient reproduction should really give this Grandinote Mach 2R a listen. Fans of acoustic and electronic music with high standards will definitely appreciate their virtues. It may well be that you have to forego the very lowest octave and the very highest detailed analysis in the high range, but that is not difficult given the overall quality of these speakers.

The Grandinote Mach 2R should work well in rooms from around 15-16 square meters, owners of auditoriums over 40 square meters will of course find alternatives in terms of bass foundation and assertiveness – but they are usually looking for larger floor models.

When it comes to amplification, I would tend towards neutral, fast, controlled and open-playing components that don’t stand in the way of the Grandinote Mach 2R’s capabilities with too much life of their own. The Mach 2R are not electrically demanding, however, a good tube from 20 watts per channel should be completely sufficient for rental apartment use. In order to sound out the astonishing level reserves, it can also be three-digit watts.

The Grandinote Mach 2R …

  • convince with an overall well-balanced tonality with no real dips / accentuation in the frequency record – in view of the unusual concept of “broadband + super tweeter” this is not a matter of course. Great.
  • depict the musical happening in an incredibly realistic, tangible, sharp-edged and differentiated manner in a very wide space, which they tend to project closer to the listener than too deeply behind the loudspeaker level.
  • are probably the sprint strongest non-horn loudspeakers that I know in this class and capable of a stunning impulse and transient reproduction with speed, precision and energy. They manage the fine dynamics even more convincingly than the coarse dynamics, where they have competition in the bass range.
  • do not play as deeply into the bass cellar as some loudspeakers with comparable prices, but …
  • … act in the entire low range with athletic firmness and right into the upper low bass in a balanced, taut, controlled and nuanced manner.
  • have a clearly defined and grippy purring basic tone with just the right amount of pressure.
  • realize an astonishing realism in the middle area with exemplary real, open and dynamic unrestrained voice reproduction.
  • do not play as ultra-cleanly in the lower treble as very well made, “normal” two- or three-way concepts can, but convey here, as in the rest of the treble, an engaging, if necessary gripping realism without undue hardship.
  • place less value on the highest level of detail analysis in the treble, but convince with a realistic, homogeneous integration of this area.
  • are very well made and also feel like they are made for life.

Grandinote Mach 2R

Grandinote Mach 2R Facts:

  • Model: Grandinote Mach 2R
  • Concept: passive broadband loudspeakers with super tweeters
  • Price: from 6,600 euros (test sample in Gray Tulipie high gloss: 7,200 euros)
  • Dimensions & weight: 51 x 26 x 40 cm (HxWxD); 20 kg / piece
  • Characteristic sound pressure: 92 dB / 1W / 1m
  • Nominal impedance: 8 ohms
  • Finishes: black or tulip tree veneer in 23 different colors, in matt or high gloss
  • Guarantee: 5 years

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