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Review: Inklang Ayers Four Limited Edition Gold Blanche

Review: Inklang Ayers Four Limited. Visually they are wrapped in cool white, their design language is reduced and their performance is not bad either

Review: Inklang Ayers Four Limited- Cool white without a high-gloss look. Slim shape and clear lines with only discreetly dosed curves: It somehow fits that the 111 centimeters high and 18 centimeters slim Inklang Ayers Four come from Hamburg. But wait a minute: why do the northern lights’ feet wrap themselves in such a warm color? Well, we have it with the “Gold Blanche” version of the Ayers Four, which is limited to 100 pairs (3,698 euros) to do. The twelve millimeter thick aluminum trusses are electrolytically treated and, with their warm gold tone, form a pleasant contrast to the high-quality, cool-white five-layer paint finish of the loudspeaker bodies. Nordic design with a pinch of glamor could be the idea that the Inklang team had in mind when designing their “Limited Edition” speakers.

In the ear, on the other hand, the Inklang team has the same goals that it is pursuing with the unlimited Ayers Four loudspeakers. The LE versions differ from the standard models (see also our tests of the Inklang Ayers Two and Inklang Ayers Five ) only visually, otherwise neither technically nor sonically, as I found out from Thomas Carstensen, founder and boss of Inklang.

With a lot of love – the right nose for the midrange

And so the Inklang Ayers Four Gold Blanche, just like their sibling models, testify to the love of their builders for the good old bear-nose mid-range speaker: The 55-millimeter dome comes from the Israeli supplier Morel and is – albeit with correspondingly steep flank filtering – for the extensive frequency range between 600 and 600 and 3,600 hertz. Last but not least, this solution should guarantee a coherent point sound source feeling and a generous sweet spot, which also enables coherent listening outside of the optimally central listening position.

Inklang Ayers Four: Mittelton-Kalotte von Morel

According to Thomas Carstensen, the decision in favor of a mid-range dome was also driven by the desire “to bring this type of driver back onto the market with its special mid-range sound. As we know, there are very, very many fans of these drivers.” I can already reveal that the Inklang Ayers Four approach the topic of “spatiality” quite independently, we will come back to that later. And the fact that the broadband workload of the bear’s nose does not detract from the level stability is also already spoiled.

Crossover in your own home

The integration of such a dome is of course anything but trivial with a view to the optimal design of the crossover. Inklang works with filters based on a slope of 12 decibels or 18 decibels, resulting in slope steepness of up to 30 decibels in the complete system. In order to allow the sensitive electronics to work as unaffected as possible by vibrations and microphonic effects, the Inklang carpenters based in Germany built their own separate little room into the multi-family loudspeaker housing. The baked coils also contribute to the topic of microphony minimization.

Die Frequenzweiche der Inklang Ayers Four

The 22mm dome tweeter and 152mm bass cones are from Wavecor, a China-based and manufacturing manufacturer founded and still managed by Allan Isaksen in 2005 – originally from Denmark, Isaksen has been for a long time working for Vifa. All of the drivers are connected to 2.5 square millimeters of copper strands, each made up of 651 individual conductors. On the crossover side, the cables are soldered, on the driver side, they are connected by means of gold-plated flat plugs soldered to the cables.

Inklang Ayers Four - Schallwand von oben

Incidentally, I’ve mostly had good experiences with loudspeakers in which the bass drivers are positioned at opposite ends of the baffle. I have very good memories of the Nubert nuVero 170 , for example, which not only reached down extremely low and acted powerfully, but in view of so much bass power, were surprisingly room-compatible. In my opinion, this could have something to do with the more even sound excitation. Inklang attributes a more stable image to such a bass driver arrangement: The risk of vertical wandering of the image caused by changes in pitch should be minimized.

look & finish

Inklang Ayers Four - 22-mm-Hochtöner

Incidentally, I’ve mostly had good experiences with loudspeakers in which the bass drivers are positioned at opposite ends of the baffle. I have very good memories of the Nubert nuVero 170 , for example, which not only reached down extremely low and acted powerfully, but in view of so much bass power, were surprisingly room-compatible. In my opinion, this could have something to do with the more even sound excitation. Inklang attributes a more stable image to such a bass driver arrangement: The risk of vertical wandering of the image caused by changes in pitch should be minimized.

look & finish

Inklang Ayers Four - Logo auf der Schallwand

Before the Inklang Ayers Four are put on a leash by my Bryston and Norma power amps, a few words about the look & finish of the Inklang Ayers Four Gold Blanche: I myself have a soft spot for more distinctive character heads such as my Wilson SabrinaX or the “Cubic” Sehring speakers. Nevertheless, the Inklang Ayers Four “Gold Blanche” received an above-average amount of praise from the various visitors who trotted into my listening room, they obviously flatter many eyes. Either way, the Four are very clean in terms of processing, I particularly like the matt surface and the traverses. A little caution is required with the Inklang logo glued to the bottom of the baffle. In the event of acute cleaning attacks, you should not scrub too wildly with the rag in order not to rub off the logo.

Sound Test & Comparisons: Inklang Ayers Four

Inklang Ayers Four - Schallwand seitlich

After testing the B&W 805 D4 , which is particularly fascinating at low to moderate volumes, I, as a notorious speaker, thirst for more dynamic displacement and higher levels. Is a loudspeaker not even 18 centimeters wide with not exactly frightening 15 basses suitable as a thirst quencher?

Dynamically generous

The first surprise and the first big praise in this test: yes! In terms of sheer level stability, the Inklang Ayers Four are of course not PA, but they are absolutely suitable for parties in most living rooms. And more importantly, the slender pillars feel dynamic, yes, that’s the right word, pleasantly ‘generous’. Even tracks like the literally crazy “Floating Point” by The Algorithm (Album: Brute Force, fiddly mix of metal & electronic) with its blastbeat-like rhythm explosions shake the Inklang so easily and confidently out of their sleeves that it nails me to the sofa in a relaxed and spellbound way. Extremly good!

Especially since it’s not just about mere riots here, but about dynamically and cleanly differentiating the dense thunderstorm of sound bursting in on the listener. Dynamic behavior that is too choppy and dry robs the track of its liveliness and impressiveness – and load changes that are too soft or well implemented make the track taste like a dull sound mush. The Inklang Ayers Four keep the balance wonderfully in this matter and are so skilfully tuned here that even a good fairy armed with an audiophile magic wand could not do too much.

Inklang Ayers Four - Tieftöner von Wavecor

It’s definitely already shimmering through: The Inklang Ayers Four also deliver astonishingly well in terms of depth, considering their dimensions. Songs with electronic deep bass pads such as “Etched Headplate” by Burial (album: Untrue) are presented in such a well-founded way that the ears basically don’t miss anything. Of course, the aforementioned Nubert nuVero 170 or an Audioplan concert also allow you to physically feel such music – which then increases the demands on the room acoustics , so to speak if you want to fully exhaust this competence. The Inklang will fill rooms from roughly 25 to 40 square meters with sovereign sound, but will never overwhelm them. Especially since I find the bass reproduction tonally well-balanced, i.e. exemplary neutral.

Generally generous: the space

The word “generous” was already mentioned. And if I had to describe the Inklang Ayers Four in one word, it would probably be exactly this. Because they also serve generously in terms of space. “Taking the Stairs instead of the Elevator” (Album: Seawards) is a ten-minute, instrumental piece by the Swedish band Sickoakes , which begins quite clearly despite the eight-piece musicians. Gradually, the spherical guitar surfaces intensify and an e-bass, sometimes climbing quite high, as well as a saxophone appear on the plan, until the song finally reaches its climax – a somehow simple and at the same time profound song, which literally has you on the sofa able to hypnotize.

The Inklang Ayers Four ignite the special effect of the track not least because the sound image seems wonderful (I like that) large format and stretches nicely from the speakers towards the listener.

Inklang Ayers Four - Anschlussterminal Single-Wiring

The clear localization of the stereo center and the spatially coherent representation of even the outermost edges of the stage deserve special praise; the stage appears extraordinarily coherent across its entire width. It is also pleasing that the stage presentation does not only work in a narrow listening position, the Inklang Ayers Four define the so-called sweet spot far more extensively than average. With regard to the points mentioned, the Four can even keep up with significantly more expensive loudspeakers such as my Wilson SabrinaX or Sehring 903 or even beat them in terms of sweet spot. If I think back to the tests of the loudspeakers of the predecessor series Inklang Advanced Line, I would say that three-dimensionality actually seems to be something of a hobby for the Hamburgers,

Comparisons between stage professionals

But how could it be otherwise: Of course, high-end loudspeakers with excellent spatial reproduction, such as the Wilson, Sehring or the recently tested B&W 805 D4, cannot take the butter off the bread. They are superior to Ayer’s Inklang particularly when it comes to the precise focus, the exact, pinpoint placement of musical subtleties on the stage. And so the big boys project the comparatively delicate electronic popping and crackling noises, which primarily occupy the mids and highs, in the already mentioned “Etched Headplate” by Burialclearly localizable and tangible in space. The Ayers Four are audibly more fuzzy here. Sure, the comparisons with the much more expensive loudspeakers are of course something of an apple-pear comparison. Nevertheless, I would say that the comparisons show the really extraordinary spatial strengths of the Inklang Ayers Four just as well and objectively as the weaknesses – in comparison with loudspeakers from the price range of the Inklang Ayers these impressions will undoubtedly be reproducible.

mids & highs

Inklang Ayers Four: 22-mm-Hochtöner von Wavecor

What the Inklang Ayers Four have absolutely nothing to do with is any hint of artificial metallic notes. On the treble side, they are perfectly airy, but free of harshness and hissing. And last but not least, fans of organic voice reproduction will nod in satisfaction on the midrange side. Tonally, it is just a bit more present in the upper middle/lower treble area, which gives voices and the over-all reproduction an even more direct, offensive note. I really like this tonal trick if, like here with the Inklang Ayers Four, no unpleasant harshness comes into play.

The Inklang Ayers Four are in their element on tracks like “The Color of Spring” by Mark Hollis and his solo album of the same nameThe subtle dynamics of Hollis’ unmistakable voice and its timbre, which despite the somewhat more direct, offensive playback of the Four and the comparatively bright vocals doesn’t tip the bean into the pale, are really excellently implemented by the Ayers Four. The same applies to the luminous piano, which is finely traced in its accentuations and its decay, which unfolds a special effect due to the reduced playing style. “The Color of Spring” is a completely different song than “Taking the Stairs instead of the Elevator”, it’s more about intimacy than hypnosis – and yet I feel excellently served and emotionally touched again. Here, the slender Hamburg columns not only achieve great things in view of their price range.

Illuminate and unravel – the resolution

In terms of resolution, I wouldn’t have the slightest complaint about the aforementioned track. Even the fine beats of voice and piano shimmer through as sensitively as a loudspeaker should belongs to this price range. The Inklang Ayers Four bring their own touch to the next track of the Hollis album. While “The Color of Spring” was still completely percussion-free (disregarding the fact that a piano is of course also percussive), in “Watershed” a cymbal appears on the right hand and a tambourine on the left. Both instruments are tonally a touch more dominantly illuminated in line with the described “direct note” of the Four, but their textures do not seem so unraveled and clearly defined that the analysts among the listeners will click their tongues. Interestingly, this aspect of the resolution behavior of the Ayers is perceptible to my ears, especially with transients – an aspect

Inklang Ayers Four „Gold Blanche“ - Logo

Conclusion – Inklang Ayers Four Limited

Visually, the Inklang Ayers Four “Gold Blanche” are wrapped in cool white, their design language is reduced. On the other hand, when I listen to it, the word “generous” keeps coming to mind. On the one hand, this applies to the topic of “dynamics”, which the slender Inklang Ayers Four tackle surprisingly confidently, and on the other hand to the large-format, involvingly alternating towards the listener and strikingly coherent stage presentation right up to the edges. The Ayers Four don’t want to offer a restrained, sober view of the music, but try to absorb the listener in a gripping way. The slightly “direct” tonal tuning also promotes the offensive character a little bit.

The Inklang Ayers Four deserve further praise for the fact that, despite all the liveliness, the bass was by no means tricky: it sounds exemplary neutral below, I would definitely also count the successful bass tuning among the strengths of these speakers. When it comes to resolution, the Inklang Ayers are a bit more generous than themselves: the Four were not optimized by their builders for listeners who want the textures in the upper midrange and treble to be broken down extremely finely and the transients there to be served spatially in a particularly point-concerted manner. “Experience instead of counting peas” could be the motto that was particularly important to the Inklang team during development.

The Inklang Ayers Four are characterized by …

  • an engaging, large-scale stage image that detaches superbly from the speakers, reproducing both the stereo center and the fringes with striking accuracy and coherence. Exceptionally good for this price range. The display of transients, on the other hand, is not overly focused. A wide sweet spot allows greater freedom when choosing the listening position.
  • a neutral, sufficiently deep, very pleasantly tuned bass range: neither academically dry nor blissfully round, but just right. Organic-precise would be a suitable description. Comparatively uncritical in terms of room acoustics.
  • great dynamics, the Inklang Ayers Four sound much more confident than their slim case suggests and convey a lot of joy in playing.
  • harshness-free highs and mids without any unnatural metallic overtones. Tonally tuned a little more directly in the upper middle/lower high range.
  • pleasantly open, airy treble. The Inklang Ayers Four, on the other hand, were not trained for maximum meticulous detailing and the meticulous unraveling of textures.
  • Flawless workmanship and a very popular, timeless design. Only the Inklang logo applied to the beautiful lacquered surface in the lower area of ​​the front can react sensitively if you clean your Four too boldly with a cloth.

Facts:

  • Model: Inklang Ayers Four Limited Edition “Gold Blanche”
  • Concept: Three-way floorstanding speaker with bass reflex system
  • Price: 3,698 euros (pair)
  • Connection: single wiring terminal
  • Dimensions & Weight: 17.5 (26 including base) x 111.3 x 34.8 cm (W x H x D), 23.6 kg/each
  • Nominal Impedance: 4 ohms, Minimum: 3.5 ohms
  • Efficiency: 85dB/W/m
  • Colours: Matt white, gold-colored trusses (Copper Noir version: black anthracite and copper-colored)
  • Guarantee: 5 years, right of return: 4 weeks

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