One of the nice things about being a hi-fi journalist is gaining insights and making acquaintances that “normal mortals” wouldn’t have. This was the case with our test subject today, the “Nano” loudspeaker from the Joachim Gerhard Collection Nano (price: 4,600 euros. I was one of the first to be able to hear this loudspeaker – and Joachim Gerhard brought it to me personally in the summer because the product was so new at the time that the packaging material and cardboard box that went with it didn’t even exist.
“Have fun with the device!”
Gerhard can be called one of the grand seigneurs of German speaker construction with a clear conscience. He made history with his first company, Audio Physic, and in around 20 years he has brought many speakers, some of them legendary, onto the market. He is now responsible for two “house brands”: Suesskind Audio and the Joachim Gerhard Collection, a joint venture between Gerhard and a Sauerland furniture manufacturer. In addition, Gerhard is passionate about developing phono preamps – the man doesn’t seem to know boredom, but that’s another story.
Developers are sometimes seen as somewhat odd and demanding. So you vacuum and clean the listening room and maybe have a little concern whether the available electronics taste good to the fine gentleman. Completely in vain, as it turned out: Gerhard came, clapped his hands (the room acoustics!), saw, set it up, connected it, listened in briefly – and then just said: “Everything is excellent, have fun with the device.” The rest of the visit was spent with a leisurely coffee in the garden.
Joachim Gerhard Collection Nano – the concept
And here Joachim told me a bit more about the speaker, the Joachim Gerhard Collection Nano. The aim of the development of this narrow floorstanding loudspeaker was to build a sound converter that does not look bulky in the room, is also partner-compatible due to its workmanship and design – and still has a great sound. Also in the specifications: tonally neutral tuning, high resolution and plastic imaging with pinpoint location. Before we take a closer look to see if and how Gerhard managed to do this, let’s take a look at the exterior with some appreciation.
Those familiar with the matter will see that Gerhard’s Nano is conceptually based on the genes of the Audio Physic Spark II. The speaker stands in the room with a gentle tilt – namely tilted backwards. This is a popular trick among developers when it comes to creating a large sound pattern at the listening position from a cabinet that is not too high (99 cm with a truss base and typical inclination). The angle of inclination can be easily adjusted using a front-mounted traverse with two screwable feet.
Now one might object that with synthetic sounds and studio technical tricks this is “no art”, but it also works with completely different sound worlds, for example with “Riders on the Storm” (The Doors). When the thunderstorm and the pounding rain can be heard right at the beginning, you inevitably want to open an umbrella – it seems as if the room no longer had any walls or ceiling, the rain is inSpace. Likewise, the Wurlitzer e-piano with the legendary riff and solo half-left and the sinister tremolo guitar half-right can be located to the millimeter, while Jim Morrison’s voice is realistic and at the same time surreal (there doubled: once singing, once whispering) manifested in space. It’s quite clear: Whoever listens to Joachim Gerhard’s Nano is fully involved, not looking from the front at a performance that is taking place “somewhere back there” on stage. This not only creates fascination, but also emotion.
Does that make the Nano a one trick pony? If she isn’t, she’s got more to offer. Namely a tonal balance that goes hand in hand with an amazing resolution. First of all, it must be said: Of course, a box with such small dimensions and such small mid-bass drivers cannot trigger a real sub -bass – for free. When I talk about bass in the following, then I’m talking about an organically and credibly grounded fundamental range, in which the underlying octave is still perceptible – and which is completely sufficient for a realistic reproduction, especially in small listening rooms, if you don’t constantly consume crass electronics or church organ concerts at the original volume. The bass of the Joachim Gerhard Collection Nano is contoured, clear and wiry. When the synthetic tom-toms programmed with “Flam” sound in Yello ‘s “Tub Dub” , the air flutters, there’s a lot of power behind it. And when in Lana del Rey’s track “Text Book” (Album: Blue Banisters) the synth basses underpin the song, then that is definitely at least a hint, even if, for example, my “thick” ProAC D20 R (4,500 euros) massages the intestines more intensively.
At this point, let’s also briefly bring the rough dynamics into play: there are – of course, one might say in view of the delicate 10 cm bass-midrange driver of the Nano – loudspeakers that develop even more pressure in the bass range and unleash this energy a little more quickly. It’s not so much a question of price, but of concept. Nevertheless, the Nano is definitely not “comfortable” dynamically – and the further we go to the right in the frequency plot, the faster and more impulsive it becomes.
As you may have noticed, the Joachim Gerhard Collection Nano really excites me. But of course she can’t do everything. If one can speak of a weak point – I would rather speak of a deliberately chosen compromise – then it is of course in the low bass range and in the level stability. However, it should be clear that the Nano is not used in a really large living room or as a “disco loudspeaker”. My ProAcs reach down much deeper – and at the same time stable – into the basement and can also drive absolutely higher levels without distortion.
As far as the quality of the midrange and high-frequency reproduction is concerned, I would speak of a stalemate compared to my ProAc D20 R, although the ProAc comes along with a ribbon – that certainly commands respect from me. Both the Nano and the ProAc score with an amalgamation of precision, fine resolution and relaxation/long-term suitability that is rare in this price range.
In terms of spatiality, on the other hand, the small Joachim Gerhard Nano clearly outplays the loudspeakers available to me. Only the Harbeth 30.1 (now replaced by the 30.2 XD, 4,980 euros), which has served me for a long time, played spatially similarly freely and liberatingly.
Conclusion Joachim Gerhard Collection Nano
Do you have a small or medium-sized listening room and are you looking for a speaker that will keep you and your partner happy for a long time? Do you love a coherent, coherent spatial presentation that draws you into the action, a fine look at details without listening stress, a balanced tonal tuning where nothing seems to be missing and everything is “somehow round” without getting bored? Then listening to the Joachim Gerhard Collection Nano is almost mandatory.
With it, the tonal merits described go wonderfully together with a timelessly elegant design, the best workmanship and beautiful materials. The Nano from the Joachim Gerhard Collection shows that even a “small hi-fi set” can be really audiophile fun. Sure, the “power bass, dynamics & loud” group shouldn’t really get warm with this converter – but the speaker is called “Nano” and not “Mega”, “Giga” or “Tera”.
Profile Joachim Gerhard Collection Nano:
- Offers a tonally consistent reproduction that shows no emphasis or gaps over a wide frequency range.
- The bass range is limited downwards – real sub-bass is not offered, which is not surprising given the driver size. In the basic tone and also an octave lower into the bass, the Nano plays cleanly and is appropriately agile, if not as fast as an arrow.
- The midrange and treble are basically difficult to judge separately, the interaction of drivers and crossover is so coherent and of one piece. Here it is drawn clearly and dent-free. Acoustic instruments and voices in particular are a real treat, the Nano convince with their authenticity, clarity and richness of detail in the reproduction. It is striking that the dome is still fully there in the super treble and offers fine details and “air”.
- Roughly dynamic in relation to the price class, it’s more in the middle, but not “lame” or “comfortable”. Nevertheless, as in terms of level stability, there is still more to be done.
- Fine dynamically well positioned. Quiet next to loud is always presented clearly and accurately. And even when listening softly, you don’t miss a thing.
- The stage performance is extraordinary, yes, amazingly good. The “floor plan” drawn in the recording studio or during the recording is immediately, intuitively and extremely precisely revealed when listening – the grid of the sound sources also works on all axes.
- Design, processing and material mix at a high manufacturing level. These speakers are eye-catchers and jewels with casual, timeless elegance.
- Model: Joachim Gerhard Collection Nano
- Category: Two-way bass reflex floorstanding speakers
- Price: from 4,600 euros
- Dimensions & weight: 92 x 13.5 x 26 cm (body, HxWxD), 17 kg
- Execution: Colour/veneer can be ordered individually, e.g. oak, walnut
- Impedance: 4 ohms
- Efficiency: 86dB/2.85V/m
- Guarantee: 2 years