THE TEXTBOOK LITTLE ACTIVE BAFFLE: FROM £950 PER PAIR
‘Open baffle speaker’ immediately brings to mind an image like the Model 560: a broad, raked plank with winged sides. There’s a good reason why this design has been widely DIY’ed, and sold commercially by manufacturers such as Liionidas, Spatial Audio and Pure Audio Project: it’s simple, and it works.
Unfortunately, the width necessary to mitigate dipole cancelation makes them hard to accommodate in smaller rooms, and embedding transducers in fixed lumps of timber – especially when those drivers share vibrating surfaces and can’t be independently oriented – somewhat compromises the purity of the open baffle ideal.
Full-range drivers are commonly used in this application because they represent the ultimate in simplicity and offer potential advantages in terms of phase coherence, point-source minimisation of comb filtering and the absence of a crossover in the mission-critical midrange. However, full-range drivers typically have higher levels of distortion and become inevitably problematic when pushed to deliver low frequency output. They also typically fail to deliver high resolution or flat response in their upper frequencies. In other words, full-range speakers tend to make better midrange speakers in a three-way system.
Mindful of such inherent limitations, we nonetheless felt there was a place for a democratically priced entry-level open baffle speaker that
a) delivered dipole imaging and a boxless sound signature,
b) delivered the positive properties of full-range drivers mentioned above, but . . .
c) with an active crossover and DSP correction of their irregularities, and
d) a properly proportioned woofer unloading the main driver.
The Model 560 therefore features a refined eight-inch paper-cone full-range driver crossed over at 175Hz to a cast-aluminium frame fifteen-inch woofer, giving typical in room response of 32Hz–18KHz (±3dB). This is open-baffle distilled to its purest, simplest and most cost-effective form – requiring just four channels of amplification. Ideal for AV use, too.
The sound signature is open and natural-sounding, with vocals having the special quality with which full-range drivers tend to endow them. The single 15-inch driver generates rich, textured open baffle bass that in less demanding applications will not leave the listener feeling in need of a subwoofer.
At a price of just £950 per pair, complete with amplification, crossover and DAC, the Model 560 can be viewed as the ultimate bluetooth speaker, or with the higher quality amplification units and subwoofer backup, it can grow into a mature audiophile system. All versions have deeply customisable room correction as standard, with control over individual driver delays and crossover settings.
Bare Version: £425 each
Complete speaker minus amplifier and crossover (recommended at 250Hz).
Audient ID14 four-channel DAC/interface (RCA out) with pre-configured and licenced version of JRiver Media available for £199. Bring your own amps: four channels required per pair: ie, two stereo amps or an AV receiver.
USB Version: £950 per pair
Four-channel TPA3116D2 amplifier.
400W into 4Ω total (limited by power supply to 300W). SNR: 91dB
Digital crossover and EQ/room correction via JRiver MediaCentre (Windows only).
1x USB input. Volume/remote control by app.
Wireless Version: £950 per pair
Four-channel TPA3116D2 amplifier.
120W into 8Ω total. SNR: 97dB
Digital crossover and EQ/room correction via Sigma Studio.
Bluetooth and 1x analog (3.5mm stereo) input.
Interface Version: £1,250 per pair
Four-channel TPA3225 amplifier.
400W (limited by power supply to 250W). SNR: 108dB.
Digital crossover and EQ/room correction via JRiver/Camilla
Includes an Audient ID14 studio interface (SNR: 126dB) and headphone amplifier.
USB input for Windows, Mac and Linux. Volume/remote control by app.
Hypex Version: £1,700 per pair
Four-channel Hypex nCore amplifier (stereo bass)
450W into 4Ω total. SNR: 115dB.
Crossover and EQ/room correction configurable via Hypex Fusion.
1x RCA + 1x XLR (balanced) analog input; 2x SPDIF digital inputs; 1x AES digital input.
Infra-red remote control of presets and volume.
Optional wireless module for Bluetooth, Airplay, etc.
Weight: 19.5kg per speaker
In-room frequency Response: 38Hz-20KHz ±3dB
Cabinet Construction: Constrained-layer damped MDF baffle with semi-suspended drivers.
Integrated Streamer (from £199)
Each Model 700 can be supplied with a preconfigured Windows-based media player/streamer and music server with storage up to 2Tb, running either JRiver Media Centre or Moode/Camilla. Either can be configured as Roon endpoints. Airplay, Bluetooth and other wireless streaming protocols can also be accommodated.
Model 560 speakers are finished in raw plywood as standard, but can be specified in any stock RAL colour at an additional cost of £75 per speaker. Bespoke finishes are available on request.
They are supplied without grilles because they sound better that way. However for practical and/or aesthetic reasons we make available a Grille Pack at £60 in black (allegedly) acoustically transparent fabric – or a different standard colour at a surcharge of £20.
Packing & Shipping
Shipping is available worldwide at competitive prices. Because rates change quickly, please contact us before placing your order to obtain a quote.
Within the UK, palletised shipping and packaging is currently £120 per pair, inclusive of packaging (see below). Rather a lot of the retail cost of a speaker is dedicated to designing, making and delivering bulky packaging that is frequently lost or discarded. To avoid such waste, Model 540 speakers are not sold with inclusive packaging beyond a one-piece dust cover and waterproof outer. Collection from Cheltenham is available, but where this is not possible, or if packaging is required for resale, it can be ordered as a separate item at a cost of £35 per speaker.
Preferentially, at a cost of £250*, your Model 540 speakers can be hand-delivered and tuned to your listening room – saving the cost and uncertainty of courier delivery, as well as the cost of packaging and the DSP licence. It also includes a ‘Room Doctor’ service, with the provision of graphical data on the acoustic properties of your listening space to help diagnose and treat relevant issues.
* Within a 100-mile radius of Cheltenham. Additional distance at 50p per mile.