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The reborn Apertura remains focused on Yvon’s familiar concepts and more particularly two-way designs, light and fast mid/woofers, ribbon tweeters, powerful magnets and non-parallel enclosures. In fact the shape of the new Apertura models is a result of prior multidisciplinary work. Three months ago I had opportunity to meet Robert Trunz, former CEO of B&W and now partner and distributor for Vivid Audio in Switzerland. Mr. Trunz explained that his unconditional support of Laurence Dickie has its origins in the B&W Nautilus project. Robert Trunz was at the time aiming for form factors wildly divergent from traditional rectangular enclosures and Dickie’s first response had been the flagship Nautilus. A few months later the partnership with Philip Guttentag in Vivid Audio commenced with all the stunning inspiration we know today.

Despite Yvon’s industrial design being less ambitious than Dickie’s, Apertura shares the same notion that geometry and form must primarily serve the diffraction and cancellation of spurious standing waves. This quest for non-parallel shapes and vibration damping in enclosure design started some years ago with the launch of the Thema floorstander. It was the first Apertura speaker to sport a new shape called ARCH (anti-resonance chamber). This design conferred great rigidity and allowed unwanted vibration to rapidly dissipate via the central cone. It also favoured a non-resonant sound, allowing for precise placement at the correct angle. But it also proved to be a way to adapt aesthetics to function with audacious forms that serve the speaker’s visual identity.

Another trait shared with Vivid Audio is the internal separation of design from manufacturing and marketing. This functional/organizational segregation seems to be key to preserving creativity of design whilst production and trade are managed in a strictly professional way as would be the case in any other manufacturing business. This division of concerns between design and production consents to an effective structuring of conceptual ideas. Apertura then becomes able to increase its focus on specific internal skills and can release more competitive products to market at lower prices. This concept was another incentive which led me to this assignment.

Description. The overall workmanship of my review samples was very good and I was surprised at the unusual quality of the packaging for the price. Clearly Apertura cares that their speakers arrive at your listening room in flawless condition. Today’s Armonia is an attractively proportioned floorstander standing just over 108cm tall. My loaners featured a stunning maple veneer with a satin lacquer. Armonia is the first model of the Apertura range to use this specific shape, which appears to reach even greater neutrality compared to previous efforts.

At first glance the Armonia could seem an ode to curves and asymmetry. Its two cheeks use curvatures of different radii. It has no symmetrical face since angles between front and back panels are carefully calculated to maximize stiffness and reduce cabinet resonance. The sidewalls are made of thick multi-layered bent MDF.

That leads to a very elegant uncommon profile which primarily supports Apertura’s sonic goals of reducing the surface of the most reflective panels. The four internal window-pane braces complete the speaker skeleton. These 21mm panels are high-density MDF and form a laminar structure more rigid and damped than conventional ones. To optimize the dispersal of spurious noise, Armonia’s enclosure sits on a central cone that determines the center of gravity, with the four outer spikes used for stability only. Specific damping materials are used to minimize internal standing waves.

Armonia’s 7" Seas mid/woofer is a woven polypropylene composite driven by a powerful magnetic circuit with 11cm voice coil for enhanced dynamic range. This "isotactic matrix" cone combines stiffness and self damping to support playback over a wide bandwidth without any break-up and with low distortion. The chassis shape is the result of CAD and finite element analysis. Thanks to its thin ribs, the basket leaves the rear of the drive unit open to improve the propagation of the rear wave and minimize reflections. Bass loading is via large port above the rear terminals.

The 3” high-frequency driver is a next-gen Fountek ribbon tweeter with an aluminium/polymer sandwich diaphragm for more linearity and greater power handling than previous generations. The use of a Neodymium motor and 18mg membrane (10 times lighter than a dome tweeter of similar surface area) allows accurate reproduction of all transients. The 3kHz crossover is the brainchild of Christian Yvon and as already mentioned an elliptical affair with three progressive slopes. The actual hand-over section runs a 1st-order filter. Parts include Jantzen coils with 1.4mm² baked wires and Mundorf and Jantzen polypropylene capacitors. The high-quality terminals on the rear panel support single wiring only. Improved sensitivity and the two-way concept do not justify biwiring/biamping. Internal wiring is silver-plated copper in PTFE dielectric. Strict phase optimisation is claimed to support very three-dimensional soundstaging.