This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below
Literally first hand the 2.2kg speakers felt smooth and friendly. Placed and observed from a distance this innate friendliness became stronger yet by suggesting a baby Cyclops with its single eye of 3” aluminum/magnesium driver and the end of the internal labyrinth its mouth. Yes the Nika is not just a ported box but sports a true thrice-folded labyrinth which adds roughly 48cm to its rear-wave path. That's another advantage of CNC'd stacks. The labyrinth is easily cut from different slivers just waiting to be assembled to take ready-made form. Rated at 86dB and 8Ω the speaker is an easy load. Relatively high SPL should be possible across its 60-20.000Hz bandwidth as Audel meant to prove by matching it to the Audamp with its 50wpc of class D power.
Small but powerful loudspeakers may not only be used on the desktop but should be capable of filling a smaller room. So we set up the Nika and amp on a desktop fed from the computer’s line output. The first impression was a bit too crisp and forward especially at such close proximity. The usual suspect of course was the PC's inferior soundcard. On to plan B which included a trusty iPod and Qables iQube V1. Bypassing the iPod’s internal amplifier to leave those duties to the iQube made the Audel combination far more pleasing.
Now bass response was much better than expected from a 3-liter enclosure. The labyrinth and fact that its tract diameter isn't tapered in any way makes the concept a true transmission line. This really pays off. The Audamp is a simple chip-based B&O ICEpower affair. The power rating is a bit optimistic as the mentioned 50wpc are available only into 4Ω. The real world which the Nika is part of lowers that output value by half and at that point distortion is still over 1%. However the 90 x 200 x 144mm amplifier is a nice cosmetic match to the 210 x 198 x 132mm speaker box.
After setting up the Audel amp and speakers more farfield, we concluded that the Nika could do with snazzier amplification. Because it was on hand, the first choice became a (cough) Devialet D-Premier. Of course coupling a €13.000 statement piece to a €349/pr loudspeaker is no example of having both feet on the ground. But it proved the petite Nika capable of projecting a nice and surprisingly full musical picture into the room.
Mounted on some decent stands or preferably a bookshelf in a room not too large, these Italian mini speakers worked very well.
To get more practical and at least sane on budget, we next tried the Yarland FV 34-CIIISA, a 10wpc EL84 based integrated from China which carries a friendly €300 tag.
This combination made real music in a way we enjoyed and did so both in the nearfield as well as distanced a bit farther. Such a setup in a study or bedroom would not only look nice and not break the bank but above all perform well.
Condition of component received: Excellent. Reusability of packing: Sufficiently packed in double cartons which can be used many times.
Website comments: Enough information on products and background. Completeness of delivery: Just speakers and amplifier, no cables. Pricing: Very reasonable for the speakers and their construction and finish. Remark: The Nika speakers deserve an alternative to their own Audamp. A matching tube-based design should not be hard to find to elicit the Nika's full potential.