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This review first appeared in the July 2011 issue of hi-end hifi magazine of Germany. You can also read this review of the audioplan Kantata in its original German version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with the publishers. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of fairaudio or audioplan - Ed.

Reviewer: Martin Mertens
Sources: Analog - Thorens TD 160 HD with TP250 arm & Benz Micro MC Gold cart; digital - Creek CD 43 Mk II, Logitech Transporter
Amplification: Phono - Lehmann Black Cube SE II; integrated - Jadis Orchestra blacksilver, Exposure 2010 S, B.M.C. Amp C1, Accustic Arts Power I Mk2, Magnat RV2
Loudspeakers: Gaithain ME150
Cables: Low-level - Vampire CC; high-level - Fast Audio Compact 6M biwire
Review component retail: Starting at €3.200/pr, €1.000 for optional aluminium stands

Where other makers introduce new speaker models on a yearly basis, something new from Audioplan is more of a rare sensation. Over the 25 years I’ve been into hifi, Audioplan speakers have been a traditional fixture among audiophile transducers. Fairaudio previously hosted the center model of the Audioplan catalogue called Kontrast V. Today’s compact Kantata is the firm’s latest release which succeeds the Kontrapunkt model.

Though a two-way monitor, the Kantata most assuredly does not belong onto a rack shelf—its 380mm depth would be a bit challenging—but is to perch on a purpose-designed stand. Not only does it make for a cosmetic tie with the Z-shaped stands whose diagonal picks up the detail on the speaker’s cheek but the boxes and stands were optimized also sonically as a team. Conforming to company philosophy, anti-spikes separate floor from stand and stand from speaker.

The bass-reflex Kantata is fitted with customized Seas drive units. Those are a 27mm tweeter and a woven/impregnated composite 145mm mid/woofer with composite phase plug rather than dust cover. The latter is suspected of air compression effects inside the driver whereas a phase plug actually improves the driver’s radiation pattern. Extracted from the enclosure this unit shows off its modern basket construction with thin flanges and generously ventilated voice coil.

Inherited from the predecessor is how the rear wave is absorbed with an internal labyrinth lined with form-stamped felt. This filters the midrange but freely passes the lower registers to exit the port for whose tuning Audioplan developer Thomas Kühn relies on formulae and computer simulation only at first. All final voicing is done by ear. This remains highly cognizant of not worsening the load an amplifier will see. While a smaller driver can be deliberately forced to jump through measurably impressive hoops of extension, such alignments impact excursion and dynamic impedance in the bass. And that creates undue internal air compression effects for the box, current starvation for the amp. Neither is ideal for optimal bass performance.