This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below
The enclosure relies on HDF and a newly developed woofer resonance control system. High-density fiber offers greater stability than the ubiquitous MDF to often result in thinner panels. The Kantata however runs 19mm stock as is common for MDF. An internal brace and the bass-reflex assembly add stiffening. The WRC system controls physical resonance of the mid/woofer by channeling its mechanical energies into the anti-spike for absorption. This is meant to isolate the larger driver from the smaller tweeter in the same box. The costlier Kontrast V goes a step farther and puts the tweeter inside its own decoupled housing.
The 27mm soft dome with the relatively broad spider attempts to more closely approach the point-source ideal with a physical placement that has its mounting plate overlap the mid/woofer basket rim.
I actually haven’t the space to detail out all solutions Thomas Kühn mentions as having been applied to the fine-tuning of his speaker.
Highlights include film/foil caps in the crossover. Even the bolt which affixes the bass inductor was chosen for sonic reasons. The whole terminal plate on the backside too carries deliberation by acting as the counter point for the WRC system’s anti-spike.
Speakers and stands ship in two cartons. Unpacking, mounting the anti-spikes (their plastic screws aren’t meant to be lock tightened, just enough to avoid slippage) and parking the boxes atop their perches in the same spots where my Geithain ME150 perform best was a matter of mere minutes. But I initially wasn’t impressed. Perhaps this was exasperated because my expectations for anything Audioplan were high and because Thomas Kühn distributes my beloved Jadis amplifier in Germany. His opinion carries so much weight with Jadis in fact that his modifications requested for the German market have since become standard trim. This combo had compatibility written all over it. And yet…
Time to study the owner’s manual. Aha! The designer has very specific tips to make his offspring actually spring off. Best is a hard reflective front wall that’s spaced from 0.5 to 1.5m. Sidewall distance should be at least 50cm. Listener distance should quite exceed the spacing of the speakers from one another in which case toe-in should be zero, i.e. the speakers should fire straight out. The only way to accommodate those recommendations in my crib was to rotate my usual room layout by 90°. A few curses, body marks and two hours later I was ready. Now the Kantatas were set up by the book. Two hours and various tracks later again I understood that the effort had not been in vain.
Mission critical now was experimenting with different amps to hit upon the happiest combo. From Accustic Arts Power I Mk2 to Exposure 2010S to Magnat RV2, I ended up where I began - with my Jadis Orchestra Blacksilver. No surprise there seeing how important these electronics had been during the R&D of the speaker. Lucinda Williams’ voice had the properly lived-in undertone, the e-guitar its snotty timbre and the drums packed bone-dry thunder to propel even ballads forward as should be the law, dammit!