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Midrange through upper midrange were well tuned for the driver match between RAAL and Accuton and here Mr Kunz has achieved a high level of neutrality that can be swung in either direction of cool or warm according to the character of the preceding chain. Tubes added a bit of midrange immediacy. Transistors produced a somewhat more matter-of-fact balance. In the mids through lower mids the speaker leaned slightly towards the transparent side and minor vertical alignment correction to balance the RAAL/Accuton overlap was critical to achieving best midrange results. While frequency balance remained similarly flat, the ribbon contribution added a touch of dynamic exuberance that was slightly lacking in the mid/woofers. Adjusted wrong the speaker was a bit polite and recessive in the midrange. Right it acquired involvement and life.

Dynamic ability was consummate with the higher efficiency and relatively high achievable loudness. The 72R was able to convincingly demonstrate the prodigious dynamic power available on uncompressed recordings. Instantaneous changes or rising crescendos, its range was daunting. This coupled with the speaker’s wide response gave it an unnerving ability to unleash full orchestral attacks on reference quality material. The 72R showed it best at natural through slightly elevated levels where the RAAL and Accuton were speaking in unison. Beyond a certain point however the bass drivers reached their limits while the RAAL appeared game to go farther. Those levels however were quite loud. The speaker easily fulfilled the requirements of both modern music at decent volume as well as sonic spectaculars.

At lower levels it lost some of its broadband dynamic flair however. The RAAL continued to reveal detail but the Accuton showed a preference for a little more power to keep pace. At this end of the volume scale the 72R was outmatched by the similarly priced Mike Tang Feastrex loudspeaker which achieves similar resolution while maintaining somewhat better dynamic integrity. The Symphonia countered with a contrasting strength of achieving loudness levels with powerful dynamic swings that the Feastrex could not approach.

Resolution of the speaker as a whole was quite high due in part to the superb abilities of the RAAL but the Accuton held its own provided the speaker was driven within its comfort zone and saw sufficient power to exercise control. The Accuton drivers lost a small amount of fine detail in comparison to the intense resolving power of the ribbon but that was not unexpected. The RAAL is lightning fast and Mr. Kunz has done well in making the discontinuity barely noticeable. He has chosen to give the Accuton the bulk of the workload and handle the ribbon as auxiliary partner. Rather than dominate, the RAAL simply adds information and context. The combined transient attack and decay were quick and highly detailed without resorting to analytical transparency, instead achieving a good sense of natural warmth and body where the added detail was relevant.

The speakers produced a large sense of space over a wide listening area not only at seated height but standing position, highly unusual in a speaker with a short ribbon. Mr. Kunz appears to have transcended that traditional limitation of narrow vertical dispersion creating an enticing sonic envelope similar to a true point source radiator although critical listening with an anchored center image and fully defined soundstage still required a more restricted seating arrangement. The difference between good and excellent imaging required care. The 72R was considerably less forgiving of misadjustments especially in the horizontal plane due to discrepancies between the narrower dispersion of the Accuton and wider spread of the RAAL. The speakers in my room preferred to be widely spaced with a small amount of toe-in. If that angle was insufficient, the speakers created a seamlessly wide stage but gave up focus and center fill as well as a losing midrange immediacy. Optimizing for the Accuton allowed me to snap the speakers into dimensional focus at the penalty of a small amount of apparent width.

The soundstage was wide and deep, favoring transparent depth over projection and solidity to a small degree, with the normal plane of images at roughly speaker position. Height was recording dependant. The combination of transparency and neutrality worked to make the performers part of the musical event but did not thrust them forward in the mix. Best results created a strong sense of openness with convincing focus and dimensionality, allowing the speakers to become incidental in the soundstage. Midfield seating offered greater immersion but a more diffuse image. The farfield position provided less immediacy with more emphasis on depth and produced objects within the stage with considerably tighter focus and realistic size. The Symphonia managed to combine a presentation that avoided dryness but maintained an observational balance in its interpretation of the event.

A detailed examination still amounts to a myopic view. The question remains, how did the music sound? The 72R could do justice to a wide body of musical styles and tastes. It proved both robust and refined, allowing it to fearlessly tread where more polite speakers of similar resolution can’t go. If the forté end of the scale is a priority, the Symphonia can deliver it clean accurate and controlled. Cohesive? Yes, the speaker’s performance vindicates Mr. Kunz’s driver choices. The transition between RAAL and Accuton is artfully and unobtrusively accomplished and may set benchmarks for what can be expected at this price and beyond. Are there any weaknesses? Very few. Break in is a point to remember when auditioning. A hasty judgment on the speaker’s first arrival will be incorrect. Patience will reveal where the system stands and where it needs to be. Another potential pitfall will be the very transition between drivers that Mr. Kunz has done so well. It makes achieving a good result in the midrange relatively easy but realizing an optimal result more labor intensive. This will require careful tweaking.

Inevitably the question of comparison comes up. The Clearwave Loudspeaker Design Symphonia 72R is being thrust into the public eye at a very attractive price sporting enough upper echelon hardware to claim pedigree. How well does the 72R perform against candidates of similar technology or price? The 72R arrived at the tail end of the Mike Tang Audio Feastrex review affording an interesting opportunity to examine two different design philosophies at the same price. The Feastrex is a single small full-range driver design that's quick on its feet, highly controlled and coherent. At low to moderate levels it is simply stunning. Beyond that volume it has limits.