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All the above including the Grand Crescendo on review share the same design features. The cabinets sport a boat hull cross section where the back-facing tip of the keel is not pointy but flat. Next all cabinets go bottomless and the flat keel is open and covered by just a cloth. In fact the enclosure is a folded open baffle turned upside down. Where a ‘classic’ open baffle has the floor form the boundary, in the Musical Affairs setup the top panel assumes that role.

Hans Kortenbach’s love for wood combined with a quest for the ultimate speaker enclosure led through many arboretums, wood suppliers and such until Bernard finally suggested to focus on spruce. Spruce is the wood which for centuries has served to build musical instruments from violins to grand pianos. No deadening MDF here which is actually more synthetic glue than sawdust but instead finely grained lightweight spruce.

To get as close to an acoustic instrument as possible the final choice for front baffle and top plate was 9mm solid spruce whilst the curved sides subsist on a mere 4mm. To comply further with precedents of violins and other stringed instruments, a special water-based varnish gets applied in four layers on only the outside of course.

On the inside things at first glance get rather more complicated. Here the resemblance of a gothic cathedral meets an anechoic chamber. Braces of various shape and size call for comparison to cathedral arches or trusses on a boat. That anechoic look derives from how Hans used triangle-shaped wooden blocks in the top of the cabinet to create internal diffusion. The cabinet is free of damping material except for two tiny felt pieces applied to avoid resonances from the free-floating silver-coated re-cooked copper and cotton insulated PHY loudspeaker cable. With only 9mm of light spruce as baffle, this is not the ideal mounting substrate for a relatively heavy driver. Hence a simple sub frame helps offload the driver’s weight.

Another common factor to all Musical Affairs loudspeaker is their overall weight - or rather lack thereof. They are lightweight and vary from 11 to 22 kilos. The Grand Crescendo only puts 18 kilos on the scales. These figures indicate how easy the speakers are to move around. Hans actually made a simple device of a wooden block with a long cord that affixes to the back footers of the speaker and enables one to carry the speaker around with one hand. Clever. That way he delivered the speakers from his car.

One idiosyncratic feature of the Musical Affairs way of doing things should be mentioned as well. There is a distinction between the left and right speaker. During auditions tracking development of the ideal cabinet, some unwanted reflections occurred when the driver was mounted dead center on the baffle. Moving to a minor off-center placement eliminated this issue. Hans could have taken the easy way out to fabricate all speakers as either ‘lefties’ or ‘righties’ but being aesthetically conscious, distinct left plus right pairs look much better – and that is how they’re built now.