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Quadral went after this tech for two reasons – top marks in their auditions and very low heat even under high levels to reduce heatsink requirements. The Dutch OEM boards integrate with electronics designed by Stephan Rath who was responsible already for Aurum's amplifier range which a previous fairaudio review praised highly. The 50-watt tweeter amps are of the conventional sort.
As mentioned this speaker incorporates numerous adjustments. Tweeter amplitude can be boosted or cut by +/-3dB. Bass toggles offer a normal setting, roll-off for close-wall placement/small rooms and boost for larger spaces. There's also a type of +/-6dB 'notch filter' whose hinge frequency can be defined between 30-200Hz.
Sascha Reckert was keen to avoid steep bass roll-off. Technically this meant avoidance of a high-order high-pass filter which would sour group delay and lead to boomy bass. He counteracts his natural plus port-induced roll-off function with electronic compensation to sum to relatively flat. The same applies to the handover between mid/woofer and tweeter. Its 2'900Hz hinge encounters shallow 6dB/octave slopes which increase progressively with greater distance to the centre frequency.
Another welcome feature is automated power. Standby mode reduces energy consumption to below 0.2 watt states the maker. With my pre-production loaners the cut-off sensitivity between channels was slightly mismatched. One turned itself off during whisper passages. Formal production will have addressed that. The €600/ea. surcharge over the passive version clearly nets a bundle of tech which to duplicate externally at matching quality should get far more expensive.
The first CD to spin was Ragazze Forty by Italian songstress and brass player Grazia Negro. (Google her name and you'll also come across crime figure Grazia Negro, a character by author Carlo Lucarelli who borrowed the musician's name.) I discovered her album during a radio interview with the protagonist who is married to trumpeter Roy Paci. I learnt that after raising two kids she was keen to demonstrate that women over 40 can still have power.
And power this lady has to spare. The opener “I Craj” kicked off strong with scalpel-sharp horn attacks, a propelling forward rhythm, clean impulses and pleasing tonality to indicate two minutes in that I'd have plenty of fun with this box. A few generalized observation only took a few bars. The tweeter beams in the vertical axis to disseminate the correct HF energy only over a relatively narrow band roughly at tweeter height or slightly below. Stand up and things get duller, sit lower and there'll be a hole in the midband and some nasality. Gaps between tracks showed that these powered speakers had very low hum. Many actives are rather nosier. You'll have to stick your ear on the tweeter to hear anything with these.
More noteworthy stuff. Playing with front-wall distances caused very mild reactions. Reckert's claim that bass roll-off is very gradual to avoid a 'hard' corner frequency seemed spot on. Some speakers fuss over mere centimetres but the Altan was quite flexible even without filter options. Wall distance flowed primarily into bass quantity not quality. Those who wish to park the box very close to the wall can flick the toggle to 'roll off' without sacrificing quality.