If we revisit AudioNec's logo, we notice styling suggestive of... wait for it, AudioAvec to sneak in a double entendre. Had any socialite it girl ever have you wonder just what her certain 'it' was? By hiding her special 'with' behind a grill and in a logo, the Crystal model makes cheeky play of whether you're in the know or not. Otherwise it's back at AudioNec, a company formed in 2010 after eight years of prior R&D who presently are six full-time workers strong. With Trinnov a 15-min. car drive from their headquarters, collaborating with their French digital colleagues on all the software and some of the hardware which handles their digital low-pass filter, amplitude linearization, time alignment, phase correction and bass-amp coefficients became a natural evolution. Because AudioNec strategically do not build in their bass amps—their speakers thus don't plug into the mains—they view their Signature versions less as active and more as bi-amped speakers. Their bass amp simply delivers a room-corrected DSP-optimized smart signal to the woofers.


If one were to ask Francis Chaillet [below] what their unusual hybrid of ribbon, bending-wave and dynamic driver tech nets—due to Crystal's smaller size, her bass system is ported whilst the massive flagship contains sufficient cubic volume to do it sealed—one would hear of electrostatic purity, horn-type speed/dynamics and the body and shove of big dynamic woofers for a best-of-three-worlds equation. Because Crystal Signature's +200Hz array is 99dB sensitive, your amp in her bi-amp drive can be a 10-15wpc exotic. Remember that Munich's demo used Jadis valve amps.


Unlike fully DSP'd active speakers à la Kii which, by design, must digitize all analog input signal to then rely on digital volume control and their DACs inside the speaker, AudioNec's Crystal Signature exploits digital signal processing purely for her woofers. That leaves the majority bandwidth untouched by any digital filtering. It is instead your own DAC/preamp/amp hardware, in whatever combination you fancy, which handles the lion's share of the bandwidth. That too is part and parcel of the hidden avec. It should appeal to those who acknowledge DSP's intelligence for one thing (to correct bass/room interference, to maximize the reach and power of a given woofer) but not another (digital machinations in the critical vocal band and treble, full-scale digital volume control). To the right client, here too the Crystal Signature could claim a best-of-two-worlds advantage. Which, if you've kept track, makes five already...


... to be continued...

AudioNec website