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Given driver size, the black Bliss C hunkered down in our smaller media room first. Here the outgoing German Physik HRS-120 always tango with Oppo's top universal, Wyred4Sound STP SE and Goldmund Job 225 stack. Suspecting the Swiss wide-bandwidth DC-coupled amp with low output impedance to be less than ideal, I still left it in for a stretch just in case its current would be contrariously copasetic with that 'c' in the bliss.

Here we see the broad foam surround which borrows from subwoofer conventions but without burning their rubber. The right-angled speaker box was a very nicely lacquered type with tapered line bent inward at the inner end and foam lined at one side. For six-thousand Europeans, the market has numerous shapelier forms like a Sonus faber Venere to pick from; just none with this driver. The included long pointy footers are meant only for the fronts. The backs come preinstalled with rubber bumpers. This automatically creates the intended rake and air gap plus aims the drivers up a bit.

Once the magnets were back to room temperature, I inserted a FirstWatt F6 then April Music Stello then Riviera Labs for contrast. Coming off downfiring 10" woofers in a sealed chamber, this Polish speaker probably wanted all the bass help it could get. Strangulating extension with an overdamped amp would be silly; unless of course Murphy played it retrograde for once and the Job/Cube pairing stepped out of the cold and into the sun.

As it happened, the €2'500/pr Stello twins of active preamp and 50wpc Mosfet amp did make the sound warmer, fuller, richer and mellower. The German 360° full-bandwidth omnis deliberately activate the ambient field. This creates subtle acoustic reverb which enhances tone textures. Now the preamp/amp combo can push ultimate transparency without diluting tone density. Now an actively buffered otherwise passive preamp like the Wyred is ideal. On the Bliss however, the same combo's excellent articulation—quasi diction for spoken video voices—was accompanied by harmonic thinness. Transient emphasis dominated over bloom and fades. My quick hardware swap acted as virtual slider control. It moved the attack-sustain-decay needle from the far left into the middle. Spending a bit less improved the sound. Substituting the Stello with the Pass amp was a far smaller and sideways shift. Given its toasty class A behaviour, the far cooler Korean twins stayed hitched. I'd revisit FirstWatt in the big room.

Time to check back with Grzegorz & Marek. "Both our drivers sound very similar but the Fc8 is still richer and more colorful. The difference comes from the magnetic motor assembly and faraday rings even though from a measured perspective, that difference is very slight because we designed both drivers to have parameters we consider optimal. Our spider works on the same physical basis as any other. When electrical signal moves through the voice coil inside the magnetic field, the coil/cone assembly's moving mass moves perpendicularly to the magnetic field, with the in/out direction determined by the electrical signal. Both the upper surround and lower spider suspensions take care of assuring axial movement of the cone/dome and the combined suspensions' compliance value influences the Thiele/Small parameters of the driver. So from a conceptual point of view, our spider has exactly the same function. Nevertheless, there is a huge difference in behaviour. Most spiders are made of soft materials like resin-soaked cloth. Such materials impose their own damping. From what we observed, when a cloth-type spider is attached to the voice coil, it damps out micro signals that otherwise would be transferred to the cone and emit as sound.

"Hence our spider material is very rigid and the excursion of the voice coil is possible due to our springy geometry. The energy is not dissipated in the spider but stored as elastic potential energy. That allows micro signals generated by the voice coil to transfer to the cone as losslessly as possible. It results in sound rich in micro detail, with an amazing soundstage and an 'airy' presentation. There is also a second even more important advantage. When a piece of rubber is stretched, the more it stretches, the harder it gets to extend further. That shows the nonlinear character of the material's elasticity. Our measurements show that cloth spiders tend to behave the same. We measured multiple available spiders but none was more linear than ours which remains nearly 100% linear up to 6mm of excursion. For better visualization, imagine listening to our speaker playing bass so its cone moves visibly. Let's say an electric impulse moves the cone of the driver with our spider out by 3.5mm. If we were to replace it with a cloth spider, it would move by only 2.5mm. You can see the results in our measurements and graph. That one millimeter would be damped out by the spider to mean that about 30% of the energy coming from the voice coil is actual killed off and not emitted as sound.

"As to higher sensitivity, we wanted to make a driver that was well balanced in frequency response. The question becomes why most modern High-End multi-way loudspeakers don't have sensitivity of around 100dB? Is it a technical issue? It is a physical limitation. Achieving 100dB in in the vocal range is relatively easy. The sensitivity of any transducer is typically listed for a 1kHz signal from a distance of 1 meter with 1 watt of power. Lower midrange and bass sensitivity are limited by the driver size. On the other hand, the bigger the driver, the harder it is to get high frequencies from it. If we measure two very similar drivers of the same size, one with 100dB@1kHz sensitivity and the other with 90dB, the difference between them in the range of 1-15kHz will be 10dB. Nevertheless as we move down in frequency given how both drivers are the same size, this difference will become smaller and smaller. At 50Hz both drivers will have very similar sensitivity so obviously the tonal balance of the 90dB driver will be better. This is why most high-sensitivity widebanders require really huge horns or additional subwoofers regardless of room size.

"We have always loved widebanders. Their coherence, presence, soundstaging, dynamics and overall magic are amazing. But to push the concept beyond the solutions we already used in the Fc8 and Fa8 drivers, we also designed them deliberately with sensitivity that in our opinion is optimal for an 8" transducer. It achieves a really full-range experience using relatively small cabinets for the recommended 12-25 square meter rooms. For bigger rooms, huge horns on our drivers will still maintain the correct tonal balance despite the room size increase. So what distinguishes our drivers from others is the philosophy behind them and what we expect from them. Our goal is a complete full-range experience with balanced frequency response from one driver in a compact cabinet. Our ideal widebander has all the advantages we love in the breed but also the bandwidth of a multi-way system. Then there is the technical approach. We have created hundreds of prototypes looking for optimal materials, cone geometries and motor assemblies. That resulted in our special paper and coatings, our unique mixed motor assemblies with enormous Faraday rings, our in-house developed ultra-linear spiders and plenty of other little tricks.

"And yes, a compact tapped Voight Pipe cabinet proved to have the best synergy with our drivers when dedicated to small and medium-size rooms. The Bliss cabinets were selected in multiple listening tests as having the best ratio between bass extension, speed and clarity. We tested the speakers in many rooms and in big rooms, they can be placed next to a wall or in the corners to boost bass without loss of the other fine qualities. Still, an 8-inch driver is not 10 or 12 inches across. To address really big rooms, we are currently working on a dedicated subwoofer and to keep things single, a 10" widebander looks very promising as well."