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This article first appeared in May 2023 on fairaudio.de. By request of the manufacturer and permission of the author, it is hereby syndicated from the German original to reach a broader English audience. Ed.
Writer: Frank Hakopians
Component retail: by request
Why no classic review today? The answer is simple. One, Acapella's Hyperion is hardly comparable to the usual suspects. Two, it was clear from the start that this 2.5m tall speaker of well more than half a tonne the pair wouldn't make it into my 24m² listening room. Game over? Not at all. By way of compensation, Acapella Audio Arts promise us an experience of Hyperion in two locales; and I best prepare myself was I told. Excitement duly at 11:00, I hoofed it over to the Duisburg audio forum where Acapella's largest models including their red twin-horn Sphäron Excalibur were ready for extensive auditions. One enters this de facto command center of Acapella Audio Arts via a not particularly large anteroom of an inconspicuous hifi shoppe. Once one emerges in a spacious showroom at the building's rear however, what one alights upon should make the hearts of even the most hardened hifi publishers beat faster. Almost all current models of this Duisburg speaker house were gathered here. I spotted the Fidelio monitor alongside LaCampanella 2, High BassoNobile, High Cellini and Campanile 2. All were ready to be touched, hugged – and of course heard.
Finally I faced Hyperion. Although I'd already seen them at last year's HiFi Deluxe in Munich, here they seemed even more impressive than in a suite at the Marriott Hotel. No wonder with a reach of 247 centimetres and hyperspherical horns painted an eye-catching Midnight Blue. This is a 3-way system with a quad of 15-inch woofers, the signature hyperspherical horn for the mid/highs and above 5kHz, the firm's famous ion tweeter. With 78cm Ø horn, this claims nearly one meter of depth. On the sides subtle curves conceal stately width of 44 centimeters a bit but there's still sufficient room to fit four large woofers on the front. For resonance-optimized bomb-shelter grit, these high-density cellulose bass weapons don't merely bolt to the front baffle but additionally clamp to the rear baffle. Large cone surface coupled to a special dual bass reflex system promised abysmal reach. Putting a concrete number on that, designer Richard Rudolph claimed substantial output down to 16 Hertz. Here someone takes the moniker ‘full range' duly serious. In the horn throat sits a 2.5" silk dome powered by neodymium magnets which works down to ~600Hz. The TW 1-S ion tweeter familiar from other Acapella models sits beneath the horn thus at approximately ear level. Its virtually zero-mass bluish plasma flame generates output from 5kHz to 40kHz. At 300kg/ea., Hyperion is the immovable rock of Gibraltar once installed on a sufficiently strong floor. Internal hookup wiring is the company's own silver. To shield it from internal air pressures, the biwirable three-way crossover houses in its own enclosure filled with audio-grade components about which the designer remains tactically taciturn. After all, plenty of R&D time went into identifying just the correct values for optimal electro-acoustical behaviour which then was double-checked during countless tests. At 30kg, each crossover is a serious piece of kit.
As to amps-for-breakfast appetites, Hyperion's specs of 96dB/8Ω read suspiciously frugal and Herr Rudolph confirmed that just a few good tube watts will indeed add up to very good sound already. Just so, "100 quality watts", better yet multiples thereof, would truly awaken the dynamic headroom slumbering within these beasts. To insure this comes off without box talk, the cabinets exploit a sandwich construction of Ply, MDF and acrylic plus secret insulators and adhesives. Massive multiplex struts further brace the outer walls. The rear which must absorb the copious pressures generated by the bass array is reinforced by 86 screws. If all this stimulates ownership desire, it's time to double-check your account balance. If sufficiently padded, you and these 2.5m towers could really be onto something. Of course the exact damage depends on country, import taxes, shipping and trim as this model isn't off the shelf. Each pair is built individually after lengthy consultation so a few weeks of lead time are required until final delivery and on-site setup.
For my listening pleasure I had Request Audio's above The Beast server whose balanced DAC fed XLR to Einstein's The Tube preamp which drove a prototype new 250wpc Acapella amp which Herr Rudolph explained isn't in production yet. It's why he'd banished it inside a USM Haller rack to elude closer inspection. Alternate source was a modified Pro-Ject disc drive. Sitting about 4 meters away, my listening session warmed up with the "Rondo" from Paganini's 2nd Violin Concerto which bears the subtitle "La Campanella", the little bell. I know the piece well from various home sessions where Salvatore Arcado's violin often helps me judge various review loaners. Its sound should be delicate, elegant and very agile, not dominant but still readily separate from the overall ensemble. It certainly doesn't require 600 kilograms worth of Germanic loudspeaker tech but just a few bars in it became clear that Hyperion approached this fingering exercise with the necessary seriousness and mastered it very well. Arcado's Stradivari materialized pinpoint focused and incredibly three-dimensional between the two speakers. I was worried that the instrument would balloon to king size but quite the opposite. Hyperion convinced with amazingly appropriate sizing whilst simultaneously scaling the accompanying orchestra with the greatest care to conjure up a most persuasive live illusion.
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