September
2019

Country of Origin

France

Sensa

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, COS Engineering D1, Denafrips Terminator, Soundaware D300Ref as USB bridge/SD transport, Jay's Audio CDT2 MkII & DAC2-SE
Preamplifier: Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature with WE 300B or Elrog ER50; Nagra Classic, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage II, COS Engineering D1, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVT module)
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1 monos, SIT3. F5, F6, F7; Goldmund/Job 225; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics NC500 monos; LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos, Bakoon AMP-13R, SAG AIO
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Kroma Audio Mimí; EnigmAcoustics M1; Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V, VI & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence; Fram Midi 150
Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL 3000; Zu Event; KingRex uArt double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps/sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Review component retail: €2'950/pr standard, €3'150/pr cherry satin as shown below [prices include 20% VAT]

Aperture. An opening, hole or gap. "The bell ropes passed through apertures in the ceiling."

A space through which light passes in an optical or photographic instrument, especially the variable opening by which light enters a camera. "A refracting telescope with an aperture of 3 inches."

It seems safe to assume that French speaker house Apertura's name has more to do with the second meaning. A space through which music passes. The variable opening by which sounds enter the camera of our ear/brain. With today's Sensa floorstander, their portfolio builds out at the bottom. The matching Swing at right is the monitor equivalent.

Both are a response to typically modern requests for smaller models which make them suitable for smaller rooms. Especially in the inner cities, people tend to live in ever more compact flats. But being an Apertura speaker means a very specific design DNA. That's compliments of chief engineer and pater familias Christian Yvon. He previously worked at Goldmund, then launched his first Apertura model in 1983. That makes the brand 36 years old this year. Sacre bleu!

Whilst his favored ribbon tweeter couldn't make the transition into this entry range—here the tweeter is a 25mm Nordic soft ring radiator with bullet phase plug and damped rear chamber—the mid/woofer remains a 16cm isotactic matrix aka woven polypropylene unit with radial stiffeners just like the dearer siblings use.

The costlier asymmetrical cross section of their cabinets didn't make the transition but Christian's signature hand-wired DRIM compound crossover on a 140µm copper PCB did. That stacks, atop its central 1st order slope, a 2nd then 4th-order slope to maintain phase coherence across one octave on either side of the 3.8kHz filter frequency whilst rolling off very steeply beyond.

The 18mm thick Sensa enclosure still is no generic rectangular box. It uses big rounded rear edges to strengthen the most critical panel facing the driver backs. Three interior braces reinforce the structure and the rear port is "an optimized double resonator to allow deeper low frequencies".

In typical Apertura tradition, two different materials dampen the interior. The cloth-covered grill attaches magnetically to show no fixings when removed.

When the firm's Mrs Laurence Poyer asked me at the Munich show which color I'd fancy most, I requested our household's preferred white which blends best with our décor. High-gloss black and satin cherry veneer are the other options. For speculosity, there's ±3dB bandwidth of 40Hz – 40kHz with 87dB sensitivity and 8Ω nominal impedance. Dimensions with plinth are 21 x 26 x 92.1cm WxDxH. Weight is a svelte 14kg/ea.

Apertura's 900m² facility is located close to the town of Nantes on France's west coast in the Loire River's Upper Brittany region. Think buckwheat crêpes called galettes. Below we see their Munich 2019 show setup with Grand Prix Audio turntable and rack plus CH Precision electronics. If the company one keeps says anything about oneself, Apertura are clearly in excellent nick. In fact this was a replay of the prior year's show so all parties involved must have been very happy campers.

I too would play at happy camper. Of course given Eire's notoriously rainy conditions particularly on our west coast, I'd do all my listening indoors. In fact given the model brief, I'd probably do most my listening upstairs in a smaller ~4x6m room to mock up the intended habitat. How would listening through the Sensa aperture sound like? Sensational? Sensuous? Sensible? Sensitive?

Given down-scaled size and price, sensible was on the menu regardless of sonics. Whilst this speaker sector of the small rear-ported 2-way tower is crowded like Heathrow airport, Sensa's unique selling proposition is that advanced filter which starts with a 6dB/octave slope but ends on a very steep -42dB or 7th-order note. On that score, it's every bit a classic Christian Yvon Apertura as its dearer siblings. How would that crossover difference manifest?

Oops.

If you wore your thinking cap, you'd have clocked that I just made a very big if common mistake. Unless one had the same speaker with different crossovers at hand, there's no way to assign performance qualities to specific tech. The sound one hears is the sum total of all the interactions between enclosure, drivers, filter, preceding electronics, room and placement of speaker and chair within the room. So forget performance comments on Christian's crossover. As always, I can only comment on the complete product. Anything more would be fertile but misguided imagination. Here are some final facts:

"The mid/woofer has a long voice coil for great linear excursion and its ratio of size to emissive surface is high. Whilst the diameter is that of a 5" driver, its radiation surface is actually 20% higher than common for that. For practical reasons we moved from a ribbon to a ring-radiator tweeter since the one drawback of a ribbon is its vertical dispersion. That means the tweeter should be at ear level which can be an issue with a short floorstander. It's important to say that there are no compromises in parts quality compared to our Armonia model. The inductors are still 1.4mm baked copper wire, the capacitors Jantzen PP, the resistors wire wound and the PCB has thick copper traces. Whilst the bass loading is a classic reflex, Christian discovered a way to create a double resonators which gives more bass extension than expected. Because sensitivity is directly related to moving mass and cone surface, even though we run our usual light parts, the final sensitivity spec is a bit lower than Armonia's. We recommend amplifiers of 60-80wpc."