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Different room, different dosage. Downstairs I'd successfully shortened first reflections in the horizontal domain. Obviously I'd done nothing in the vertical. The double-high cathedral ceiling's long reflective pathways remained. What if I shortened those? Due to low-mass carbon fiber shells and detachable plinths, Courante 2.0 easily hustled up the stairs. Here ceilings are a standard ~2.3m. As expected, that instantly shortened delay times to subjectively half the downstairs dosage if not more. That normalized the sonic balance to what I expect was rather more representative of average installs. The obvious takeaway? With this type speaker, ever greater wall distances to the front, side and ceiling increase our acoustic reverb until the dosage could become objectionable. For my tastes, the upstairs room match was still better than downstairs. I'd wrap up the review here. To prep for the finish, here's the perfect jumping-off point – what Zoltán himself says: "I was born in 1957 when the Quad ESL57 electrostatic speaker was unveiled. My father was department head at the Tungsram valve factory, then amplifier and cinema speaker designer for the Film Technology Company and microphone designer for the Budapest electroacoustic factory based on his own patent. This microphone sold from Hungary to the Eastern Block countries. My uncle was world-famous physicist Zoltán Lajos Bay whose name is linked to the electron multiplier, radar astronomy and the definition of the meter based on the speed of light. I absorbed knowledge about physics and early audio culture from a young age. I'm a qualified electrical engineer and spent two more years studying mechanical engineering. I've designed my own audio gear since 1981. My university degree project was a special power amplifier whose unique biasing solution I patented."
With 90wpc Crayon CFA-1.2 integrated.
"Each traditional speaker has a so-called breakup mode which usually means membrane distortion at one or more frequencies. As a result of its design, my radial tweeter has no breakup mode so undesirable resonances don't occur. Frank Nielsen, former designer for B&K, Scanspeak, Vifa and Timphany who now designs drivers for SB Acoustics, created my special mid/woofers adapted to the speed of the BRS. Those drivers are only produced for us. Another important part of the sound is the cabling and crossover. I have several decades of experience in cabling and use my own inside the speaker. I find time-domain performance exceptionally important which I achieve with ideal 6dB/octave slopes. My speakers have exceptionally linear frequency response and as I produce the tweeters myself, their sensitivity is matched to the sensitivity of the woofers. The third important component is the enclosure. One criterion was to have the lowest possible weight, high rigidity and no self resonance. Low mass stores far less energy which now isn't re-released delayed in time. To avoid air turbulence required aerodynamic solutions and space-age composites. Here my partner was András Voloscsuk whose company produced the F1 monocoque chassis for Red Bull and the airplane for Red Bull air race world champion Péter Bessenyei. The design of the shape is my own and one objective was to also create a work of art. I mentioned how I was born when the Quad ESL57 came to market. At the time it was a revolutionary new concept. A valuable lesson is that really good loudspeakers stand the test of time. The Quad is still made today and 60 years later continues to be held in great esteem."
The Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 lives up to its maker's billing of an exceptionally linear loudspeaker with unusual impulse correctness. It's also a correctly sized living-room sculpture. Yet nothing about that artistic aspect is capricious or done because someone could rather than should have. It is very much form follows function to arrive at three clustered drivers whose radiation pattern approaches the theoretical ideal of the pulsating sphere (just not one which is infinitesimally small). The consequence of its spherical radiation across the bandwidth is higher than usual room interaction. At least to these ears, that favors spaces with shorter reverb times to either be smaller rooms or treated ones. Otherwise growing decay delays obscure the truly fantastic timing this speaker is all about. Often exotic transducers suffer low sensitivities. Zoltán Bay's radial tweeter does not. Hence it makes no outré power demands. Easy on weight, easy on size and easy to drive, the only exception to its 'e' theme—other than cosmetics should your eyes disagree with its modernity—is cashish.
With 200-watt LinnenberG Liszt monos.
But then none of the speakers which for their own reasons impressed me similarly rewrote the financial commitment demand for their class. I'm thinking of the direct-selling sound|kaos Vox 3awf and the dealer-distributed Camerton Binom 1 and Node Audio Hylixa. Pushing boundaries with novel drivers, hi-tech materials and specialist building processes costs. And to my mind there's no doubt that the Courante 2.0 pushes boundaries for speed, linearity, dynamics and bandwidth in a still compact very effectively damped 2-way enclosure. It's the conceptual and physical opposite of the ever bigger ever heavier statement loudspeaker which splits the signal into three, four or five bands. It's proof positive that a rather smarter approach exists which still manages 28Hz. It's the speaker equivalent of a Grand Prix Audio Monaco 2.0 turntable whose beacon of a cleverer solution signals across the sea of oil-rig pretenders to those who would listen.
I considered it a real privilege to review the Bayz omni and, for the duration, learn how the other half of liberated wallets with the intelligence to shop far beyond the mainstream lives. So yes, the grass over yonder is terrifically green, Quad ESL are still made and if luck is on Zoltán Bay's side, his Courante will continue to entertain adventurous music lovers 50 years from now. Of course the Quad ESL was a regular production item where Bayz Audio only operate on a build-to-order basis. There's no telling what the future may hold for such exclusivity. But in the present of April 2021, the Courante 2.0 most certainly is a landmark effort which deserves fanfare—just not for the common man—for probably years to come!
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