I earlier wrote about emotions and the urge to shake it. We still can do better. Let's move from tonality to dynamics. That's where the Horn Acoustic Ferria really showed conventional speakers who packs the bigger hammer. Dynamics, speed and verve are Ferria's native habitat. Here she sends off real fireworks. Irrespective of frequency range, impulses pop with force, precision and above all, an effortlessness that grabs you. Bass drums go straight for the jugular in the gut, shimmering guitar strings but also splash cymbals or synthetic sound textures have a directness and immediacy I found addicting. When I played the new Metric album Formentera which had just launched on Amazon and played the 10.5-min. opener "Doomscroller", I felt instantly beaten down emotionally in the most wonderful of ways. It's very rare for me to have any love at first listen with new albums. I usually must get to really know the tracks slowly over time. Here the piece begins with spherical synth sounds and a harried Emily Haines. The theme of the lyrics is the universal madness of our modern world (on any given day, scroll down Spiegel's website to the bitter end and agree) and in the first chorus, Haines sings these all-too-true lines:
"And I'm a true doomscroller, I can't seem to shut it down until the worst is over; and it's never over."
Without peeling onions, I had a few tears in the corners of my eyes not only from this apt description of a world where just about everything is going down the drain and the majority of people hunch over their smartphones scrolling doom; but above all because of the incredible rawness of Emily's voice. The synth sprinkles tiled my room, the subliminal rumble in the sub bass and the elastic synth basses moved me in ways I rarely experience with hifi. But that wasn't all. After a relatively long exposition of 2½ minutes, the piece morphs into a fidgety acoustic/electronic dancefloor number. Suddenly new emotions enter like aggression, anger, even chaos. The Ferria almost sent me back to the dance floor. At 04'00" it gets sweet again. The drum machines go still, a synth violin provides support, a piano pings with reverberation… and then you reach for your handkerchief again. Before you worry, no, according to expert self diagnosis, the author of these lines wasn't depressed or otherwise emotionally unhinged. He was simply impressed by the feelings the Ferria hornspeaker evoked in him. This included my wife who is no hifi freak but interested in the subject and often visits me for coffee or a glass of wine in the listening room. Blessed with a critical ear and eye, she listened for about 15 minutes, then said "I wouldn't mind if these stayed".
There's more. What still needs mention are efficiency and SPL stability. Both my €5.9K 55-watt Valvet A4 Mk2 mono amplifiers and €2.15K 28wpc all-tube Tsakiridis Aeolos+ never felt short on power. The very simple equation 'louder = hotter' works for a lot of kit and boxes which get to a point where music devolves into noise usually triggered by distortion or compression. While Ferria goes extremely quiet, you can also really let her off the leash. Things just get louder and more massive but not more stressful. "Pedal to the metal, I need more fun" might paraphrase the Horn Acoustic Ferria but would shortchange doing her full justice. One thing is for certain. Pure emotion and liveliness are core talents of this exceptional speaker. The directness and immediacy with which both lower and upper driver cooperate are something very special. Ferria is more than just a fun machine even though she could easily pump up a small party. This speaker also convinces with fine detail and resolution, clarity and transparency beyond sheer acceleration and level-change thrills. If you listen over this Horn Acoustic, you will feel really close to the action if not right in the middle. Fans of the British midrange-first balance will be happier elsewhere but if you like it involving and intense, Ferria should speak to your heart not just for a brief fling but for a long-term relationship.
Psych profile for the Horn Acoustic Ferria…
♦ A predominantly neutral tonality which is fully present from sub bass to super treble though somewhat more present in the overtones to act brighter.
♦ Solid and powerful bass, bone dry, fast, stable, full: I rarely heard better. Truly ace!
♦ A positively inconspicuous midband free of artefacts. All important information and intonations pass through cleanly but if you like euphonically warm baths, those sell elsewhere.
♦ Nimble well-integrated treble that's more illuminated than golden, dynamically sparkling but not glistening or metallic. The balance between power and long-term suitability is mastered very well.
♦ Enormous macrodynamic swings across all frequency ranges, could probably deliver Chopin's Minute Waltz in 58 seconds so I really didn't miss anything here.
♦ Microdynamic too are very good and will play whisper levels that remain rich and full.
♦ Ultra-stable center focus and very precise stereophonic mapping. Width and depth can be set primarily with toe-in. Somewhat surprisingly for the concept, that starts more at the base line and not much in front of it. Too much face-on can lead to image shrinkage so experiment until sizing feel right.
♦ Great workmanship, timeless look, a definite eye catcher thanks to the lustily displayed horn.
Concept: passive two-way tower with horn tweeter and vented bass
Nominal impedance: 8Ω
Dimensions & weight: 78.3 x 24.4 x 32cm HxWxD, 33kg/ea.
Trim: high gloss black body, horns in red, blue, green, brown or black. Other horn colors for an extra €400
Warranty: 2 years