Country of Origin
This review first appeared in April 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.
Reviewer: Fritz Schwertfeger
Analog sources: Linn LP12, Pro-Ject Perspective Anniversary
Digital sources: Mytek Brooklyn DAC+, Sony CDP X-707 ES, Innuos ZENMini MK3, Roon Nucleus, Auralic Aries Femto, Wattson Audio Emerson Digital, Mutec REF10 SE120 and MC-3+ USB, Innuos PhoenixNET and PhoenixUSB
Preamplifiers: Sony TA-E 80 ES, Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ phono
Integrated amplifier: Cayin MT-34L
Power amplifiers: 2 x Sony TA-N 80 ES for bi-amping
Speakers: Kii Three, KEF LS50 Meta
Review component retail: €15'800/pr
Singers from the stars? Each speaker house follows its own design philosophy and the scope of potential differentiation includes many variations from single-driver widebanders to classic multi-ways. However, most still rely on classic dynamic drivers as a norm only few deviate from. One of those are Manger with their famous and patented bending-wave driver. The difference between their floorstanding P1 and P2 models becomes apparent only upon closer inspection; or rather, when viewed from behind. Where the P1 is a sealed box, today's P2 adds two passive radiators one above the other [see below]. These should build out bass reach. In addition the P2 features a new 20cm woofer which was tuned even more precisely to the 360Hz filter frequency according to Manger.
Otherwise both are passive two-way floorstanders. At almost 114cm tall, appearance is surprisingly delicate despite being accompanied by solid 32kg mass. This may be due to the gently rounded edges to counteract diffraction but which also have a visual slimming effect. Timeless Bauhaus style is the order of this day, not brutalist chic. A solid aluminium plinth with integral conical damper feet ensures stability. The threaded inserts will easily accept spikes instead should we wish. The cabinet with its 38mm front baffle and massive internal braces is made in Germany. The sandwich-laminate 20cm woofer combines carbon-fibre with reinforced cellulose and a special German foam intended to harmoniously match the quick low-distortion Manger driver. The latter is crafted in small production runs in Manger's own Frankenland factory of Mellrichstadt. The process includes many manual steps which require high precision. This may well explain the P2's sticker. This loudspeaker is a purchase for life. Accordingly the quality of ingredients as well as manufacturing and paint finish are all tops. Many different finish and trim options are possible.
The Manger converter named after inventor Josef W. Manger who passed away in 2016 is actually a youngster compared to the classic dynamic cone driver. Its flat membrane generates sound based on deliberate break-up modes called bending waves driven by strong magnets and two voice coils. Due to these coils being wound in opposing directions whilst bonding directly to the membrane, the Manger sound converter responds almost without time delay to be extremely quickly according to company head Daniela Manger.
Daniela Manger and her father Josef W. Manger
High frequencies generate in the center of the cone, lower frequencies travel out towards the edge. The central star damper prevents those traveling waves from reflecting back. It's easy to imagine the bending-wave principle as a rock thrown into a calm lake. Like its waves spread out evenly from the rock's entry point so do sonic waves spread out from the Manger's middle. The impetus for its original development was Josef Manger's view that instrumental sound lost much of its naturalness when played back through conventional loudspeakers. Due to its operating principle as a mass-loaded spring, a classic dynamic driver generates errors that overlay the original transients of an instrument. In addition, the natural character of an instrument and its spatial positioning are determined by the perception of the temporal relationship between sound waves and differences in their path lengths. As Daniela Manger explains, this is exactly where the Manger converter improves standard phase linearity, time fidelity and impulse response. Apparently a bending-wave driver won't store energy like conventional equivalents. Playback thus reproduces the original sound more correctly in time. Also, the Manger converter packs broad bandwidth here 360Hz to 40kHz to avoid a typical crossover in the presence region. It could play theoretically even lower but then simply rolls off. The choice of 360Hz filter hinge builds in higher sensitivity and resilience.
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