Country of Origin


Chromium Style 85

This review first appeared in April 2022 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: Jörg Dames
Digital sources: Norma HS-DA1 PRE, Keces S3 Streamer: SOtM sMS-200 ultra & sPS-500, Volumio Primo
Preamp: Funk MTX Monitor V3b-4.3.1, Funk MTX Monitor V3b-4.2.1 (upgrade of V3b), Funk LAP-2.V3 (upgrade of Lap-2.V2)
Integrated amplifier: Abacus Ampino
Power amps: Bryston 7B³, Norma Revo PA 150
Loudspeakers: ilson Audio SabrinaX, Sehring 903 Serie 2
Cables: Kimber Carbon 16, HMS Armonia, WSS Platin Line LS4, Real Cable BW OFC 400, HMS Fortissimo, Straight Wire Virtuoso, AudioQuest Carbon USB, Boaacoustic Silver Digital Xeno, BMC Pure USB1, Tellurium Q Black, Quantum-Powerchords, Swisscables Reference
Power delivery: HMS Energia MkII
Rack: Lovan Sovereign, Tiglon TMB-10E platform
Other: AudioQuest Jitterbug
Listening room: 29m²  with 3.3m ceiling

Review component retail: €2'500/pr

Countrified high-end. There's a breed of audiophile who reflexively dismisses brands he's spotted once at some big box store. Others apply the same dismissiveness to high-end's untiring luxury-price trending because it leaves buyers with normal wallets out in the cold. I sympathize with both views even if I can't fully get behind either. Take today's review subject, Quadral's €2.5K/pr Chromium Style 85 from the city of Hannover. Spoiler alert: it will appease both audiences. Already optically it's a can do. Friendly height of 1m, an 18cm wide baffle and 34cm of depth are graceful and serious. The slightly bulging cheeks slimming the footprint toward the rear with 21-28mm panels add style to the profile and stiffen the build.

Just don't invoke minimization of internal standing waves to Quadral engineer Sascha Reckert. "Quatsch" he'll snap. That's proper Germanski for monkey doo. Realistically such reflections could only affect the midrange where he easily controls vagabond rear emissions with internal damping materials. More critical in fact would be vertical reflections between top and bottom plates. The solid divider between upper and lower transducer pairs slams that door shut [see above]. The dual woofers and tweeter/mid pair work in strictly discrete chambers. Both are set to the same 39Hz tuning via, yes, their own port so there's two tunnels. And yes again, this is a 2.5-way array whereby the upper 'box' is your typical 2-way monitor, the lower a quasi subwoofer working well into the midrange. In detail, the 15.5cm midrange runs wide open at the bottom then meets the tweeter with a steep 24dB/oct. slope at a high 3'200Hz to protect the ribbon. The woofers roll in at 600Hz first gently at 6dB/octave, then accelerated to 12dB/octave.

Three diaphragms joining forces combine to 385cm² of surface area while shortening the required displacement for each to reduce stress and related distortion. This has obvious advantages over a classic two-way and the broader overlap with the two 0.5-way woofers promises gains also in group-delay coherence. Such big words we'll verify by simply listening.

Technically our 3-for-1 membranes are virtually identical. The woofers merely have a bit more throw. Quadral's acronym ALTIMA should no longer be a mystery. It's the firm building block of choice for membranes in the Aurum and Chromium ranges so an alloy of aluminum with high magnesium and more homeopathic titanium percentages. This material is supposed to exhibit lower breakup behavior and move it as far out of band as possible. One decisive difference between the two model families just mentioned is the exquisite Aurum ribbon built in-house. For Chromium its manufacture is the Far East, with specs that require steeper filter slopes. That means less upper midrange action and more challenges to integrate with the midband in ideal phase. Regardless of providence, ribbon tweeters with preceding transformer are always more elaborate. With a surface of 60x12mm HxW, the aluminium membrane is just 10 micrometer or one millionth of a meter thick. So please, don't blow on it hard should you wish to dislodge some eventual dust. 85's combo of drivers, filters and enclosure creates a true 4Ω load (3.3Ω/270Hz minimum) with respectable 89dB/W/m sensitivity to make life relatively easy on your amplifier.