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Further in that vein, I conclude that Mr. IQ is a bit of a – um, current cunt. Still in high-pass filter mode, I swapped the 250-watt monos for the 1/10th-power Enleum. That went louder than I could stand. Yet the monos sounded decidedly better. That's not how my amplifier harem usually lines up when loud enough rules either way. But, it tipped its hat at Qualio's class D success in Warsaw. In my case, four times as many Exicon lateral Mosfets per channel just had to deliver higher current than Enleum's single pair. Though the nearly 10" woofer saw no low bass, more power was patently better. Why? It's well known how for dipole use, dynamic drivers typically stiffen up their suspensions. That makes up for the loss of restorative force from compressed air inside a box. Without that, their backs see the same cubic volume of our room as the fronts. It's in this equation of driver control that I suspect the IQ's appetite for low-Ω current roots. It's about goosing the 6" Satori driver's precision. Which returns us to loudness. Though Qualio don't specify any unusual sensitivity to make my regular sound|kaos monitors more efficient on paper, using a 1dB-stepped volume setting as comparator suggested that in fact the IQ had the higher spec. I noticed this before with true omnis like our German Physiks or Franck Tchang's César. Due to their more even top-to-bottom power response, the ear registers more effective loudness conversion for the same input voltage than with 'direct' radiators. That's back at unusually muscular dynamic scaling. Bipole/dipole speakers act louder. They climb sooner/steeper and remain awake longer the other way.
At first even simple songs like the earlier Eleni Tsaligopoulou and this Salar Aghili will have you jump for the remote. As such speakers reveal, these tracks aren't as dynamically simplistic as one thought. This also intersects with uncommon sound density. It must be a function of actively energizing the entire space behind the speakers across the mid/treble bands. It explains why even with fast—DC coupled 1MHz—amplifiers, this IQ won't get lean or harmonically bereft. It really combines colibri-wing speed with rather more elephantine physical presence and majesty. Now we'll segue into more poetic descriptions while the subwoofer subtracts to describe the IQ full range. Spoiler alert. It might as well spell myQ. Like Raidho's TD-1.2, Qualio's IQ is one speaker I reviewed this year which (cough) I could happily settle down with for good. That today's comes in at 1/4th of what the great Dane demands could be extra incentive for the right shopper? This being Xmas month, I thought it useful to get this out of the way pronto. Done. Now I could disappear in my sonic bubble and not re-emerge until 2023. On second thought, not. I'm a working man who loves his job. Who needs a vacation?
Bung it to not bungle it. That became my mandate when the IQ's big-diameter port in its big bass bin rode room modes and increased acoustic reverb to undermine the time domain. All standard box bass does that. It's intrinsic to 360° omni bass and why my discovery of cardioid bass was/is such a breakthrough. Whilst I couldn't eliminate the LF ringing, stuffing the ports did appreciably reduce the boom and reined in overly ambitious output. Though my sub's velocity-converter not pressure-generator principle is still superior—I know nothing that compares—I now enjoyed the IQ without faulting it for its breed's inherent limits. This Smadj track no longer overwhelmed my space with excessive bass and the frequency if not time response was admirably linear. Kudos to Qualio for including the foamy bass stops. Theirs is a potent bass maker. Having such an easy purely passive adjustment on hand could be that peacemaker your digs need. Come party time, take out the stops and let it rumble.
To show off the IQ's spectacular staging, be the life of the audiophile party with this Mercan Dede track. It's a slow burner. Give it time to unfurl and blossom. Trust me, it'll be worth the 9½ minutes this takes. It'll also remind 'philes that superior productions exist well outside overgrazed repertoire. Using normally small monitors in this and the upstairs system, I'm confident saying that the IQ disappeared just as well but bolted on greater density then sharpened resolution by not suffering those reflections which enclosed drivers create inside their box only to radiate back out through the cones delayed in time. It also boosted dynamic swings by moving more air. Higher time fidelity and twitchier dynamic life both net another benefit for low-SPL listeners. Loudness works like an aperture. It shrinks as we turn down the volume. That's a lossy process. The IQ minimizes or delays those inevitable losses. More makes it through the constricting aperture as levels shrink. Even though its designers seem to like playing back loud, they've actually crafted a speaker which equally excels in the other direction. It's a good hifi whisperer.
Another side effect of the IQ's boxless un-loading was a SET-reminiscent vocal extraction effect. While I haven't a clue how single-ended triodes do it, their lovers know it well. It's a peculiar way of peeling solo vocals out so they stand more clear of their surrounding mix. This Qualio speaker did something similar. On lesser recordings I've often wished that the recording/mastering engineer had given the central vocals more amplitude or space to peek out. Now they did. Certain Azeri albums for example which I love for their vocals but dislike for their mud were rather more intelligible. As with the tubes, I haven't a clue how this works. It's not as though any speaker had magical powers to first recognize then zero in on a particular portion of the signal by virtual zoom. Yet it's what I heard so have to write down. Snicker if you must. "When it comes to amplifiers, you're spot on. We positioned efficiency at lower levels for a clear message that there are better speakers for 2A3 and 300B even if those will play quite loud. But here they lack quality. The IQ likes current which in a strange way is very good since I believe it's basically its only demand from an amp. During the Warsaw show we used an IcePower amp that sounded very good and better than any of the high-end tube amps we tested so 2A3, 300B in SE or PSE and our favorite SE 211 Tektron that works amazing with the Cubes. EL34 and KT88 push/pulls were better but still not even close to quite affordable class D. The YouTube recording in my room used a Naim Supernait 3 which I recommend as a very good amp in that price range. It's not really exotic so anyone can get a hold of one. I liked the sound way more than IcePower since it has the same speed and control but is far richer, fuller and more mature. It can deliver plenty of current and the difference is audible in a blink of a second. So basically if you have a decent class AB or D amp, it most probably will be at least a very good match. With current electricity prices, one can save a fortune not going for a class A valve amp."
This track from Indialucía's Acatao shows off snappy attacks with alternating textures to really stand at attention when the IQ's fantastic speed and clarity peak with a high-current amp. Now some Gertrude. A rose is a rose is a rose; until it bares thorns. And aren't there always at least some of them prickly bastards? What weaknesses or special requirements connect to this IQ? Or is looking for one a bad joke? There I have two. What happened to the Polish guy who tried to blow up a car? He burnt his lips on the tail pipe. Two Polish hunters drive through the country to hunt for bear. They come upon a fork in the road whose sign reads 'bear left'. So they head back home. Hey, I did say bad.
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