Country of Origin
Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (i5, 256GB SSD, 40GB RAM, Sonoma 14), 4TB external SSD with Thunderbolt 3, Audirvana Studio, Qobuz Sublime, Singxer SU-6 USB bridge, LHY Audio SW-8 & SW-6 switch, Cen.Grand DSDAC 1.0 Deluxe; Active filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos on speakers, Gold Note PA-10 Evo monos on subwoofer; Headamp: Cen.Grand Silver Fox; Phones: HifiMan Susvara, Meze 109 Pro; Loudspeakers: Qualio IQ [on loan] Cables: Kinki Studio Earth, Furutech; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 6 x 8m with open door behind listening seat
2nd system: Source: FiiO R7 into Soundaware D300Ref SD transport to Sonnet Pasithea; Preamp/filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7; Loudspeakers: MonAcoustic SuperMon Mini or Acelec Model One + Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF, Akiko Audio Corelli; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~3.5 x 8m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win10/64; USB bridge: Singxer SU-2; DAC: iFi Pro iDSD Signature; Clock: LHY Audio OCK-2; Head/speaker amp: Enleum AMP-23R; Speakers: EnigmAcoustics Mythology M1; Headphones: Final D-8000 & Sonorous X, Audeze LCD-XC, Raal-Requisite SR1a
Upstairs headfi system: FiiO R7; Headphones: Meze 109 Pro
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe; Loudspeakers: Zu Soul VI; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m
Retail price: €5'990/pr, surcharge applies for certain finishes
Quantum of Qualio. It's not the latest James Bond flick. After all, our man died in the last one. It's Qualio's new floorstander. Quantum combines the open-baffle Mundorf 17D2.2 AMT we first saw in the firm's maiden IQ model with again the familiar SB Acoustics papyrus-cone Satori 6" mid/woofer. That marries a matching 6" Norex-cone woofer also from SB Acoustics. Hello narrow cab. To get away with a small woofer without sacrificing too much reach, this now is a 2½-way. The ivory-coloured driver runs wide open into the bass, the low-passed woofer adds its cone surface so that bass actually drives an equivalent 8.5" cone spread across two motor systems. Intended to work already in rooms of 10-25m², claimed bandwidth is 35Hz-31kHz and "Quantum can amaze and amuse at the same level as IQ". Sensitivity is 88dB and there again are various finish options. Veneer, gloss and custom colours carry a surcharge.
If you had missed all the hoopla of applause and awards here and elsewhere…
… Qualio are a sister brand to Cube Audio. Same designers, same owners but multi-ways not filterless widebanders; and different distribution. The Qualio IQ's 9½" woofer in a still broader box profile could look too big in smaller rooms and its ~25Hz tuning by rear port be too well hung. If so, Quantum can take its place. Not having attended this year's Warsaw show, I thought that the Quantum launch, Fram's €12K/pr Arte monitor and Fezz's first-ever LampizatOr-licensed €2.5K Equinox DAC looked like three highlight contenders when viewed from afar.
Thankfully Qualio's Grzegorz asked me from their show premises if I wanted to review Baby Q right after. I'd get my chance at absentee redemption and hands/ears-on in evergreen Eire. "If you're ever curious how the show has developed since you last saw it, just put on your incognito glasses, fake moustache¹ and visit again. The show is truly special now due to I think the low rates for exhibit rooms compared to other events of this size and the overall scale and organizer's marketing. Now it attracts some really niche passionate brands to populate especially the Hotel Sobieski with some great and unique products. Yesterday I spent nearly the entire day filming for YouTube and probably today will upload video recordings with great audio quality so even remote visitors can have a bit of the AVS 2023 experience."
¹ I wouldn't need a moustache but a bit of extra hair in youthful brown wouldn't go amiss.
First, some remote viewing of an IQ install.
It's also the speaker our main system centres on. I'm thus a qualified Qualio convert though never once bothered trying IQ in my smaller system. Not only didn't I fancy the schlep up the turning stairs but more to the point, IQ's bass bins would simply overpower that 4 x 8m narrow space cosmetically.
Quantum meanwhile promised to slot right in. You'll forgive me for nursing some excitement over the prospect.
If you remain hazy over the naming, in Physics a quantum is the minimum amount whereby any physical entity is involved in an interaction. That sounds very small and insignificant. In popular parlance a quantum leap meanwhile describes a huge often sudden increase or advance whilst in Physics again it points at an electron which suddenly moves between different levels of energy. That sounds very much the opposite of small and insignificant.
So our Polish designers christened their newest creation rather cleverly. It's as small and unobtrusive as they could make it to still do the job. Yet it promises performance that won't be embarrassed by IQ. That could potentially make for a still crasser disconnect as in, why must other brands get a lot bigger and costlier to deliver top quality with excellent parts?
The latter are factual, be it the dipole Mundorf 'folded ribbon' tweeters or dynamic drivers from SB Acoustics. These are premium choices that wouldn't be out of place on a curvaceously styled rakishly leaning Qatar-bound looker of teardrop footprint and gold-plated sticker. As did IQ, Quantum sticks to basic rectangulosity instead. It spends the lion's share of our budget on things which matter sonically. Even the XLR on the tweeter pigtail is top Oyaide issue.
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