Country of Origin


Stereo 3

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, COS Engineering D1, Denafrips Terminator, Soundaware D300Ref as USB bridge/SD transport
Preamplifier: Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature with Elrog ER50; Nagra Classic, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage II, COS Engineering D1, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVT module)
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1, SIT3, F5, F6, F7; Goldmund/Job 225; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics NC500 monos; LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos, Crayon Audio CFA-1.2, Bakoon AMP-13R; Simon Audio i5 & AIO
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Acelec Model One; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V, VI & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence; Fram Midi 150
Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL 3000 & 5000; Zu Event; KingRex uArt double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps/sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Review component retail: €12'000/pr

The city's Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias

Valencia. Even if you haven't a notion where on Spain's map it sits, you've likely had a sun-ripened taste of it with an orange of the region. For a taste of its favorite non-alcoholic drink called horchata made from tiger nut, you'd obviously have visited the city. Then chances are that you also hopped across the blue to Ibiza or Palma de Mallorca. In December of last year, our readers had a chance for a virtual introduction to today's speaker in my Trending|Mending feature. In it I wrote:

"There are many ways to execute speaker design. Here we look at two which to my mind offer unusually attractive solutions to mend the often contradictory hopes of compact size, mature bass and high undistorted SPL. Should your notions on the ideal house-trained speaker add the narrow-most baffle for the smallest visual impact and about one metre of height to not obscure your views out the window – cast your eyes at Æquo's Stilla from Holland and Sottovoce's Stereo 3 from Spain.

This original back plate still lacked the selector switch between analog and digital input signal.

"Both concur that to accommodate your wish list relies on a 3-way.

"They further agree that nothing bigger than a 5-inch driver should perform dedicated midrange duties. From that follows that the baffle need just be a bit wider.

"Both agree on point-source dispersion for the majority bandwidth and woofers close to the floor. For the mid/tweeter array it means close proximity. Sottovoce maximize theirs by coaxially mounting a horn-loaded compression tweeter inside the throat of their midrange. Æquo mount their separate tweeter and mid as close together as possible.

"Both agree that undistorted low bass at high SPL from a compact cab means cone area plus active drive plus high power plus adaptive signal processing. Hence Stilla and Stereo 3 both use twin woofers in force-canceling arrays powered by class D. The Dutch hides its bass artillery inside the enclosure in a diagonally crossed geometry. The Spaniards horizontally oppose theirs on the cheeks à la Audio Physic of yore; and do so low to ground to exploit gain with minimal floor bounce.

"Where do the designs diverge? For bass, Æquo use a combination of line/port tuned to 20Hz which fires out the front right above their plinth. Sottovoce champion a classic sealed alignment. Either eliminates typical room issues from rear ports. Then Æquo park all of their compensations and user adjustments in the pure analog domain whilst Sottovoce do it digitally and offer no user adjustments. Finally the Dutch limit active drive to just their bass system, leaving full activation to a surcharge option. The Spaniards apply active drive across the entire bandwidth."