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This review first appeared in the March 2013 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read it in its original Polish version here. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own articles, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of High Fidelity or Acuhorn - Ed

Reviewer: Wojciech Pacula
CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Air V-edition
Phono preamplifier: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC
Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory Shilabe & Kansui
Preamplifier: Ayon Audio Polaris III Signature with Regenerator power supply
Power amplifier: Soulution 710
Integrated amplifier/headphone amplifier: Leben CS300 XS Custom
Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic + Acoustic Revive custom speaker stand
Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, AKG K701, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro 600Ω vintage, HifiMan HE6
Interconnects: CD/preamp Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, preamp/power amp Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo
Speaker cable: Tara Labs Omega Onyx
Power cables (all equipment): Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300
Power strip: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate
Stand: Base IV custom under all components
Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under CD player, Audio Revive RAF-48 platform under CD player and preamplifier, Pro Audio Bono PAB SE platform under Leben CS300 XS
Review component retail in Poland: €3.300/pr

“The idea for a driver called superleggera was conceived after we completed our 'improved audio' project [it concerns one of the development versions of a broadband Acuhorn driver - Ed]. The project focused on systematic research to come up with reference sound. The starting point for these new designs were various already tested ways of mounting drivers to an enclosure. The next step was the search to find the proper kind of wood and various ways of lamination to obtain the right material for cabinets. The differences were so significant that they made listening to music more meaningful. It is what audiophiles like best who own turntables, super cables and independent 240V power supplies - "better hard than soft, hence metals, plastics, foam, rubber are no good" but also "too hard is equally bad as all metals ring and transform vibrations in their own way". Other materials damp vibrations in an unnatural fashion. Hence wood would be our foundation. In the beginning this was meant to simply become a wooden box. Acuhorns employ two acoustic chambers. One forms the midrange, the other is responsible for the bass. I employed the earlier developed proprietary method of shaping the acoustic rear wave to result in a precise soundstage and good bass response. After initial drawings and considerations it was time to come up with a design. Covering the project of a new series, I set myself on a pure course for the implementation of the acoustic chamber and speaker driver. I wanted a light no-frills diaphragm assuming that the only thing which mattered was sound."

"I only kept my earlier Neodymium engine—the magnets and pole pieces—plus the suspension with the diaphragm as moving mass. And I put that directly into the wooden acoustic chamber just as luthiers do it for stringed instruments. They couple strings directly to a resonant sound box and support them from the inside with a piece of wood called the sound post or soul. Isn’t that a great idea? The diaphragm rests on the resonant chamber and the rear suspension sits on the wood inside as if on this very soul. The diaphragm and rear suspension are coupled by wooden components so vibrations are exclusively transferred by wood. The end result surprised me. The sound was smooth and detailed at the same time. I had previously not heard such differentiation. Moreover the sound was very textured. Individual sounds now differed more markedly from each other than before. Arranged in space, they were tantalizing in their beautiful surfaces, shapes and various degrees of coarseness. Praise and thanks to the Creator who has given us wood for our instruments. It's an audiophile dream come true."

No, this was no treatise by a mad luthier from the 18th century but a technical description of a speaker design sent to me by Wojtek Unterschütz, designer of the Polish Acuhorn company, concerning new speakers from their Superleggera series. The name should ring a bell with lovers of exclusive cars. They will flash on the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, a tuned-up version of the Lamborghini Gallardo. As we learn from the description of that car, its 100kg lower weight combined with 7kW more horse power improved its 0-100km/h acceleration by 0.4 seconds. That may not seem much but in the world of race cars is a lot. The creator of the Superleggera (Italian for ultra-light) is Italian master craftsman Felice Bianchi Anderloni, designer of car bodies. After Wojtek’s explanations everything should be clear now.

He intended to build a driver with the lightest possible cone which should translate to speed. The reference to Italian tradition is based not only on cars but also famous violin makers. The cabinets of the new speakers from Gdańsk are intrinsically linked to their drivers which no longer sport traditional baskets. Here the cabinet serves that purpose. The proprietary Acuhorn drivers were completely designed in-house. The speakers themselves are beautifully crafted. This is a high-class piece of furniture in the best meaning of the word. It oozes class. For review I received the Giovane85, the smallest of the series with a price tag of €3.300/pr. There are two more models in the series, the Acuhorn Rosso Superiore175 for €9.000 and the Acuhorn Nero125 which will set you back 5.400 euros.

A selection of recordings used during my auditions: Adam Makowicz, Unit, Muza Polskie Nagrania /Polskie Nagrania, "Polish Jazz vol.35", PNCD 935, CD (1973/2004); Chris Connor, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, “Atlantic 60th”, Atlantic/Warner Music Japan, WPCR-25173, CD (1956/2007); Czesław Niemen, Spodchmurykapelusza, Pomaton EMI, 36237, CD (2001); Józef Skrzek, Podróż w krainę wyobraĽni, Polskie Nagrania/Metal Mind Productions, MMP CD 0541, CD (1978/2009); Komeda Quintet, Astigmatic, Muza Polskie Nagrania /Polskie Nagrania, "Polish Jazz vol.5", PNCD 905, CD (1966/2004); The Oscar Peterson Trio, We Get Request, Verve/Lasting Impression Music, LIM K2HD 032 UDC, “Direct From Master Disc. Master Edition”, gold CD-R (1964/2009); This Mortal Coil, HD-CD Box SET: It’ll End In Tears, Filigree & Shadow, Blood, Dust & Guitars, 4AD [Japan], TMCBOX1, 4 x HDCD, (2011); Tomasz Stańko Quartet, Lontano, ECM, 1980, CD (2006).