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Instruments followed suit with finely individuated tone colors that avoided academic boredom. What they emitted was effortless dynamic glow. Particularly Jazz showed off excellent PRaT. Albums like em’s Live or e.s.t.’s Leucocyte which I can’t always stomach were relaxed but in the pocket. With modern Jazz especially it’s vital that a speaker maintain a connection between the often wildly disassociated players. I rarely have found it this easy to make that connection with such music to experience it all the more deeply.

Here soundstaging figures too. The Kantata covers it with equivalent relaxation and consistency. Localization focus made it easy to sort individual sound sources, sufficient air between and around them made for an easy feel. This doesn’t confront you with a solid wall of sound but a fine netting. All the intra connections are clear and there’s space to penetrate inside. There’s also pleasing distance to the virtual stage. Where my Geithain ME150 tends to draw me into the middle of the stage action, the Kantata placed me in the middle of the audience.

These qualities converged nicely on classical music. While the venue dimensions perhaps weren’t as tacit as certain speakers manage—the kind that nearly seem to convey recorded space as soon as the music commences—I didn’t miss a thing. Quite the opposite. Stravinksy’s Le Sacre du Printemps [Boulez/Cleveland] was particularly stunning from the lone bassoon of the opening to the orgiastic drum interlude. The rave in the Bergkönig’s hall [Edvard Grieg, Peer Gynt Suites 1 & 2, Karajan/Berlin] scaled with such a dramatic crescendo that despite starting with clearly elevated levels I still completely forgot how I was really listening to a relatively small speaker. Even with exceptionally dense material the Kantata never got confused to clearly convey which orchestral section contributed what and where.

The treble wraps it up with a bow. Its energy is perfectly dosed to never go on the nerves yet makes for first-rate resolving power. Some hifi fiends might want for a bit of air but I personally dislike ultrasonic orgies. Those tend to get fatiguing over longer sessions. The Kantata’s high frequencies were as relaxed and easeful as the bass. Obviously here too other speakers manage ‘more’ yet for quality rather than quantity, the Kantata belongs in the front ranks. The hi-hats on Chihiro Yamanak’s Abyss gleamed without retina burn. Voice-critical albums like Patricia Barber’s Modern Cool were rendered pleasingly non-sibilant. Compared to my Geithain the Kantata’s top end seemed somewhat silkier. Without insistence it felt highly differentiated to offer plenty of information.

Conclusion: In my book Audioplan’s Kantata is a speaker for critical connoisseurs . While certain speakers will exceed this box in specific attributes, the Kantata weighs in heavily with truly brilliant holistic tuning. Never edgy, always coherent and capable of far exceeding its dimensions when the vital parameters of recording quality, room and ancillaries meet happily, this speakers mostly disappears from the equation to simply serve the music.

Psych profile
  • The Kantata’s core virtue is its relaxed overall performance.
  • Bass extension is astonishingly mature and even elevated levels generate credible pressure. More than raw quantity the quality impressed most. The fast feathery character reminds one of panel or hornspeakers.
  • The midband impresses with colorization, liveliness and resolving power, be it voices or instruments. There are no tonal balance flaws. Despite (or perhaps because) of high dynamics and resolution, the Kantata always remains relaxed and never defaults into analytical forwardness to undermine long-term comfort.
  • The treble continues the theme with fine resolution that’s ultimately gentler than it is freshly highlighted to create perfect consistency with the remainder.
  • Soundstaging pairs good localization sharpness with a quite generous scale and a midfield listener perspective.
  • Concept: Compact two-way
  • Dimensions and weight: 185 x 345 x 380mm (WxHxD incl. anti-spikes), 10.5kg
  • Efficiency: 86dB (1W/1m)
  • Nominal impedance: 8 Ohm
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Website

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