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Each three-way La Ronda contains 280 watts of total power spread over three discrete amplifiers for treble, midrange and bass. There’s 80.000 µF of filter capacitance and two transformers, one with three secondaries to feed each amp, one for the active crossover which contains the operational amps typical for such filters. Since each transducer—Viva ring radiator and paper membrane Peerless units—runs off its own amp, driver sensitivity and impedance offsets can be addressed directly without requiring the less precise compensation addresses from passive parts located behind the amp/s.

La Ronda covers the midband with two paralleled 10cm drivers. Those hand over at a high but still conventional 4kHz to the tweeter and at 360Hz to the 20cm woofer. The generally desirable goal of impulse fidelity (how quickly a driver stops) depends on the damping or Q factor. Loudspeakers encounter mechanical and electrical damping where the latter is based on the fact that drivers create their own electromotive force, particularly woofers. Coupling amps of ideally low output impedance directly to the drivers improves damping and removes the higher resistance of passive crossovers.

Fonel pursues high impulse fidelity also by avoiding bass reflex loading. La Ronda uses a sealed bass alignment for superior impulse response especially in the small-signal domain (with vented systems the reduced excursion requirements of woofers become advantageous again with high-impact signal). The most popular reasons for bass-reflex loading passive speakers are the lowering of their F3 point and the increase of sensitivity where these two factors are invariably either/or. Known liabilities of vented alignments are steeper roll-off below their F3 and potential port noise.

For interfacing with a preamp or variable source, La Ronda offers RCA and XLR sockets. The likely longer interconnects necessary with active boxes would favor symmetrical connections. Oft-invoked assets of active speakers are their various adaptive features to adjust the performance to room or listening preferences. Here La Ronda offers a built-in EQ though admittedly of the very basic sort. Three sliders, one per driver, offer a maximum of +/-3dB compensation. The rear panel also has an input sensitivity control. For best sonics, Fonel recommends to keep source voltage high and to start by setting sensitivity levels to 3 for RCA, 2 for XLR.

The mains switch is an automated device to reduce power consumption to less than 5 watt in standby. It triggers the built-in amps to turn on whenever signal is sensed (max consumption then remains below 50 watts) and turns the amps back off when no signal is present. An always-on provision for those listeners who prefer their amps permanently warmed up doesn’t exist. But then my listening suggests that La Ronda doesn’t require any prolonged warm-up. Enough theory. How did it all translate?