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NYAV12: Sjöfn Hifi, Hegel

KEF R Series

I could craft a silly word-play about it, but the fact is, I don’t really understand why it is that Sjofn Hifi’s (the clue) sounds so good. It just is. And at $999 a pair, it’s not only crazy-good, it’s a bargain. No, it’s not cheap, but the quality of sound that it puts out is far outstripped by its price. It just is.

There must be a story behind the name and the rather idiosyncratic way all the literature has it written with the parentheticals. I’m happy to leave it a bit mysterious.

Like many monitors, (the clue) is a bass-reflex loudspeaker. Here, the port is on the front, so, you’d be forgiven if your first thought is: “flexibility of placement”. I mean, it’s that rear-firing port that makes bass-reflex designs sound best when they get a little room to breathe, right? Maybe? Anyway, without it, you can stick that sucker wherever.

So why not right up against a wall? Like the big Audio Note speakers, (the clue) is, actually, designed to be jammed up against a wall. About 3” off of the wall, actually, and the preferred installation is directly in front of some acoustical treatment like a panel. But unlike the Audio Note speakers, that doesn’t mean using it’s bass-port to turn the corner of the room into an impromptu bass horn. Not quite.

As near as I can figure, (the clue) does use the room – a lot – in an attempt to make itself sound bigger than it is. That room-sound contributes depth and natural character to the bass and mid-bass. Makes sense, I suppose, but the curious thing is that I’d expect that the room would be a fickle partner and that a given room could really throw off the speaker.

Well, this is the 3rd room I’ve heard (the clue) in, and yes, the room is certainly a required participant in the dance, but it’s like watching a great dance instructor with a student. The better the student, the better the dance. But even with a crappy student, a good instructor can still make the dance very enjoyable. Even with the challenge of a hotel room, (the clue) still puts on a great show.

Hegel provided the electronics. The guys provided the booze. Now that is the way to run a room at an audio show!

3 Comments on NYAV12: Sjöfn Hifi, Hegel

  1. I believe that the clue speakers were developed using Hegel amps? Quality amp and quality speakers = amazing sound!

  2. Jim Anderson // April 23, 2012 at 10:36 AM //

    Hegel amps are truly state of the art. Why do you think the Sjofn sounded so good?

    • Part-Time Audiophile // April 23, 2012 at 11:18 AM //

      Damned if I know. They’re using affordable parts and nothing earth-shaking in the design. My guess? It’s the voicing. They voiced the damn thing to work with the room — way more so than any other speaker I’ve heard to date, barring (maybe) the Audio Note speakers.

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