By Darryl Lindberg
German Physiks, Ayre
The German Physiks Unlimited Mk.IIs (circa $10K), a true omnidirectional speaker, were ensconced in room 1025 and producing very nice sounds indeed driven by Ayre electronics. I can attest to the Unlimited’s omnidirectionality: you could sit just about anywhere in the room without substantially altering the soundscape. In case you’re unfamiliar German Physiks speakers, they’re all designed around the DDD bending wave driver (the Unlimited is German Physiks entry-level model). The DDD handles the frequency range from about 200 Hz up, so it’s essentially a single driver speaker. However, unlike Lowthers and others of that ilk and most electrostatics, this speaker actually projects in a 360°pattern, making is pretty much room independent.
Although my perception was that these speakers weren’t the last word in extension at either end of the spectrum or absolute image specificity, what they did do was pretty impressive. Call me crazy, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the omnidirectional approach when it comes to speaker design. Why? Because it just seems right that listeners shouldn’t be constrained by a specific seating position. Check out a live event at any concert hall and you’ll notice that there’s not an “audiophile choo-choo” seating preference (listeners stacked one behind the other in the center). But designing a convincing omnidirectional speaker is clearly a significant engineering challenge, if the small number of omnis on the market is any indication. The Unlimited makes a pretty good case for the approach without an enormous commitment of drachmas.
Although I thought this year’s attendance was down versus last year, the various exhibitors I spoke with felt the traffic was as strong, if not stronger, than that in prior years. In any event, it was another wonderful show and kudus to all the exhibitors, attendees, and especially those folks behind the RMAF. If you attended, I Hope you enjoyed it, too; if you didn’t, it’s definitely worth your time. I’ll see you next at next year’s RMAF!