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High End 2016: Spalt Art

KEF R Series

High-End-Spalt-2231

by Matthias Brötzmann

Klaus Wangen Design presented its “Spalt Art” sound transducers. They combine classical musical instrument construction techniques with the latest speaker technology.

The finest tonewood is prepared and formed as in a classical musical instrument. This way, the sonically advantageous properties of the long fibres of the material are retained. What follows is an elaborate construction, not unlike that of a cello. The surface of the sound body is rustic and impresses with its stark wood grain structure.

The interior is designed as in the construction of a musical string instrument. The soundboard carries openings similar in form and function to classical F-holes, but in an evolved shape. Contrary to the traditional F shaped curved sound openings, these openings have a modern T-form which integrate with the overall design of the transducer ensemble designed by Klaus Wangen.

High-End-Spalt-2230

Inside the T-slots, the wood is elaborately carved by chisel and finished to deliver the desired sound characteristics. The vibrational and resonance characteristics of this instrument makes it a unique bending wave sound transducer.

Unfortunately, Spalt Art did not have an enclosed listening room at the High-End show, but instead displayed in an open stand where the background noise was significant. However, Klaus Wangen’s sound demonstration of his transducer was convincing for the technology.

The sound is best described as warm and voluminous. The sound of slapping fingers on wood are authentically reproduced, also drums and the metal instruments such as the hi-hat and cymbals. Even the human voice sounds realistic to the finest facet.

With the help of Spalt Art, the next musical evening will not just be a sonic delight, but a visual pleasure as the sound is not produced from unsightly pistonic cone monsters, but from one of the beautiful materials of the earth, natural wood.

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The German version of this review can be found here.

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