If you want to play a leading role in loudspeaker construction, you can hardly avoid a small country between the North and Baltic Seas. Because it's more than a cliché: Straight Danish design plus Danish know-how in the construction of loudspeaker chassis are coveted ingredients for successful recipes in the industry, just think of major suppliers such as Scan Speak or Vifa. Nordic brands like Dynaudio or Dali are living proof. The Danish manufacturer Audiovector is not that well-known, although it has been building fine loudspeakers for more than 40 years. Is it worth listening to these musicians too? We did it using the example of the standing speaker QR 5, which cuts a fine figure with its slim, chest-high body and aroused our interest with technical finesse.
The QR 5 distributes the musical spectrum in three ways. The highest notes are played by a handcrafted Air Motion Transformer based on the construction principles of the German physicist Oskar Heil, who developed this type of converter more than five decades ago in America and had it patented there. Tweeters of this type work with extremely delicate, folded foil membranes that vibrate like an accordion, forcing the air out of all cracks like a jet and consequently converting even slight surface movements into considerable sound pressure.
With such tweeter converters, frequency responses can be achieved that extend far into the ultrasonic spectrum. Audiovector, for example, mentions 45 kilohertz as the top transmission frequency in its data sheets. The manufacturer has refined its filigree tweeter a little. A sieve-like grid in front of the horizontal sound openings is intended to disperse the high tones and distribute them evenly in the room in order to remove any hint of sharpness from sibilants, similar to pop filters in front of the recording microphones in the recording studio.
Audiovector has the chassis for low and mid-range tones manufactured by Scan Speak according to its own specifications. The work is shared by three concave-shaped, 15-centimeter-wide membranes, while the silvery shimmering fronts reveal aluminum as the surface material of the lightweight composite. The two lower examples in this row of three work in parallel as woofers in a bass reflex arrangement. The part of the sound radiated into the interior of the housing exits through a reflex port on the underside of the loudspeaker, another special feature of this model. Short stilts under the housing body, screwed onto a plate, ensure the necessary distance to the floor and thus allow the deep vibrations to escape.
This solution is both an opportunity and a risk. Because the back of the speaker does not emit any sound, it can be placed very close to a wall. So you have a little more freedom in choosing the location. On the other hand, the floor can cause problems: If it can be stimulated too easily to vibrate, it may seal the bass too much. We therefore put our test subjects on spikes as a precaution and quickly forgot any relevant fears. Because the Danish loudspeakers intonate the bass vigorously, but always precisely and contoured, even when the sinister synthesizer bass starts in “Caught in the Balance” by Toto.
The Danish speaker pair mixes the timbres of voices and instruments with beautiful, natural luminosity, regardless of whether Melissa Walker breathes her “A Time for Love” into the microphone or the Cologne string quartet La Stravaganza intones baroque gems. And because the northern lights also precisely define each virtual sound source in terms of its size and position, they impressively grow beyond their price range with their appearances: the pair of loudspeakers costs 3,000 euros.