The elite Aurum series appeared at Quadral in 1981, and now we are dealing with its ninth generation. The description of the models on the manufacturer’s website is titled with a quote from the chief developer Sascha Reckert “This is the best thing we’ve ever done.” It is difficult to argue with this, since the series was originally conceived as an example of hi-fi acoustics and was gradually improved with each subsequent generation.
Quadral’s head office is located in Hanover, and there is also an R&D center, where experienced specialists design not only loudspeakers, but also the loudspeakers that are installed in them. Unlike most competitors, Quadral prefers not to customize the design for standard speakers, but to develop their own in accordance with a specific task and their ideas about the right sound.
Orkan 9 – junior floor systems in the “gold” line, but they can serve as a good example of this approach. First of all, these are the drivers made using the proprietary Altima technology. Diffusers made from an alloy of aluminum, magnesium and titanium are characterized by fast response and almost complete absence of internal resonances, and the one-piece hemispherical shape without a dust cap ensures high rigidity.
Accordingly, the membranes operate in a piston mode throughout the entire frequency band, which is the dream of any developer. Harmonic distortion is also reduced by a powerful magnetic system that creates a uniform field for large voice coils. Their effective ventilation is ensured by a central hole in the magnets and a centering washer that allows air to pass freely. Thanks to these measures, the speakers are able to generate high sound pressure without thermal compression. Copper caps on the pole pieces reduce eddy current losses. Quadral specialists also came up with a special profile of the cast aluminum basket – rigid and vibration-free.
Diffusers made from an alloy of aluminum, magnesium and titanium are characterized by fast response and almost complete absence of internal resonances.
A pair of these 18cm drivers is responsible for reproducing the bass in the Orkan 9. Due to their low resonance frequency and bass-reflex design, they are able to enter the subwoofer range up to 29 Hz. With a relatively modest caliber of drivers, a stylish case with a width of only 22 cm has turned out, and a solid sound pressure is created due to the large total radiation area. Pay attention to the width and profile of the suspensions – they are clearly designed for colossal signal amplitudes. To eliminate the bass-reflex side-tones arising from this, the port on the rear wall has an increased cross-section.
The range 260 – 3700 Hz is provided by a 16 cm midrange, also constructed with Altima technology. Here the task was already to obtain the minimum response time, with the same reinforced magnetic system, the mobile system is extremely lightweight.
The speed of the midrange driver is important to match it with the quSENSE ribbon tweeter. Its name is even registered as a trade mark, and its design is a matter of special pride for Quadral specialists. Tweeters are literally designed from scratch in Hanover, and are also manufactured there under 100% quality control. Modern assembly technologies provide a small spread of parameters from one sample to another, while the frequency response is extended to 65 kHz. Mechanical stability and linearity of the characteristics are due to the rigidity of the radiating element – an aluminum tape with a length of 5 cm has a width of only 1.5 cm. It is fixed between two powerful neodymium magnets, due to which nonlinear distortions are radically reduced.
The tweeters are literally designed from scratch in Hanover, and are also manufactured there under 100% quality control.
The tweeter was installed close to the midrange, and the result was an assembly with coherent radiation in the frequency range in which the spectrum of most musical instruments is concentrated. And this always has a beneficial effect on the construction of the sound stage.
The narrow body of the Orkan 9 itself has increased rigidity, but is also reinforced with internal ties, and additional wall damping is used to combat vibrations.
Internal wiring is made of oxygen-free copper cable of 99.999% purity in double insulation, and the second layer is damping, eliminating the so-called. microphone effect.
External finish – multi-layer coating with black or white lacquer with mirror polish. Black acoustically transparent grills.
Both rhythm and blues
As you can see from the description of the design, this model should fully justify its name (Orkan translated from German – Hurricane). But from the very first minutes it captivates with something completely different – with the extreme reliability of timbres, which are especially good for recording acoustic instruments.
The detail in the middle band is complemented by upper harmonics, the abundance of which, however, does not bother at all. Tweeters are extremely delicate, adding clarity and transparency without emphasizing sibilance or digital reproduction. And this despite the fact that the amplification in our system was impulsive.
Both the atmosphere and the sonorous components of the spectrum were conveyed naturally. The overtones of the cymbals were not perceived so hot as to disturb the overall harmony.
The saxophone is detailed, with metal and pleasant velvet; in the rich spectrum of the violin, you can hear strings, a bow, and a soundboard.
The string group in the orchestra is presented very beautifully, with an abundance of timbre nuances, with air and real brilliance. And what is unusual – in the middle lane there is no characteristic “smack” inherent in metal diffusers. The developers have really managed to take their resonances outside their assigned range.
This is important, especially for the transmission of female vocals, which do not ring in the upper octave, but, on the contrary, are extremely natural. The saxophone is detailed, with metal and pleasant velvet; in the rich spectrum of the violin, you can hear strings, a bow, and a soundboard. So with the transfer of micro-contrasts, Orkan 9 is in full order.
Note that bass diffusers are quite responsive, they instantly react to a signal with a sharp attack – peak levels are worked out clearly, without puffs. As a result, these speakers have an excellent sense of rhythm – not the slightest indistinctness was noticed on the complex test recording of the drum kit.
I also liked the fact that the rigid, monolithic body when tapped does not give its own overtones, thanks to which the sound is perceived as extremely clear and natural.
The punching energy is impressive, with a pair of long-travel 7-inch drivers delivering real punch. And with the declared border of 29 Hz, the tonal balance does not seem to be shifted down, although the bass is deep enough to adequately reproduce orchestral classics, and hard rock, and blues.
Bass diffusers are quite responsive, instantly react to a signal with a sharp attack – peak levels are worked out clearly, without puffs.
Narrow enclosures are good not only from an aesthetic point of view – with this form factor there are fewer reflections from the front panel, clear and bodily images are formed in the soundstage.
Which, by the way, are not at all tied to the emitters, on many phonograms the built space exists, as it were, independently of the acoustic systems. If you like a holographic 3D picture with a slightly narrowed panorama, slightly rotate the speakers inward. Conversely, a wide foreground will result when the systems are installed parallel to the front line.
The only point that should be taken into account is that the sensitivity of the speakers is low, 87 dB, so they will truly reveal their dynamic potential with a powerful enough amplifier, at least 100 W per channel. But, as in our case, it may well be of class D – in this respect, “Orkans” are not whimsical at all. And this is another significant plus to the list of their advantages.