read the complete review here.

read the complete review here.
LOUDSPEAKER TEST
THE MIDRANGE
KINGDOM
The Virgo has always held a special by Matthias Böde
Have we really jumped a Virgo generation without
even realising it? To date we have been aware of
range serving as a perfect link to
the existence of a third version of the loudspeaker
which has long become an Audio Physic
the larger
benchmark for success. And now the fifth
incarnation of the Virgo is standing before us. Yes
models and
you heard right! In response to Asian markets –
incorporating
many Asians believe that the number four is
unlucky - Audio Physic took a jump from number
sophisticated
three to number five. We figure that is what
globalisation is all about, and without access to
technology. The
global resources the brand-new Virgo could not
have possibly been built.
latest version
With a proven track record since its first design,
does not fall
the Virgo has become one of the most successful
export hits of the Brilon based German
short of the mark.
loudspeaker manufacturer.
Audiophiles in Europe and in the USA as well as
Has the new
Asians, bubbling over with enthusiasm
Virgo hit the
for all things hi-fi, simply love the opportunity to buy a still affordable loudspeaker
big time again?
where Audio Physic’s strength in sound
reproduction is present in abundance.
In the light of the experience we have
gained, STEREO has always held
to the firm belief that the Virgo is
“high end for the people“,
which is - the manufacturer
could not agree more how it should be now
and in the future. Part of the
deal is of course that Audio Physic must come
up with something new each time to assert its claim.
The "no loss of fine detail" slogan has served as a
source of inspiration for years and is still going
strong, filled with new life by the advent of the “Hyper
Holographic Cone Mitteltöner (HHCM). The name is
KEY WORD
a combination of English and German, with
elastic ring
Mitteltöner being the German word for
The ring helps damp
ringing resonances in
midrange driver, and just another sign of the
much the same manner
growing globalisation for it is not hard to
as the sound of a bell is
guess. where the HHCM is produced – yes,
muted by touching it
with one’s finger. The
in China. The times are changing. It would
Audio Physic solution
seem that those who have always spoken
to tension the diaout on musical truth as the Holy Grail of
phragm is named „Active Cone Damping II“.
midrange performance have also started to
shop for low-price drivers in the Middle
place in the Audio Physic product
Kingdom.
It is important not to jump to conclusions before
you know the whole story: For Audio Physic’s
chief designer Manfred Diestertich, a midrange
driver such as the HHCM had been in the air for
quite a while. He knew exactly how to build it.
The slim design with tweeter
and midrange driver in the
upper unit of the baffle and
side-firing woofers has always
been the hallmark of the Virgo.
See above the Virgo 2 of 1995
and below the mark 3 incarnation of the Virgo of 2001.
22 STEREO 10/2007
With the new radical
midrange driver, Audio
Physic’s “no loss of fine
detail” slogan is filled
with new meaning.
However the long-established Scandinavian
suppliers did not come to his aid in order to
make his dream come true. “Too complicated,
too much work, not worth the effort,” was the
common response to his plea. That is how it
went until Diestertich struck gold and found a
new, highly committed partner. Wavecor, a
company located in Hong Kong’s back-country,
was ready to take on the job. As a matter of
fact, the decision was not too far off the mark.
The young and upcoming company was
actually founded by Allan Isakson from
Denmark, the former head of development at
Vifa, ensuring the upholding of high quality
standards.
It was the following task which many
experienced driver manufacturers had shied
away from early on: The HHCM was meant to
Double stitching lasts longer. The “Hyper
Holographic Cone Midrange Driver” features
two baskets, a plastic inside basket and an
outside basket made of metal.
have two baskets nested into each other. One
basket is made of plastic, the other consists of
metal, and the two materials are used where
they do their best in what they are best at doing.
Moving parts such as the aluminium diaphragm,
where an elastic ring designed to fit snugly around
the rim helps to avoid resonances, together with
the surround, the centering device and the voice
coil are held in proper alignment by a plastic inside
basket designed to achieve a maximum degree of
damping inside. The powerful neodymium magnet
is encased in an outside basket made of die-cast
aluminium where the generated heat is efficiently
dissipated by extensive cooling fins whereas
remaining vibrations are transmitted to the
mounting ring via slim stiff bridges.
Diestertich had high hopes for the material mix,
expecting it to have ultra-low resonance combined
with mechanical and thermal stability. Driver and
cabinet resonances are effectively kept away from
the diaphragm while at the same time the stress
behaviour of the midrange driver significantly
improves. Sonically speaking, Diestertich hoped to
achieve a perfect marriage of ultimate resolution
performance and absolute freedom from
coloration.
10/2007 STEREO 23
LOUDSPEAKER TEST
We do not want to keep you in the dark
any longer: the midrange driver provides
excellent performance. While other
loudspeaker manufacturers give much
thought to the tweeter and/or woofer
configuration to distinguish them from the
crowd, the Audio Physic’s focus is on the
frequencies where the acoustic perception
is the most sensitive. Audio Physic has
revamped its top-class speaker with the
previously introduced “Hyper Holographic
Cone Tweeter“, affixed by a thin foam ring,
as well as two bottom-mounted woofers,
fitted with aluminium diaphragms and
provided with a bass reflex port at the
bottom of the cabinet giving them plenty of
room to breathe. The high-performance
components are manufactured by the
aforementioned Scandinavian company
and sent to Audio Physic for the final
touches. After a longer burn-in period
where each chassis is “pre-treated” before
assembly and without a limiting crossover, we put the new Virgo to the test by
playing Munyungo Jackson’s “Columbiana“, a highly complex VTL recording.
The musicians perform in a hall
Many components of the twopart crossover are custom-made for Audio
Physic. The one for the higher frequencies
(left) is mounted in the midrange unit.
panelled in cedar wood, adding an
additional tonal glow to the already dense
and spatial soundstage. It did not take us
long to figure out what “Hyper Holographic”
was supposed to mean when the somewhat
cryptic names of the new midrange driver
and tweeter were coined. Thanks to the
exemplary
three-dimensional
music
reproduction demonstrating a quite unusual
spatial sound distribution in the lower
ranges, the meaning became clear. We at
STEREO have seldomly enjoyed such an
uninhibited and utterly relaxed reproduction
of the track. The sound of the plucked guitar
strings seemed to float in the air, as light
as a feather, and the clarity with which
24 STEREO 10/2007
Audio Physic’s new midrange
driver operates exactly in the
frequency range to which the
ear is most sensitive.
instruments further down the stage were
portrayed lead to a kind of holographic
effect which we have not experienced with
other loudspeakers. Two of my favourite
loudspeakers in this class, the B&W 804 S
with the famous yellow driver, a design by
the British manufacturer which is not
supported in place by a surround, as well as
Dynaudio's Contour S 3.4 also walk the
extra mile when it comes to the midrange
unit. As a two-and-a half way design, the
Dynaudio does not feature a specific midrange
driver
chassis,
and
yet each time I
hear it I am
impressed by
its
definition
and neutrality.
Fierce enemies
the both of
them, and so
the Virgo was facing
a hard battle. However the
loudspeaker fought back in the
midrange unit and won on points. Blessed
with tonal sonority and a wonderfully
seamless transition to the woofer, the
HHCM came out winner in the categories of
resolution, precision and transparency.
Even B&W’s yellow masterpiece could not
hold a candle to the HHCM: it sounded
slightly lumpy which was enough to make it
seem heavier and less resolving of the
musical texture. How on earch Dynaudio
manages to achieve
such a wonderfully
airy and uninhibited
sound reproduction
despite the absence
of a specific midrange design will
remain the Danes’
secret.
Instead of the provided
spikes or glider pads
(right) we recommend
Audio Physic’s new
VCF high-end feet.
With 200 Euro for 8
VCF, they are worth
every cent of their price.
However even the Contour had to step
back in line when the Virgo turned on its
charm sounding smooth, sweet and
colourful. The S 3.4’s style is more sober,
a bit stiff and less diverse – this was
especially noticeably when we were
listening to Christy Baron’s voice.
The differentiated and punchy bass of the
Virgo, bred for speed and precision,
proved a better match as well as the
provided HHCT. Believe it or not, the highfrequency wizard is just perfectly married
to the graceful stoutness of the midrange
driver. The result of the marriage is an
absolutely seamless blend of razor-sharp
clarity and full- As s oci ate d
bodied homo- Eq uip me n t
geneity without
(SA)CD-PLAYER: NAD
any
chubby M5, Rega Apollo
quality to it. The INTEGRATED AMPLIFIER:
Virgo’s
awe- Marantz PM-11S1, Prima
some perfection Luna Dialogue One
was best enPREAMPLIFIER/AMPLIFIER:
joyed by us in Soulution 720/710
its fullness after
we had mounted LOUDSPEAKER: B&W
804S, Dynaudio C. S3.4
the brand-new
“Vibration Control Feet”, courtesy of Audio
Physic, to the 0.3’’ (8 mm) sockets of the
solid aluminium feet. The new VCF do not
come with the Virgo, however they present
a great alternative to spikes or rubber
tipped pads, where the latter should only
be used to move the loudspeaker around.
With approx. 200 Euro for 8 VCF, they are
worth every cent of their price and should
definitely be purchased with the Virgo. The
special material used for the Vibration
Control Feet is based on the tried and
tested SSC technology where all vibrations
are translated into pull energy. With the
delivered spikes, the advantages of HHCT
and HHCM could still be enjoyed, however
the spectrum was more focused around
the cabinet of the loudspeaker
instead of unfolding in the room. In
fact the highs which before were
nothing short of fascinating, as soft
as whipped cream at the highest
resolution, lost some of their
velvety smoothness and became
all of a sudden a bit rougher. Tiny
spikes and edges appeared which
had not been there before. And it
did not make a difference whether
the loud-speakers were placed on
a softer or harder floor. Hence our
suggestion to Audio Physic: Why
not make the Virgo a bit more
expensive and include the VCF in the delivery.
Then everyone will be sure to understand what
“no loss of fine detail” exactly means.
After all, customers are not asked whether or
not they would like to have the Perfect Sound
Chip which is attached to the rear of the HHCM.
Yes, you heard right. Audio Physic has
introduced a mysterious chip which has had us
all buzzing at STEREO, and which creates an
astonishing effect on fuse boxes and
equipment. Just like many of our readers, chief
designer Diestertich did some tests on the chip
and was so impressed with the results that he
instantly made up his mind to also introduce chip
tuning to loudspeakers. Now a customised
version tailored to loudspeakers is about to be
implemented
Whatever your opinion on this matter is, be
assured that this guy will never act against his
own conviction. Apart from such seemingly
bizarre ideas, many of Audio Physic’s physical
achievements are present in abundance in the
new loudspeaker
such as the walls of
the HHCM chamber
created to serve
like a diffuser. The
Virgo is the star of
the successful loudspeaker
quartet
capable of magically
whisking the listeners
off to a world of
sound instead of just
leaving them under
the rule of the
midrange kingdom.
Single wiring with WBT
NextGen plugs avoids
the loss of sound due to
a multipole terminal. Biwiring is available
on request.
AUDIO PHYSIC VIRGO V
Dimensions: 39" (990mm) H by
9" (230mm) W by 16" (400mm) D
Guarantee: 10 years
Distribution: Audio Physic,
Telephone.: +49 (0) 2961 - 96170
www.audiophysic.de
Thanks to the double basket design of
the midrange driver, the new Virgo
creates an awesome multi-faceted and
homogeneous sound where one can
experience the unfolding of an incredibly
realistic soundstage, seeming to have an almost
holographic quality to it. The legend continues
with the new Virgo elevating the success model
to levels previously unattained. Even the highly
accomplished third incarnation of the loud-
speaker did not have such an explosive effect.
LABORATORY
Frequency Response / Impedance
STEP RESPONSE
“There is more to the loudspeaker than
what can be seen from the diagram" says
STEREO’s measuring technician Rolf
Hähle when it comes to the woofer output.
Due to the woofers arrayed in the sides of
the cabinet, the positioning well away from
the side walls of our measuring room and
the short time window where reflections
are mostly suppressed, a part of the
energy is not shown in the graph.
However the clear impedance trace at
25 Hz during the uncritical impedance
response shows the sheer verve of the
loudspeaker. Apart from a dip at 2 kHz,
the result was very linear, offering
excellent
dispersion
characteristics
(dashed line) and a precise step response
with no noticeable resonances.
SOUND LEVEL
PRICE/PERFORMANCE RATIO
EXCELLENT
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