Audes Loudspeaker Model 037
|24 August 2001|
Design: 4-way speaker
Crossover filters used in Audes-037 are as follows:
Bottom woofer - 1st order (6 dB/Oct) LPF at 320 Hz
Top woofer - 1st order (6 dB/Oct) HPF at 320 Hz, and 3rd order (18 dB/Oct) LPF at 1kHz
Midrange driver - 1st order (6 dB/Oct) HPF at 1kHz, and 1st order (6 dB/Oct) LPF at 3.8 kHz
Tweeter - 1st order (6 dB/Oct) HPF at 3.8 kHz
(2) 8" Audes cone woofer
(1) 1 3/4" Audes dome midrange
(1) 1" Audes soft dome tweeter
Frequency range: 38 to 20,000 Hz
Size: 48" tall × 10" wide × 11" deep
Contact: Naum Dorkhman
Your reporter: "How much?"
Speaker designer: "$100,000 sir."
YP: "Not bad for an entire system"
SD: "No that’s just the speakers"
YP: after a short pause: ".... I heard that!"
At this past 2001 CES there were about four manufacturers debuting new loudspeaker in excess of $100,000. This is news because everyone I know is spelling doomsday for two channel high-end audio. Potential newbies fresh from Ivy League colleges, forecasters claim, are seeking satisfaction in alternative vices like the Web, MP3, Satellite TV, DVD-A, DVD-V, and Video game software. Yet, there I was inside THE SHOW, stargazing at these products while fearless manufactures glared into the very faces of these ominous prophecies. Glaring, I might add, alongside their newest offspring in a way that would make PT Barnum proud.
Thank you Dear Lord, for the many entry level (headed) manufactures like Coincident's Israel Blume and Silverline's Alan Yun. Both gents displayed their newest models which looked ultra expensive but are priced in the $5,000-$6000 range (I look forward to reviewing both these models). At this January’s CES, Audes' marketing guru Naum Dorkhman, debuted his first statement product, the $10,000 Poseidon Reference. Beautifully finished and smartly designed with each driver in independent enclosures built atop each other. The Poseidon begs likeness to B&W’s famed Nautilus loudspeaker, minus the expense. Audes also introduced another statement in the all too important price/performance arena, the wonderfully affordable Audes 037 loudspeaker.
The Audes 037's, says Naum, "…hails out of Estonia, formally the Soviet Republic, and is developed under their Gloria line Home Theater products [not part of this review], but which includes their center channel (CS 015), rear or mini monitors (model 111), and a subwoofer (SW 110A). A 3-way floor stander, the Model 017, is available if the need to go with shorter fronts ever arises."
For all the good sounding, affordable loudspeakers I have personally heard or auditioned through the offices of Naum, the Audes ought to be hailed as one of this industry’s modern day Saving Graces. Right alongside digital maven Mark Schifter’s Perpetual Technology products and budget cable designer extraordinaire Bob Finch of Custom House. When it comes to affordable excellent sounding products, these three are hard to beat in their respective playing field. I've known Naum for three plus years and reviewed his amazingly affordable mini-monitors, the Model 111’s (retailed for $599. see archives), back in January of last year. The questions that ceaselessly come to mind are; 1) how can he price his product so low and expect to make any profit while avoiding the pitfalls ala Audio Alchemy? And, 2) how does he accomplish this while the competition seems to steadily climb?
Answer: Audes imports from a part of the world where the cost of parts and labor are well below that of the United States and other countries.
Established in 1959 as a transformer and cabling manufacturing facility for the Soviet Ministry of Defense, Audes began designing high-end loudspeakers officially in 1984. Since 1992, Audes is one of only a very few companies that have their components, drivers, cabinets and crossover assemblies built in-house. This keeps their costs down and their quality control standards very high.
Naum personally dropped off his newest design since he's only a stones throw away me in northern New Jersey. Assisting him move the pair of 037's out of his SUV caught me off guard; their weight was imposing. "Hey Naum, what the hell are in these boxes and what do they weigh?", I cursed. " Clem... not light stuff, huh babe? Over 70 lbs." The were nothing like the older models I'd auditioned previously, that's for sure, and they were good sounding too.
Taking the Audes 037's out of their shipping boxes was much easier than the attempt to move them alone (two folk minimums), showing off this nicely styled floor model. For aesthetic appeal, the 037’s come with a very nice set of footers for their base. I am not sure if there's improved sound with or without them, but stability is sure notably better with them installed since this design is tall and very well could tip over.
The Audes 037, a 4-way, floor-standing loudspeaker, utilizing two 8" woofers, each mounted in its own chamber for different tasks. The bottom woofer employs a large 50-mm voice coil that operates in a (1.55 cubic foot) ported loaded enclosure. The upper woofer located atop the 037, uses a 40-mm voice coil and operates in a (0.7 cubic foot) sealed chamber. The midrange driver is Audes' own proprietary design employing a single 1 2/3" soft dome driver. Its high frequency driver is a 1" soft dome tweeter with a ferro-fluid filled magnetic gap. All four units are original Audes drivers and are made under strict control to meet their specifications.
Since all Audes drivers are made in-house there's really nothing to compare them with. I did take out both the 8" woofers and the 1 3/4" midrange to get a closer inspection. Both are substantially built if sheer weight and structure should ever serve as an indicator. All wiring is point to point, build is sturdy and the finish (mine were in a dark cherry veneer) appears to be top rate. Using a D'Appolito type configuration, both the midrange and tweeter are sandwiched between the woofers while the tweeter is located slightly to the left of center of the midrange. The Audes 037's are biwireable via gold plated five-way binding posts, but just in case Joe Audiophile only owns a single pair of speaker cables, the 037's also come with a standard set of jumper adapters.
Evaluation equipment was diverse as I now use a wide variety of products in different parts of my home. The downstairs is home to some reference tube equipment along with Ric Cumming's all new Rosinanté Dulcinea loudspeakers. Tube amplification is the amazingly musical single-ended device by Art Audio called the Jota strapped to a biwire run of the superb sounding Wasatch cables, power cords and interconnects. Richard Gray's 400 and 1200 A/C line quenchers were employed for exacting the most out of this combination. The digital equipment was Mark Schifter's Perpetual Technologies P1A/P3A combo, with the Dan Wright ModWright upgrade. I did take the time to insert that little demon of a D/A, the D/IO, for some very interesting observations. It didn't stop there either. I installed the 037's into a home theater environment as well. Using the new Sampo widescreen 34" HDTV monitor with the new Onkyo TX DS676 receiver, strapped to a superb sounding BMB Custom loudspeaker system out of Singapore.
No matter the listening environment, the 037's never once seemed to be out of their sonic league. They produced with a level of form and dexterity that any music lover would have applauded. However, that said, it was listening to jazz and old R & B through the Art Audio Jota amplifier that proved a delight as I always found myself lost in the music. The 037's seem to excel at pace, rhythm and bass. The Jota seems to excel at passing information for its resolution is immediately obvious and perhaps state of the art. The 037's didn't miss much in terms of what was passed to them.
The 037's bass is particularly impressive, sounding expressively percussive on strong bass material like Dean Peer's I Think...It's all Good (Turtle Records ###), which I, along with many others here at ST, consider a bass performance reference disc. Track one, entitled "Air Circus # 1" is scary as well as dangerously delightful. This disc can do some serious damage to ones system if played vociferously, due mostly to its incredible dynamics and bass impact. I really think that there should be a warning sticker attached to this disc! Nevertheless, driven by the Onkyo, the 037's weave effortlessly through this track deftly and with such a degree of balance one would NEVER associate with a speaker at this price. This disc proved to be more taxing on the receiver due to its modest power rating. Still, one of the 037’s most convincing features is that it doesn't require gobs of power to get going. If you're a beginner starting with a modest receiver rated at 85 watts per side, like the Onkyo for example, the 037’s will bring out the best in your receiver. Moreover, you really can't expect better efficiency.
Taking the 037's to the upstairs system brought about even more surprises. Strapped to the Sunfire Theater Grand and playing Dolby Digital by means of the Citation 7.0 Dolby Digital processor, they performed as impressively as one would expect from a speaker selling for twice their price. With the 200 watts the Sunfire delivers in five channels, the first thing I noticed was how much tighter, cleaner and deeper the bass went on the 037’s. I thought the 200 watts would tax the 037’s in terms of dynamic limitations but the 037’s definitely stayed intact and became even more musically tuneful. To be truthful, I didn’t expect the 037’s to sound this convincing for their price. They inevitably performed extremely well regardless of the material, though there’s a hint of brightness that did prove problematic when driven to extremes. This occurred when I pushed the Sunfire to the 037’s threshold as I would have guessed when you’re SPL meter is reading over 95dB! Aside from that, when playing at normal listening levels not exceeding more than 85dB or so, the 037’s will offer a level of satisfaction is hard to find in its price class.
One of my most recent pleasures has been my reacquaint with '70's R&B music, most notably Stevie Wonder's 1973 Grammy winning Innervisions [Motown 3746303262]. This disc offers a plethora of masterfully written music that set the industry upon its proverbial ear back in the day. As a young pimple faced teen listening to this LP, my love for Rhythm and Blues was propelled that much further by the unbelievable music intertwined with brilliant lyricism. I remember sitting for hours patting my feet, rocking in my seat attempting to learn each syllable Stevie sung in his instantly recognizable style. "Livin' for the City" was the first, and my most memorable song. I was pleasantly surprised by not only by 037's abilities to present it so realistically, but also by how good this disc actually sounded considering it's a dated and commercial recording. Not an audiophile reissue for sure, it nevertheless sounded wholesome, three-dimensional and sweet. There's a certain part in "Livin' for the City" where a young man’s voice, coming through the Big Apple’s Bus Terminal, utters "Wow! New York. Just like I pictured it...Skyscrapers...everything."
Through the 037’s, with the Citation 7.0 set to two-channel mode, this spoken voice came through with a sense of individuality and realness; a quality I was not accustomed to with the exception of my more expensive setups. Credit, in part, should go to the improved ancillary electronics that now exist in my audio rig, but also to the talent that lies in the 037's.
All in all, I would have to say that as far as affordability goes, Audes has outdone the competition in a way few manufacturers have. No higher compliment can be granted for any speaker company that aims its focus at real-world consumers, music lovers and new generation audiophiles.
Naum Dorkham has a real winner in the 037's. Anyone looking for a loudspeaker that sounds as good as some highly regarded products at more than twice the price should not hesitate to audition the 037's.
In closing, there's a song on the Innervision album entitled "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing." With the Audes 037's tucked neatly into your system, while your money stays safe in your bank account, you shouldn't worry one bit! Highly recommended!
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