Langerton Configuration Holograf Monitors



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Gregvoth.jpgIt’s clear Langerton spares no expense to get their Configuration Holograf’s into your hands safely and unblemished. The Langerton Configuration Holograf monitors ($5960.00) were wonderfully packed, double-boxed and secured with both heavy cardboard, wood and screwed to secure safe travel. It was with both anticipation and trepidation that I unpacked these monitors. Anticipation because, if they sounded as good as they looked, I knew I was in for a treat. Trepidation because I didn’t want to be the first one to mar the finish of these beauties, so I proceeded very carefully.

Langerton is a thoughtful and cautionary manufacturer. After unscrewing and lifting the top of the box, I was pleased to see microfiber bags enclosing each speaker along with layers of thick styrofoam protecting all sides. While the Holograf’s were shipped with the woofers exposed and facing up, they came with post-It notes carefully placed in the woofer positions to remind the buyer where not to touch. The Langerton Configuration Holograf’s don’t have speaker grills, they are meant to play naked, so I carefully flipped the box over on it’s back and worked a bit until I got enough of a hold on the very thin microfiber bag enough to pull the first speaker from it’s styrofoam surround. I then removed the other and brought them one by one over to my speaker stands where four small D Feet under each monitor provided adequate support on my Hercules sand-filled speaker stands.

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The construction and finish of the Holograf’s appears to be first-rate. These speakers are time-aligned, so the tweeters are set back from the front plane and surrounded on the bottom and sides by the front panel to minimize distortions from refracting waves. The binding posts are very substantial and a pleasure for these big hands to use. I’m a guy who generally prefers bi-wired speakers. With only one pair of binding posts per speaker, bi-wiring is not an option, however, during listening tests, bi-wiring seemed superfluous.

The speakers are nearly as deep as they are tall and ported to extend bass response. The Langerton’s produce significantly realistic bass response that defies their small stature. These speakers manage to reach lower notes effortlessly without strain, noticeable fall off or bloat. I think they provide a wide range of bass that will appeal to a majority of listeners. That’s a damn good trick.

I connected the Holograf’s to two Clone Audio Mono 55pm amplifiers with Kimber 8TC and I added the Clone Audio AP1 preamp (review of Clone Audio separates to come), and added a pair of Synergistic Research Kaleidoscope Phase 2 active interconnects (with upgraded MPC). Once the electronics and speakers had broken in enough for critical listening, Clement and Dennis slipped by for a listen to the Clone Audio equipment and were greeted with the Langerton’s as well.

Listening

Dennis commented that there was a striking similarity in sound between the Langerton Configuration Holograf’s and my reference Eminent Technology LFT-8b’s and I have to agree. While these two speakers couldn’t be more different in both shape and design approach, they both produce a wonderfully relaxed presentation with solid bass, languishing mids and sweet and non-fatiguing highs. The Holograf’s remind me in many respects of Proac Response 2’s, a speaker I’ve admired for decades. Both the Holograf’s and the Response 2’s offer fatigue-free listening, great imaging, a wider and deeper soundstage than most with excellent ambient retrieval and timberal accuracy.

A quick read of the Langerton product literature shows an impressive pedigree. To paraphrase their product literature, Langerton, from Germany, started in 2013 as a new audio company with very deep roots. Norbert Heinz, the head of research and development, deeply involved in the speaker industry for 30 years, asked associates Walter Langer and Andreas Krebs ’to set up a no-compromise production facility and to take care of a showroom, sales and marketing.’ The result certainly shows in the Langerton Configuration Holograf styling, build quality and sound.

The Langerton brand goes full-service with their product line with their own cables, stands for both components and speakers, room acoustic devices, absorbing and decoupling feet and bases - all crafted in Germany to the highest standards with best available parts and cutting-edge technology and engineering. What’s not to love?

The Langerton Configuration Holograf monitors are nearly as deep as they are tall and appear quite stealth in their sexy piano black finish (they are also offered in piano white finish). Upon first play, you’ll see how easily and the woofers move - they appear very nimble and quick to respond to input and, with their frequency response rated 46 Hz - 22 kHz, you’ll be surprised at the low end they produce. The Langerton’s performed quite nicely with the Clone Audio electronics and showed that good source material yields good sound, but the Holograf’s really opened up when driven with my larger rigs 200 wpc amp - not surprising with their 86.6 db sensitivity.

kip.jpgKip Hanrahan’s CD ’All Roads Are Made Of Flesh (American Clave 1995) always starts a listening session with a kick. Track 1, Buddy Beldon’s Blues jumped out of the gate as big, bold and as live as you could ever want from your system. Track 2, Jack Bruce’s wonderful vocal on …At The Same Time As The Subway Train Was Pulling Out Of The Station was a grand display of musically rhythmic prowess, albeit a sad reminder of his recent passing. I’m thankful for having attended Cream’s first night reunion at Madison Square Garden in 2005 when they all seemed to give it their all. Still, while many refer Bruce’s work with Cream and Robin Trower as his best, I prefer to focus on Jack’s work with Kip Hanrahan as being far more artistic and adventurous - and truthfully worthy of any effort you expend searching it out. The Langerton Configuration Holograf’s presented this rhythmically challenging and often Latin tinged music with authority and ease, the sax sounding surprisingly real and in the room.

nickdrake.jpgNick Drake’s River Man from 'Five Leaves Left’ (1969 and reissued in 2000 by Universal-Island Records, LTD) is a mesmerizing track with acoustic guitar, vocal string and backing accompaniment. This track’s intimacy and intensity was rendered by the Holograf’s with aplomb. It is with great regret that I missed Nick Drake’s brief spark in the music world. I have no doubt that, had I heard ‘River Man’ back in 1969 (few people did, since Drake’s own records sold less than 5,000 copies each upon release), it would have greatly impacted my development as an acoustic guitar player. Thru the Holograf’s, this wonderful song breathes as though shockingly contemporary. The entire album itself is worthy, though ‘River man’ seems the stand out track.

A listen to Eric Clapton ‘Unplugged,’ the recent double vinyl reissue, presented me nice convincing bass, clean sweet recessed highs and full realistic bass textures, with the bass not at all bloated. The music was offered very open with nice depth and an intimate relaxed presentation with very nice decay. When track 4 Tears In Heaven’ started, the soundstage got noticeably wider and deeper with the added players. Fretless bass flourishes were a treat and pump organ offered nice subtle backing textures. I heard things I’ve never heard before. It made me really appreciate stereo.

Play of QRP’s pressing of LSC-2201 Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures At An Exhibition (Reiner and the CSO) on 200 gram vinyl was simply stunning. I wrote ‘big, bold, brawny’ in the margin of my listening notes. As often as I have heard this warhorse, I was presented with instrument textures and substance as new. The Langerton’s offer performance that belies their small stature. Delicate decays and imminently listenable mids and highs and with bass that is dense without being colored or artificial sounding. The character of the various instruments seem clearer and more realistic than in previous incarnations, conveying the great volume of the recording venue. I can’t wait to play this disk again.

brianblade.jpgThe Brian Blade’s Fellowship’s 2003 ‘Perceptual,’ released on double vinyl for Bluenote’s 75th anniversary has always been a personal favorite on CD. I was looking forward to it’s release on vinyl. While the mastering appears top notch, the pressing leaves much to be desired. Of the two versions I tried, both side one’s suffer clicks pops and an audible thudding from warps. Thankfully this is less noticeable on the other sides. While this is frustrating, the music is wonderful. The Langerton’s proved stellar at conveying the musicality offered by the Fellowship members, and very rhythmic, effortlessly rendering dynamic contrasts.

While the Holograf’s played, I felt around the speakers and stands and noted that the bass energy is very well confined to the speakers themselves. They very well damped and do not transmit much vibration thru to the stands themselves.

My wife Robin loves our Eminent Technology LFT-8b floor standers. She appreciates how they sound and likes their utilitarian look. Upon hearing the Langerton’s for the first time thru the Clone Audio mono amps and preamp, her first comment was ‘Those speakers are - - - - ing incredible!’ Now, she isn’t a person who lavishes praise often or easily, though our dog Lucky does manage to get his share - this was high praise indeed.

One day, as we kicked back to enjoy a little music thru the Holograf’s, I started talking to about musical turning points in my life when Robin asked to hear examples from those albums. I played a bit of Miles Davis’s ‘Bitches Brew’ and then told her about perusing the jazz section at a record store back in 1974 when a stranger came up to me and handed me two albums, saying ‘Buy these albums - they will change your life.” One of those albums, Terje Rypdal’s 'What Comes After,’ (ECM 1973) really did change my life’s musical direction. I’ve been listening to him 40 years since. The other album was Michael Mantler’s Jazz Composers Orchestra, the wildly adventurous free jazz masterpiece from1968 (ECM). I didn’t play the JCO for her - it’s seriously mind-blowing stuff.

It’s a Wrap

The Langerton Configuration Holograf is a great speaker worthy of audition by anyone with a moderate space looking for a smaller profile speaker… or just those mildly curious. They played very well in our good-sized loft with a 13 foot ceiling - that’s not an easy feat. My wife agrees that the Holograf is perhaps the one speaker she would select to replace the ET’s for a smaller speaker in our loft… even at the $6k price point. When you give the phase-corrected Configuration Holografs some personal time, you’ll appreciate each persons’ involvement in bringing these small miracles to market. Highly recommended.

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Specifications:

80 W Long Term Power Handling

250 W Short Term Power Handling

86.6 db Sensitivity

46 Hz - 22 kHz Frequency Response

6 Ohm Impedance

13 kg Weight

25 cm Width x  35 cm Height x 38 cm Depth

Finish: Piano lacquer black or white

Price: $5,960.00 US 

US/Canada distribution:

Highend-electronics, Inc.

Alfred Kainz

Web: www.highend-electronics.com

Mail: office@highend-electronics.com

Phone: 1-760-490-2410

Manufacturer:

Langerton Configurations

Web: www.langerton.de


 

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