Acoustat Spectra 11 loudspeaker John Atkinson Listens

John Atkinson Listens

I did some brief but serious listening to the Spectra 11s before this issue went to press, and have the following comments to make. The range covered by the woofer (35–200Hz) measures and sounds between 3dB and 5dB too high in my room, which is about the same size as Sam's. This disparity will be less pronounced in larger rooms, and is most likely due to the fact that the woofer radiation is effectively omnidirectional while the electrostatic panel has a bipolar, figure-eight dispersion pattern. The in-room sound of the Spectra 11s is certainly rolled-off in the highs, but this is due more, in my opinion, to the very limited dispersion of the electrostatic panel in its top two octaves. The on-axis response measures and sounds both flat and smooth to about 14kHz, though there is still a lack of top-octave air.

But—and it's a big "but"—this preferred axis is very high, at 48" being above the head of a listener sitting in a normal chair, who undoubtedly will hear a "mellow" balance. These speakers should either be listened to from at least 15' away (preferably in a live, underdamped room) if the sound is not to be too rolled-off, or Tiptoes should be used to tilt the speaker to aim the center of the panel at a closer-seated listener's ears. Thomas J. Norton is currently working on a full review of the Spectra 11; I await his comments with interest.—John Atkinson

Acoustat, Rockford-Fosgate Corp.
Brand no longer in existence (2014)