Audio Physic Step Plus loudspeaker Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Sources: Kuzma Stabi S turntable & Stogi tonearm; Thorens TD 124 Mk.I turntable, Jelco 350S tonearm; Denon DL-103, Hana EL, Ortofon Quintet Bronze cartridges.
Digital Sources: Apple MacBook computer running Audirvana Plus, Qobuz; ATC CDA2 Mk.II CD player, LG BD550 BD player (as transport); Halide DAC HD, Mytek Brooklyn, PS Audio NuWave DACs; Western Digital T2 Mirror Drives (2).
Preamplification: Auditorium 23 A23 MC step-up transformer; Heed Audio Quasar, Luxman EQ-500 phono preamplifiers; Shindo Laboratory Allegro preamplifier.
Power Amplifiers: Mytek Brooklyn (2), Shindo Laboratory Haut-Brion.
Integrated Amplifiers: Heed Audio Elixir, Parasound Halo Hint6.
Loudspeakers: DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/93.
Cables: Interconnect: AudioQuest Chicago & Water & Yukon, Morrow Audio MA-1, Shindo Laboratory, Triode Wire Labs American single-ended RCA. Speaker: AudioQuest Castle Rock, Auditorium 23, Tellurium Q Black, Triode Wire Labs American. AC: manufacturers' own.
Accessories: IsoTek IVO3 Aquarius power conditioner; Music Hall Aztec Blue & Mooo record mats; Spec AD-UP1 Analog Disc Sheet; Salamander five-tier rack; IKEA Aptitlig bamboo chopping boards, Mapleshade maple platform (15" by 12" by 2") under turntable; 3"-thick studio-treatment foam damping (ceiling, walls).
Listening Room: 12' L by 10' W by 12' H, system set up along short wall; suspended wood floor, 6"-thick walls (plaster over 2x4), wood-beamed ceiling.—Ken Micallef

Audio Physic GmbH
US distributor: VANA Ltd.
2845 Middle Country Road
Lake Grove, NY 11755
(631) 246-4412

tonykaz's picture

are the foundation of the Audiophile existence because of their superb Driver technology, design and build quality.

A nice representative Small European Loudspeaker will cost out around $2,500. Even the phenomenal Genelec 8020 Active Loudspeakers, made in Europe, will cost under $2,500!

But Audio Physic pretends to be German while sourcing in China.

Too bad for the replacement driver assurance program.

Yet another disappointment.

Tony in Michigan

Bertie Bucket's picture

Their speakers come with a 10 year warranty so that should give any normal buyer peace of mind.

Those who have hangups about Asians need not apply.

tonykaz's picture

.... Peace of Mind, it's sell-out worrisome.

Especially since Europe already is the Loudspeaker Driver Highest Authority.

It would be understandable if a Cayln built loudspeakers with DynAudio Drivers, that would be logical, not the other way around.

For this Decade and probably the next Decade, I will be discouraging the "Asian" Out-Soucring Concept among Manufacturing that I have influence in, the Transportation Industry.

HighEnd Audio becomes Low End throwaway mid-fi when it goes Asian. ( for now ).

Cayin is the exception, as is Woo which is USA Based and not at all Chinese.

Tony in Michigan

georgehifi's picture

All Audio Physic's even going way back when they started that I've heard, do this disappearing act really well, whether stand or floor mount. What is the measurement or construction parameter that is important that makes this happen. Seems like Audio Physic has whatever it is nailed down.

Cheers George

ok's picture

..Audio Physic (mostly Step and Tempo 25/Plus) iterations of this particular midrange/tweeter/cabinet configuration over the years and I can subjectively confirm JA’s prediction that their top surface should see slightly below the listener’s ears for optimal HF performance. This peculiarity is mainly due to a somewhat upward-shooting tweeter combined with a deliberately poor off-axis response (no more than 30 degrees flat thanks to cone driver and steep foam ring) that is further highlighted by the grills which tend to create some 3db drop at about 8KHz. They are excellent for near field and almost immune to HF room reflections for far field auditioning; however they do need considerable rear estate for enhanced soundstage accuracy and deep bass response as KM has already pointed out. By the way woofer's aluminum phase plug can dissipate an awfully lot of heat in case of amplifier clipping (not recommended!) so no worries about chinese: my neighbours would dismayingly attest that these drivers are virtually indestructible :-}

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Elac Navis active, self-powered bookshelf speakers ($2,000/pair) were very favorably reviewed in the latest issue of TAS ....... They don't need a power-amp ....... The reviewer said that, he would recommend them for product of the year award :-) .........

doak's picture

Haven’t heard these speakers, but really want to... and possibly own a pair.
Thanks for the heads up on the TAS review.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

In the on-line Audiogon discussion forum, one of the commentators says he compared the sound of the Elac Navis bookshelf with the sound of KEF LS-50 wireless and, he preferred the sound of Navis bookshelf (both models are active self-powered speakers) :-) .........

AaronGarrett's picture

The Audio Physic/ Pass Aleph combo at Singer in 1996 made me an audiophile! EDIT (Actually I misremembered -- it was Stereo Exchange. I am now an old audiophile with a faulty memory!)

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Welcome to the 'audiophiles with faulty memory' club :-) ..........

jimtavegia's picture

I would expect better performance in terms of pure value. Andrew Jones and many others do a great job for under a grand. In the right room these might float someone's boat.

I don't mean to be critical, but at this price there must be excellent performance.

mumulaha's picture

I knew the measurement have it's flaw before purchase. But after I heard it in my room with correct placement, I am sold. 6moon's Srajan Ebaen bought Audio Physic Codex as his new reference speaker. I used to own Triangle Titus with same electronic.

Jason P Jackson's picture

Wavecor are a large, well known loudspeaker driver manufacturer with many of it's designs done by the engineers of another large, well known loudspeaker driver manufacturer.

Jason. P. Jackson

SpeakerScott's picture

Mr. Atkinson,

Would you ever consider adding baffle step correction to your nearfield measurements...or at the very least measure speakers using the ground plane method to eliminate this measurement error?

I understand that taking some of the massive mega-buck speakers to a parking lot or tennis court isn't possible, but there are several ways to mostly eliminate the emphasis shown in the measurements with modified technique.


John Atkinson's picture
SpeakerScott wrote:
Would you ever consider adding baffle step correction to your nearfield measurements...or at the very least measure speakers using the ground plane method to eliminate this measurement error?

Some other reviewers have done this, but the "correction" is arbitrary, given that every room will modify the "bass bump" to a different extent.

There are 2 ways of assessing a speaker's low-frequency output: 1) in an anechoic chamber, which represnts one extreme, and 2) using a nearfield measurement, which represents the other extreme. As using a true anechoic chamber is financially out of reach for an organization of Stereophile's size, I prefer to stick with the other extreme. This also has the advantage of being consistent for the past 30 years of speaker measurements published in Stereophile

The problem with ground-plane measurements is that you need a relatively large flat paved area in which to perform them, which is problematic given where I live. I have experimented, but ended up sticking with how I currently perform low-frequency speaker measurements, in the nearfield.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

SpeakerScott's picture

An anechoic chamber is well out of reach for me to! (Plus ones that get that low in frequency are rare.) I could only dream of having one, which is why I suggested the baffle step correction method. As you well know, when you measure nearfield you eliminate the reinforcement (or lack thereof depending on frequency) as the driver transitions from 4pi to 2pi space.

The process, if done correctly isn't arbitrary. I have compared the results for large towers, book shelves and even large pro-sound PA speakers to measurements I have taken using tennis courts or parking lots. In the case of the ground plane measurements I have actually taken the time to reverse the double height baffle step from the mirror image speaker and the results have been spectacularly accurate.

You could plot the more accurate method along with the old method for comparison It only takes a few minutes to do, it doesn't add significantly to the process of your entire measurement set but improves accuracy.

(I do know how long a full measurement set takes to make...I've done it more times than I can count.)

dial's picture

All these little boxes tend to sound extremely similar and it's difficult to say that really one is better than others, I even have one pair I build myself and compared to Triangle Titus, they were poorer in the bass but a little clearer in the midrange. But I liked both. And they cost 10% of these 'Audio Physic' !

MiklD's picture

I auditioned Step 25 (the previous iteration without the ceramic foam and sundry tweaks) and was similarly impressed. Took home Sitara 25 (floorstanding 2.5-way version with an additional HHCM providing sub-500 Hz reinforcement) which provides a good half-octave of bass extension, while maintaining the sonic virtues of the bookshelf sibling. So this review provides some gratifying insight.

Interesting to see the wrinkles in the measured performance. Hard to put floorstanders on shorter stands though, maybe a raised platform for the listening chairs, and/or some DSP? I suppose to incorporate soundstage in the more objective realm some sort of standardised routine around one of those Chesky clap and footstep test recordings could be employed? That aside the range of individualised timbres delivered from diffent instruments (real and synthetic) is a complementary element to the legendary spatial qualities and ‘disappearing act’ and just as impressive.

I started the Sitaras with my venerable Krell KAV-300i and was very happy. I described the baby Krell’s untimely end in a comment pleading for Herb’s promised Micromega M-100 review (cat awoke from Class A/B warmed torpor and threw up into the venilation slots, no more input boards from Krell for that model, alas, and shameless pitch for Sydney’s Len Wallis Audio who tried valiently to find parts). A loaner Musical Fidelity M3i wasn’t bad at all, but I settled on the Micromega for more modern features and design and nice sound. Too nice though (soundstage didn’t quite open up and the bass lacked weight/authority/timbral richness and yes that may not be a real word) but remedied for now by running the M-100’s balanced pre-ouput to a Krell KAV-2250 from Ebay. Cobbling together satisfying sound on a tight budget has its moments, I guess (bid unseccessfuly for an Evo, them’s the breaks). With the right amp, the bass sounds deeper than it measures, so I’m not too surprised by Ken’s observations.

So no, as most readers here surely know (but not all commenters, it seems) speakers don‘t sound the same, amps don’t sound the same, and viva la difference (or the German equivalent for the Audio Physics).

Thanks also for the Irrisari, a nice discovery.

MiklD's picture

... and imaging. Looking at the Step’s cumulative spectral decay plot, it is unusually clean and fast to decay below 10 kHz even compared to a range of very good-sounding offerings reviewed here. Everything is pretty much done and dusted within a millisecond, while others take 2-3 times that. Wondering if this characteristic is a key reason for the soundstage, imaging and timbre differentiation I can also hear in the similar Sitara?