Hathor Acoustik Captures the Feeling of Music

Hathor Acoustik takes its name from the Ancient Egyptian goddess said to have the ability to “cure humanity with her song,” explained designer Luc Allair (right). Salon Son & Image 2010 presents the debut of Hathor’s Reference loudspeaker ($20,000 CAN). Partnered with an elegant, all-Naim system, including CDX2 player, NAC 252 preamp, and NAP 250 amplifier, the Hathors produced a warm, inviting sound, marked by an especially wide and deep soundstage and fleshy, well-focused images.

An important part of the speaker’s sound, Allair explained, is its use of specially made Scan-Speak paper cone drive units. “Harmonics are essential to recognizing the sound of an instrument in a room,” said Allair, “and, for me, paper is the best material for achieving proper harmonics.” In addition, Allair avoids using MDF for his cabinets, saying that MDF mostly works to “absorb harmonics;” instead, he and his design partner, Pierre Murray, have found that Russian Birch Plywood works best to preserve music’s natural tone. Twelve layers of this material are carefully formed and angled to produce a three-dimensional soundstage, while outboard crossovers are employed in order to eliminate internal vibrations and electromagnetic interference.

Having spent 15 years designing loudspeakers, Allair strives to obtain a holistic, balanced sound. Reaching a point where “all the music is good” is more important to Allair than optimizing any particular sonic parameter. The speaker should produce “the feeling of the music,” whether it be Rammstein or Mahler or Beck. Clearly, Allair and Murray are music lovers first.

Among other things, we listened to “It’s All In Your Mind” from Beck’s wonderful Sea Change, and when Beck sang, “I wanted to be / wanted to be / wanted to be a good friend,” it sounded right as rain; and I was reminded of home, and I held in my mind the picture of a beautiful woman, and I really could have cried.