The return of an Aurum Cantus Speaker, this is deja' vu? If we go back a bit more than ten years ago to April 2005, I wrote a review for Enjoy the Music.com about the Aurum Cantus Leisure 2 Special Edition and Leisure 3 Special Edition Signature loudspeakers. Both were stand mounted two driver monitor types. The smaller speaker was the Leisure AC2 SES and one other speaker a notch higher up in the series was the AC3 SE. Both of these designs are predecessors of this review subject the Aurum Cantus V30M loudspeaker. That review process proved to be an education in the difficulty of matching a slight wisp of air aluminum ribbon tweeter to the much greater mass of a pistonic midrange driver. The larger AC3 SE speaker was an attempt to extend the frequency range of the smaller AC2 SES by using a longer ribbon driver and a larger mid-woofer.
And therein lies the heart of the problem. Yes, the larger tweeter had the ability to move more air however the measured tweeter frequency extension remained at 40kHz. And while the larger mid/bass driver did in fact extend the reach of the speaker to lower frequencies, the larger pistonic driver was now more massive and slower to respond. So that midrange/ bass driver's trade off was speed. True the effect was small and it was subtle but it was still audible. To borrow one of Harry Pearson's catchphrases. "It was not as "Continuous". Bottom line, I purchased the smaller AC2 SES and I use it today as a treble reference because the tweeter frequency extension is lighting fast out to 40kHz. Now we get to the raison d'etre, so we will find out what the passing of ten years has done.
And not so incidentally you need to assemble the stands since they are shipped unassembled. The past ten years have produced a highly evolved V30M. It starts with a far more sophisticated MDF enclosure measuring 17.13" x 8.90" x 15.20" (HxWxD) and comes in stunning Rosewood veneered cabinetry. It is also available in black o0r white and all cabinets are finished with a beautiful clear lacquer. The new form factor dictates a thick angled backward front face with relieved corners for less edge diffraction. The speaker enclosure reminds me of the boat tail taper of the $36,000 Sonus Faber Amati speaker.
Like the Amati it starts with a wide front face with curving sides ending at a narrow rear panel. The rear panel has a port and two sets of heavy gold plated speaker cable binding posts. The binding posts are linked with a gold plated copper strap. This makes it possible to bi-amp these speakers with two different amplifiers, one powering the ribbons and another for the midrange/woofer. More than just a pretty body the internal component parts are first rate quality and expensive.
The nomenclature starts with a sandwiched aluminum ribbon tweeter, designated as APR1.1, and is 110mm x 14.5mm x 0.015mm. This is a high power shielded design with a field-replaceable diaphragm. A specially-designed 6.5" midrange / woofer has a sandwich cone of non-woven carbon fiber with 2" copper clad aluminum voice coil that employs flat wire and a ferrite magnet system. This is all within a special Faraday ring and a demodulation coil. The crossover uses M-Cap MKP (Metal film Polypropylene) capacitors for the tweeter. MKP capacitors are also used for the mid-woofer as well. Highly purified oxygen free copper (OFC) inductors and military grade Metal Oxide Film resistors round out the crossover design. Everything inside is wired together with Teflon insulated oxygen free continuous cast copper (OCC) cable.
Start The Show
My bad, that was unfair to critically listen to them so soon. The speakers are not broken in and not set up in the best position. So in subsequent days I shift the speakers position using a tape measure. Try them forward away from the back wall and side walls. Next move the speakers farther apart then aim them toward my listening position. Well you get the idea. Finally positioned my Argent Room Lenses and some of my home made soft sound absorbent panels. Time passes and the Aurum Cantus speakers are broken in. Like Goldilocks, not too deep and not too bright as a matter of fact they are just right.
At step #3, equal to 31.5 Hz the 6.5" driver begins to move. Not until you reach step #5, at a frequency of 55Hz does the driver produce a level matching the mid band volume settings. Understand the upper and lower frequency range of most speakers is specified at the -3dB point, a point that is 3dB lower than the midrange loudness. A useless test? No not completely. With some speakers a very low frequency signal can cause the bass driver to oscillate. I'm impressed, that below any useful frequency the V30M 6.5-inch driver is well controlled. The higher frequencies cleanly transition to 20kHz, beyond my ability to hear them. As it was ten years ago, with the first Aurum Cantus speakers am so very impressed by the ribbon tweeters and the things they can do. They open up a three-dimensional soundscape comprising width, depth, and height. And more than that they are effortlessly fast lending a sense of excitement and energy. As Shakespeare would say the "Rub" once again comes down to driver integration. Happily, I am to say ten years have made a very big improvement. The transition between the two drivers is now "continuous", cut from the same fabric.
To make my case I'll refer to a hand out demo music sampler from Legacy Audio. Track two is by Eric Godoy from "Cafe" [Acoustic Avenue] and to me this just sounds like a bass fiddle wandering up and down the scales. A one point the bass dips down into a low rumbling growl. The value of this recording is not just a test of how low the speaker can reach. It can reproduce the wooden overtones and vibrato of the instruments body with realism and authority. Can it track the subtle resinous sounds of the bow as it is drawn across the strings, my answer is yes! As my last comment, track #7 is by someone called Iron Man Burks [Eyeball Music]. What can I say but damn, the man was standing within my living room! And lastly, this was really unexpected at this late stage, but the room taming pipes and pillows were pushed farther away from the speakers. Over time they seemed to be having a diminishing effect.
There are even more buyer benefits: The massive speaker stands are included and shipped with the speakers. Shipping cost is nothing, as it is included within the price. The Aurum Cantus V30M speakers come with a 60-day money back guaranty too. All in all it's a no brainer deal bunky! The Aurum Cantus V30M opens up a sound stage that can push back the walls of my room and carry me deeper into the performance, which is where I want to go.
Remember to enjoy the music, and from me, Semper Hi-Fi.