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October 2020
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine

Superior Audio Equipment Review

Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 Loudspeaker
A new and innovative design in speaker technology.
Review By Dr. Matthew Clott

 

Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 Loudspeaker Review

 

  You might have to stand on your head for this review because Zoltán Bay turned the concept of speaker production upside down and inside out when he created the Bay Radial Speaker (BRS) Tweeter. And when you see the absolutely unique and creative Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 speaker design ($60,000), you're not going to be able to figure out how to stand, so just have a seat and enjoy the read. Maybe have the computer or tablet read it to you while you listen to your favorite composition in the background.... Be sure to grab your favorite beverage and have that cute dog (or cat) of yours sit in your lap and snuggle in; this is gonna be good!

Decades of research, and over 35 years in the industry, led Mr. Bay to a unique radial sound projection system. In essence, it is a cylindrical membrane surface capable of changing its diameter. As with a more standard speaker cone, the pulsations of the cylinder create sound in the direction of radiation but in a perfect 360 degree omni-directional wavefront. Because of the speed of BRS response and the natural physics of the cylindrical engine, there is an almost instant impulse resulting in very low distortion and insanely fast transients.

 

Design And Engineering
Custom designed 7.5" woofers installed inverted permits omni-directional dispersion while energizing the ported enclosure to offer deep and tight bass that keeps up with the speed and accuracy of Bayz Audio's BRS tweeter. The enclosure is made of a combination of carbon fiber lined with a special damping compound mounted to a wood rear panel for proper porting and housing of the crossover and speaker posts.

 

Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 Loudspeaker Review

 

Zoltán recruited the help of Frank Nielsen and his Danesian Audio Engine Team for production and testing of the speakers, and András Voloscsuk and his Composite Project Team to fabricate the complex carbon fiber chassis. András and his team build carbon fiber monocoque for race planes, custom projects, and bespoke carbon fiber pianos. The result is a speaker that doesn't look like a speaker, at all. It looks like a carbon fiber sculpture that both stands out spectacularly and blends into a family room or listening room almost casually.

 

Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 Loudspeaker Review

 

To describe the speaker imagine a carbon fiber tube of approximately 8" diameter looped around on itself in an oval around 48" long and 24" wide. The back houses a wood enclosure to properly implement porting and to house the bits that connect the speaker to the amplifier. The front is the only break in the carbon fiber, and this is where the woofers and cylindrical BRS is located. Below are two footer tubes to raise the speaker to the proper listening height, nestled into a granite base to keep the entire unit stable. The speakers themselves are remarkably light. Since they are omni-directional, the configuration of the setup involves where to aim the ports to best integrate them into the room, and where to place the main drivers to offer the most expansive stage and ideal tonality possible.

 

Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 Loudspeaker Review

 

 

If you put the time in, these impressive speakers will reach down well below 30Hz and vanish completely and utterly. Poof gone! Where did they go?!? Like, I'm talking Star Trek holodeck kinda vanish. Get it? Good! Not really a soundstage, it's just what was there when the recording happened, where it happened. Is it time for another beverage yet? And don't forget to keep petting Fluffy, she's felt neglected recently with all that time you've spent listening....

The design itself implements an impressively simple two-way system. BRS and two woofers (both woofers play the same frequency band with a crossover point around 2 kHz), all nestled in a space-occupying no more than 12" in height. What that results in is the cohesion and unity of a compact two-way system with the magic of omni's and bass of a large floorstanding speaker. As an added benefit, with a super high tech low mass, high-density carbon fiber cabinet, and incredibly fast and precise drivers, this loudspeaker system yields very low distortion, excellent frequency response, and amongst the closest representation of a single point source radiator I have heard at any price point. Bayz Audio BRS tweeter system extends down to around 1000Hz, well below normal tweeters range. Keep in mind the total surface area of the membrane is many times that of a standard tweeter. This avoids ringing, distortion, and any harshness while maintaining extension and natural reproduction.

 

Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 Loudspeaker Review

 

A discussion with Zoltán revealed his design goals regarding phase and time coherence. He addressed phase first, explaining that, "Most electrodynamic cone loudspeakers are phase linear: decreasing phase with rising frequency. The exception is the low-frequency band, typically 100 Hz or less. At the tuning frequency, vented enclosures exhibit greater phase changes, a worthwhile compromise to achieve much lower frequency response and lower distortion. Our main concern with phase is 200 Hz and higher including the effects of the crossover. Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 speaker exhibits extremely well-behaved, smooth phase linearity, and more importantly, the resulting group delay is essentially zero." He then segued into his principles on time coherence by explaining that, "This is intuitively to be expected: the Courante 2.0 is a coaxial speaker except the axis is vertical, not horizontal.

 

Bayz Audio Coaxial Configuration
The coaxial configuration combined with the crossover is why the Courante 2.0 is exceptionally time coherent. The key to Bayz Audio's success is our design philosophy: "We live in the time domain." With the advent of the cheap-and-easy Fast Fourier Transform (FFT), engineers veered away from their original goal of recreating a real musical event (qualitative) and began to cling on to flat frequency response at all cost (quantitative). Frequency response is something that can be measured and shown to their boss and sold to the public; it became the new goal. While a flat frequency response is very important, we don't live in the frequency domain; we live (and listen) in the reality of the time domain. Bayz Audio products are designed for perfect time response including group delay. That is why all our drivers are lightning-fast, especially the hyper-speed BRS with frequency response past 50  kHz." I can say that Zoltán is in good company as many top designers emphasize the importance of time coherence above all else, Daryl Wilson is a prime example although the way they go about accomplishing their task could not be further apart. Man I love this hobby!

Transitioning from objective to subjective is where the momentum meets the pavement though, isn't it? I found the design and its implementation to be unique, innovative, inspired, and quite brilliantly accomplished. The carbon fiber work is flawless, with perfect symmetry and perfect seams. The integration of carbon fiber and wood is elegant and masterfully crafted, and the simple but effective tube and granite support system allows for easy transport and stable and reliable anchoring. I never felt the speaker was unstable or anything other than solidly planted. WBT binding posts provide a five-way speaker cable connection and simply did what they were supposed to. These are eye-catching, art level additions to any room and deserve the attention they demand both visually and sonically. Oh... sonics.... You want to know how they sound? Almost there, I promise.

 

Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 Loudspeaker Review

 

The fact that they are omni-directional, but not pedestal speakers, adds an interesting layer of setup. Although toe-in is not a setup issue, the design lends itself to rotating the rear of the speaker, and its ports, in the direction to best integrate bass response with the room in a way that no other speaker I have encountered can. In my room, I found the port aiming towards the front center wall to provide the best integration into the room without adding a hint of boom or overload. This point overlaps performance and setup so I decided to mention it here. I also preferred the way they looked this way, but I tried them in many configurations. Since the tube adjacent to the BRS is essentially acoustically invisible the speaker can be set up in any configuration that suits the acoustics of the room and the visual desires of the owner (or their spouse).

Acoustically, the easiest way to describe them is that they emit 360-degrees of sound, unlike your normal box speakers. Why the hell would we want that if we can just buy good dynamic speakers you ask? Because they also do all that stuff that makes omni-directional immersive sound so desirable. With tonal accuracy, dynamic palpability, wonderful timbral structure, plus an almost holographic acoustic reproduction as they disappear completely with incredible spacial location and dimensionality.Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 are also lightning-fast and wonderfully natural. Their performance offers just the proper sense of purity of tone, texture, and staging. They can be truly epic, yet refined enough to recreate wonderful micro dynamics.

 

Beautiful Bass
Bass is clean and tight, as one would expect from two small, high excursion drivers loaded with sufficient volume and properly ported. They are not earth-shaking, nor are they massively impactful; but they are beautifully suited to and properly synergize with the speed and dynamic velocity the BRS is capable of. Are they perfect? No. Although I would say they lack only in the concept of "more." And "more" is what the larger and significantly more expensive Counterpoints do. More bass, more dynamics, more scale, more money.... But in a smallish room like my 15' x 18' room, I don't need more; in fact "more" would be bad. "More" would be too much....

For this review, I chose to forego the litany of commentary connected with specific song selections. I can talk about how natural they sounded with Sinatra or how dynamically they reproduced Infected Mushroom. I could also go on about the pace and rhythm conveyed listening to Elvis or the grandeur expressed with "insert grand classical composition of your preference here". But for a speaker in the $60,000 range, one would expect all of that.

 

Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 Loudspeaker Review

 

Standing Out
These speakers make things easy because they stand out for specific reasons that other speakers don't. Let's delve into that a bit.... First and foremost they are omni-directional speakers, so if you have no interest in a non-traditional, non-dynamic, non-right angle cabinet based speaker then you're not even reading this. If you are looking for a speaker with flexible placement, a wide sweet spot, palatial staging, and accurate image specificity you are a candidate. If you and your life partner are looking for something unique, modern, artistically designed and masterfully crafted, then you are a candidate. If you don't cringe and laugh when you see $60,000 as the price tag, then you are a candidate. If you want the tonal structure, harmonic complexity, and dynamic impact of a dynamic driver but don't want a dynamic speaker, then you are a candidate. If you are looking for a seriously sick pair of insanely cool looking speakers, you are without a doubt a candidate.

Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 is a totally new design in loudspeaker reproduction. It is a speaker that some will buy without even hearing for its visual presence and majesty. The cost of ownership comes partly as a result of the expense associated with fabrication using carbon fiber in a complex and essentially bespoke cabinet (Courante and Counterpoint are both available in standard clear-coated carbon fiber or piano black finish. The customer can customize with any RAL color of their choosing). Courante 2.0 is made using a 16 square meter carbon fiber prepreg. The surface treatment with eight coats of polish and varnish, sanding and polishing, is two weeks' work for the painting team, all done by hand. Zoltan makes and measures every single BRS tweeter himself. Considering the cost of BRS driver manufacturing, the handcrafted integration of electronics, ultra-custom drivers, carbon fiber, wood, and granite. Thus that $60,000 starts to make sense, and even looks reasonable.

 

Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 Speakers Are Keepers
I wanted to keep them. I did! I wanted them in my listening room for their petite size, light weight, and masterful integration of omni and dynamic performance. I wanted them in my living room for their appearance. And I wanted to just own them because the Courante is one of those "things" that you just covet because it is so cool, so well done and so absolutely unique for what it is! But I didn't keep them; because I couldn't afford the divorce that they would have come with.

Find a pair locally to see and listen to them. Go Counterpoint if you need to move more air in a larger room. Stick with Courante 2.0 if your room doesn't need "more."

 

Bayz Audio Courante 2.0 Loudspeaker Review

 

Listening List
Natalie Merchant's "Peppery Man"
(Leave Your Sleep, Nonesuch, 522304-2, 44.1kHz/16-bit)

Yes's "Leave it"
(90125, Rhino Atlantic, XWAR21829F96, FLAC 96kHz/24-bit)

Oscar Peterson Trio's "You Look Good To Me"
(We Get Requests, Verve, XVRJ8606D64, DSD single rate 2.8MHz/64fs)

"Count Basie" Live at the Sands
(Mobile Fidelity, Reprise Records,9362-45946-2, 44.1 kHz/16-bit)

Mussorgsky's "On Bald Mountain: Tuileries"
(Russian Showpieces, Sony Classical, B000003FMY, 44.1 kHz/16-bit)

Hugh Masekela's "Coal Train" (Stimela)
(Jive Africa, Jive, JVD-0330B, 44.1kHz/16bit)

Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" Time Out
(Analogue Productions, XAPJ8192D64, DSD single rate 2.8MHz, 64fs)

Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven"
(Unplugged, Reprise Records, 945024-2, 44.1kHz/16-bit)

Sinatra's "The lady is a Tramp"
(57-In concert, DCC, UCDCC 101, 44.1kHz/16-bit)

Rimsky Korsakov's "Dance of the Tumblers"
(The Snow Maiden, IMP Digital, B075DHQ1NH, 44.1kHz/16-bit)

Alison Krauss's "Down to the River to Pray"
(O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Mercury Records, WAV 96kHz/24-bit)

Mussorgsky's "Dance of the Persian Slaves"
(Khovanshchina, Act IV, Pentatone, FLAC 96kHz/24-bit)

Shelby Lynn's "You Don't Have to Say you Love Me"
(Just a Little Lovin', Lost Highway Records, FLAC 192kHz/24-bit)

"Asgard" Thor: Dark World
(Universal, B00FXH21M0, 44.1kHz/16-bit)

Saint Saens' "Danse Macabre"
(Witches' Brew, Blue Moon Imports, B0098YTXAC, 44.1kHz/16-bit)

David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust...
(Rhino/Parlophone, B0106UFG1G, 44.1kHz/16-bit)

Infected Mushroom's "Becoming Insane"
(Vicious Delicious, MOON Records, B015NKJ9NU 44.1 kHz/16bit)

Infected Mushroom's "Vicious Delicious"
(Vicious Delicious, MOON Records, B015NKJ9NU 44.1 kHz/16bit)

Kraftwerk's "The Robots" The Man-Machine
(Capitol/Parlophone/Warner Music, 44.1kHz/16-bit)

Aaron Neville's "Everybody Plays the Fool"
(Warm Your Heart, A&M, 44.1kHz/16-bit)

Mozart's "Ein Mädchenoder Weibchen"
(Die Zauberflöte, Archiv Produktion, 44.1kHz/16-bit)

Daft Punk's "The Grid"
(Tron Legacy, Walt Disney Productions, 44.1kHz/16-bit)

Yellow's "Out of Dawn"
(Touch Yellow, Polydor, 44.1kHz/16-bit)

Hans Theessink & Terry Evans' "Talk to Your Daughter"
(True & Blue, Blue Groove, 44.1kHz/16-bit)

Mac Miller's "Everybody"
(Circles, Warner Records, 44.1kHz/16-bit)

John Campbell's "Down in the Hole"
(Howlin Mercy, Rhino-Elektra, 44.1kHz/16-bit)

Steely Dan's "Hey Nineteen"
(Gaucho, Geffen, 44.1kHz/16-bit)

 

 

Associated Equipment
Analog source: Lyra Atlas SL cartridge, VPI HW40 turntable and arm, and Manley Steelhead phono stage.

Digital source: Laufer Teknik Memory Player MP64, Light Harmonic Davinci 3, and NAIM Uniti Star.

Preamplification: Pilium Alexander Preamplifier and Lamm Industries L2 Reference Preamplifier.

Amplification: Pilium Achilles stereo amp, Lamm Industries ML2 SET monoblocks, and Manley Neo-Classic 500 monoblocks.

Integrated Amplification: Dartzeel CTH-8550 model two, Octave V80SE with Super Black Box Integrated, Musical Fidelity TriVista Integrated, and NAIM Uniti Star.

Speakers: Dynaudio Consequence Ultimate, Laufer Teknik The Note, Elac UniFi B5, and a pair of Vandersteen Sub Three w/M7-HPB.

AC Power: Dedicated Square D 125 amp panel w/10 gauge runs to each outlet, Furutech GTX-D-NCF Rhodium outlets, dedicated circuits for each outlet, Environmental Protection EP-2750 ground filter on each circuit, and EP-2050 surge protection/waveform correction.

Power Conditioning: Shunyata D6000, Richard Gray 400S, and Torus RM20BAL

Rack and Shelf Support: Adona SR4 & Nemisis ALGC racks, Symposium Ultra shelves, Symposium Rollerblocks 2+ doublestacks, HRS Nimbus, Shun Mook Giant Diamond Resonator, IsoAcoustics Gaia 1 & 2, and IsoAcoustics Orea Bourdeaux

Interconnects: Crystal Cable Absolute Dream 1.0m XLR, Analysis Plus 1.0m Micro Golden Oval XLR, Shunyata Anaconda S 8.5m XLR, Cable Crystal Connect Reference Diamond 1.5m RCA phono w/ground cable, AudioQuest Wind 7m RCA, Wind XLR 1m

Digital: Light Harmonic Lightspeed 20G USB, AudioQuest Diamond 0.75m RJ/E Ethernet, Diamond USB A-B 5m, Wireworld Platinum Starlight USB, and Empirical Audio 1.0m S/PDIF.

Speaker: Crystal Cable Absolute Dream 2.0m (spade to banana), AudioQuest William     Tell Ag 8' (banana to banana), and Analysis Plus Big Silver Oval 2.0m (spade to spade).

Power: Shunyata Z-Tron NR 15 amp, Shunyata Z-Tron NR 20 amp, Enklein DAVID 15 Ampere, Candlarus Power Hi-Current 15 amp (12').

Acoustics: Dedicated room, Vicoustics, GIK, Acoustic Wings, and Auralex,

Room: 15' 1" wide x 18' 5" long x 9' 2" high

 

 

Tonality

Sub-bass (10Hz - 60Hz)

Mid-bass (80Hz - 200Hz)

Midrange (200Hz - 3,000Hz)

High Frequencies (3,000Hz On Up)

Attack

Decay

Inner Resolution

Soundscape Width Front

Soundscape Width Rear
Soundscape Depth Behind Speakers

Soundscape Extension Into Room

Imaging

Fit And Finish

Self Noise

Value For The Money

 

 

Specifications
Type: Floorstanding loudspeaker
Frequency Response: 28Hz to 50 kHz
Sensitivity: 90dB/W/m
Impedance: 4 Ohms
Minimum Recommended Amplifier: 50 Watts
Tweeter: Proprietary feather weight, electrostat-like membrane
Woofer: Orientation completely cancels unwanted vibrations
Patented tweeter has no break up modes and is omni-directional past 50 kHz Proprietary woofer with Egyptian papyrus cone
Cabinet: Carbon fiber, non-turbulent, ultra-stiff and ultra-light enclosure.
Proprietary cabinet damping compound
Crossover: Low energy storage crossover design with proprietary capacitors and air core coils.
Base Plate: Solid granite base
Hand-built and tested in Hungary.
Price: $60,000

 

 

 

Company Information
Bayz Audio
Voice: +36 30 99-88-781
E-mail: z.bay@bayz-audio.eu
Website: www.bayz-audio.eu

 

 

USA Contact
Rhapsody Audio
Manhattan, NY
Voice: (212) 229-1842
Website: www.Rhapsody.Audio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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