The Danish designers at Jamo have just introduced their latest vision in what state-of-the-art high-fidelity loudspeakers should be in the new-form Jamo Reference R 909.
They've done away with traditional cabinets, reasoning that box enclosures, while helpful for generating deep bass, actually induce resonances that negatively affect the sound dynamics and precision.
The Reference 909 floor-standing speakers sport an electrodymanic dipolar design and are fitted with two 380mm (15-in) woofers, a 150mm (5.5-in) midrange and a customised 25mm (1-in) Scanspeak Revelator tweeter.
The two big bass drivers use open magnesium baskets plus lightweight air-dried paper cones with a polyurethane suspension. The midrange driver employs a patented Neodymium magnet arrangement, with a magnesium cone for stiffness and low weight, which Jamo believes to be vital for dynamic response. The cone can deliver output up to 9kHz without sonic break-up, which yields an open, detailed reproduction of vocals. The Scanspeak tweeter features a textile dome that's coated several times and a double-damped chamber behind the magnet system with an anti-resonator plug to stop turbulence.
CNET.com.au listened to several pieces of music at the R 909 launch briefing, and yes, the sound is superb throughout the frequency range. In an SACD acoustic guitar piece, you could easily hear the fingers sliding over the frets, and the sound was equally realistic in classical and brass and percussion pieces.
Close your eyes, and you may think you're listening to live music. Open them, and you'll be looking at quite a large pair of speakers that may or may not blend into all decors. Placed atop a 26 kg cast iron base, the R 909 speakers stand at a fairly imposing 1276 x 488 x 541 mm (HxWxD). The 43 mm thick open baffle is made from a multi-ply construction which is available in three solid (and not a little macho) colours: Porsche black, Ferrari red and Lamborghini yellow.
When fully cranked, the R909 will handle 800Watts of power, so opening up these speakers may have a few irate neighbours knocking on your door.
And it's definitely not your sound solution if you're after a home theatre set up -- it's strictly a music-only, two-channel system.
Jamo is hand-building the Reference 909 in Denmark at a rate of seven per week, and if you want them, be prepared to part with AU$18,900 for a pair. Still, the company claims to have pre-sold over 240, so we're betting that serious music lovers will be more than willing to pay for the high sonic performance.