Martin Logan 60xti
We all know Martin Logan from the electrostatic speakers. Your editor has very warm memories of his ‘shop-time’ where it was allowed to play with a variety of high-end speakers. The Logans regularly came into the listening room. There was even a weekend when there were five in the room: multichannel. We played Portishead NYC. Beautiful!
This 60XTi is part of the Motion series. The series is placed just under the large, well known electrostatic models. The 60XTi is the largest. At the top we see a ribbon and below that a mid-unit and two woofers. So it is a three-way bass reflex system. With a heavy MDF cabinet and in our case with piano black finish. Nice. The finish is good.
The sound is – ‘American’ style – grand and impressive. The bass goes incredibly deep and remains tight and controlled. Especially on the NAIM system. With Jacques we hear a very tight and impressive bass kick. Actually only the Golden Ear can do that as well like that. And that says it all. Striking is the controllability: the efficiency is 94 dB! We estimate that even a tube can control these Logans very well. In any case, our Yamaha had no problem with it. Lovely speaker. Especially in a Home Theatre set-up!
Xavian Stella Esclusiva
This Czech is completely made of oak wood. Your editor really loves it. The two-way bass reflex with passive radiator also makes it a pretty puristic speaker. And with 89dB, most amplifiers should have no problem with controlling it.
With the new Stella Esclusiva the foot is filled with sand. That should make it even more stable and resistant to resonances. We are curious. There is one word that comes to mind in this test: calmess. The balance and presentation is so incredibly calm. That makes it possible to listen to this speaker for a very long time.
Now it is true that it differs per genre. Acoustic work sounds very solid. But deep bass is less tight than with the Martin Logan, for example. However, the ease with which this Xavian creates air in the imaging, is very impressive. Just like the overtones / harmonics of the harp. This is something the artists immediately noticed. This really completes the reproduction of an instrument.
Although the Xavian does not represent every genre equally convincingly, it is a speaker that has a lot to offer. Jacques Loussier sounds very good. Very rhythmic, very involved. In Fire and Rain – a recording from the 60’s – it gets a little too thin in the middle area. This can be compensated with a better match and cabling. But keep that in mind.
Piega Premium 501
The Swiss Piega is the ‘King of Slender Columns’. The Piega Premium 501 is also a beautiful slim column. But don’t be fooled: this slim column certainly doesn’t sound thin. With a range of 36 Hz – 50 kHz it offers more body than the Xavians. And that is really audible. The only thing is that your editor might have liked to hear a little more ‘chest’: a little more mid-low, shall we say. That’s taste and certainly can be achieved with the right match.
Furthermore, this speaker is really fast and very accurate. This is partly thanks to the ribbon. We almost all agree that ribbons are particularly good at voice reproduction. Most domes just can’t match the level of a good ribbon when it comes to vocal work. Or good brass / percussion in which the harmonics play a major role. This Piega really knows how to reproduce that beautifully.
The Piega is not difficult to control, but the Yamaha is not a nice combination with this speaker. It is possible, but we don’t really recommend it. The mid-area becomes really too thin so the tonal balance is not good. An amplifier with a little more amps is needed.
Driade Model 2
The Dutch Driade may close this test. We test the Model 2 of 4500 euro. The most expensive one from the test.
The designer – Arnold Heres – told us that it really is a different loudspeaker. How different? Well… already after a few notes we figured it out. The Driade is a very rhythmic sounding and fast speaker. It is also the only speaker in the test that can reproduce the live recording really well. With a feeling of live music. So the ambience, acoustics and speed needed. That’s impressive.
In addition, we hear a very uncolored middle area, causing Fire and Rain to come in hard. We also had that with the Spendor; also a two-way model. The Xavian is tuned differently in this respect; the brakes on the Driade are just gone. Whether it is the Eton hexacone units, the filter, the cabinet or everything… fact is: this is very good.
We’re also a bit ‘lost for words’ in the live stream. Partly because everything just falls into place with this setup. The NAIM plays very well on the Driade, the Yamaha idem. In short: a very nice product from our own little frog country. Compliments.