We’ve experienced the Driade Mode 2 before. In our live test of floorstanders to be exact. And there the two-way speaker made a deep impression in terms of coherence and rhythm. Now that we’re looking for a new reference speaker, Driade suggested we take a listen to the Driade Model 3S…. Which should offer even more fun. Well… bring it on!
“There is no way like a two-way”…. famous last words? Well… no. But let’s start at the beginning and keep the focus on the Driade Model 3S. Because after all, that is the subject of this review.
“The beauty of the Model 3S is that it sounds really good at low volume,” says Arnold Heres, owner of Driade and designer of the speakers. “But if you play on low volume, you will soon find that you want to play louder and louder.” And he’s certainly right about that. It’s a speaker that sounds very well on low volumes. And that’s a particularly nice feature. We digress again…
The Driade Model 3S is a three-way. The port on the front is not a traditional bass reflex port. The woofer uses it (almost) only to breathe. Below the woofer is a space that helps the woofer create some extra oemf. It is a kind of damped bass chamber. Partly because of this setup, the bass can go surprisingly deep with a relatively compact woofer (with a giant magnet, that is).
Above the 7-inch paper-carbon woofer from Eton is a 4-inch Eton midrange driver made of the same material. And above that a 2.5-inch silk soft-dome tweeter. Again from Eton. All three units are equipped with quite a large magnet which gives the unit a lot of control.
A lot of specifications Driade doesn’t give away on its website. But a conversation teaches us that the filter is completely tuned for a coherent reproduction where harmonics flow into each other and do not get in each other’s way. Crossovers are around 350 / 2800 Hz. It’s not a traditional crossover. So we can’t really talk about first order or a variation of it.
The enclosure will be a familiar design to many Driade connoisseurs. It’s basically the same base as the Model 2 and Model 3. The angles are deliberately put in place to control reflections; particularly from the mid and high end. That way you don’t get any nasty effects of cancellation. It also helps with depth of imaging. More on that later. Although the weight is not that high (24 Kg), the cabinet feels solid and shows no obvious resonances during our famous knock test which is of course very scientificly solid… :-). Arnold Heres has announced that the necessary attention has been given to bracing and effective damping to counteract coloration.
A bit sober
Now in the year 2021 we are used to a lot of bling. Look at all the chic cabinets of the usual suspects. High gloss, leather, chic veneers, glass, beautiful shapes, you name it. We don’t see that with this Driade Model 3S. Nor with brands like ATC, Totem or, for example, Harbeth. Our Model 3S is made in red. Just… red. If you want a wood finish, that’s also possible of course. We guess that the majority goes for a nice veneer. Looks just a bit more pleasant and fresher to us.