LECUA的全名是Luxman電子終極音量控制器（Luxman Electric Controlled Ultimate Attenuator），最早出現在1996年發表的C-10前級中，運作原理是以兩組數值經過精密計算的電阻陣列互相搭配，達到調整（衰減）音量大小的目的。這種設計可以看做是傳統級進式音量控制器的進化型態，傳統作法必須靠旋鈕切換電阻的接點，達到改變音量的目的，LECUA則是利用晶片感知旋鈕位置，進而控制兩組電阻的搭配。LECUA有三大優點，一是沒有接點氧化問題，使用再久也不會出現雜音。二是每一級音量只經過兩顆電阻，將失真降到最低。三是LECUA的線路板是垂直立體架構，將訊號路徑縮到最短，將雜訊干擾降到最低。目前Luxman C-900u旗艦前級使用的是LECUA 1000，這是了全平衡架構的頂級製作。最入門的DA-150 USB DAC同樣配備LECUA技術，雖然是將電阻陣列做在晶片裡面，但是特性仍比一般音量控制器好上許多。
LxDTM – 徹底排除轉盤振動干擾
Luxman原創轉盤機構（Luxman Original Disc Transport Mechanism）的縮寫，由厚鋼板與鋁合金板構成重量級轉盤外殼，外殼厚達9mm，整體重達7公斤，鋼板與鋁合金兩種材料的組合，是經過無數次實驗之後，抑振效果最好的選擇，可以同時抑制拾取機構的馬達振動，以及外界振動干擾。旗艦D-08u SACD唱盤所使用的LxDTM轉盤，還附帶一個會自動開闔的「門」，承盤進出動作無比精密優雅，日本的機械工藝，實在無話可說。曾有國外訊源廠商想要購買這個轉盤機構，可惜產量有限，只能Luxman獨享，就算有錢也買不到。
早川齊接任社長之後，做了一個重大決定，成為Luxman成功進軍歐美市場的關鍵，那就是大膽任用年輕工程師Tim de Paravicini進入研發部門。如今音響迷都知道Tim是音響大師，但是在1972年，Tim只是個二十多歲的小伙子，在南非音響界發展，曾經替幾個搖滾樂團設計過音響系統，並且替一些音響店擔任諮詢工作，雖然擁有一間小工廠，在當地小有名號，但是絕對稱不上大師。那時他在南非工作的一間音響店，剛好是Luxman的當地總代理，Luxman慧眼視英雄，發掘了Tim的音響設計才華，於是延聘他到大阪工作。
Designed and manufactured in Great Britain from original designs, Spendor loudspeakers – which include the accessible A-Line and the enthusiast D-Line and Classic – deliver a transparent and musical sound that performs well above their price point. Indeed, so good are Spendor loudspeakers, the A4 floor-standers won a coveted five-star What Hi-Fi? Award earlier this year.
Creating a loudspeaker as good as a Spendor, particularly one that’s as aesthetically pleasing as it is sonically proficient, is no easy task. In the video below, each stage of the six-day build process has been beautifully documented, beginning with an initial concept that’s cleverly matched to the market need by the Spendor team.
The initial concept goes through research and development, a year-long process of experimentation to find the perfect sound for the product. Detailed drawings are made using modern CAD (computer-aided design) software, while the effects of different drivers, styles and materials are precisely calculated. At every stage of the process, the Spendor team takes comprehensive measurements and listens, listens and then listens to the loudspeaker again.
Every part of the loudspeaker has a profound effect on its sound. The cabinets, crafted with sophisticated multi-axis computer controlled machining, are assembled by skilled operators with decades of experience. The natural veneers that give the cabinets their smart, modern styling are matched from a variety of premium woods before going through a process of mirroring and laying to achieve the perfect look. The cabinet is then lacquered and polished with a meticulous attention to detail for a beautiful finish.
The heart of a loudspeaker is the drive unit. Spendor uses vacuum formed EP77 polymer cones mounted inside a die-cast magnesium alloy chassis. Aerospace-grade adhesives – as strong as steel – marry the high density ferrite magnet ring and Kevlar composite bass cones. It’s this precision alignment of cone, coil and suspension assembly – as well as premium crossovers made with precision inductor winding and gold plated four-layer circuit boards – that give Spendor speakers their sought-after sound.
The cabinets and drivers are brought together to create a fully working loudspeaker that – like at every stage of the process – is tested and calibrated against Spendor’s laboratory reference to ensure it meets the company’s meticulously high standards. Finally, the loudspeaker is packed and sent out to one very happy customer. A year of extensive design work is turned into a hand-built loudspeaker in six extremely labour-intensive days.
Such craftsmanship is why Spendor can create the innovative, elegantly engineered and beautiful sounding loudspeakers that have astonished listeners for over 40 years.
Since 1981, Wharfedale’s famous Diamond line has continually redefined what can be achieved by modestly priced loudspeakers, each iteration improving upon the last.
Now it’s time for a new generation – the Diamond 11 Series – to burst sonic expectations with a range of bookshelf and floorstanding speakers that deliver spellbinding clarity and sparkling refinement.
Elegantly curved multi-layered cabinet walls, advanced drive unit technologies and a sophisticated slot-loaded port system combine to expose the heart and soul of every musical performance, as only a Diamond can.
advanced bass and midrange drivers
The Diamond 11 Series incorporates the most advanced drive unit systems ever seen in an affordable loudspeaker range, with massive ceramic magnets for high sensitivity and highly linear motor systems for minimal distortion.
Woven Kevlar cones are bonded to a super-lightweight surround made from hi-tech foam, delivering remarkable clarity and musical expression. These cones are driven by copper-clad aluminium coils, which surround a specially shaped one-piece pole plate fitted with a copper cap to reduce inductance and linearise the magnetic flux.
The driver assembly is held together by a specially designed basket, ribbed to increase rigidity, with a large open area behind the cone. The rigidity improves transient impact while the big open area reduces early reflections to cone and allows the internal cabinet absorbent to do its work.
wfr treble unit
Developed specifically for the Diamond 11 Series, Wharfedale’s Wide Frequency Response tweeter incorporates its own ‘cabinet’ – a precisely shaped rear chamber damped with a fibre filling. This provides a low resonant frequency below 800Hz, ensuring that the usual distortion heard from such resonance is buried deep below the musical output.
An over-sized ceramic magnet, chosen to give a smoother sound than the commonly found neodymium, is attached to a vented pole piece with copper cap. Together, these features contribute to a wonderfully lucid midrange as well as smooth, pure and richly defined high-frequency detail.
elegantly curved cabinets
The main enclosure of each Diamond 11 Series speaker is expertly engineered to make the most of the advanced drive units, utilising a multi-layer sandwich of woods of differing density to subdue the identifiable characteristics of the cabinet ‘sound’ and so let the drivers speak for themselves.
Critical bracing of the cabinet panels contributes to the eradication of audible resonance, as does the curving of the cabinet walls to provide a non-boxy shape. In addition, the cabinet walls are lined with a specially developed internal fibre, chosen for its outstanding absorbent qualities across a wide bandwidth.
The result is that the listener hears the drive unit output unsullied by unwanted colorations caused by panel vibration or internal resonances, revealing more of the detail of the musical performance.
sophisticated slot-loaded port
Instead of a standard circular reflex port, an enhanced version of Wharfedale’s more sophisticated Slot-Loaded Distributed Port is used to augment bass performance.
An internal port tube, with precisely curved openings to smooth airflow, opens into a slot formed between the cabinet and the plinth. This reduces the turbulence and audible ‘chuffing’ suffered by conventional ported systems, which is caused by the sudden outrush of high pressure air into the low pressure in the room.
The result is an entirely natural recreation of the fundamental notes of bass instruments, matching the realistic sound of the midrange and treble characteristics. It also allows the listener to position Diamond 11 speakers closer to a rear wall than would be possible with conventional rear-ported speakers, helping to make them less obtrusive in a room setting.
sound that sparkles
It all adds up to unquestionably the best Diamond range yet, delivering a natural sense of space and musical communication that is both instantly engaging and consistently appealing in the long term.
Diamond 11 Series speakers draw you into every musical performance in a way you’d normally expect to hear only from models at considerably higher price levels, epitomising the traditional Wharfedale attribute of being great all-rounders with any kind of music.
Add the elegantly curved and immaculately finished cabinets, available in a choice of black, white, walnut or rosewood, and Wharfedale is proud to have created a range of speakers that delivers premium quality at remarkably affordable prices – entirely befitting the company’s 85-year legacy.
the range in full
The Diamond 11 Series comprises eight models: three standmount designs, three floorstanders and two centre speakers for home cinema systems.
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Soulution 746+ Limited Edition 前級擴音機
MC811A mono block x 4 部 喇叭
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Kubala Sosna Realization and Elation series and AFA Gold and Silver series
Looking for a good pair of compact premium floorstanders? Spendor’s new A4s could be exactly what you’re after.
They’re beautifully engineered, smartly finished and sound great. And at just over 80cm tall they’re unlikely to dominate, even in smaller rooms.
Build and compatibility
While it may be tempting to think of these speakers as a development of the company’s well-established A5 model, they are quite different – even if the general styling and cabinet dimensions suggest otherwise.
These are a two-way design, rather than the 2.5-way of the A5 – the change is marked with a move from two 15cm drivers to a single 18cm mid/bass unit.
The low frequencies are tuned by a rear-firing reflex port on the new model. The older has a sealed cabinet.
High frequencies are delivered by Spendor’s favoured 22mm wide-surround tweeter, which is claimed to produce a wider frequency range and lower distortion than traditional dome designs – but this time with a protective grille in place.
The change in drive unit configuration doesn’t alter the underlying specification too much.
Claimed sensitivity is similar at 86dB/W/m (just a single dB down from the A5) and nominal impedance remains at 8ohms. Any good price-appropriate amplifier will be happy driving these.
We’re impressed by the build quality. The cabinet feels immensely rigid, with carefully designed internal bracing combined with the clever use of low-mass constrained polymer damping.
The finish is pleasing too, with crisp edges, neat detailing and smart real wood veneers. There are the traditional finish options, including black ash, dark walnut and natural oak.
Connection is through a high quality pair of single wire terminals. Spendor has moved away from biwiring with its A models in a bid to keep things simple.
We’re fine with that. It’s always better to use a single run of quality cable over twin runs of an inferior alternative.
These floorstanders are unfussy about positioning – just give them a little space to breathe and don’t stuff them into a corner.
We angle them towards the listening position slightly, which helps to solidify the stereo imaging.
Once up and running it doesn’t take long to realise the A4s are talented. They have a more outgoing and friendly character than the older model. They’re expressive, entertaining and, perhaps surprisingly for a Spendor design, fun.
We start with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and these floorstanders revel in the music’s wide-ranging dynamics and complex arrangement.
There’s plenty of insight, with the A4s able to track multiple instrumental strands while still presenting them as a cohesive and musical whole.
Spendor has long prided itself on delivering natural and convincing tonality, and that’s the case again here. These floorstanders sound clean and wonderfully balanced.
They replace the slightly sterile presentation of the A5s with a natural sense of life and articulation that’s hugely engaging.
Stereo imaging is impressive too. Once properly positioned (and partnered with suitably talented electronics) these speakers describe an expansive, nicely layered soundstage populated with precisely located instruments.
The imaging stays stable even when the music becomes demanding, which is no easy feat.
Massive Attack’s Teardrop shows the A4s to be capable of deep, articulate low frequencies.
While they wouldn’t be our first choice to fill large rooms or play at a party, they do well for their size. More importantly, they stay refined and composed when pushed hard, avoiding the slight edge of their predecessors.
Rhythms are handled in a surefooted manner and delivered with plenty of snap and drive. There’s all the insight and analysis we’ve come to expect from Spendor’s models, but here it comes with a sense of enthusiasm the brand hasn’t always achieved.
The A4’s midrange is lovely. Voices come through with impressive clarity, pleasing projection and a class-leading level of subtlety. This points to well-matched drive units and a carefully calibrated crossover.
While we’ve generally liked Spendor’s products, a few of the smaller, more affordable models have tended to prioritise analysis over entertainment.
The A4 delivers both, with ease. In recent years the likes of PMC’s Twenty 23s have been our go-to compact floorstanders at this price level.
We’re adding the Spendor A4s to that very short shortlist.