Arte Acustica Janas Lucia loudspeakers

15.02.2012..

ReMusic Spark Award

To the introduction of ReMusic's Spark Award


Janas Lucia are exceptional loudspeakers in many respects.

Exceptional because they perform very well and exceptional because they make an exception if compared to the majority of the loudspeakers. Arte Acustica is an Italian company based in Cagliari, Sardinia. Eng. Giorgio Todde, the owner, has a clear head on which way to follow and on the design philosophy of his loudspeakers. The Arte Acustica speakers can adapt to most amplifications. The Concept model is a high efficiency speaker dedicated to vacuum tube electronics, whilst the Janas Lucia has been thought and realized to match with transistor amplifications.

The Janas Lucia, object of this review, is a three-way floorstanding loudspeaker.

Actually, this is a reductive description considering that its features are more articulated, as well as its particularities.

Then, let us take this step-by-step.

 

The cabinet is in plywood birch. This light and rigid material allows the increase of the resonance frequency in order to decrease drastically the mechanical distortion. Even if huge, the cabinet is light, easy to move and carry. This is a great thing because, usually, also the small objects are very heavy. Outstandingly, once in a while the quality is not sold by the weight. This is a great thing too.

Also the inner soundproof material - natural raw-wool from Sardinia - is original, although quite expensive.

The Janas is a large-sized speaker and its frontal has room for the 25 cm woofer whereas the height allocates the three transducers at an adequate distance. The soundstage is therefore homogenous without evident steps in the point of passage from a frequency range to another. The medium front area is inclined so to obtain the alignment of the magnets axis and the right temporal phase of emission. The woofer is back loaded in a reflex enclosure, while the 13 cm paper mid and the 2,5 cm silk tweeter are placed on the cabinet top, which is open. The midrange, being air-wired, is a real dipole, while the tweeter features its own closed chamber near the magnet. A recap: the woofer is reflex-loaded, the mid is a dipole and the tweeter is closed. Do you not consider this typology at least quite original, do you?

 

The cabinet has a lucid enamel finish and is available in several colours: I saw displayed the white and the cyclamen versions. I am testing the red one, which reminds me the clothes of the janas, the beautiful and little fairies of the Sardinian popular tradition. During the night, they wake you up, bring you to see their huge treasures, and if you will try to touch them... everything will become dust.

The shape is not the classic parallelepiped, though. The wide frontal is in part inclined with an open top. The elegant and original lines contribute to make it looking slimmer.

The original positioning of the tweeter catches the eye. Its flange, in some measure, is without the upper baffle: probably to assure, to some extent, the dipole features of the midrange.

In sum, this three-way is not very ordinary. If you take into account the absence of the crossover - a part from a capacitor in series to the tweeter with the sole function of protection and not as a filter, and an attenuation resistance on the midrange - well it is ab-so-lu-te-ly amazing. Yes, that is right. This is a three-way without crossover!

 

I think it is very difficult to design a two-way speaker with a good calibre, just imagine a three-way! Hence, my approach is always very careful and cautious. Thinking of realizing a three-way without any correction in order to linearize the emission, well, for me it was a crazy thing: at least so far.

At this point, I will hand over to Giorgio Todde, who describes as follows his design philosophy: “I’ve tried to reduce as much as possible the phase distortion which is always underestimated. This is why I have virtually excluded the crossover. Many audio manufacturers invest substantial intellectual and human resources trying to eliminate as much as possible the passive components along the signal path. They often get relevant results but they do not consider that all that stuff takes the wraps of the loudspeaker: element full of reactive components that are often of low quality too. So why not trying to eliminate the crossover? In this way the electric load has no more modules and phase variations that are typical of the crossover systems. It is, in all respects, an easy load”.

 

As they are now in my listening room, I can say that the Janas Lucia by Arte Acustica represent an example of the Italian technical and productive skill, a real acoustic miracle. This outcome has required several years of study and diligence together with the advance of some original ideas. Here again Eng. Todde’s words: “The system plays on the interaction between the loudspeakers, the so-called controlled interference. They never interact in a destructive, but in a collaborative way. There is no comb-filter effect or comb distortion. This is due to a design in which the synergy between geometrical, electromechanical and electrical elements has been treated rigorously”.

It seems quite impossible to listen to my favourite tracks without notice any emission detachments or steps that demarcate the passage between the range frequencies. It seems impossible and baffling to think or simply imagine the absence of the crossover. These Janas perform like real three-way loudspeakers: with limpid, extended and dynamic mid frequencies capable of making the recording living, with deep and well controlled bottom end and detailed but never intrusive top end.

 

The designer suggests using amplifiers with high damping factor in voltage mode: practically all the tube amplifiers with a low damping factor are excluded. In effect, my AM Audio power amps have been great partners of the Janas although their low damping factor has somewhat penalized the bass frequencies which I have to correct by lifting the loudspeakers about ten cm and by using a marble base. Unfortunately I could not test them with high power tube amps: in my room there were not available neither the KR Audio nor the S.I. Audio Cult/I. Notwithstanding the 90 dB of these speakers, I do not feel like suggesting a match with tubes of any typology and power.

The listening test has been made by matching the Janas with the following system: DIY digital source, J.A. Michell GyroDec analogue source with SME IV tonearm and low-output Transfiguration Spirit cartridge, Fidelity Research FRT 3G step up, AM Audio MM20 pre phono with dedicated power supply, DIY transistor preamp and Class A AM Audio B80 mono power amps, DIY, White Gold and Systems and Magic cables.

 

The sound of the Janas Lucia is clear and vigorous, thanks to the mid frequencies characterized by transparency and linearity. Listening to symphonic music is an experience made of microdynamic of details and macrodynamic of the full orchestra. At high volume, the sound pressures do not suffer any compression and the sound stage is always homogenous all along the frequencies spectrum. Therefore, there is quite no listening fatigue in the prolonged tests. On the contrary, the involvement is high. The soundstage is really wide and deep but you have to take particular care in positioning your loudspeakers: I suggest putting them at the maximum possible distance to preserve the image, and keep them distant from the back wall. If suitable, I suggest applying the rule that divides your room in three equal parts with the speakers along the first line and the listening point along the second one.

With jazz, you can appreciate the harmonic richness of the bass frequencies that are very controlled and articulated: it is difficult to verify this parameter and these good performances with any kind of reflex-loaded loudspeakers. I can mention the Wilson Sasha that, however, belong to a higher price category. The most beautiful sensation is the amazing amalgam between the main frequencies. The reproduction is punctiform and I am still talking of a three-way floorstanding speaker without crossover!

Also rock music is reproduced in an excellent way. The electric guitar has a noticeable presence effect and does not blur with the other instruments. I mean, it does not shut in the image or compress the dynamics and the sound pressure. I have pumped up the volume like in the live events! Listen to Sheffield Lab Drum Record with Jim Keltner and Ron Tutt!

 

The Janas Lucia speakers reproduce the music in the way I like. Their sound is the sound I look for in my personal audio systems: a lively, fresh sound that expresses itself along a wide and homogenous frequency range. Hence, a sound close to reality. I am not telling I do not like sounds capable of getting the listener involved although not extremely linear. But this is not the case of the Janas, which move the soul chords even with very low intimist night volumes.

 

Any weak point? Yes, of course. The Janas Lucia are revealing speakers. If you have made a wrong match in your audio chain, they scream it in the face. Not to speak of the inaccurate recordings, or the exceptional recordings which become more exceptional with these exceptional speakers. The Janas prefer large rooms so if yours is not so large you can have a lot of fun: you can lift them about ten centimetres, use marble bases, damp the exuberance of the bass frequencies by inserting some sponges in the reflex channel. Take always care in positioning the speakers, as they are sensitive to the slightest movement.

Do not miss a listening session during the local shows. Despite of the room, the noise, the commotion of the near systems you will surely recognize these Arte Acustica as grand loudspeakers that do maintain very high the level of the Italian products.

For me it is a spark in the dark, a ReMusic Spark!

 

 

SCHEME SUMMARY

top score ✳✳✳✳✳ ReMusic Sparks

Tone colour: ✳✳✳✳✳ | Extremely correct. Excellent timbric balance. Very rare the wavering.

Dynamics: ✳✳✳✳✳ | Excellent. Very real and extended. No signals of compression.

Detail: ✳✳✳✳1/2 | Elevated in every frequency range. Slight particulars highlighted. In particular conditions, the bass needs some solutions for a better control.

Clearness: ✳✳✳✳✳ | Of absolute quality. The best skill.

Image: ✳✳✳✳✳ | Wide in the three-dimensions.

Rise time: ✳✳✳✳✳ | Very quick and meteoric, with a great closeness to the unrecorded event.

Manufacture: ✳✳✳✳ | Raw materials of value and terminations of quality.

Improvable the appearance and the manufacture.

Price/quality ratio: ✳✳✳✳1/2 | A great deal for the lovers of this sound.


Official technical specifications:

Type: floorstanding speakers, three-way, bass reflex woofer, mid dipole, closed chamber tw

Components: 25 cm woofer, 13 cm midrange, 2,5 cm tweeter, one capacitor and one resistance

Sensitivity: 90dB 1m/2,83V

Impedance: 8 ohms

Low frequency response: <30Hz -3dB

Note: Janas loudspeakers are realized in plywood birch with internal stiffening of the same material. The pad is in sheep wool. The basic setting is the same as the Concept superior line: rigour in design, maximum care in the mechanical features of the materials, virtual absence of the crossover.

Official Italian dealer: direct sale, to Arte Acustica website

Official current price in Italy: it is possible to personalize the loudspeakers on demand:

Satin finish, mono-wiring and standard wiring 5,000.00 EUR

Shiny finish +380,00 EUR

Black Shiny finish, to estimate

Biwiring +150,00 EUR

Biwiring with special connection +400,00 EUR

Sistema utilizzato: to Roberto "The Rock" Rocchi's system

 

Listening points:

Rome: Annuario Audio

Cagliari: Arte Acustica

To book (Rome and Cagliari) +39.333.3250360


by Roberto Rocchi
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