Blumenhofer Mini loudspeakers

24.11.2014..

As the name tells, the Blumenhofer Mini loudspeakers are mini speakers.

 

Clear.

 

Hence, they belong to that category of products that has both estimators and detractors. If you like them, I hope you can appreciate the test of a new model although not very famous in Italy. If you do not, probably you will not change your mind but, at least, you can get an idea of why some people love this kind of loudspeakers.

 

I do not have many info about the company, but from the pictures, it seems a kind of farm, a big chalet, a structure completely different from the usual plants or hi-tech buildings. They are based in Germany, in the Naturpark Augsburg Westliche Wälder, not far from Munich. Thomas Blumenhofer, the owner, has been working in the audio field since 1979, firstly in the Pro (acoustic treatment of cinemas, theatres, recording studios and concert halls) and, since 2000 in the home systems. In 2009, Andrea Vitali joined the company. He has been dealing with development, strategy, management and marketing.

 

Blumenhofer has put all the Pro experience in the making of home hi-fi systems.

This is why they manufacture mainly horn speakers.

 

The cabinets are homemade, while other companies on Blumenhofer’s specs make most of the transducers. Sometimes, though, Blumenhofer modifies directly some membranes of the drivers.

 

They manufacture several products and the production lines are as follow:

 

Fun Series, Bass Horn loudspeakers

Tempesta Series, Bass Reflex loudspeakers

Genuin Series, Bass Reflex loudspeakers with time alignment

Gioia Series, Loudspeakers with midrange horn

Bookshelf Series, Loudspeakers for bookshelf and desktop

Central loudspeakers, Subwoofers, Surround, On Wall, Soundbars…

 

Before speaking of the Mini, I would like to go back to what I said in the first three lines of this article. I admit it. I am an estimator of the mini speakers. Not all of them, of course, and only if employed with logic. This is a contradiction, however, because in my home system I have two big black one-way floorstanders even if, very often, I connect and listen with extreme pleasure to a pair of small speakers. If I rethink to all the systems that in the last thirty years have struck me for quality and sound characteristics, I can mention the Sonus Faber Minima Amator, driven by a Classè Audio DR3 power amp, twenty-five watts, class A. Or the hyper-classic LS 3/5a, connected to a pair of Quad II mono. Or the Sequerra Met 7, but I do not remember with which amplification. Three systems that are not the top as overall performances, considering the low range, but for me – and not only for me – full of beauty, grace and enjoyment. I know that someone could not agree with me but my personal experience pushes me to say what I said.

 

A LS 3/5a speaker, ad example, with a “small amp” is a “small” speaker and offers a “small” sound. It also happens to me at the beginning of my experience as an audiophile, to make a big mistake. I changed a pair of Rogers with other material but, after a couple of years, I bought again a pair of Spendor because I have learned that it is not true that a big speaker needs big amplifications and that a small speaker needs small amps! A big speaker has usually a higher sensitiveness, so it can be driven with less watts. The 82,5 dB of efficiency of a mini speaker require a stronger driving to perform at best.

 

Another mistake is not bearing the idea of spending more money for the amplification than for the loudspeakers. Why? If you want to drive at best a pair of Wilson Audio Alexia, or other speakers at this level, you have to spend more money for the amplification. In any case, the worst mistake an audiophile can make is placing the mini speakers on the bookshelves because they are small. The best way to make them perform really badly!

 

By the way Ken Kessler, one of the most known and appreciated reviewer, states that only of the models 3/5a, more than hundred thousand pairs have been sold. This means something, doesn’t it?

 

On purpose, I have taken to the extreme the importance of the amplification to be matched with the mini speakers of good quality. Actually, you can get appreciable results in a normal home environment, with “virtuous” transistor amps, especially made in England. I say English because the first ones to come into my mind are Naim, Onix, Cyrus, Kelvin Labs, Myst, A&R Cambridge of more than ten years ago. Maybe they were designed to be matched with this kind of speakers. However, the trend and the market requests aim to always more powerful amps, sometimes less refined, that, at the end, do not match very well with the mini speakers.

 

Now let’s talk about the Blumenhofer Mini.

 

They share the same design, even if more modern, of the former Satellite Mini, still in production some years ago.

 

The changes are as follows. The corners have been rounded. The bass reflex system is traditional now. The tweeter and the woofer are different as well as the binding posts. The efficiency has more dB and less ohms.

 

The price is lower of about 600.00 euro. The company states that very soon the series Mini SE will be produced at about 1,800.00 euro.

 

The efficiency of Blumenhofer Mini is 88 dB into 6 ohms. That means that also a refined small tube amp can make them perform at best. The crossover frequency is about 6.000 Hz. They are like single driver speakers with a 10 cm midwoofer and the adding of a tweeter that, in my opinion, delineates the refinement and the dispersion of the high frequencies. The tonal homogeneity is remarkable, the midrange is privileged so the voices, clarion, sax and most part of the piano keyboard. Obviously, the instruments with deep tones, like double bass, bass drum or part of the piano keyboard in the low notes are penalized, as happens for all the mini speakers due to their small dimensions. But not so penalized. The small woofer is “hyperactive” with a great excursion. It is very fast and obviates to the small dimensions with its velocity to let us hear the low notes. I do not have graphs, but I think that the crossover is very simple and linear.

 

In the high range, the measure and the control are very interesting. There is no listening fatigue, no annoyance. Some competitors call the annoyance as hyper-definition or hyper-detail. At a first listening, they can seem more refined in the high notes or more sparkling. The cymbals seem more metallic but, after thirty minutes, you get tired and need to turn down the volume. Instead, you can listen to the Blumenhofer Mini for hours at high volume. Do not underestimate such feature.

 

These loudspeakers can satisfy young people looking for a high quality listening experience considering that very often they do not have big spaces and lots of money.

 

They can also satisfy those audiophiles that want to change their old loudspeakers. It seems impossible but I see loudspeakers with the foam suspensions that needed to be changed and the owners refused to buy a new pair!

 

They can also make part of a second system, since they perform well without being very expensive. Not for the lovers of heavy metal or big orchestras, but for who likes jazz, crooners, classy pop, chamber music.

 

Matched with a good tube amplifier you can reach a good quality in the playback. Even if you do not like the mini speakers, I suggest listening to the Blumenhofer Mini. You could appreciate and, why not, like them.

 

 

Official technical specifications:

Tweeter: 25 mm silk dome tweeter

Woofer: 10cm (4") Woofer

Frequency range: 60Hz-20kHz ±2dB

Crossover frequency: 6.000Hz

Efficiency: 88dB

Impedance: 6ohm

Terminals: Single-Wiring gold plated

Dimensions: 140x280x270mm, 5,5x11x10,5 in (WxHxD)

Weight: 5kg

Cabinet: 18 mm MDF

Standard true wood veneers: Walnut and Cherry

As an option is matt lacquering possible as well

Feet: no

Warranty: 5 years

 

Official Italian dealer: to HiFi United website

Official current price in Italy: 990.00 euro

Associated equipment: to Ulisse Pisoni’s system

In the present and next images, some elegant and variagate veneers available for the Blumenhofer Mini: let's start with the Swiss Apple tree
In the present and next images, some elegant and variagate veneers available for the Blumenhofer Mini: let's start with the Swiss Apple tree
Walnut veneer
Walnut veneer
An African wood (not received...;-)
An African wood (not received...;-)
Makassar ebony veneer
Makassar ebony veneer
Indian Apple tree veneer
Indian Apple tree veneer
Beech core veneer
Beech core veneer
Cherry veneer
Cherry veneer
by Ulisse Pisoni
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