The Adagio speakers are made by Acoustic Zen, a company known in audiophile circles as the makers of premium audio cables. The Adagio series of speakers is Acoustic Zen's smallest and least expensive line of speakers. There are two versions of the Acoustic Zen Adagio, the standard Adagio and the Adagio, Jr. The speakers are very similar, with the standard version being a floor standing speaker and the Adagio, Jr. being a large stand mounted design. The Adagio retails for $4,300, this is a competitive price range that has many good speaker choices to choose from. For a speaker to survive in this category it needs to be very good.
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The Adagio samples I received were finished in a furniture grade burled walnut finish and measured 48 inches tall, 13 inches deep and nine inches wide. They weigh 78 pounds each. The Adagio's driver array consists of a pair of six and one-half inch cones vertically flanking a one and one-half inch circular ribbon tweeter in a classic D'Appolito array. The mid-woofers are mounted on baffles which increase the effective thickness of the MDF cabinet to approximately two inches while helping to time and phase align the drivers. The bottom of the Adagio's front panel features a large port for the transmission line. Frequency response is 30Hz to 25kHz, with a sensitivity of 89 dB/1Watt/1meter. The MDF cabinets feature curved side panels and a narrower rear panel. This design is said to reduce internal reflections.
The custom made six and one-half inch midrange-woofers feature ceramic impregnated fabric cones and feature an "under hung" design. This same basic design is used by many other high end speaker manufacturers including Wilson and THIEL. This design has a short voice coil that moves in a long magnetic gap. This design is capable of reducing distortion by up to 95%. Robert Lee, the chief engineer of Acoustic Zen designed the one and one-half inch circular ribbon tweeter which is made from an extremely thin layer of kapton. Robert Lee states that kapton remains thermally stable so as to minimize distortion and maximize linearity no matter how much power is being used. The Adagio's feature a single set of binding posts as the internal wiring is Acoustic Zen's own Satori cabling which is of higher quality than the cable most would use for bi-wiring these speakers.
The frequency extension, at both ends of the spectrum, and the performance levels at these extremes was quite good. The ribbon tweeter struck the careful balance of detail and presence without being irritating and the bass was surprisingly solid and deep for the modest size of the drivers and cabinet.
Read The High Points, The Low Points and The Conclusion on Page 2