Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Baby Grand Loudspeaker Reviewed

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ViennaAcoustics_BabyGrand-reviewed.gifThe Beethoven Baby Grand from Vienna Acoustics sits just below the Beethoven Grand��in the Grand lineup of loudspeakers. The Baby Grand starts at $3,995 a pair for Maple, Cherry and Piano Black finishes and jumps to $4,400 a pair for Gloss White or Rosewood (my favorite). In terms of fit and finish few do it like, or better than, Vienna Acoustics. The build quality and appearance of the Baby Grand is beyond reproach, especially in its Rosewood or Piano Black finish. The attention to detail can be seen and felt throughout the speaker's design down to the aluminum base and spiking system. While not large; it measures in at six and a half inches wide by almost 40 inches tall and 13 inches deep, it is solid, weighing in at 65 pounds apiece.

The Baby Grand is a three-way loudspeaker featuring a one-inch Scan Speak silk dome tweeter, a single six-inch X3P mid-range driver and dual six-inch Vienna Designed XPP Spider Cone bass drivers.

You may ask yourself, what is an X3P driver or an XPP Spider Cone driver?��Well the X3P is the evolution of Vienna Acoustics' own XPP driver material, which is a proprietary combination of thermoplastics and polypropylene based synthetics coming together to form a fairly lightweight but ridged driver. In a nutshell (not to take anything away from Vienna Acoustics or the Baby Grand) it has plastic drivers and its bass drivers, dubbed XPP Spider Cones, are also plastic though they feature ribbing that looks a lot like a spider web which helps with rigidity.
Additional Resources

The Baby Grand has a reported frequency response of 30Hz-22kHz. The Baby Grand is fairly easy to drive sporting a sensitivity rating of 91dB into a four-Ohm load. Vienna Acoustics recommends a minimum amplifier rating of 40 watts per channel to get the most out of the Baby Grands, meaning you can power them with most of today's AV receivers, smaller integrated amplifiers and even tubes.

As for sound quality, well, the Baby Grands are as beautiful to listen to as they are to look at. They are delicate, nimble and a touch soft spoken but don't call them lean or anemic. They are definitely a European speaker, more in the vein of Bowers & Wilkins than JBL. They can rock and do better than most at high volumes - just don't expect them to get down and dirty, for the Baby Grands are better than that, they're speakers returned home from finishing school. The midrange is supple and warm and the tweeter is extremely natural though not quite as airy or forward as some metal-based designs, which gives the Baby Grand a more relaxed, smooth sound across the upper midrange and treble. The bass is surprising and can go quite low, exhibiting tremendous composure and control, though you'll need a sub if you want to hear the lowest most octaves of any music or movie soundtrack.

Read more about the Beethoven Baby Grand on Page 2.

HTR Product Rating for Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Baby Grand Loudspeaker

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High Points
� The Baby Grand is a beautiful speaker to behold and listen to. The fit and finish is first rate and its compact size is sure to make significant others everywhere jump for joy. The Baby Grand is not a speaker you'll want to try and hide from view.
� The Baby Grand's sound from the bass on up through the treble is so seamless and smooth. It's soothing, like ordering up a spa day for your ear canals.
� The Baby Grand is every bit a high end or upscale loudspeaker that, unlike the competition, can be driven beautifully with a wider range of equipment such as a home theater receiver. My first listen to the Baby Grands was through a 100-watt Denon receiver and I thought, who could argue with this setup?

Low Points
� While the Baby Grand's bass performance is very good and rich with texture and detail it doesn't go quite low enough for today's Dolby TrueHD or DTS Master Audio soundtracks. You'll want to mate the Baby Grand to a capable subwoofer or two for true full range performance.
� The Baby Grands do lack a bit of overall spank even when played back at high volumes. They can come off as a little too polite even when the mood calls for something a bit naughty.

For less than $4,500 a pair (depending on finish) the Beethoven Baby Grand loudspeaker from Vienna Acoustics is a remarkable speaker, and one that I feel is often overlooked. The $3,500-$5,000 a pair sector of the loudspeaker world is a competitive and crowded arena to play in but I believe the Baby Grands are standouts in their class even if they won't necessarily tell you themselves. If you're in the market for a quality built, beautifully finished, smooth, fairly relaxed sounding speaker that you can come home to and simply listen to without hassle or drama and forget about your day then I can think of few that do it better than the Beethoven Baby Grand from Vienna Acoustics.

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