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PureAudioProject Quintet15 with Voxativ AC-X field-coil open-baffle loudspeaker system Review

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The hierarchy of large loudspeakers in my experience begins at the top with the Sound Lab Prostat 922 at the Kimber Kable Exhibit at 2008 RMAF, Acapella Audio Arts Excalibur Triolon with its plasma tweeter, colossal midrange horn and a complete woofers column, followed by the Destination Audio Vista horn, the Dynaudio Evidence Master, the Focal Grande Utopia, and last not least, the Tannoy Westminster Royal SE, which I owned for several years.

Dagogo Associate Editor Douglas Schroeder reviewed six loudspeaker systems from PureAudioProject in the seven-year span between February 2016 and March 2023. Then recently I discovered that the company’s flagship model, namely the $20,990 Quintet 15 with Voxativ AC-X, the subject of this review, is fitted with a field-coil driver from Voxativ Acoustic Technologies of Germany. Separately, a pair of the AC-X retails for 13,900 USD, including the Power Supplies for generating the magnetism. Voxativ manufactures two other full-range field-coil drivers besides the AC-X, namely the 17,900 USD AC-X2 and the 69,000 USD AC-XHB, which PureAudioProject can supply upon request.

Speakers equipped with field-coil drivers are far and few in between, although three speaker manufacturers exhibited their designs at the 2023 CAS, PAP being one of them.  The PAP, with its impressive 6.7’ tall curved modular open baffle towers and four 15-inch woofers each, is no budget offering. The rest of the company’s lineup comprises single passive full-range driver variations in the four-woofer Quintet models, two-woofer Trios and a single-woofer Duets.

PureAudioProject is a speaker manufacturer of a unique stature. Company owner Ze’ev Schlik and his team developed the custom crossover network and open-baffle structure with four custom PureAudioProject 15-inch woofers custom made by Eminence, coupled to the Voxativ AC-X field-coil full-range 8-inch driver. In this arrangement, the AC-X runs in the audible range via a -6 dB first-order slope in a series topology that gently filters out the ultrasonics of the Field Coil driver, and crosses information below 350 Hz to the four woofers.

Assembly of the crossover board is customer’s responsibility, but no soldering is involved. There are two circuit boards to be assembled, one for the left channel and the other for the right. The first board took me well over two hours to complete amidst the trial and error learning curve, so that the second board was finished in less than an hour. For the review sample, I was sent the higher-grade, resin-soaked Mundorf VS140 inductor, plus two ClarityCap 3% tolerance CSA 250V 82 micro farad capacitors as an alternative or upgrade to the original Mundorf audiophile-grade components. The drivers are mounted on open ¾” baffles and not inside an enclosure, and the crossover is secured at the bottom of the speaker.

Manufacturers have put drivers in enclosures to boost and control bass output, and manufacturers go to extraordinary extent in scaling that goal. The fact of the matter is that the bulk of the costs of building a floorstanding, full-range loudspeaker system often lies in the construction of the enclosure cabinet. Consequently, a good number of speakers are adorned with such costly and exotic enclosures as to be their primary selling point, in turn cultivating clientele of discerning taste and spending ability on the physicality of the speakers.

Ze’ev Schlick of PureAudioProject uses his boxless, modular open baffle design as the selling point, although having a major cost factor in the form of an expensive cabinet removed from his loudspeaker offerings is not necessarily the most desirable option for some. In this instance, the speakers are finished, and then delivered in separate parts to be assembled by the customer. Not having a heavy enclosure to show in tandem with custom finishes, the manufacturer is easily misconstrued as a reseller of drivers plus a custom frame and crossover, with the attendant revenue limitation.

Most audiophiles crave a beautiful loudspeaker cabinet that compliments the interior décor. Ze’ev is aware of this and thus his speakers are available in different front panel finishes. I was asked about my color preference, and I indicated “red.” The pair submitted for review is painted in pumpkin red. If you want your pair to be in red and not of the pumpkin variety, be sure to specify “intense red” or “wine” red. Hope it’s not gonna make Ze’ev and his team pull their hair out.

Standing over six feet tall and arching towards the listener, the PAP Quintet15 Voxativ AC-X is taller than the 72 inches tall Sound Lab Majestic 645 that I reviewed in 2020, and the contrast couldn’t be more striking between the two, in which one system uses just one lone albeit powerful seven-inch full-range driver and accompanied by four 15-inch woofers, versus one that utilizes a large canvas of a radiating area of a panel. Interestingly, both designs feature no magnets and operate on externally energized principles.

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