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Voxativ Ampeggio Speaker Review

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Voxativ Ampeggio Speaker - Black or White Finish

The Voxativ Ampeggio Speakers

Voxativ Loudspeaker is a speaker company in Berlin founded by Ms. Inès Adler, a rarity in our male-dominant hobby. Adler is an engineer; she worked for Mercedes-Benz and has fourteen patents in her name. The speaker cabinets are crafted by Schimmel, the renowned German piano builder. The Voxativ AC-3X is a seven-inch, dual coil, full-range driver. The driver and the cabinet are her own design. The Ampeggio driver uses a Neodymiun magnet in its motor with a double sided copper voice coil. It has an aluminum die-cast basket and in the standard version uses pure calligraphy paper that has been coated with four layers of lacquer for the diaphragm. Voxative states that not one single component of their driver is used by anyone else.

The Ampeggio is 47″ tall at its tallest and 19″ deep at its deepest. The enclosure is a rear wave, twice-folded horn, nearly 9 feet from throat to mouth with a 14-inch square opening at the front bottom of the speaker. Adler says it is difficult to control the reflection of the sound waves if they flow in a circular path, so she created the curves in the Ampeggio horn with a series of different size faceted boards, that increase in size as the sound travels from throat to mouth. The narrowest of those boards are used to create the tight curves at the first fold and increase in size as they near the opening of the horn.

The Ampeggio’s cabinet is made from woods used by Schimmel for their pianos. The side panels are made from a three-layer wood combo that Schimmel uses to make the tops of their pianos. They use tuned tone woods for the baffle. The outside of the cabinet is either piano black or white with 13 layers of lacquer, and then sealed. The Voxativ by Schimmel Piano logo is made from brass and inlaid into the paint. The finish is beautiful, but I have to admit non-audiophiles most often referred to them as big, glossy, hump-backed boxes. No one commented on how good they looked. I know as audiophiles we aren’t supposed to care overly about the looks, but for $33,000 I would liked at least one visitor to think they were good-looking.

They are wired internally with solid-core copper that connects the driver to a pair of binding posts at the very bottom, back of the speaker. The rear of the speaker sits on the floor on 10-inch legs that brought back fond memories of the Quad 57 I owned and loved for so long; the sound was not very Quad-like, though. The mouth of the Ampreggio horn in the front sits only a couple of inches off the floor, whereas the front of the cabinet comes all the way down to the floor where it sits on two threaded adjustable feet; these make it easy to level and you can even adjust the cabinet’s tilt slightly.

They Arrive!

On an early spring day, Alfred Kainz of drove up from Apple Valley, California to deliver the Voxativ Ampeggio Speakers to my home in the San Francisco Bay Area. We unloaded them and set them up in my listening room. Cabling in my system was High Fidelity Cables CT-1 Ultimate (review to come). The amp was my trusty Wavac EC-300B, and the source was a Soundsmith SG-220 Strain Gauge mounted in an AMG V12 tonearm on the AMG Viella V12 turntable.

We fired everything up with great expectations, but as with any speaker I have reviewed they didn’t sound really great in the first place we put them. Still, Alfred felt they were working well enough and I’m thankful to say, he left the setup to me. I appreciate this because I feel that I know my room and how to get the best sound in it better than most. It took the next couple of weeks trying to get them sounding their best.

I started with the front of the speakers about four feet from the rear wall and two feet from the side wall. While mini-monitors work well with this setup in my room; I haven’t found any full-range speaker that does. In every case, the upper bass was just too prominent in this position. While it might seem counter intuitive, I moved them back and farther apart, a placement  based on past experience. After a couple of days and to my surprise, I ended up moving them farther out and wider apart; the distance from the wall to the front outside corner was 50 inches, and 47 inches to the inside front corner. They were 19 inches from the right sidewall that has the drapes and the staircase on the left side. Looking back at my notes this is very similar to the setup for the Lowther America Alerions, though a little further apart.

Two things are really important in setting up the Ampeggios. Maybe the most important is the distance you sit from them. I had to move my chair back a little farther from them than I have with other speakers, or I could hear a discontinuity between the driver and the horn. Moving farther back helped a lot, but in my room if I moved too far back I will get into a sort of alcove that never sounds good. So no matter where I placed the speakers or where I sat, I could not quite get the big horn and the wonderful driver to blend seamlessly, especially on some baritone voices and instruments like cellos. For instance, on the Opus 3 Test Record Number One, side b, cut 8 is a solo cello. The test part of this cut is to see if your system can play the low notes of the cello and the higher notes, and sound like one instrument both in sound and in space. I could never accomplish this with the Ampeggios. Still, I felt that I was able to get the Voxativ to sound good enough to share with you how they sounded and much of the magic with this speaker.

Second is toe-in. If you angle them, too much the soundstage became small and the treble started to roll off. If you don’t toe them in enough the treble would be somewhat splashy or fuzzy-sounding. This isn’t hard to get right, but very important.

3 Responses to Voxativ Ampeggio Speaker Review

  1. Bob says:

    Strange that the Voxativ importer would have you review the Ampeggio with the AC-3X driver when an “improved” driver, the AC-4X has been out for some time. Even stranger that you got no reply to your editor’s request for a reply regarding the discontinued issue.

    Bob (an Ampeggio owner)

  2. Jack Roberts says:

    I find it strange too considering he made the effort to drive all the way from Southern Cal to the Bay Area to bring them to me.

  3. Roger hebert says:


    I’m a bit confused between these two websites comment on the owner. Is it Ms. Inès Adler or Holger Adler or is it the same person?

    I remember seeing her in a dress on the left and the piano on the right in a picture which is no longer available or I can’t find it.

    Regards, Roger
    Voxativ Loudspeaker is a speaker company in Berlin founded by Ms. Inès Adler, a rarity in our male-dominant hobby. Adler is an engineer; she worked for Mercedes-Benz and has fourteen patents in her name.
    Holger Adler, owner designer and mastermind behind Voxativ, began experimenting with widebanders in the 1980s. After finishing his engineering studies with a master’s degree, he worked for Daimler’s Mercedes Benz diesel section where he developed engine electronics, ECUs and software. He holds 14 patents on diesel combustion, injection and exhaust treatments.

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