The QLN One loudspeakers will deliver an astonishingly accurate sound quality for their diminutive size and price!
Qln Audio has recently achieved substantial strides in the high-definition loudspeaker sector. When the business was founded in 1977, its primary goal was to create loudspeakers that could faithfully recreate the complete range of soundstage reproduction capabilities.
The company has been quite active in Europe, North America, and the Far East since the early 1980s while creating its particular resources and incorporating the latest methods of production. To manufacture the drive units, they are always looking for the most innovative technological advancements. The primary goal, however, remains, to make all of the music accessible to you, the listener with the most precision possible at the price.
The Marketing director of Qln, Mark Sossa imports Qln products into the United States. After some initial inquiries with Mark, he offered us the Qln One monitor for a full review, which is their entry-level product and has been recently updated.(see sound evaluation below).
These baby monitors, quite unusually, weigh in at about 30 lbs apiece, which is a hefty amount considering their diminutive size. Notably, Qln does market a special stand for the One which took about a half hour to put together. According to Qln, a stand of 24 inches is ideal and this did prove to display the best dispersion characteristics and the finest overall sound quality. While provided, the grilles were not utilized during listening sessions which was promptly advised by Mark.
The woofer and tweeter are precisely timed thanks to the tilt of the front baffle. Due to its smaller baffle size and the elimination of standing waves inside the cabinet, the truncated pyramid cabinet improves three-dimensional imaging. The Qln One displayed one of the best image localization qualities I’ve ever experienced in a loudspeaker!
All structural resonances are significantly reduced by using Qln’s exclusive Qboard® technology in its cabinet construction. (The curved, sandwich-style structure of the cabinet, which uses a layer of adhesive with unique resonance-reducing qualities, is known by QLN as Qboard.)The air turbulence is eliminated via the trumpet-shaped bass reflex opening at the lower back. This plays a significant role in producing a background that is incredibly silent and scarcely colors the music signal.
Although the cabinet is strongly reinforced for stiffness, dampening pads are used to lessen internal resonances that can cause time-domain sound distortion. The inside acoustic chamber is further dampened with natural wool and the dampening material is applied sparingly and strategically.
Crossover and Drivers
The Qln One uses the same continuous impedance crossover technology as their (more expensive) Prestige line, with this compact design being given special attention. All capacitors are made of polypropylene, and all coils have an air core. The wires are fused after baking each coil, which lowers internal vibration.
Their constant impedance crossover generates a predictable impedance response, which reduces an amplifier’s load (especially with tube amplifiers; one of which I was using in the evaluation) and enhances the phase coherence of the driver. The crossover is designed to have the fewest possible contact points for optimal component contact. Additionally, each component is soft-glued together to improve damping and reduce vibrations.
In favor of providing the most recent driver technology, QLN carefully chose and custom-developed the loudspeaker drivers in collaboration with the Scandinavian firm SEAS, whose drivers are used in many of the best speaker systems currently available.
The built-in copper ring in the magnet system and the Titanium voice coil of the Reed paper cone mid/bass driver give it a symmetrical thrust and improved dynamics in the midrange while also minimizing intermodulation distortion. If designed properly, this can produce amazing micro/macro dynamics and outstanding voice reproduction, which proved to be quite evident in the listening tests.
It should be noted however, that the reed paper cone driver used in the Qln One (the sample under review being an anniversary model) is a bit leaner tonally (see below- as this has now changed) than that of the Kevlar used in the Prestige series. Mark tells me that “The Prestige series” captures the same subtlety and quietness I noticed in the listening sessions further on but with a denser, richer quality and slightly better bass foundation than the Qln One.
Moving ahead, the 25mm wide surround tweeter further provides some splendid vocal presentations within its enticing listening range. The audibly flat frequency response above 30 KHz is provided by the speaker’s huge roll surround, built-in copper ring, and textile dome diaphragm, which also offers excellent off-axis dispersion. The QLN One speakers have unusually low compression levels which are offered by the back acoustic chamber, thus also decreasing the tweeter’s system resonance well below the crossover point.
As we acknowledge all the above design considerations involved in the Qln One, it was not at all surprising to find this small loudspeaker delivered an overall sound presentation that was quite superb, displaying all the goods in almost every possible way. My samples were well broken in by ‘Well Pleased Audio’ and I would imagine that a good 30 hours or more would be ideal.
As is customary with any loudspeaker I have evaluated in my listening room, good space (26 feet) allows me the opportunity to keep them close to 1.5 meters from the back wall and about 8.5 feet apart from each other. Slightly angled in towards my listening ears presented me with a remarkable stereo image as well.
We may as well go right to this speaker’s most precise response area–the midrange to its lower treble which is handled by the SEAS mid/bass driver, thereby blending on up into the Qln One’s tweeter, which is wonderfully extended.
Female vocals are rendered with superb silkiness and overtly rich, creamy tonality with soprano and mezzo voices displaying a virtual “singing” quality throughout the speaker’s mid/lower treble range with a superlative tonal balance. You can take any numerous amounts of operatic female (and male) program sources at hand and if the recording quality is up to spec, this speaker adorns you with some luscious voice reproduction qualities that are singularly transparent, lucid, and very accurate in this 2-way design. Some great examples I have used would be recordings of performances, (with both digital and vinyl sources) such as Barbara Hendricks, Kathleen Battle, Cecilia Bartioli , Joyce DiDonato and Anna Netrebko; just to name a few.
Moving on to some marvelous orchestral works, Famous Overtures with the Cincinnati Pops conducted by Eric Kunzel (Telarc) is a standout recording and these speakers will ingratiate the listener with an abundance of thrills. The sound is void of the Qln’s speaker boundaries while the orchestra pervades throughout the soundstage and way back into the concert hall with its voracious depth and spaciousness. This effect permeates throughout the listening room. Musical images are secure and quite locked into place while every instrument can be placed with your ears and eyes quite immaculately before you.
If that was not enough, the Qln One’s can offer a decidedly unyielding and generous bass response (if not the deepest). While we must acknowledge the limitations of its small but “solid” cabinet size, one should not expect these speakers to give us that ‘earth-shattering’ bass response some listeners may expect. Nevertheless, what they will do is entice the listener by offering a huge impact in the mid to lower bass frequencies right before its roll-off at approximately 45hz. The sturdy back ported cabinet infinitely helps intensify its bass from the rear. If you can keep these speakers at least 3 feet from the back wall in your given room, in actuality, the bass on the Qln One is as good as any monitor of this size or larger can be, and that is quite satisfying indeed!
If one were to initially nitpick and disseminate a small criticism of the speaker’s overall performance capabilities, one may find a small, tiny bit of upper high-frequency “thinness” or “leanness” with some source material. This is quite mild but did show up when comparing the Qln One to say the Harbeth Compact 7es 3/XD which is just a bit more expensive than the Qln Ones.
Indeed, the irony here is that the Harbeth will give you a “cinch” more top treble smoothness, while alternately, can be somewhat less rich and smooth in the mid-lower treble vocal range.
However, in my updated “anniversary” samples, it has turned out that this slight leanness has now been modified by Qln via a part on the tweeter crossover that undeniably smooths the high frequencies out exponentially and quite beautifully!
Even though the Qln One is the first-tier loudspeaker from QLN, (followed by the Prestige One, Three and Five at ascendingly higher price points), costing $4800 per pair, this marvelous little speaker can outshine many other small monitor designs they may have been meant to compete with.
Besides their overall accuracy and honest “neutrality” they stand out particularly with all types of vocal reproduction, be it pop, rock, or in this case, operatic recordings. They display an inherent and distinctively faultless mid-range with a high end that is sweet and decidedly natural sounding. Big, open, and lasciviously accurate in its stereo imaging, the Qln One will endear itself to the most demanding high-end music lover with its engaging and enduring sound quality. They are highly recommended and deserve an “editor’s choice” rating!
PRICE ~ QLN One loudspeakers $4,800.00
Impedance: 8 ohms
Amplifier requirements: 25-250 Watt RMS
Tweeter: 25mm, wide surround, the soft dome with back chamber
Woofer: 176mm, Reed paper cone
Sensitivity: 87,5 dB SPL 1 Watt 1m
Low-frequency performance: -3dB 45Hz
Cabinet: 21mm with Qboard® philosophy design
Terminal: WBT Single wire
Dimensions (HxWxD): 390x265x372
Weight: 14,0 kg each
Finish: Walnut piano, Walnut matte, White satin(available later this year)
Review system: Loudspeakers: QLN ONE Loudspeakers~ Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 XD loudspeaker ~ Quad ESL-63, ~ Digital: Mojo Audio ‘Mystique’ X DAC ~ Border Patrol DAC SE-I ~ Innuos Zenith Mk.3 server/streamer ~ Audio Note (UK) CD3.1x/2 Amplification: ~Pass Labs XP-12 preamp, Pass Labs XA30.8 power amp ~PS Audio M1200 /Allnic A-2000 tube anniversary amplifier ~ Cables/ Conditioners: Argent/Pur Silver stranded loudspeaker cables, Audience Studio One loudspeaker cables / Inakustik AC-3500p power station &, AC-2404 reference Air Power Cord ~ Audience Studio 1 interconnects,~ Clarus “Crimson” 75-ohm digital spdif / Audio Art 1 e” AC Power Cord
US Distributor: Well Pleased AV
1934 Old Gallows Rd #350
Vienna, VA 22182
WHERE the MUSIC BEAT meets the AUDIOPHILE ELITE !
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