Audio enthusiast’s journey is not always an easy one. You need to have patience, be ready to compromise and take risks. But all that sometimes pays off.
The story of my pair Quadral Amun MK V is a perfect example. It took me 4 years to complete them, and I only needed a pair of tweeters.
Quadral Amun MK V are big, heavy, closed 3-way German speaker with ribbon tweeters from the 90s. The “ribbon” tweeters are actually planar magnetic (quasi-ribbon, like Infinity’s EMIT) drivers developed based on Technics EAS-10TH400A, which Technics called “leaf tweeters”. But with everybody, including Quadral, calling them simply ribbon tweeters, who am I to argue. Anyway, Amuns have that classic big black box look, elegant velour finish of the front wall, and very well balanced sound, full and precise, with great bass extension, wonderful instrument separation and very good soundstage. They are closed, so you can place them fairly close to the rear wall without risking boominess. Low sensitivity (only 86 dB) is possible drawback, but if you have a decent solid state amp that’s not a problem. 100 WPC Inkel MD2200 power amp I’m using now is more than enough, they were fine with 50 WPC Philips 22AH309 I used before, and even with a 35 WPC Superscope R-1270. The amp must be 4 Ω capable and have a beefy power supply. Although the Amuns are magnetically shielded, which would make them candidates for HT systems, in my experience HT receivers cannot handle them – they tend to sound weak, some even go into protection (few HT receivers are capable of driving 4 Ω speakers). Amuns need some room, I’d say at least 20 m2, 30 m2 is better. Lastly, convincing your partner that she has to live with 2 black coffins in the living room might require some effort – the looks of these speakers do not appeal to women. But their sound sure does. After listening to Nirvana “Unlugged” through the Amuns driven by Superscope R-1270 my partner never again questioned having separate systems for HT and music.
I got my pair of Amuns in April 2011 and it turned out that tweeters were blown. Amun V uses XX 1000 tweeter that’s rather expensive and nearly impossible to get anywhere outside Germany. A pair sold on German ebay for 164 euros, 19 people were bidding. So, the cost of the tweeters for these speakers can be more than half the market price of the speakers.
In the pair I bought the tweeters were barely audible. After opening the tweeter cases it turned out that someone had actually gutted them – removed magnets and put crappy cheap Philips tweeters inside the enclosures behind the ribbons to have some sound coming from the tweeters and make it look like they were working. Luckily I discovered that on the day I bought the speakers. I contacted the seller at once and sent him the photos of this atrocity. He didn’t want the speakers back so I got him to return 80% of the money I paid and kept the Amuns. I figured I might get XX 1000 tweeters for them later on, or find good substitutes.
After some research I figured that the MK IV (previous) version of Amuns was nearly identical except for the tweeters and for the fact it was an open enclosure. There were titanium domes in MK IV (T110/20/2), but other drivers were the same and, more importantly, so was the crossover frequency for tweeters. As luck had it, I had a pair of different Quadrals with T110/20/2 tweeters; I tried one in the Amuns and it sounded good. I bought a pair of T110/20/2 and installed, and I made a cover for excess opening (fronts of XX 1000 tweeters are higher than T110/20/2). Effectively I made a closed version of Quadral Amun MK IV. They sounded really good, so I figured – no rush with buying original ribbon tweeters. I still wanted to get them eventually, as I knew they would sound better. Later I got other speakers that use these ribbon tweeters, Quadral Aurum 5, so I could test it. But over the last years the XX 1000 tweeters only showed up on German auctions, and for much more than I was willing to pay.
Finally, last week I spotted a an auction of a pair or Quadral Rondo Phonologue Gold in “uncertain condition”. They also have the XX 1000 tweeters, and the price was less than 100 euros including shipment (that’s 30% of what they normally go for), so I took a risk. They arrived, and of course only one of the woofers sounded OK. The other woofer distorted, both tweeters were dead silent. But after I opened the speakers it turned out the crossovers were fried. I tested the tweeters in different speakers and surprisingly they were fine!
I quickly removed the T110/20/2 domes from the Amuns, installed the XX 1000 and after 4 years I finally have Quadral Amun MK V with original ribbon tweeters. It was worth the wait, they were my best sounding speakers before, now they’re amazing! Highs are less aggressive, sweeter without losing any detail, vocals sound more natural, soundstage is even better than before.
It was a long journey. It could be shorter – I could get a pair of XX 1000 tweeters from Germany, but I would have to pay twice the price I ended up paying. The total cost (the price I originally paid for the Amuns, the cost of T110/20/2 dome tweeters I used in them until now and the price of the Rondos from which I finally got the ribbon tweeters) was much less than I would have to pay for a fully working pair of Amuns in Germany or here in Poland (even for Amun MK IV). On top of that, I still have the T110/20/2 dome tweeters and the distorting woofer and fried crossovers from Rondos can be repaired cheaply, so I see a pair of very decent bookshelf speakers in my future, too.
Quadral Amun MK V
Model: Amun MK V
Years of manufacture: 1992 – circa 1995
Manufactured in: Hannover, Germany
Colour: walnut, mahogany, black oak, natural oak, maple; special order: rustic oak, cherry, alder, blue marbled
Dimensions: 907 x 262 x 355 mm (H x W x D) with grille,
weight: 26 kg per speaker
Original price approx .: 1.098, – DM per speaker
Type: 3-way closed system
Woofer: 1x 220mm
Midrange: 1x 132mm
Tweeter: 1x ribbon
Power handling (nominal/music): 120/170 W
Efficiency: 86 dB / 1W / 1m
Frequency response: 28-80000 Hz
Crossover frequencies: 280/3500 Hz
Nominal impedance: 4 ohms
Special Features: magnetically shielded