GRADIENT Helsinki 1.5


Floorstanding loudspeakers

There is no cabinet, at least no conventional cabinet. It looks like a ship sailing on a glass plinth from side and it is almost invisible from front. It can be placed virtually anywhere in the room and yet it delivers - after some optimization - great sound. Finally, it arrived from Finland. Can you make a guess?

Funkce a forma


The Helsinky 1.5 is a three-way speaker that took many years to develop - no wonder, the concept is far from any usual stuff. The sizable bass driver (30cm Peerless, paper cone) is mounted into an cut-out opening in a 55mm thick plywood slab, that is extended towards the back of speaker with a glass panel. The midrange driver and the tweeter are mounted on the edge of the plywood. The midrange (12,5cm Seas, paper cone) has a privelege to have its own sub-cabinet that reminds me of a flying saucer. The saucer has a shallow waveguide with cardioid pattern radiation. Decompression of the driver is done through foamy substance and a metal grille that runs around the saucer's circumference.  The tweeter (1,9cm aluminum dome, Seas) also has a shallow waveguide. Both the drivers are tilted so that they axes met in front of the speaker. The Helsinki provides either a profi Speakon connector or a standard pair of binding posts. The Speakon facilitates bi-wring and bi-amping.

The Helsinki pay homage to clean nordic design school, yet they offer more than 10 different veneers and finishes. Actually, the whole assembly is so simple that I can imagine some DIY tweaking, like covering the plywood with carbon foil to give the speakers a high-tech look.

Freq. response 60 - 20.000 Hz (+/- 2 dB), sensitivity 85dB, height 92cm, weight 23kg

Nízké frekvence


The Helsinki offer quite a few options to fine tune the bass to your room our taste. First, one can choose whether the two bass drivers should face each other or fire in opposite direction. Second, by toeing the speakers in and out one can significantly affect the quality of the bass and overall tonal voicing of the speakers. It is all about experimentation.

As the Helsinki 1.5s are conceived as dipole speakers, the bass frequencies in the listening position are only reflected ones, no exception. However, there is also mutual interaction of the woofers going on so it is difficult to say what the bass will be like in your room. What I can say is that it will be very strong and articulated in the end, in any room. When I disconnected one of the speakers the bass became significantly attenuated in my listening position. Yes, dipole speakers. The Helsinki 1.5 does not even try to fight the room, quite contrary, they try to make it part of the performance.

The weight of the double-bass on demanding Cassandra Wilson's Come On In My Kitchen was subjectively not reaching below 40Hz but it was very alive and nicely contoured. Again, by toeing the speakers in and out I could easily find the right proportions between definition and the weight.

Čistota rozlišení


The Helsinki 1.5 were not over-ambitious and did not try to pretend that they were high resolution audiophile champions. In fact they were in a sense, but the music always took over and thus I could concentrate on listening, rather than on a sound dissection. The Gradients prefer a broader perspective for sound - they are  not counting the grains in a heap of sand, but - honestly speaking - which speakers in this price category are? During the listening sessions,  my eyes staring at the the avantgarde sculptures of the Helsinki 1.5, I realized that perhaps they were too cheap fro how they sounded (and looked).

Tonální věrnost


I mentioned that the midrange driver and the tweeter rest in the waveguides. The waveguide makes its imprint on the sound, especially in timing and colour of the sound. The sound was fast, dynamic and effortless and it made me feeling in contact with the performers. Tonally the waveguides elevated wind instruments, no matter if wooden, metal or brass. For example, Paquito D´Rivera's clarinet was superfast and super breathy in Tico Tico (Chesky), I could see its bell moving in front of me, slightly tot he left. However, the voices were a bit more present than I like, though this forwardness brought a singer closer to me, which was not bad either. 


Šířka scény
Hloubka scény

Unlike Stereophile editors I had no issues whatsover to integrate the Helsinki 1.5s in my room. When the woofers were firing outwards each other I preferred a slight toe in (that the tweeters were firing in front of me). The more I toed the speakers in the more present the sound was, the more I toed them out the more diffuse and less defined the sound became.

At the end, I liked the Helsinki 1.5s the most with the woofers firing inwards, with a very slight toe-out. The music exhibited the best balance of transparency, air, colours and power. I cannot imagine a room layout that would prevent these speakers to shine.

Therefore I see the biggest potential of the Gradient Helsinki 1.5 in ordinary living rooms that do not allow for specific acoustic treatment. It will be also pretty easy to integrate them into modern glass & aluminum minimalistic interiors which are usually nightmare for conventional speakers.

Cena v době recenze:140 000,- Kč

Doporučení prodejci

HI-FI studio TYKON, Ostrava, tel. +420 723 449 894

Připojené komponenty

  • Sources: emmLabs TX2 + DA2 transport and D/A converter
  • Amplifiers: Bespoke Audio passive attenuator, Audia Flight Strumento No.4 power amplifier
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: emmLabs, Acrolink S1400MkIII
  • Power cables: Acrolink P4030MK2 Anniversary, no power conditioning



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