Floorstanding loudspeakers

Although the Austrian loudspeaker manufacture is not a newcomer, it operates under the high-end radar of many. I am regularly enjoying their sound during audio exhibitions  over years, so I decided to give them a bit more exposure through the review of their latest offering, the fully active Franz S loudspeaker. There are not many studios around Europe that provide the WLM line-up, so I decided to give it a thorough listen on the opportunity of this year's High-End Munich show. It did not dissapoint and filled the rather large 120m2 listening space with truly high-end sound.

Funkce a forma


Not only are the WLM Franz S fully active speakers - they ar enot conventional in many other ways either. They employ two 8cm AMT tweeters, one in the baffle, one sitting on the top of the cabinet alike a supertweeter. In theory this is a recipe for many problems, my ears did not find anything annoying in how the Franz S sounded, except certain agility in the HF content.  Two paper woofers of the Race Track oval design (22 x 30cm) are invisible to eyes - one fires to the floor, the other to the ceiling. The driver complement  is completed by dual 12 cm midrange woofers with papyrus cones. The cabinet is a multilayered structure that also employs real wood. The stiffness is addressed through the variable thickness of the cabinet's walls - the material reaches up to 74mm thickness at the critical spots.

The WLM uses class D amplificiation inside, each band is fed by its dedicated amplification module. This facilitates the use of analog filtering. WLM does not believe in DSP and claim the analog filters are superior to it in the classical speaker design like Franz S. So, apart from the usual power socket, power switch, and two analogue inputs on RCA and XLR, there are 4 large knobs at the rear of the speaker. Those serve to adjust bass volume and focus, as well as to sculpt midrange and treble according your preferences.

Nízké frekvence


The Franz S can play deep and provides plenty of the fundamental of bass frequencies that are centered around what listeners find attractive. This helps sustained bass notes develop with bloom and weight. I listened to Enya's Watermark tracks and it was both monumental and beautiful. These are the moments for your guts to send the signal to your brain that perhaps you need those speakers at home.

There is nothing exotic about the Franz S, everything is a good old engineering. No aluminum or supermaterials, yet the speaker is inert enough not to induce any distortions or resonances even at high playback volumes. I guess this is due to the masterful combinetion of the counter-acting woofers inside in the rigid cabinet.

Čistota rozlišení


The AirMotion ribbon tweeters are masters of resolution, plus they are light and fast, so the sound is full of air and speed. Depending on what you play the openness contributes to aliveness of the sound, or it may shift the listening experience towards too much spark. Especially with the 80's recordings the top end may be too hot. I see this as no problem whatsover - mind you there are those knobs at the rear of the Franz S and it is breeze to find the right setting for your listening environment, or even for every single recording if you wish. You an adjust each speaker individually to compensate for assymetry of the room.

Tonální věrnost


I wish the Franz S had finer microdynamic gradations, especially in is midrange, although its macrodynamic performance is flawless and the contrasts between soft and loud are like flicking a whip. The Grid from Tron soundtrack (Daft Punk) through the WLM makes the Cinema City sound flat and uninvolving.

The tonal balance is (in its neutral setting) tilted towards the treble, at least for my tastes. In any modern reflective interior it will ask for a bit of correction, in the rooms with furniture and carpets it will be perfect.


Šířka scény
Hloubka scény

The spatial presentation of the WLM Franz S was a real candy, mostly thanks to the drivers that fire to three axes. The resulting soundstage was quite immersive and embraced me the way which was hard to get elsewhere. The AMTs provide pinpoint imaging, and your only worry will be how to set up properly the WLMs in your room not to lose all this. The Franz S does not require an overdamped room, on the contrary, they use the room to enhance the presentation. Make the room an ally, rather than an enemy.

As I said, I have been having Wiener Lautsprecher Manufaktur in my scope for long. The Franz S confirm that their speakers are remarkable. To run the Franz S you will only need a source component with analog outs, a pair of interconnects and a pair of power cables. This way you save quite a substantial money for amplification. Therefore the high-end asking price of the WLM Franz S is not as high as it may seem.

Cena v době recenze:1 250 000,- Kč

Doporučení prodejci

AT: Studio Wiener Lautsprecher Manufaktur, Innsbruck

Připojené komponenty

  • Source: DAS Digital Audio Systeme HD-Player Model 2
  • Interconnects and power cables: Way Cables Silver a Core



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