AUDIO PHYSIC Cardeas Plus+

PW20.12.2015

Floorstanding loudspeakers

Audio Physic's original Cardeas was like an album of a respected band that was recorded just because  it had to be recorded due to a contract. Not like the album that was recorded because the band wanted to. I sighed with relief that the brand new Cardeas Plus+ is a completely different animal. Audio Physic managed to improve what was bad and keep waht was good, so the Plus+ positively surprised me with its tight and energetic bass, amazing soundstaging, transparent sound and brilliant clean highs. Whatever I listened to was a pure delight.

100% reference

Function and form

95%
Ease of use
81%
Sound
97%
Appearance

What does Audio Physic say about the upgrade?

There are additional ceramic foam cabinet struts. This very stiff material has a porosity of more than 85%. Due to their low mass, the ceramic foam elements retain hardly any energy and also dissipate it very quickly – before the cabinet body can begin building up any undesirable vibrations. The porous structure of the material means an enormous increase in the surface area.

The Hyper Holographic Cone Tweeter is not directly connected to the baffle. Like the midrange drivers, it is uncoupled from the cabinet using an ingenious weave construction in SSC ("string suspension concept") engineered materials. This prevents even the most delicate vibrations in the baffle from spreading to the membranes. The crossovers between mid-range drivers and tweeters are also uncoupled from the cabinet using SSC elements. In addition, the HHC tweeter features vibration-damping contacts. This manifests itself in even higher resolution and more authentic spatial definition.

In order to guarantee absolute signal fidelity in the vital mid-range, the interior walls of the sealed mid-range chamber – eliminating interactions with the other chassis via enclosed air volumes – features grid-shaped elements. Sound emitted by the membrane into the chamber interior is partially absorbed by it, and partially reflected diffusely, drastically reducing the energy impacting on the body and pushing back on the membrane.

Bass management

Weight
80
Slam
89
Articulation
88

The lowest frequencies are handled by two especially long-throw, 10’’ woofers in a push-push arrangement, refined in many details, and geared towards bass-reflex coordination. They are located opposite one another in the flanks of the loudspeakers.

The significance of the terminals on loudspeakers is widely underestimated. They are the first point of entry, and if the signal is impaired at this point, the finest intricate details will be missing later. The AP's Vibration Control Terminal is equipped with silver WBT Nextgen connectors.

I recommend not to rely on the otherwise excellent anti-vibrational Audio Physic's feet and add Stillpoints or Finite Elemente supports. This sinmple upgrade incredibly improved the Cardeas Plus+'s bass focus. Tested.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
89
Air
87
Transparency
85

Transients of the Cardeas Plus+ are superprecise with fantastic contrasts on both macro and micro scale, and decays are clean and long. With volume turned significantly up the sound had slam, weight and transparency to die for. I felt like having a headphones connected to a mixing console. One of the top experiences in hifi this year.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
88
Dynamics
84
Temporal resolution
80

It does not mean that the Cardeas Plus+ is a neutral speaker. It has its signature which is tilted towards what we usually describe as "analogue" sound. It elevates what is perfect and makes less perfect digestible. If you, like me, don't listen to 20 compulsory audiophile recordings (you know which they are) over and over again, then you know that 80% of recordings was not recorded for sound, rather for music. Therefore I see the Cardeas Plus+'s ability to communicate these recordings with high-end nobility and incisive authority as its biggest virtue.

Spatial resolution

Holography
94
Soundstage width
88
Soundstage depth
95

It makes no sense to discuss imaging in case of Audio Physic - this brand is synonymous with holographic soundstage. Lateral and front-to-back spatiality is flawless. There are real people on the stage, not just bodyless images or headless voices. There is shimmering air between musicians. There is the electrifying silence before a stick taps the cymbal. If this is not high end, then what is?

Price as reviewed:540 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

CZ: High-End Audio Studio, Praha, tel. +420 224 256 844

SK: Platan Audio, Hlohovec / Bratislava, tel. +421 905 409 802

Associated components

  • Sources: Aesthetix  Audio Romulus CD processor
  • Amplifiers: Aesthetix Audio Janus preamplifier, Aesthetix Audio Atlas power amplifier, Hegel H160
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Nordost Valhalla V2
  • Power cables: standard stock power cords

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