FRANCO SERBLIN Accordo Essence

TR21.03.2020

Floorstanding loudspeakers

If you are a devotee to Franco Serblin’s era of Sonus Faber then Accordo Essence will not, once again, disappoint. There is no revolution happening to the ‘essence’ of the Accordo monitors that we had reviewed earlier apart from the Accordo Essence sounds full-fledged and more mature thereof. The sound is tuneful and masterfully balanced in a way that makes you enjoy the music instead listening to the sound.

 

Function and form

100%
Ease of use
69%
Sound
100%
Appearance

The all new Franco Serblin branded floorstander is a direct descendant of the acclaimed stand-mounted Accordo monitor with which it shares almost everything. The Accordo Essence is however bigger and equipped with a dedicated 180mm bass driver based on reinforced cellulose pulp. The cabinets are once again a completely asymmetric design, additionally braced to stiffen the larger assembly. More details on the philosophy of building Serblin’s heritage speakers can be found in our review of Franco Serblin Accordo. And alike the Accordo the Accordo Essence are here to please the eye and ears with beauty. This pretty much explains how they sound.

Bass management

Weight
83
Slam
71
Articulation
71

It all begins with warm bottom end that lends sufficient volume and rounded attack to a plucked double bass. The instrument has real size which was not achievable for the Accordo monitors as MJ commented in his review: “The Accordo’s physical dimensions cannot exploit the full harmonic envelopes of instruments that operate in the low end of the frequency spectrum. A double bass provides a deep and exciting journey into techniques of plucking, depicts how resonances of strings rise and decay, yet you do not feel the body of the instrument. Similarly a Steinway is a downsized version of the instrument and a symphonic orchestra is rendered in a zoomed out perspective. I missed the flesh, the mass, the scale. This is not a criticism of the Accordo, rather the criticism of any stand mount speakers.” With the Accordo Essence the sonic pictures are specific and sizable without being overdone – you know, the piano stretched all across the front wall and similar naughtiness does not happen here. The sound is very solid and images keep locked in their places. As said the bass is slightly more ear-candy than it could be, yet it provides you with what I would call Italian bel canto - the beauty of tone comes first and the technology is just the way to reach it. The sound of the Accordo Essence owed also quite a lot to the Jadis electronics so I could savor authentic instrumental recordings like Alia Vox (Montserrat Figueras & Jordi Savall), but also ECM discs (Jan Garbarek), which were pure and tonally saturated through the Accordo Essence.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
92
Air
83
Transparency
80

For a rock music fan I am not sure that the Accordo Essence is the final speaker. Yes, it is nice, the bass is weighty and soft, guitar lick smooth and melodic, yet its sound may be too beautified for some tastes. It will depend on lot on your preferences and reference points; what I want to say is that the Accordo Essence is a speaker for music lovers, not for hardcore audiophiles that listen to the music with a stethoscope.

Ambient overtones and decays, no matter whether natural or added by a hall effect, are conveyed reliably by the Accordo Essence, yet in a very understated way: I noticed them only when I knew they were there. To my ears it meant that I had to search for some nuances that were audible more clearly with other speakers; with the Essence these microsounds were very low in level. This is perhaps why I also missed a bit more of lingering transparency which I knew was there with the stand-mounted Accordo. The bigger cabinets with the bottom-end slightly tilts the voicing into the comfort for which the tiniest detail is a trade-off. In the music that is does not feature the lowest octaves, like chamber pieces, for example, the effect of masking was not apparent and long sustained tones were resonant and sound with crisp and silky highs.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
71
Dynamics
73
Temporal resolution
70

Vocals, male, female or massed, were superb through the Accordo Essence. The midrange is the highlight of this Franco Serblin speaker. It was no surprise that, for example, saxophones were presented with full bodied sound that was very physical and tangible. Frederic Chopin (AJ Trio) blossomed with amazing instrumental colours of piano and double bass  in the room, almost idealized in their exactness and richness. The colours were pastels rather than thinned acrylic, the huge wooden cabinets of the instruments were clearly heard.

Spatial resolution

Holography
80
Soundstage width
80
Soundstage depth
80

During my life with the Accordo Essence I heard the same act of speakers dissolving within the soundstage that MJ described in his review of the Accordo when the speakers were toed in excessively. Well, this is not unusual, other speakers can also disappear effectively. What I liked even more was that while listening to the Accordo Essence I could relax. As if all the audiophile world was left behind and I entered sunlit pastoral landscapes painted in layers of translucent colours. The Accordo Essence are music interpreters and they interpret it beautifully.

Unlike with the smaller Accordo I have some reservations towards the Franco Serblin Accordo Essence: the asking price is almost doubled and the speaker gets in the range where competition is tough and often better (although maybe not so beautifully designed). Also, I believe that the stand-mounted Accordo, paired with a subwoofer or too, would outperform the Essence. It is just an assumption which I’d like to try if circumstances allow.

Price as reviewed:360 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Navrátil Audio, Havířov, tel. +420 737 821 360

Associated components

  • Sources: Jadis Orphée
  • Amplifiers: Jadis JPL MKII preamplifier, Jadis JA30 MkII power amplifier
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Yter cables
  • Power conditioning: Gigawatt PC-4 EVO

Gallery

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