Andromeda Design By Henk Jan Visit Report

Ron Resnick

Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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Beverly Hills, CA
#1
Kedar and I became acquainted here on WBF with Henk Jan Netjes ("AndromedaAudio") of Andromeda Design, an up-and-coming builder of ambitious full-range, floor-standing speakers.

While visiting Amsterdam we decided to check in on Henk Jan and listen to his loudspeakers. We also understood that Henk Jan is a reel-to-reel tape aficionado, and we never like to miss an opportunity to hear tape.

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Henk Jan's system consists of a CAT SL1 Legend preamp, a CAT JL2 stereo amp with KT-150s, a Meitner streaming device, a Studer A80, a Studer B62 and a huge Telefunken tape machine from a broadcast studio.

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From the Andromeda Design website as well as from our discussion with Henk Jan we know a lot of details about the Andromeda Design XPE loudspeaker:

-- ultra-stiff and non-resonant monocoque, four-way loudspeaker with an M-T-M configuration

-- cabinet is made from 40 mm HPL (phenolic resin composite) solid plates, braced inside with HPL, as well

-- each speaker weighs almost 300 kg

-- midrange driver membranes are made of stiff proprietary natural fibers which have a natural sonic presentation

-- the woofers are made in Germany and are 11 inches and 12 inches in diameter, with non-resonant membranes with a natural presentation, and a very low resonance frequency

-- the tweeters are a soft-dome type with a ring radiator design

-- the speakers stand on top-of-the-line finite element cerabase classic devices, 70 mm wide at the bottom so they will not leave an imprint on solid wooden floors

-- because of the heavy, inert cabinet and the natural presentation from the drivers distortion through speaker resonance has become a thing of the past with the XPE design at whatever SPL

-- the bass response of the speaker can be tuned for different environments/rooms: the bass reflex port system consists of two pipes which can be used together or used separately; for difficult environments the system can function as a closed system in which the port opening can be closed completely

-- bass reflex pipes are machined out of high grade aluminium alloy and then clear anodized

-- high overall efficiency of +/-93 dB

-- high impedance cross-over design with first order cross-overs

-- XPE is easy to drive and will show its full potential with 18-20 watts minimum, making it a good partner for SET amps as low as 18 watts

-- dimensions including footers: height 1345 mm, wide 300 mm, deep 670 mm, with sloping front for improved dispersion

-- the speakers arrive packed in professional wood crates and they can be wheeled out of the crates

-- price is 49.900 euro a pair and the luxury version is 53.200 euro a pair; these are consumer prices including VAT

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On this brief listening session with unfamiliar music (Kedar and I brought our usual audition LPs but Henk Jan does not have a turntable) we thought the speakers sounded really good! We were particularly impressed with the speed and resolution of low frequencies. The combination of the 11" and 12" drivers mounted in a heroically inert phenolic resin cabinet resulted in tight, fast, detailed bass response.

The midrange sounded natural and detailed. We did not have the sense that one frequency range was emphasized over another.

Henk Jan's room is very lively due to a hardwood floor and five, large glass doors spaced across the front wall of the room and the right side of the room. We believe these hard surfaces were causing reflections which resulted in somewhat unclear sound-staging and in a bit of artificial brightness. I strongly suspect that damping these reflections would allow the soft-dome tweeter to reveal a transparent but natural and unfatiguing presentation, and permit sonic images to solidify.

Overall the design and construction and excellent bass frequency qualities of the XPEs reminded me of Rockport Technologies speakers. The XPE speakers are beautifully finished and are completely professional and high-end looking.

In the list price range of €50,000 I think the XPE is a good value and delivers wonderful sound.

We also enjoyed comparing and contrasting the sound from Henk Jan's three reel-to-reel tape machines.

If you are planning a trip to Amsterdam and you are looking at full-range speakers you definitely should call Henk Jan and ask for a demonstration!

Henk Jan Netjes
Owner
Andromeda Design
Wolbrantskerkweg 80 D
1069 DA Amsterdam, Netherlands
Telephone: +31 06 24478548
E-mail: andromeda-audio@hotmail.com
 
Jan 23, 2011
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Amsterdam holland
#2
Hello ron and kedar ( ron thanks for the nice review :)) ,

It was great having 2 other audio enthousiasts visit and compare tapemachines/ talk audio .
Glad you both liked the speakers , besides some room interference which i need to work on .
You are off course both highly expirienced listeners and have heard it seen it all .
It was a pleasure to be able to show you 3 different vintage tapedecks , whith some mastertapes actually being recorded by one of them( piano Basf tapes ) , gives a nice perspective on things .
We also listened to the ultra analogue cello recordings, and i think we agreed on the fact that both the studers were a bit more detailed then the telefunken , the telefunken might have the slightest edge in bass extension it sounded a bit fuller
We played on the studer with NAB reprocards because the ultra analogue tape is recorded that way , dont know actually with which equalisation the telefunken plays

henk jan


Ps Kedar did a through comparison of the 3 decks hope he will give his perspective on things , dont know how many times i switched the tapes / cables but it was many times , all in good fun
 
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Steve Williams

Site Founder, Co-Owner, Administrator
#3
Nice to read stories like this and the review of one of our own member's achievements


Kudos Henk on a job well done
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
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#5
Personally I think the bass was better than the Rockports - I liked the hard kicks and the bass and it was clean. It was tough to make out the mids and layering and stage due to the live room and the glass all around. I will add a write up later. The dynamic range of the speaker is quite high.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#7
thank you Bruce. the pictures of Henk's beautiful speakers deserved to be right side up. :D
 

Folsom

VIP/Donor
Oct 26, 2015
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#8
It looks like you were too far away for regular dynamic speakers, without a large room and lots of treatment. If you gave them some toe in and got close you'd probably get a lot more out of the mids.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#9
It looks like you were too far away for regular dynamic speakers, without a large room and lots of treatment. If you gave them some toe in and got close you'd probably get a lot more out of the mids.
I have to disagree. with a room that live the intensity of the reflective hash gets 'too much' as you move farther forward. so you move back to give your ears a chance with less intensive hash.

this was exactly how my room was until 2 years ago. I always pulled back because the reflective hash drove me back. then when I tamed that reflection all of a sudden the world of near field listening opened up to me. now I get much more of the good and there is no bad.
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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Utah
#10
Very attractive looking speakers!

david
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Co-Owner, Administrator
#11
Henk

I am very interested in your soft dome tweeter with the ring radiator. Can you tell us a bit about it and why your choice and how it affects the "sweet spot"
 
Jan 23, 2011
3,857
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Amsterdam holland
#12
In the end i selected it because it sounded more natural /uncoloured then the softdome, not nescessarilly because of a larger sweetspot , both tw have a large sweetspot
I addded the pdf .
Where you wannna look at regarding the sweetspot is the behaviour of a tweeter off axxis .
ringradiator
http://www.scan-speak.dk/datasheet/pdf/r3004-662000.pdf

softdome
http://www.scan-speak.dk/datasheet/pdf/d3004-662000.pdf

The softdome has an even better off axxis behavior and it will be possible to switch tweeters ,one doesnt need a filter change , the ringradiator only plays about 1,1 db lower

Why it sounds better ? first off all it plays 1,1 db lower , and most people like a slightly reduced treble output .
Secondly i think some ringing has vanished , the ringradiator is a pierced dome which is connected to a pointed/curved shaft the midddle, the shaft is rigidly connected to the drivesystem , you can actually push it no movement
So if any " ringing" occurs, would occur in the dome , the " unwanted vibrations" even in the audible band , will smooth out and be transported to the alushaft , thats my philospy .
It will off course have a difffent dispersion also ., but looking at the factory spec , the softdome has theoretically better of axxis response .


Ps the tweeters are at ear height in this design
 
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Ron Resnick

Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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Beverly Hills, CA
#15
thank you Bruce. the pictures of Henk's beautiful speakers deserved to be right side up. :D
They sure do! Thank you, Bruce!

(I need Steve to show me how to fix that myself.)
 
Jan 23, 2011
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Amsterdam holland
#16
Regarding my room , its not perfect i know ??
Its basically a concrete box with glass doors , without much treatment /attention , cant aspect that to be in the same league as M lavigne s room or steves room who put a lot of money/effort into it and hired acousticians .
When flyer(michel ) was here he put the speakers back a little in the position they were in saturday so i thought that might be the most diplomatic position ( i think he liked them as well ), i myself pull them in a little more , but just as mike states , cant really escape the reflective hash .
Goal for this year will be to bring the XPE bassextension / control in a passive additional woofer package , see a lot of people have a nice 2 way system of around 87 - 88 db eff. but want a full range sound .
I ll make a single additional 12 inch passive woofer (luxury wooden inlay finish ) system, with which people can get into the xpe sound , kind of a teaser product/ a lot less expensive plus a lot easier to manoeuvre
 
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Jan 23, 2011
3,857
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Amsterdam holland
#17
Hello ked , here is the impedance graph you asked for , it stays above 5 ohms in the most important region and dips to 3,7 ohms around 10 khz .
I could tell you found this speaker quite dynamic for a cone design ( i know you like certain horns ) , i think its partly because of its large bandwith/easy impedance graph .
If the resistance of a loudspeaker stays high over the freq band , it will not draw a lot off current/ the amp keeps its reserves and therefore a good amp can flap those ls units back and forth like whip

xpe impedance by andromeda61, on Flickr.

This is a 1/3 oct smoothed graph at the listening spot as it was saturday ,and yes i dont " smooth things out copy /paste" i like an honest graph " any body can draw a straight line" ;).
The measurement would be practically straight ,only +- 3 db down at 20 khz if measured on tw axxis .
At the listening spot slight toe in /listener angle, hence the roll off .

Major room mode at 45 hz ., my room is 7,5 meters long , 341(soundspeed in air m/sec ) divided by 7,5 = 45 hz

listening spot FR - Copy (2) by andromeda61, on Flickr


foto 1 by andromeda61, on Flickr

20140312_164918 by andromeda61, on Flickr


20140312_164952 by andromeda61, on Flickr

foto 3 by andromeda61, on Flickr


20140305_103144 by andromeda61, on Flickr
 
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Jan 23, 2011
3,857
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0
Amsterdam holland
#18
Regarding the ringradiator :

Officially ( besides my own thoughts of dome center stability ) its a patented scanspeak tweeter design its called a " phase plug " , it has to do with certain wave lengths not being cancelled out versus those in normal dome design .


wiki : In a loudspeaker, a phase plug, phasing plug or acoustical transformer is a mechanical interface between a speaker driver and the audience. The phase plug extends high frequency response because it guides waves outward toward the listener rather than allowing them to interact destructively near the driver.[1]

Phase plugs are commonly found in high-powered horn loudspeakers used in professional audio, in the mid- and high-frequency bandpasses, positioned between the compression driver diaphragm and the acoustic horn. They may also be present in front of woofer cones in some loudspeaker designs. In each case they serve to equalize sound wave path lengths from the driver to the listener, to prevent cancellations and frequency response problems. The phase plug can be considered a further narrowing of the horn throat, becoming an extension of the horn to the surface of the diaphragm.[2]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase_plug



Y G did also something interesting regarding hard domes /soft domes , they inserted a small metal stabilty structure in the softdome .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IqkHMPrX2A&t=97s
 
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flyer

VIP/Donor
Dec 16, 2012
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www.ultisone.com
#20
Hello Henk Jan,

Allow me to chime in as a kind of review by myself is overdue since my visit about a month ago! Basically, I very much agree with Ron's (overall), bonzo's (bass) and your own (acoustics) findings.

Your speakers are really good but as the acoustics of your room is effectively quite challenging, it is/was not possible to uncover its full potential in that room. Though I am certain the potential is there!!

I am glad to see on the picture you kept the speakers at the point to where we moved it. (dust of the previous position is still there :)) At that position they sounded quite different and, as mentioned previously, very balanced.

I also agree with bonzo that the bass is better than Rockport's Avior I used to have: faster, tighter and more impactful.

As for the asking price, I cannot really comment as I would like to hear them with their potential fully uncovered first. But I would be surprised if they wouldn't show themselves being very good value!

A job well done I agree.