I haven’t had much (actually, any…) experience with Polish hifi equipment, so I had no expectations or preconceptions of what the Akkus V1s were likely to deliver – just an awareness that my usual Audio Physic Avanti III floorstanders were a tough act to follow for any loudspeaker, much less a stand-mount. For this test they were teamed-up with a Unison Research S9 SET valve integrated amplifier, Naim CDX CD player, and for vinyl a Graaf GM70 phono stage, Palmer 2.5 TT with SME2-10 arm and Lyra Kleos cartridge.
First impressions before they were even out of their box was that for stand-mount speakers – and the company’s entry level ones at that – these are very heavy and substantial speakers. They are supplied with perfectly-matching veneered MDF speaker stands and once set up you could see how well matched these stands are to the overall aesthetics of the speakers. These are very attractive speakers too, with casework which leans back to help time-align the drivers, while the stands project forwards. This works very well and manages a nicely deceptive trick of looking more compact than these not-insubstantial speakers actually are! The front baffles are also heavily chamfered, helping to reduce diffraction as well as increasing their overall visual appeal.
The woodwork of both is very good, comprising well applied and finished veneers and accurately machined panels which eschew the blingy high-gloss finish so often found in this price-range. The weight of the speakers is partly explained by the fact that the front panel is no-less than 2” thick and all other panels 1” thick. The driver line-up comprises a 7” mid-bass driver and a 1” silk dome tweeter, venting via a conventional rear facing port providing significant bass-reinforcement. Positioning in most normal domestic rooms is likely to be important. The binding posts are high-quality multi-way WBT components mounted on an alloy panel and are suitable for single or bi-wiring, the supplied links are top quality too. The speaker stands are relatively light in weight unfilled, but sonically inert and with an impressive attention to detail come supplied with Soundcare’s excellent Superspikes – well-engineered captive spikes with threaded mounts.
With the V1s in place and the system warmed-up, the first music I played was from Thea Gilmore’s “Loft Music”. This otherwise excellent album is neither well engineered or produced and the bass in particular is at times a little overblown. Through the V1s the bass initially sounded very flabby and I had to position the speakers further out from the back wall in order to stop them over-driving the room. Further experimenting with positioning demonstrated that, as is usual with most speakers, this aspect of setup is critical to extracting the best overall performance from the Akkus standmounts. During this initial stage of listening, I also found that they benefited significantly from some warm up time. This was much less obvious in subsequent listening sessions, so I suspect that this pair had not been used for some time, if at-all, suggesting that warm-up is important and run-in absolutely critical to understanding and appreciating what these speakers can do.
By way of contrast I followed-up “Loft Music” with Hellwood’s “Fireworks Factory” which is an altogether better recorded and produced album with distinctive, gritty vocals and deep and plentiful bass which demands accuracy and control from both amp and speakers. This really came to life on the V1s. Bass wasn’t the fastest, but certainly not lacking in quantity and texture. The soundstage was excellent, extending well beyond the speakers, with extended but deliciously smooth treble. The midrange was tuneful, yielding well-articulated Vocals which were very natural-sounding with great timbre and intelligibility.
I found myself very readily settling-down to simply enjoying these speakers and soon found myself playing lots of music I am familiar with and wanting to hear it on these rather impressive stand mounts. So on went Damien Rice’s “9 crimes”, Bare Naked Ladies “The Flag”, Ani Difranco “Out of Range and The Gathering “How to Measure a Planet”. For all their diversity, they all sounded great with good balance and tonality. You never get any feeling that any area in the frequency range is missing, although if I was being picky, some of the finer nuances of emotional connection are not quite fully delivered. Realistically, this is commensurate with reasonable expectation at their price point and with standmounters’ characteristic reduced delivery of scale.
Overall, I really enjoyed these speakers. The Akkus V1s offer very good value for money in both material and performance terms, so if you are looking for a high quality, well built, all-rounder stand-mount – make sure you include these in your short-list.