Audio Physic Virgo Mk2 Speakers

I’d heard Audio Physic (AP) speakers several times at Shows, and the overriding impression had been of a dynamic and quite exciting sound, but with a tonal thinness that really did not appeal to me.   Box Swapper though I am, AP speakers never made it on to my Want List for that reason.

But I kept reading reviews and forum comments about how wonderful they were, and the soundstage performance was nearly as legendary as the weird speaker positioning that AP recommends!  The company byline of “no loss of fine detail” also appealed.

A pair of Mk2 Virgo came along on eBay with a nice Buy It Now price, and not too far to drive to collect them.  I succumbed, more out of curiosity than anything else … it would be easy enough to move them on the following week, after all.

Audio Physic are a well-established German speaker company, who make a wide range from small standmounts to large floorstanders and massive subwoofers.  They are obsessed with soundstaging, and recommend that their speakers be placed well out into a room and widely spaced compared to what most folk are used to.  The listening seat should also be crammed back against the rear wall.  Well, interesting, but we’ll see ….

With an RRP of around £3,250, these are 41 inches high and very deep-looking at 16 inches, but they are only 6.5 inches wide.  An unusual shape but attractive, in my view.  Mine were in a nice black finish …

A 3-way, 4 driver speaker they have small 6-inch woofers either side of the enclosure.  In fact, the bass divers looked ridiculously small!  Hmm, not a lot of bass from these quite big speakers, I thought.

Following the AP’s general positioning philiosopy I set them up 8ft apart and 6 ft from each speaker to listening position.   Very wide!

The first and very immediate and very noticeable thing that struck me is that the 3D soundstage is a bit of an eye and ear opener! I’d never, ever heard that sort of transparent view into a recording before – the musicians aren’t in the room with you, you are in the room with them (if you see what I mean).

I tried the old speaker placement waltz and went so far as to get them w-i-i-i-i-de apart (12 feet or so, with me sitting about 9 feet from each speaker) – as recommended by some.  Well, the soundstage was walk-in virtual reality style enveloping, but the stereo image is just too darn wide – it sounded like I was sitting in the conductors lap in orchestral recordings – cinemascope style. In a string quartet recording, each of the 4 players are precisely placed, but they are very widely (and unrealistically) spaced too far apart from each other. Didn’t work for me with classical music. Wall-of-sound rock music however was very entertaining!  There was also a bit of midrange colouration that slightly muffled voices, for example, probably due to wall reflections, I think. Not too bad, though, (not too bad at all, actually, but I like, and am used to, a very low colouration sound) and some non-acoustic recordings sounded great this way.

But when I did the “8 feet apart and 6 feet away” thing, with the listening seat pulled well into the room – wow! – the slight midrange colouration disappears and the sound is very immediate, fast and precise – and a slight lack of treble air previously noticeable disappears nicely, too.

I liked it a LOT that way. With the seat pushed toward the rear wall, that colouration thing started to creep back in.  A bit of free space all-round with the Virgos and there is real magic to be had.

I’d read reviews calling the Virgo a bit ‘warm’. I don’t think so, at least when listened to close up with everything well away from walls – they sound very neutral to me with no sign of the thin/scrawny sound I’d heard APs give at Shows, either.

Bass turned out to be very good for the size of speaker and nothing short of amazing considering the size of the bass drive units – deep, taut, powerful and room-filling.  Very nice.

After several months happy listening I did move them on … having previously enjoyed a number of electrostatic speakers, I had a hankering for a bit more resolution in the mids than the Virgos provided, but I didn’t want to lose the bass depth and control or the excellent dynamics of the Virgo … I moved on with great success to a pair of Leema Xavier speakers – but more of that in another review perhaps!

 

Specification:

Three-way, floorstanding, moving-coil loudspeaker: Drive-units: ¾” aluminum-dome tweeter, 4″ treated paper-cone midrange unit, two 6″ treated paper-cone, reflex-loaded woofers.

Measured impedance: 4 ohms nominal.

Measured sensitivity: 88.5dB/2.83V/m (B-weighted).
Dimensions: 6½” W by 16″ D by 41″ H.

Author – Jerry

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