pl | en

Loudspeakers | stand-mounted

Xavian
PERLA EXCLUSIVA

Manufacturer: XAVIAN ELECTRONICS s.r.o.
Price when reviewed: 1990 EUR/pair

Contact: Za Mlýnem 114
253 01 Hostivice – Prague
CZECHY


xavian.cz

MADE IN CZECH REPUBLIC

Provided for test by MOJE AUDIO


POLISH PREMIERE

A STUDIO MONITORS are loudspeakers designed especially for applications in recording, mastering and broadcast studios as well as in broadcasting vehicles. 'Monitor' is to be a speakers with a flat frequency response and minimum phase shifts. In home environments, monitors and mini-monitors have a different purpose - they are used where there is no room for large floor-standing speakers. Their advantages and limitations will be presented using the PERLA EXCLUSIVE from the Czech company Xavian.

here is something irresistibly attractive in small, stand-mount speakers. This type of design is often developed by the important manufacturers and then they come back, trying new ideas to achieve a uniquely charming presentation from just two drivers. Because that's what it's all about - charming listeners. The limitations of a small cabinet and a small mid-woofer ar

So what drives designers to develop designs that have their limitations? Well, in a word: magic. This is not a very technical term, but such speakers work well in the real world. Also in very demanding professional applications. The basis for contemporary mini-monitors are: the BBC LS 3/5a loudspeakers, produced over the years in innumerable versions, for example by the KEF company (LS3/5a), and nowadays by Graham Audio under the Chartwell brand (LS3/5a), Harbeth (P3ESR) and others.

In addition to the BBC, there is another source of inspiration - it's Franco Serblin's designs, first as part of the Sonus faber brand, and then under his own name. Once his top, monitors Guarneri Homage remain legendary, with an ultimate development in the form of the Ktêma. This group of speakers kept small sizes, drivers of a small diameter, but added an important element - instead of thin walls "harmonizing" with the drivers, it proposed solid wood cabinets.

| PERLA EXCLUSIVA

However, there is a model of the Sonus faber, which was not so expensive, and which retained much of the charm of the high-end versions - the Minima Vintage. And it seems that they might have inspired Roberto Barletta of the Czech company Xavian to develop Perla. These speakers were introduced in 2015, and their designer spoke about them in this way:

Perla is a compact, 2-way speakers with a front vented cabinet. The cabinet is made of solid Italian walnut, with a structure that we call "mosaic". Perla's magic draws you in. You want to admire it and touch it. Fascination becomes euphoria when music begins to play. A sophisticated crossover tuning throughout the series, selected components, simplicity of design and exclusive appearance create a recipe for a loudspeaker that is hard to resist.

source: company materials

Have you noticed it? - Mr Barletta also mentions 'magic'. Perla turned out to be extremely good speaker, one that actually "charmed" many - more than 200 pairs were sold. This design probably charmed both customers and people from Xavian, because they decided to prepare a special version called Perla Exclusiva. It is supposed to be - as the name suggests - an exclusive version of the Perla model. Its uniqueness is emphasized by the changes introduced to the design, and a visible feature is the small pearl glued to the back panel.

ROBERTO BARLETTA
Owner, designer

The new evolution was a bit of a happy accident - during the production we ran out of our standard capacitors, so we decided to take those we use in our top models and put them into original Perlas. The sound result was so audible we decided to make it a standard from that moment on.

And once we had that opportunity, we also took better speaker terminals and decided to use more rigid and longer lasting oak solid wood for the enclosures. That also allowed us to make stiffer reflex port and all that resulted in the ability to tune the speaker a bit lower without loss of control and energy in those few extra Hertzes. And as a sweet topping we used an artificial pearl to decorate the rear side of the speaker, which also confirms it´s the Exclusive version.

The point of "polishing" the original Perlas was to provide customers with even a bit more luxurious look and better bass response. We were very satisfied even with the original version, but this was an obvious step forward and now we feel that for this type of speaker in this price range there´s absolutely nothing to upgrade.

Design | The reviewed speakers are relatively small – it's just 315 x 190 x 236 mm - but they are quite heavy, weighing almost 8 kg (a piece). They owe this to cabinets made of wooden planks – let me remind you most cabinets of other manufacturers are made of MDF boards glued together. The wood before is cut dries in the company's storage for three weeks. Perla Exclusive look great thanks to this! It's still a two-way stand mount speaker with a 25mm silk tweeter and a 150mm low- midrange driver with a polypropylene membrane; the crossover frequency is set at 3000 Hz, so quite high - it means that the major part of the band is played by one driver.

Differences compared to the basic version of Perla include, among other things, a 10% more weight, resulting from the use of solid wood from Italian oak. The speakers now weigh 7.7 kg and previously it was 6.9 kg (a piece). Bass-reflex was also made more rigid. The crossover has also been improved, now it utilizes Mundorf capacitors. As we read in the company materials, this allowed to tune the speakers a bit lower than before, which allowed to achieve "even fuller sound, and considering the size of these speakers and their price - totally unbelievable". Manufacturer given technical specifications tells us that the bass goes down as deep as 53 Hz (previously 55 Hz).

To achieve a decent bass performance with small speakers, one needs to reduce their effectiveness and use bass-reflex. The latter was made here not using a round tube, but with a slit visible under a larger driver, which also looks nice. Magnetic grills are another element that improves this model's aesthetics. And finally, the speaker posts - nice, massive, derived from the Xavian more expensive series.

Stands | Together with the speakers we can also buy stands for them. These are made of two MDF tops and a "leg" made of the same wood planks as the ones used for speaker's cabinets, connecting them. The stands can be screwed together with the speakers, which improves the stability of the whole. I usually recommend buying specialized stands, but in this case I would not really recommend it, because these look great together with speakers.

Xavian speakers require an amplifier with reasonable current efficiency,, if, obviously, we want to get the best out of them. It is not even about power, because even 20-25 W output will be enough, and just about current efficiency. The manufacturer specifies the sensitivity as quite high - 88 dB (2.83 V / 1 m) and claims a high nominal impedance - 8 Ω. But at the same time they recommend using powerful amplifiers with output from 30 to 120 W, but - as I say – 20W might be enough as long it's w high quality amp.

The speakers will perform properly almost regardless of placement - their sonic character promotes warm tones, so it does not emphasize the harshness. They should never sound bright - if this happens, it means that you have made some cardinal error in the setup, there are some dramatic issues with the room's acoustics or simply our electronics is no good for anything let alone driving these speakers.

One should set them some 2-2.5 m apart, 3 m from a listening position, toed in directly at it, and that should be fine. However, if you spend more time fine tuning the setup, you should be properly rewarded for it. In January I will try to prepare a short article for you, in which I will show how to do that.

The speakers played in the "High Fidelity" reference system, i.e. with the Soulution 710 power amplifier and Siltech Triple Crown speaker cables. Only in such a system I can hear what the reviewed loudspeakers can and what they can't do.

XAVIAN in „High Fidelity”
  • TEST: Xavian PERLA | loudspeakers
  • TEST: Xavian EPICA CALLIOPE | loudspeakers
  • TEST: Xavian XN250 EVO | loudspeakers
  • TEST: Xavian PRIMISSIMA | loudspeakers
  • TEST: Xavian XN 125 EVOLUZIONE | loudspeakers
  • TEST: Xavian XC SERIES DUETTO | loudspeakers
  • TEST: Xavian MIA | loudspeakers
  • TEST: Xavian XN 125 + XN 185 Mk II | loudspeakers
  • TEST: Xavian GIULIA | loudspeakers

  • Recordings used for the test (a selec- tion)

    • Carlo Gesualdo de Venosa, The Complete Madrigals, Delitiae Musicae, Marco Longhini, Naxos 8.507013, 7 x CD (2013)
    • Depeche Mode ‎A Broken Frame, Mute/Warner-Pioneer Corporation 18P2-2676, CD (1982/1989)
    • Ewa Bem with Swing Session, Be a Man, Polskie Nagrania „Muza”/Warner Music Poland 4 64885 1, „Polish Jazz vol. 65”, Master Gold CD-R (1981/2016);
    • Frank Sinatra, Lost & Found | The Radio Years, Sony Music 8875147142, CD (2015);
    • Jean-Michel Jarre, Equinoxe Infinity, Sony Music | Columbia 1 90758 76442 9, CD (2018)
    • Joe Farrell, Outback, CTI Records/King Records KICJ-2315, „CTI Supreme Collection”, Blu-spec CD (1971/2011)
    • Matt Dusk, JetSet Jazz, Magic Records 771 961 3, CD (2018)
    • Mayo Nakano Piano Trio, MIWAKU, Briphonic BRPN-7007GL, Extreme Hard Glass CD-R (2017);
    • Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio, Midnight Sugar, Three Blind Mice/Impex Records IMP8308, Gold HDCD (1974/2004)

    I have to confess - the first sounds I heard from the new speakers came not from a music release, but from Blu-ray with a movie. Together with my daughter we were just once again during the marathon of Harry Potter movies and the Perla for the first time played for me when we watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I (directed by David Yates, 2010). The soundtrack for this movie has a proper momentum, it can impress with powerful fragments, but features also quiet ones. Which Xavians were able to convey beautifully, not being afraid of either the orchestras tutti, lowest bass notes, nor silent dialogs.

    These speakers disappear from the room and they disappear completely. Listing the disadvantages of small speakers I intentionally did not mention their advantages, wanting to connect those with the impressions from listening session. Because only in this way, with practice, and not theory, can you understand why mini-monitors fascinate both designers and music lovers. Small speakers simply utilize cabinets of a better structure, more rigid, less susceptible to resonances, and at the same time they are a smaller object on the path of sound waves.

    So small speakers nicely mask their presence in the room. However, they always leave something like a "fingerprint" in the presentation we hear. The Xavian speakers we're talking about seem to disappear completely. This is of course not true, in audio there is no such thing as "absolutely" and "completely". However, when we compare them with any other speakers, both of these terms "stick to" them and we start to think about them in this way.

    The Xavians open for us a window to another dimension. The sound never comes directly from them, and even if an instrument has been placed by the sound engineer extremely at a side in any channel, it seems that the sound comes from somewhere behind the speakers, not from themselves. This property is particularly recognizable when listening to mono recordings. A space with large phantom images, strong vocals, reaching far into the depth of the stage is created between the loudspeakers. But the stereo space is overwhelming because it completely fills the area between the Xavians.

    Small speakers, especially from the BBC school, as well as those that came from Franco Serblin's mind, tend to focus on the middle of the band. Which is even understandable, just look at their dimensions. Mr Barletta's new speakers are no exception to this rule. But they are not blindly obeying it either. Because while the midrange sounds most beautifully with them, it is supported by a surprisingly strong bass. This one does not have its own rules, it is only the basis for the midrange, it is its extension, but it is an excellent extension.

    On the one hand, there is a strong foreground, close and saturated. However, if the sound is set a bit further away, or it is an older recording – such as in the Frank Sinatra's recordings, for example from the Songs For Swingin 'Lovers!, or Lost & Found | Radio Years, then the foreground is set farther away from us. This is a unique quality, a differentiation of sound volume and tone, indicating a high resolution of the reviewed speakers. In that they would be closer to the classic BBC monitors.

    On the other hand though, this is a full-blooded design from the "Italian" school of sound. They never come even close to a bit dry presentation, that is a feature of some of the LS 3/5a based speakers. They are precise and accurate, but always in combination with something - tone, space, dynamics, saturation. That's what makes them so engaging and so special.

    We know perfectly well that this is a monitor, it is not about cheating oneself. Especially if we listened to Jarre's new album a moment before, the Equinoxe Infinity, or the soundtrack from the first Blade Runner using large speakers. But it's enough to listen to Xavians for a while and we easily enter a new world, their world, without any hesitation.

    Vocals sound beautifully on Perla Exclusive, so do Hammonds, guitars, etc. However, electronic music, pop and other music genres will sound equally well. They have a great tonality that is equally well differentiated. It's not a dynamically flat performance, but dense, mature, slightly warm. With highly commercial recordings, midrange around 2-3 kHz is a bit hard, but it does not prevent a comfortable listening. The lowest bass does not exist, because it can't in this case, and at high volume levels low sounds are a bit compressed. That's life...

    Summary

    I could keep writing about Mr. Barletta's speakers for a long time, and not without merit. They encourage talking about them because they trigger a lot of positive energy in us. However, I think that even the short description I have presented is enough to realize that we are dealing with an excellent product. A product with a "special purpose", but at the same time very versatile. They open a window for us to the musical world, they are a bit warm, without attacking us with a expansive foreground. They are beautiful! That is why they fully deserve our RED Fingerprint.


    Specifications (according to manufacturer):

    Mid-bass driver: ø 150 mm 
    Tweeter: ø 25 mm
    System: two-way damped bass-reflex, front firing slot bass-reflex
    Frequency range: 53 – 20 000 Hz (-3 dB on reference axis)
    Nominal impedance: 8 Ω
    Crossover frequency: 3000 Hz
    Sensitivity: 88 dB (2.83 V/1 m)
    Recommended amplification: 30 - 120 W
    Dimensions: 315 x 190 x 236 mm (HxWxD)
    Weight: 7.7 kg/pc.

    • HighFidelity.pl
    • HighFidelity.pl
    • HighFidelity.pl
    • HighFidelity.pl
    • HighFidelity.pl
    • HighFidelity.pl
    • HighFidelity.pl
    • HighFidelity.pl
    • HighFidelity.pl
    • HighFidelity.pl


    Reference system 2018



    1) Loudspeakers: HARBETH M40.1 |REVIEW|
    2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
    3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
    4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
    5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
    6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
    7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|

    Cables

    Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
    Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
    Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

    AC Power

    Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
    Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
    Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
    Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
    Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
    Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
    Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
    Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
    Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
    Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
    Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|

    Anti-vibration

    Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
    Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
    Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

    Isolators:
    • PRO AUDIO BONO Ceramic 7SN |REVIEW|
    • FRANC AUDIO ACCESSORIES Ceramic Classic
    • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|

    Analogue

    Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

    Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

    Record mats:
    • HARMONIX TU-800EX
    • PATHE WINGS

    Headphones

    Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

    Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC