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LOUDSPEAKERS ⸜ floor-standing

Closer Acoustics

Price (when reviewed): 39 000 PLN/pair

Contact: Sp. z o.o.
ul. Dominika-Zdziebły 13
44-337 Jastrzębie-Zdrój | POLSKA


Provided for test by:


translation Marek Dyba
images „High Fidelity” | Closer Acoustics

No 230

July 1, 2023


CLOSER ACOUSTICS is a Polish brand founded in 2013, run by JACK GRODECKI in cooperation with his brother Andrzej and Robert Rolof, focusing on development and production of loudspeakers with full-range drivers, but also offering tube electronics. On their 10th anniversary, for this test we received the latest floor-standing model named FORLANE. This is their PREMIERE review.

N DECEMBER 1931, BELL LABS presented the world's first two-way loudspeakers at a special show; this system was called the "divided range". The treble was reproduced by a driver with a small horn, covering the band from 3 to 13 kHz, and the mid and low tones by a large, 12" dynamic driver, with its range extending down to 50 Hz. Two years later, an improved version of the system was presented, but utilizing three drivers; this developed was called "triple-range". These two inventions changed the audio industry forever.

Before that happened, however, all speakers featured full-range drivers, no crossover or division into sub-ranges. After the Bell Labs presentations, they almost disappeared from high-class designs, remaining in the form of „spores” only in small radio receivers and public information systems. Their distant descendant is the Tivoli Model One radio I use. Today, when visiting a few audio showrooms, we will see loudspeakers of various shapes, usually dynamic, but also electrostatic and magnetostatic ones. Despite the differences, they have something in common: the division of the band into several sub-ranges.

It is such a rare "bird" that in The Complete Guide to High-End Audio Robert Harley, "The Absolute Sound" editor-in-chief, does not even describe it, and in his extensive monograph Illustrated History of High-End Audio Volume 1: Loudspeakers information about this type of loudspeakers was, literally, at the very end and took up a single page. Dick Olsher, responsible for the entry, wrote:

The thing that attracts to such designs is, in short, coherency. Instead of chopping up the signal in the crossover and hoping that these separate sound ranges will be reproduced as a coherent whole, which designers of multi-driver loudspeakers have to achieve, the designers of loudspeakers with full range drivers can be sure that their designs will generate a coherent sound field - from, essentially, a point sound source – which will be much easier for many listeners to accept (p. 301).

Interest in this type of loudspeakers has been growing since the 1950s and probably everyone knows Fostex designs, many know Voxativ designs, and some associate a special type of this type of driver by German Physiks. In Poland, Acuhorn, Cube Audio, Bodnar Audio or Audio Planet deal with them, and the electronics manufacturer, JAG Electronics, also has its own version. Regardless, it is a special, narrow group of products and target customers. As I wrote in my review of the Ogy by Closer Acoustics, they are built and intended for people dissatisfied with modern techniques of sound reproduction.

Closer Acoustics

ONE OF THEM IS MR. JACEK GRODECKI, designer, and co-owner of Closer Acoustics. As he recalls, after building his version of the turntable based on Lenco design, he took it to the Lencoheaven Meeting in Beauvechain in Belgium. There he met an engineer from Germany who "came to show off a minimalist system with very strangely built speakers that featured old Phillips full-range drivers." As he adds: "It was a kind of revelation" (more → HERE).

At that time, the Adam and Eva loudspeakers were developed, based on the 8-inch full-range Supravox 215 Signature Bicone drivers, but with an additional super tweeter; The Supravox was connected without a crossover. Already in 2016, however, the owner of the company comes across a different design, which he will remain faithful to till this day: drivers from the French company Electo-Magnet Speakers (EMS). They were designed by MICHEL FERTIN, a French designer who is a "living legend" of this part of the industry.

After retiring in 2001, he sold his shares in the company to Catherine Fertin. She, however, convinced him not to leave the audio world and to keep working with her. In 2006, the EMS company was launched, and a year later its first drivers were ready. Electro-Magnet Speakers uses full-range drivers of their own design, hand-assembled by Catherine. The line of transducers was quickly noticed, and the LB7 model was used by JADIS.

The basis of the 2016 Virgo model was the LB12 driver. A year later, the Allegra model with a smaller LB8 transducer, ϕ 8” in diameter, was launched, first with a permanent magnet, then with an electromagnet. But it was 2021’s Ogy base model that was a breakthrough. The small speakers with the LB7 driver sounded fantastic and Wojtek Padjas, music journalist of the RMF Classic radio, wrote about them as follows:

(…) Ogi accepted my hysteria with humility. They played everything – Paganini's violin concerto and Beethoven's piano concerto performed by GISEKING (1956) and FAZIL SAY (2022). They handled the baroque trumpet and Louis Armstrong. They performed like few others. So much so that after a week of listening, I called the aforementioned editor, I share my first name with, and asked if I was right about my infatuation, and he replied - "yes, you are."

⸜ WOJCIECH PADJAS, O kolumnach Ogy słów kilka, „High Fidelity” № 227, →, accessed: 15.05.2023 ⸜ PL.

This year, for the 10th anniversary of the company, they developed a new model named Forlane, that is the smallest floor-stander in Closer Acoustics’ range.


DID YOU NOTICE which Michael Fertins driver was missing from the story so far? – Yes, it is LB7. And it is the basis of the new loudspeakers. And these are beautiful, just like all Closer Acoustics’ developments. I've already written about it, but I'll repeat it: there are companies in Poland whose attention to detail, understanding of the shape, sensitivity to proportions are as clear as for artists from Japan. The parallel is clear to me. And it makes even more sense that it is in the country of aikido, Kyoto and lacquers that this type of design, i.e. wide-range, is particularly valued.

The shape of the new loudspeakers was taken from the first ever model. The point is that the oil-wax coated cabinet is flared at the top and tapers downwards, like an exclamation mark. As the designer says, the idea was for there to be a large chamber behind the driver and for the air pressure to escape through the cabinet narrowing downwards, with a slot at the end. It is extremely rigid, and due to the lack of parallel baffles - apart from two side ones - it was possible to minimize standing waves. The cabinet has a capacity of 42 liters and is made of boards glued together from oak slats.

The speakers are 112 cm high, 20 cm wide and 34 cm deep. In such a cabinet, the EMS LB7 driver offers a frequency response from 40 Hz to 18 kHz. Inside we find something like "a branch with leaves" in the form of alternating partitions directed downwards. This is a part of a distributed resonance system - its outlet is on the bottom.

The whole thing stands on nice bases with the company name beautifully engraved in it. Brass spikes are screwed into the bottom. And one more detail, but an important one: a stylized "C" with the shape of speakers, which is the company's logotype, was milled from Corian and glued in the frilled part of the front baffle. A tiny detail, but requiring a lot of work. The signal is fed to the high-class WBT-0703 Cu Nextgen terminals via an inexpensive Klotz cable.

On the manufacturer's website we can read about the driver used in the tested loudspeakers the EMS LB7, that it is an excellent driver, with a very fast response and good linearity in the range critical for our hearing. And because, as we read, there is no double diaphragm with a "wheezer" for treble, "they are less distorted". The driver features a uncoated paper cone, rubber inverted suspension and a distinctive wood phase plug in the center. It also has a powerful magnet and a rigid basket. Mr. Fertin is a supporter of a design with a lightweight diaphragm and a very strong magnet.

And the name? Mr. Grodecki writes a lot about it, so it must be an important element of this design. Forlane is the name of a solo ladies' dance popular in the 17th century - with complicated choreography and a large scale of difficulty. But it is also the name of the designer's beloved work, Le Tombeau de Couperin, composed in 1907 by Maurice Ravel, consisting of six movements: Prélude, Fugue, Forlane, Rigoudon, Minuet and Toccata. The style of the name milled on the basis is supposed to bring to mind a 17th-century sheet music.


˻ HOW WE LISTENED ˺ Closer Acoustics Forlane loudspeakers were placed in the spot where my Harbeth 40.1 usually stand: during the test they were placed 210 cm apart (counting from the center of the front baffle) and 240 cm from me; they were 100 cm from the back wall, and 73 cm from the bookshelves behind them.

I performed the first part of the test using Soulution 710 power amplifier feeding speakers via Siltech Triple Crown cables to check distortion, dynamics and speed. Then I switched to a system with a LEBEN CS600X tube amplifier, with Crystal Cable Art Series Da Vinci speaker cables and Crystal Cable Absolute Dream interconnects. In general, the speakers perform better closer to the back wall and with a tube amplifier.

I determined the distance between the speakers and their leveling using Bosch PLR 50 C rangefinder. More about setting the speakers in the article Micro-tuning, i.e. setting up the speakers, HIGH FIDELITY № 177, January 1st. 2019, →, accessed: 08.03.2023. More about the acoustics of the HF listening room in the article High Fidelity listening room in the eyes of Mariusz Zielmachowicz, HIGH FIDELITY № 189, January 1st. 2020, →, accessed March 8th. 2023. During the test I listened to SACDs, CDs and files using the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge player.

Recordings used for the test | a selection

⸜ ELLA FITZGERALD, Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie!, Verve | PolyGram Records/Victor Entertainment, VICJ 011-4052, XRCD24 (1961/1998).
⸜ KRZYSZTOF DUDA, Osinato, GAD Records GAD CD 238, Master CD-R (2023).
⸜ ART PEPPER, Art Pepper meets The Rhythm Section, Contemporary Records/Craft Recordings CR00392, SACD/CD (1957/2022).
⸜ LANG LANG, Goldberg Variations Deluxe Edition, Deutsche Grammophon 481 9701, 4 x CD (2020).

HEARING MEANS BELIEVING - this motto should hang over every a desk of any engineer dealing with, or at least talking about, audio. Because loudspeakers with a full-range driver "on paper" have only disadvantages, except for one - the lack of a crossover.

But let's listen to the model prepared by a good company, a company that knows what it does, and everything that is "on paper" will take on new meanings. It won't go away, that's all true. As usual, however, in audio, the interpretation is as important as the "bare facts".

Because the Forlanes shouldn't play with the large expansive and clear sound that they do. Each of these elements is something that should not work with full-range drivers. And ye it does. Listened to with the Leben amplifier, they sounded exactly like that. And even though I started the listening session with the JOE COCKER’S With A Little Help From My Friend, released in 1968, released on SACD by the Audio Fidelity label, i.e. a heavily compressed material, it was still evident.

This recording is typical of multi-track recordings of that time, but the album was made in two of the best studios at the time, i.e. London's Olimpic Studios and Trident Studios.

So it's a great production and great music. Polish loudspeakers were not afraid of distortion and compression, which was used by the sound engineers, and showed the fullness, power and drive of this recording. Cocker, in later years associated rather with ballad pieces, here is at his best, when he is not afraid to sing from the throat, hard and loud. Forlanes had no problem with that. They played this album in a cleaner fashion than most multi-driver loudspeakers, in which they reminded me of the designs of yet another Polish manufacturer, Avatar Audio.

I think these designs owe such freedom in the presentation of music to both speed and resolution. Broadband drivers are usually either this or that, but together these elements appear - in my opinion - far too rarely. Closer Acoustics, however, prepared loudspeakers that sound both rich and fast. The vocals of Ella Fitzgerald from Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie!, in the XRCD24 version, suddenly jumped out of the noisy background, but it jumped out immediately shaped, strong and deep.

And only this noise - the tapes were recorded, apparently, without noise reduction - drew my attention to what loudspeakers of this type are appreciated above all: coherence. Something like that is very hard to get from multi-driver speakers. Fans of full-range drivers will say that it is even impossible, I believe that it is simply very difficult. And if it succeeds, it is often at the expense of openness and speed.

And Forlanes are incredibly fast. This is why instruments and voices are presented in an absolutely unique way, and at the same time coherent with room acoustics or effects applied to them. They are separate, because they are located on the soundstage incredibly, really precisely, in every dimension. The left↔right axis makes the biggest impression, but even more important is that the loudspeakers distribute the sound sources on the front↔back axis in an equally perfect way.

That's why Lou Levy's piano, positioned to the left, is further down the stage, and in front of him, also on the left, is Herb Ellis' guitar. They differ both in timbre and where the sound comes from, even though they are on the same axis when viewed from the listening position. The sound was not too bright, although this is not the best example of what the XRCD24 technique can do. Although the obi and the cover bear the "24 Bit Super Analog" logo, informing us that it is a remaster from an analog tape, the booklet contains information that the source was actually a digital remaster. And that's why its sound is not very vivid. The Polish speakers showed it, but they did not "finish" the attack, nor did they brighten up the treble, giving a coherent, even image.

Which was repeated on the next album. KRZYSIEK DUDA sent me, on a CD and on a Master CD-R, the Osinato album, recently released by GAD Records. And this music, already forty years old, sounded in an engaging and very enjoyable way. The recordings are quite light, i.e. there is not much bass on them. The tested loudspeakers also do not lavish it. I would even say that the tiny Ogy model is more impressive in this respect, but because it has a stronger mid and upper bass, and here, with Forlane, this range is more even. So there is more bass than in these monitors, but it is spread over a wider band, hence the impression.

| Our albums


GAD Records GAD CD 238

THE Osinato COLLECTS THE EARLIEST recordings by Krzysztof Duda. There are thirteen recordings from the years 1980-83 on the CD, and ten on the cassette (!), including - as we read - the "cult" song W stylu punk sung by Jolanta Rados and the composer. Out of all the tracks, only one (Takie sobie trzy po trzy) was previously release on an album. The publisher writes that it is a "journey into the world of the Clavinet's funky sounds, lively rhythm section and melodies of extraordinary beauty."

Krzysztof Duda made his first solo, original recording, the aforementioned Takie sobie trzy po trzy, in March 1980. It was followed, according to the publisher, by other compositions in which electronic instruments were supplemented by a live rhythm section. And next:

Although in the following years Duda became known as one of the masters of Polish electronic music, at the beginning of the decade he proposed works bordering on funk, pop and easy listening, full of charming melodies, jazz harmonies and sounds of synthesizers that were so fresh at the time. Some of the tracks (List z wyznaniami, Music market) may have resembled Kombi's work, but it's just one piece of a larger puzzle: Słodyczy nocy fits in with the lyrical side of Polish popular music of that period (see Mikołaj Hertel or Eugeniusz Banachowicz), and the title track Ostinato hypnotizes with juicy sounds of synthesizers and swinging solo parts.

As he wrote, it was not an amateur recording, but a professional one by Piotr Madziar on a four-track Studer tape recorder. Madziar currently lectures on Sound Production Technology at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, and in the past he collaborated with such performers as Eleni, Krzysztof Krawczyk, Zdzisława Sośnicka, Bajm, Dżem, Banda i Wanda, Acid Drinkers, Lemon and Oddział Zamknięty. He also worked on material from the original tapes, that was later remastered by the composer. The CD version includes three bonus tracks. The album is a continuation of Altus, Live and For Better Sound. The album was released in a classic "jewelbox" type box with a several pages long booklet, with text written by the head of GAD, Michał Wilczyński. In the booklet you will find a quote from an interview the musician once gave to our magazine (more → HERE ⸜ PL).

Individual tracks on Osinato differ in sound quality, tonality and dynamics. You can hear that they were recorded at different times and places. Krzysiek Duda, however, made sure that they still form a certain whole - quite raw one from today's point of view, but on the other hand it is extremely addictive with truly "cult" analog sounds. A very nice, atmospheric album for nostalgic moments in life.

SO DON'T EXPECT a powerful kick of a kick-drum or bass, it doesn't work that way. What we can expect, however, is a balanced sound without sound thinning. The fact that the bass is even here and there is a lot of it can be evidenced by the extensive soundstage. It is the low range that determines its solidity and weight. That is why the instruments from ART PEPPER's album entitled Art Pepper meets The Rhythm Section, recorded in a left-right style, with no sound in the middle. Despite this, the leader's saxophone on the left and the other instruments on the right play "together". These recordings have clearly divided channels when the saxophone is not playing, and when it does more often, the perspective converges a bit, because both channels are also heard from the instrument mics in the other channel. When only one of them is playing, the other is locked on the mixing desk, and the perspective goes sideways.

No matter what music I listened to, the speakers remained an oasis of calmness. They were dynamic and fast, so there wasn't a quenching of emotions. It was more about inner freedom from tension. Here there is no place for stress or "tightening" of any aspect of playing. The sound is even and open, which does not resemble a large part of other designs of this type. There is a lot of treble, but so smooth, so - even - sweet. Also, the bass sounds nice, and these loudspeakers handle even electronic music really well, not to mention older rock, which I found out listening to Cocker.

Yet, it’s vocals and classical music that sound the most beautiful with them. A great example of how clean these loudspeakers sound and how well they reproduce the timbre of instruments was Lang Lang's piano playing Golberg Variations in the large space of the Berlin Jesus-Christus-Kirche. It was really something! The balance between the individual octaves, the ability to take the right perspective, it was really easy for the Polish speakers. Just like drawing listeners into this world.


FORLANE ARE THE SMALLEST floor-standers from Closer Acoustics’s range. However, it seems that they are very important for the manufacturer, because they were used to create a logotype for brand’s 10th Anniversary. And they are also, next to the Ogy, the most balanced, the most "engaging" Closer Acoustics’ design. A beautiful summary of ten years of activity. The ˻ RED FINGEPRINT ˺ from us with the best wishes for the future!

Technical specifications (according to the manufacturer)

Driver: EMS LB7 by Electro Magnet Speaker France
Nominal impedance: 8 Ω
Sensitivity: 94 dB
Frequency range: 40 Hz – 18 kHz
Power handing: 30 W
Dimensions (W x H x D): 20 x 340 x 112 mm
Weight: 31 kg/pc.


Reference system 2022

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|


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|


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

  • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|


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

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

Record mats:


Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC