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Loudspeakers | floor-standing


Manufacturer: STRUSS
Price (in Poland): 6600 PLN/pair (1 PLN = 0.23 EUR – 1.03.2020)



Provided for test by: STRUSS


STRUSS is a Polish manufacturer of loudspeakers and audio cables. The originator of the enterprise and also the designer is Mr. Jacek Hrynkiewicz-Struss. [...] For many years, he designed loudspeakers for well-known manufacturers, and created several well-known and recognized audio equipment brands. In 2019, he decided to start operating under his own name. (source: company materials).

nd this is how we currently have two companies on the market with the surname Struss in the name: STRUSS AUDIO of Mr. Zdzisław Hrynkiewicz-Struss and STRUSS of Mr. Jacek Hrynkiewicz-Struss - companies of father and son, respectively. One cannot separate them completely, or even pretend that one of them is not there. The only way to organize the situation will be to clearly separate the scope of their activities in mind: STRUSS AUDIO offers amplifiers, and STRUSS loudspeakers and cabling. This time we are dealing with the latter.

Mr. Jacek has been known to us since 2015. That’s when he presented his first loudspeakers, sold under the Rebel brand. Its most important products, from my point of view, were three loudspeakers from the Sentiment series: Sentiment 10, Sentiment 20 and Sentiment 30. What can I say - these were excellent speakers. I liked almost everything about them.


In November last year, during the Audio Video Show 2019, the premiere - from the point of view of Mr. Jacek - more important one took place: visitors could then listen to the first model of his new (at least in audio) company STRUSS. This brand has been present on the market for over 20 years, but until last year it was a company associated with outdoor advertising. So, both the brand and the logo one finds on the Polonez № 1 speakers are not new.

The loudspeakers present some design similarities with the Rebel Sentiment series, which seems natural, but they do differ in many important details. These are three-way floor loudspeakers with an optically separated subwoofer section. Their shape is absolutely classic and refers to BBC products because they are wider than deeper. I have to say that I like them tremendously, because the do not pretend to be anything else. I'm not saying that I don’t like the streamlined shapes of products, for example, by Sonus faber. It’s just that while their appearance says "we have something to do", the Struss loudspeakers communicate "I just am".

Owner, designer

This time my assumption was to develop good, but also affordable speakers. They were to be speakers dedicated to 15 to 25 m2 rooms. I placed the bass-reflex port at the front, which means that the distance from the wall behind the loudspeaker has less impact on its sound, mainly in the low-frequency range, than it would with the bass-reflex facing backwards. Thanks to this, they are a more universal design.

Since they were supposed to fill a 25 sqm room with sound, and maybe even one up to 30 sqm, the diameter of the woofer membrane had to be slightly larger than 170 mm. In order not to leave anything to chance, I chose for a 200 mm transducer. The surface (in cm2) of such a driver is similar to that of two 170 mm ones. In addition (usually) the use of one woofer with a larger area in place of two with a smaller, but equivalent, ones is more favorable for the quality of the bass. And this is not the end, because this solution gives you something else - usually one (slightly larger) driver is cheaper than two smaller ones.

Downsides? - A driver with a diameter of 200 mm forced the use of a wider than usual front baffle. I did not try to narrow it, for example by designing smaller margins. Quite the opposite - I left a lot of space around the woofer for the grill frame. Theories are well known, according to which large margins negatively affect the quality of the sound stage that a speaker can generate. I can confirm it - they do.

Yet, in my opinion, the difference is rather insignificant - certainly smaller than suggested in the marketing materials of many loudspeaker manufacturing companies and in many textbooks for beginner speaker designers. In addition, each woofer is dedicated to a volume. We influence the ratio of the amount of low bass to upper one through the volume of the woofer chamber. The larger the cabinet, the lower the bass goes and vice versa, i.e. the smaller it is, the more upper bass there is.

And there is another factor affecting this phenomenon - the distance of the back of the cabinet from the driver. Taking all this into account, I designed a housing in which the width is greater than the depth, which is exactly the opposite of what is currently commonly done. This solution imposed the volume required for the woofer and the width of its basket (as well as the front panel). Ultimately, I thought that such proportions are very interesting, both from a technical and artistic point of view. To be sure, I consulted a few design specialists who said it was OK. Some said it was fantastic.

The next step was the selection of midrange and tweeter drivers. The midrange driver received a cylindrical chamber (it's just a rigid, plastic tube with damping). This shape largely eliminates the formation of standing waves, and besides, the chamber is easy to make and inexpensive - and, as I said, there were supposed to be affordable speakers. I quickly chose a few models for tests, which left me with two drivers: a silk dome tweeter from SB Acoustics (25 mm) and a paper midrange driver with a diameter of 130 mm made to order by one of the Polish companies.

Enclosures are made by Pylon Audio - one of the best factories of this type in Europe, making enclosures for many high-end manufacturers from around the world. When constructing the housing, I decided to choose MDF boards with a wall thickness of 22 mm. Of course, a 22 mm board can resonate more easily than e.g. a 40 mm one, but you have to balance the costs and performance. Thicker walls simply weight more, and therefore they cost more and also higher transport costs of the final product have to be taken into account. That is why I decided on 22 mm and one single brace - exactly on the cut-off line, which can be seen outside.

The crossover frequency between the woofer and the midrange driver, the bass-reflex enclosure with the front-firing port, as well as the first order crossover forced the damping of all internal walls. If the woofer also reproduces the lower midrange frequencies, as it does here, then the midrange is also emitted through the bass-reflex tube. When the outlet is directed backwards it usually is not heard. This can be eliminated by internal damping. But you have to be careful, otherwise you will lose the dynamics of the upper bass !!! As it is the case with all speakers - everything affects everything... JHS


Currently, Struss offers only one model - the tested Polonez № 1. Their special feature, apart from their appearance and thoughtful engineering, is an extremely attractive price. In order for Mr. Jacek to be in tune with his perfectionist approach to the topic, but also to fit in the budget he had to really make an effort. And yet you can't see it, because his new speakers have something that gives them a sense of certainty and solidity.

Cabinet | These are three-way, floor-standing loudspeakers with a bass-reflex enclosure, with a port on a front baffle. Their housing is made of 22 mm MDF reinforced with a horizontal wreath. It is placed at the height of the cutter, below the mid-high section. The cutter is part of the artistic design, both sections share a common housing. The speaker stands on a wider pedestal, which can be unscrewed. From below we screw in standard, steel, blackened spikes. There are no washers for them. On the front we put, magnetically mounted grills - separately on each section.

Drivers | The drivers were selected after numerous listening sessions and measurements. As Mr. Jacek says, it was both about their performance and measurable parameters, but also about the certainty that they will be available in the coming years. Small driver manufacturers, even good ones, very often change the lineup because they are dependent on subcontractors that they have no influence on.

For the bass designer chose the Visaton woofer (W 200 S) with a paper coated membrane with a diameter of ø 200 mm. For the midrange they selected a paper, 130 mm driver designed and made by one of the Polish companies commissioned by Struss. And finally the treble is reproduced by the SB Acoustics silk dome (SB265-TC). Struss owner says it is as good as the 5-times more expensive Scan-Speak domes.

Crossover | Designer decided to use a first order crossover, a very simple one (a single, very large coil with a powder core operates on the bass, a single air coil in the midrange, and on the top resistors and Jantzen capacitor). Polink components are used in the crossover. Also, the internal cabling comes from one of the Polish companies (bass and middle, copper with the addition of silver-plated copper), but high tones were wired using an expensive Mundorf cable (MConnect SilverGold).

Mr. Jacek does not use any support software to design the speakers. As he says, each of his design is the result of traditional calculations and long work with the prototype. And then: "I only use a support of a computer software during measurements. I am talking of programs and measurement sets for characteristics and impedance."

The signal is fed to a single pair of speaker terminals. They are spaced so wide that any cables and connectors can be used. The terminals are screwed into the nameplate, and the latter is glued to the milled recess. It's a clean, tidy design.

Finish | The speakers are available in five finishes: three made of natural veneer and two varnished. Natural veneers include black colored veneer (the company uses the name "swamp oak") and this is the basic color offered by STRUSS. Dark brown oak veneer will cost you additional PLN 400 per pair (in stock), similar to the light-colored version. The latter is a natural veneer (oak) stained and finished with transparent varnish. The two varnishes available are white and black, both in high gloss finish. In their case, one has to pay additional 800 PLN per pair (available upon order, waiting time up to 30 days).

Where did the name of the series come from? Let me let the designer explain:

Why POLONEZ? Because I proudly mark all our products (including cables) with MADE IN POLAND. I wanted this model to emphasize the origin, hence the Polonez (our national dance). Polonez is, next to the mazur and krakowiak, the oldest Polish dance.


The Polonez № 1 by Struss were placed in the same spots that are usually occupied by my own Harbeth M40.1. The distance between them, counting from the tweeters, was 3 m, and from the listening position 2.4 m. They were pointing directly at my ears. They were driven using a transistor amplifier with a linear power supply, Soulution 710, through Siltech Triple Crown cables. I protected the floor from spikes with brass spike-bases, the Acoustic Revive SPU-8.

During the test I used the Ayon Audio CD-35 HF Edition (№ 1/50) player, but not just it. When Mr. Jacek brought the speakers to me, when we connected them and listened to them for a moment, he revealed some secrets to the designer 'kitchen'. Its basic amplifiers are Struss Audio devices - mainly R500. Recently, he has also been using the new Hypex amplifier. The source is a CD player.

However, he uses also an alternative listening procedure. He uses the Mytek Stereo 96 DAC digital-to-analog converter to which he connects the AKG K701 headphones (more about Mytek HERE). As he says, it is a very tonally balanced combination and a good reference point. In this way he compares the sound of speakers driven by one of these two amplifiers with headphones.

Using this hint I also listened a similar setup, but instead of the Stereo 96 DAC I used the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge.

Recordings used for the test (a selec- tion)

  • Cannonball Adderley, Somethin’ Else, Blue Note/Esoteric ESSB-90125, SACD/CD (1958/2015) w: 6 Great Jazz, „MasterSound Works”, Blue Note/Esoteric ESSB-90122/7, 6 x SACD/CD
  • Emilian Mankiewicz, Echo. Improwizacje fortepianowe, wyd. własne, CD (2019)
  • Frank Sinatra, My Way (50th Anniversary Edition), Capitol/UMe USM Japan UICY-15851, „Signature Sinatra”, CD (1969/2019)
  • Kazuo Yashiro Trio, Love Is Here To Stay, Takt Jazz Series/Nippon Columbia COCB-54090, „Dig Deep Columbia”, Blu-spec CD (1968/2014)
  • Mark Knopfler, One Take Radio Sessions (The Trawlerman's Song EP), Mercury 9870986, Studio Digital Clone CD-R (2005)
  • Patricia Barber, A Distortion of Love, Verve/Mobile Fidelity UDSACD 2100, „Limited Edition | No. 01083”, SACD/CD (1992/2012)
  • Patricia Barber, Café Blue, Premonition/First Impression Music FIM CD010, Gold HDCD (1994/1995)

Polonez № 1 are relatively inexpensive loudspeakers, but full-size ones, so to speak. Or - quite large and three-way. And this means that one had to pay a lot of attention to their final tuning, at least that's how I see it. The effect that was achieved goes far beyond what we usually get for this money, even from the best manufacturers. And what they offer is not a "safe" performance, or one that is „easy to sell". It is subversive in its fidelity, honest, and does not give in to "fashions". Therefore, these speakers will not soften the system's sharpness, nor will they open its sound, they will not add bass where it is missing and will not warm up systems that sound too cold.

There is a lot of treble, as much as needed. Interestingly, Mr. Jacek Hrynkiewicz-Struss, bringing the speakers to me for the test, was concerned whether they didn’t sound too dark or were not too treble-shy. When we set them up he asked me to play Patricia Barber's Café Blue, because he knew it very well and, among other things, the speakers were tuned using it. It quickly turned out that everything was fine. The last thing I would say about these loudspeakers is: "dark" and "warm".

The album in question has an open sound, rather brighter than darker, going more towards precision than softness. The material for it was recorded on a 32-track Mitsubishi ProDigi digital reel tape recorder (probably the X-850 model) with a resolution of 16 bits and a sampling frequency of 48 kHz. The mix and mastering were made, however, in the analog domain, on an analog, stereo ½" tape with noise reduction. And that's why the Mobile Fidelity releasing it on a SACD disc, could put a strip on its cover saying that the remaster was made of analog master tape.

It does not change the fact that this is a digital recording and you can hear it. I will say more - the Struss speakers showed it without any problem. Not as a problem, but as a „flavor”, value, simply - a feature. I play this CD from the 1997 HDCD version, on gold disc, with the First Impression Music remaster (and with the artist's signature). Despite the "warm" character of the medium, the voice of Barber, with quite a lot of sibilants, was reproduced by these speakers with extreme precision. There was no question of brightening up, but it was immediately heard that the long delay added to the vocals "carries" the higher parts of the voice far, far into the sound stage. And the speakers rendered it flawlessly, together with the reverb of the "room".

These are not very resolving loudspeakers, I didn't even expect them to be, physics and price limitations can't be overcome. But I say it in absolute terms. Because when it comes to the price range up to PLN 10,000, they are simply phenomenal in this respect. Because they differentiate the music incredibly well, they are unique in this respect. In the recording A Day In The Life Of A Fool from the Frank Sinatra’s My Way they flawlessly showed various places of the instruments in the mix, perfectly transmitting the percussion with rolled off top, in addition set very low in the mix (quietly) with a large vocal recorded with a close microphone.

Paradoxically, such a wide, open sound may suggest focusing on the midrange. And this is because it is simply in good proportions with its extremes. But it's not like that. This is an open sound in which the midrange draws attention, but not by pushing itself on the listener, but by the natural tendency of the human ear to search for information there. So one can't talk about warming the sound or rounding it off. It is obvious that the metal cymbals attack, sibilants, the beat of a kick drum do not have the precision known from high-end speakers, but - again - for the money the result is simply phenomenal, because the attack is fast and precise.

That is why the bass is shown so precisely by them. Although these are quite large speakers, they do not radiate with low sounds. If you take a look at the Harbeth M40.1 measurement in my room (HERE), then you’ll see that the Struss speakers flatten the frequency response from 200 Hz downwards faster, and this "peak" at the very end would be much lower. It's neither good nor bad thing - just such tuning was adopted by Mr. Jacek.

What’s the result - I think that thanks to that the loudspeakers have momentum, but they are also very precise and accurate. The bass is extremely well controlled and is very clean. It's just that there is not so much of its middle range, i.e. the one that usually makes the biggest impression, as one would expect from such a big cabinet and such a driver. And again - it's neither good nor bad thing. Listening to low-set recordings from Mark Knopfler's radio session, released on an EP entitled The Trawlerman’s Song EP we will quickly conclude that this is a good choice. It will not be liked by those who like to blast the "bass", or those who prefer a warmer presentation. However, when it comes to precision and neutrality, it will be difficult to find something comparable for the money.

The large cabinet and a large woofer serve a different purpose here - dynamics and scale (volume) of the sound. These things are difficult to achieve, and in this price range they always come at a price, usually muddying of the midrange or/and sound unification. Here we get it (almost) for free. The more that we can expect a huge, deep and wide space with them. Always under control, never inflated, but simply extensive. We pay for it only by not having too powerful bass and it won’t be too well-extended.

Objectively it goes down very nicely, while differentiating well. We will have no doubts about the bass instruments used on the discs by Barber, Sinatra, Knopfler or Cannonball Adderley from Somethin’ Else. If I were a little more exalted I would say: a masterpiece. But I am not, so I will say: well done!


Because the Polonez № 1 speakers are a special specimen on the audio market. They look great, they are incredibly precisely made and they sound not like loudspeakers for the money, but like loudspeakers from a much higher price-shelf. And I do not mean that they are priced too low - in the end you can hear, mainly in a slightly weaker midrange filling, not entirely shown bodies, etc., that these are speakers from the price range up to, say, PLN 10,000. But these features do not pull them down, they are like "next to" - next to simply exceptional things.

First of all, their transparency to the recording. Think about a good amplifier, maybe a tube one, but not necessarily tube-based, that will do them justice. They will sound great with SoulNote devices, also with the much more expensive A-2 SE (although they do not require expensive components, this is just an example). They can offer a bit more weighty sound when placed closer to the wall behind them and choosing the right source and cables. The Struss loudspeakers will allow it, but they will not change their character, we will not change them, and they will allow everything that is before them in the system to perform.

Because, secondly, this is an incredibly differentiating and neutrally tuned design. Each recording has its own expression with it, each has its own chance. They can’t be used to soften the treble, or to emphasize the lower midrange if it does not come from the source material or other components in the system. These speakers offer high fidelity, that is, they have „high fidelity” in their DNA, not on an advertising leaflet. A very successful debut of the company! Therefor a well-deserved RED Fingerprint.

Technical specifications (according to manufacturer)

Nominal impedance: 8 Ω
Sensitivity: 90 dB
Frequency range: 30 Hz - 30 kHz
Cabinet type: vented with bass-reflex
Dimensions (H x W x D): 1000 x 300 x 255 mm
Weight: 27 kg/pc.


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|


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