Audio Solutions

LOUDSPEAKERS - Award Wining speakers from accessible prices all the way up to the "Elite" class with exclusive finish options - created in Lithuania
The Art and Science of Speaker Engineering

STORY
Owned and founded in 2011 autumn by a talented speaker engineer Gediminas Gaidelis, AudioSolutions speakers are produced and manufactured in-house in Vilnius, Lithuania (EU).

PERFECTION
Development of these fine speakers is a true challenge. We combine laws of physics with design, manufacturing stability and customers' needs to make perfect speakers. Every part is hand crafted and individully tested.
BEHIND
Years of hard work and research are hidden behind this revealing short name - not only in the realm of achieving ideal sonic abilities, but also in practical realization of pioneering ideas. AudioSolutions steps firmly into High-End territory. With the mission statement of ‘Art and Science of Speaker Engineering’, Audio Solutions’ aim is to combine physics and psychoacoustics. 

SPEAKER DRIVERS:
The [near] perfect drive unit combination of paper mid and bass drivers (doped for extra rigidity) with a soft-dome which comes into play at a higher than expected which is almost certainly the key reason the broadband characteristic of their speakers are so enjoyable to listen to. The tweeter is referred to as a mini-horn which aims to overcome a silk dome’s tendency to become slightly dulled at higher frequencies. It is combined here with a carefully engineered waveguide to aid HF dispersion. The tweeter is smaller than one might expect, that’s a deliberate attempt to create a faster response in the extreme top-end.  Gediminas explains, while bigger tweeters perform well in two-way speakers, where a greater power-handling is needed, in a three-way plus speakers we can benefit from a smaller speaker with its much lighter membrane and this translates directly to a faster response and lower distortion.

MANUFACTURE:
Meticulous attention to detail is applied throughout their speakers: from the WBT Nextgen connectors, to a ‘self-locking’ cabinet to give maximum rigidity, and deployment of Jantzen components in the crossover network. Everything is sourced in the EU with absolutely no Chinese labour, I’m assured. Audio Solutions manufactures cabinets in its own factory, sources drive units from leading producers including SB Acoustics, SEAS and Scan-Speak.

AUDIO SOLUTIONS SPEAKER SERIES:
OVERTURE - 5 models / FIGARO - 6 models  / VIRTUOSO - 5 models  / VANTAGE - 5 models.

A SAMPLE OF AUDIO SOLUTION INTERNATIONAL AWARDS:

OVERTURE SERIES AWARDED OUTSTANDING EXCELLENCE
First and we hope not last award for these exquisite speakers. Overture were awarded Outstanding Excellence in "Popularity Awards - 2016" category by "SUPER AV AWARDS".

FIGARO SERIES AWARDED "BEST OF HIGH-END 2018" - SOUNDSTAGE @ MHES 2018
During Munich high end show, our new speaker series Figaro was awarded by SoundStage Hi-fi magazine from Canada

FIGARO-S AWARDED "BEST BUY" - "THE EAR" MAGAZINE
We are very proud to receive second Best Buy award for the Figaro series speakers.

FIGARO-M AWARDED "BEST BUY 2018" - MONO & STEREO
We are very proud to receive "Best Buy 2018" award.

FIGARO-L AWARDED "BEST SOUND" - HIGH FIDELITY Mag
During Warsaw AV show 2018 Figaro L where awarded "Best Sound in show 2018" by "High Fidelity" magazine

VANTAGE SERIES AWARDED "OUTSTANDING" IN ELITE CLASS.
During Guangzhou exhibition AudioSolutions Vantage was awarded by "SUPER AV AWARDS" with prestigious award in "Overall Performance Awards - 2016" class. Verdict - Outstanding in Elite class

All Products

Reviews

Testimonials

Videos

All Products

Book Shelf/Stand Mtg

AS 01 SB OT302B
NZ$ 3,250.00 pr (incl. GST)
REVIEW SUMMARY: the AudioSolutions Overture models under review demonstrated unexpectedly high value. This came with competitive performance and an unusually broad swath of finish options. Heck,...
Two-way speaker system.Highly braced, CNC precision and as thick as 36mm MDF cabinet ensure...
Super AV Award "Outstanding Excellence in Popularity Awards - 2016" category
Book Shelf/Stand Mtg
AS 01 SB OT302BW
NZ$ 3,750.00 pr (incl. GST)
REVIEW SUMMARY: the AudioSolutions Overture models under review demonstrated unexpectedly high value. This came with competitive performance and an unusually broad swath of finish options. Heck,...
Two-way speaker system.Highly braced, CNC precision and as thick as 36mm MDF cabinet ensure...
Super AV Award "Outstanding Excellence in Popularity Awards - 2016" category
Book Shelf/Stand Mtg
AS 10 SB FIGB
NZ$ 5,750.00 pr (incl. GST)
Figaro! speaker line is our newest speaker line for today. In 6 years of development we can offer much more efficient production and much better sound quality due to our specific Self-Locking cabinet...
We introduce different finishes allowing even most picky taste find their color. Among all popular...
Book Shelf/Stand Mtg
AS 10 SB FIGB EX
NZ$ 6,250.00 pr (incl. GST)
Figaro! speaker line is our newest speaker line for today. In 6 years of development we can offer much more efficient production and much better sound quality due to our specific Self-Locking cabinet...
We introduce as much as 17 different finishes allowing even most picky taste find their color....
Book Shelf/Stand Mtg
AS 20 SB VIRB
Price on application
AudioSolutions will present their newest speaker series Virtuoso at the High End Show in Munich. Virtuoso takes most technology advantages from their Flagship – Vantage 5th anniversary. Design-...
VIRTUOSO  STANDARD FINISHES: HIGH-GLOSS XIRALLIC: Black, Silver Grey, Zink Grey, & Pearl...
Book Shelf/Stand Mtg
AS 30 SB VANB
NZ$ 72,995.00 pr (incl. GST)
Bookshelf speaker which can't be used as bookshelf speaker because of down firing woofer. Sounds like a nonsense right? Some also might say having Vantage B is the same as having Vantage S because...
Designed around fresh 6” wideband midrange driver and supported by customised beryllium tweeter,...
Book Shelf/Stand Mtg

Floor Standing

AS 02 SF OT303F
NZ$ 6,250.00 pr (incl. GST)
REVIEW SUMMARY: the AudioSolutions Overture models under review demonstrated unexpectedly high value. This came with competitive performance and an unusually broad swath of finish options. Heck,...
Two-way speaker system.Highly braced, CNC precision and as thick as 36mm MDF cabinet ensure...
Super AV Award "Outstanding Excellence in Popularity Awards - 2016" categoryReview by Stereo i...
Floor Standing
AS 02 SF OT303FW
NZ$ 9,000.00 pr (incl. GST)
REVIEW SUMMARY: the AudioSolutions Overture models under review demonstrated unexpectedly high value. This came with competitive performance and an unusually broad swath of finish options. Heck,...
Two-way speaker system.Highly braced, CNC precision and as thick as 36mm MDF cabinet ensure...
Super AV Award "Outstanding Excellence in Popularity Awards - 2016" categoryReview by Stereo i...
Floor Standing
AS 03 SF OT304F
NZ$ 9,500.00 pr (incl. GST)
THE CABINET. 
"STEALTH" GRILLEUnique protective grille solution - all Overture speaker sets include two...
 Mono and Stereo "Highly Recommended Product" award.Mono and Stereo High-End Audio Magazine...
Floor Standing
AS 03 SF OT304FW
NZ$ 11,000.00 pr (incl. GST)
The cabinet. 
"STEALTH" GRILLEUnique protective grille solution - all Overture speaker sets include two...
 Mono and Stereo "Highly Recommended Product" award.Mono and Stereo High-End Audio Magazine...
Floor Standing
AS 04 SF OT305F
NZ$ 10,750.00 pr (incl. GST)
The cabinet. 
"STEALTH" GRILLEUnique protective grille solution - all Overture speaker sets include two...
REVIEW: can you still start a speaker brand and expect to lure people away from names that have had...
Floor Standing
AS 04 SF OT305FW
NZ$ 12,000.00 pr (incl. GST)
The cabinet. 
"STEALTH" GRILLEUnique protective grille solution - all Overture speaker sets include two...
REVIEW: can you still start a speaker brand and expect to lure people away from names that have had...
Floor Standing
AS 11 SF FIGS
NZ$ 11,000.00 pr (incl. GST)
Best of High-End 2018 award.
FINISHESWe introduce different finishes allowing even most picky taste find their color. Among all...
Floor Standing
AS 11 SF FIGS EX
NZ$ 12,000.00 pr (incl. GST)
Figaro! speaker line is our newest speaker line for today. In 6 years of development we can offer much more efficient production and much better sound quality due to our specific Self-Locking cabinet...
FINISHESWe introduce as much as 17 different finishes allowing even most picky taste find their...
Floor Standing
AS 12 SF FIGM
NZ$ 14,500.01 pr (incl. GST)
Figaro! speaker line is our newest speaker line for today. In 6 years of development we can offer much more efficient production and much better sound quality due to our specific Self-Locking cabinet...
FINISHESWe introduce different finishes allowing even most picky taste find their color. Among all...
Introductory interview, please press here...
Floor Standing
AS 12 SF FIGM EX
NZ$ 15,750.00 pr (incl. GST)
Figaro! speaker line is our newest speaker line for today. In 6 years of development we can offer much more efficient production and much better sound quality due to our specific Self-Locking cabinet...
FINISHESWe introduce as much as 17 different finishes allowing even most picky taste find their...
Introductory interview, please press here...
Floor Standing
AS 13 SF FIGL
NZ$ 20,500.00 pr (incl. GST)
FEATURES
FINISHESWe introduce different finishes allowing even most picky taste find their color. Among all...
REVIEW: I am a lifetime member of the Los Angeles Orange County Audio Society and their monthly...
Floor Standing
AS 13 SF FIGL EX
NZ$ 22,000.01 pr (incl. GST)
Figaro! speaker line is our newest speaker line for today. In 6 years of development we can offer much more efficient production and much better sound quality due to our specific Self-Locking cabinet...
FINISHESWe introduce as much as 17 different finishes allowing even most picky taste find their...
Floor Standing
AS 14 SF FIGXL
NZ$ 23,500.00 pr (incl. GST)
Introductory interview, please press here... "The Figaro XL is a very, very good speaker that pretty much destroys the competition as far as sound quantity and quality is concerned. Specifically...
FINISHESWe introduce different finishes allowing even most picky taste find their color. Among all...
A BIG Upset !
Floor Standing
AS 14 SF FIGXLEX
NZ$ 25,750.00 pr (incl. GST)
Figaro! speaker line is our newest speaker line for today. In 6 years of development we can offer much more efficient production and much better sound quality due to our specific Self-Locking cabinet...
FINISHESWe introduce as much as 17 different finishes allowing even most picky taste find their...
Floor Standing
AS 21 SF VIRS
NZ$ 33,995.00 pr (incl. GST)
Notable highlights of the new series include a box-in-a-box system, mini-horn loaded tweeter, an extended frequency midrange driver, a user-adjustable crossover with three listening profiles, as...
A significant highlight of the Virtuoso loudspeaker series is its advanced “box in a box” cabinet...
|REVIEW:  AudioSolutions was founded in 2011 in Lithuania with its headquarters in...
Floor Standing
AS 22 SF VIRM
NZ$ 48,995.00 pr (incl. GST)
Best of High End 2019 awardMono and Stereo Upper Echelon Class 2020 AwardPositive Feedback (RMAF) 2019 AwardAVShowrooms Gold Show 2019 AwardAVShowrooms Best Sound 2020 Award
A significant highlight of the Virtuoso loudspeaker series is its advanced “box in a box” cabinet...
Floor Standing
AS 23 SF VIRL
NZ$ 81,995.00 pr (incl. GST)
AudioSolutions will present their newest speaker series Virtuoso at the High End Show in Munich. Virtuoso takes most technology advantages from their Flagship – Vantage 5th anniversary. Design-...
VIRTUOSO  STANDARD FINISHES: HIGH-GLOSS XIRALLIC: Black, Silver Grey, Zink Grey, & Pearl...
Floor Standing
AS 31 SF VANS
NZ$ 87,995.00 pr (incl. GST)
For our 5th anniversary celebration we aimed to create something completely new with fresh looks, different kind of materials, and eye catching lines. This line shouldn’t have classical looks or...
As a standard in AudioSolutions products mini horn is introduced here to enhance tweeter...
Floor Standing
AS 32 SF VANM
NZ$ 104,995.00 pr (incl. GST)
For our 5th anniversary celebration we aimed to create something completely new with fresh looks, different kind of materials, and eye catching lines. This line shouldn’t have classical looks or...
As a standard in AudioSolutions products mini horn is introduced here to enhance tweeter...
Floor Standing
AS 33 SF VANL
NZ$ 204,995.00 pr (incl. GST)
For our 5th anniversary celebration we aimed to create something completely new with fresh looks, different kind of materials, and eye catching lines. This line shouldn’t have classical looks or...
As a standard in AudioSolutions products mini horn is introduced here to enhance tweeter...
Floor Standing

Home Theatre

AS 05 HT OT301C
NZ$ 2,000.00 ea (incl. GST)
Overture speaker line is first line in whole AudioSolutions range and inspired by its predecessor Euphony line. Specially designed to be cost effective speakers with classic design. Much attention is...
Two-way speaker system.Highly braced, CNC precision and as thick as 36mm MDF cabinet ensure...
"Overture, the beginning of something more exquisite. The range consists of five models: one centre...
Home Theatre
AS 05 HT OT301CW
NZ$ 2,250.00 ea (incl. GST)
Overture speaker line is first line in whole AudioSolutions range and inspired by its predecessor Euphony line. Specially designed to be cost effective speakers with classic design. Much attention is...
Two-way speaker system.Highly braced, CNC precision and as thick as 36mm MDF cabinet ensure...
"Overture, the beginning of something more exquisite. The range consists of five models: one centre...
Home Theatre
AS 15 SF FIGC
NZ$ 4,000.00 ea (incl. GST)
Figaro! speaker line is our newest speaker line for today. In 6 years of development we can offer much more efficient production and much better sound quality due to our specific Self-Locking cabinet...
FINISHESWe introduce different finishes allowing even most picky taste find their color. Among all...
Home Theatre
AS 15 SF FIGC EX
NZ$ 4,500.00 ea (incl. GST)
Figaro! speaker line is our newest speaker line for today. In 6 years of development we can offer much more efficient production and much better sound quality due to our specific Self-Locking cabinet...
FINISHESWe introduce as much as 17 different finishes allowing even most picky taste find their...
Home Theatre
AS 24 SF VIRC
Price on application
NEW MODEL VITUOSO-C DUE FOR RELEASE DURING 2019 AudioSolutions will present their newest speaker series Virtuoso at the High End Show in Munich. Virtuoso takes most technology advantages from their...
VIRTUOSO  STANDARD FINISHES: HIGH-GLOSS XIRALLIC: Black, Silver Grey, Zink Grey, & Pearl...
Home Theatre
AS 34 HT VANC
NZ$ 37,995.00 ea (incl. GST)
For our 5th anniversary celebration we aimed to create something completely new with fresh looks, different kind of materials, and eye catching lines. This line shouldn’t have classical looks or...
As a standard in AudioSolutions products mini horn is introduced here to enhance tweeter...
Home Theatre

Reviews

REVIEW LINKS

Super AV Award "Outstanding Excellence in Popularity Awards - 2016" category
Review by HiFi Philosophy. Click here...
Review by Wstereo. Click here...
Review by PClab. Click here...
Review by 6moons. Click here...

REVIEW LNKS

Super AV Award "Outstanding Excellence in Popularity Awards - 2016" category
Review by Stereo i Kolorowo. Click here...
Review by Fairaudio. Click here...
Review by SoundStage! Access. Click here...
Review by 6moons. Click here...
Review by HVT. Click here...

REVIEW LINKS

 Mono and Stereo "Highly Recommended Product" award.
Mono and Stereo High-End Audio Magazine review and an award. Click here...

 

REVIEW LINKS

HiFi Netherlands review. Please click here...

REVIEW LINKS

Introductory interview, please press here...

HiFi Alex (Canada) very detailed review. Please press here...

Mono and Stereo extended review. Please press here...

Video review by AVShowrooms, please press here...

HXOS review, please press here...

Novo Highend Canada review, please press here...

Best of High-End 2018 award

Best Buy 2018 award

AVShowrooms "Best Sound" 2018 award

Best product of 2018 award

However, the most important thing is the sound quality. The smooth control, excellent timing and coherence of the Overture O205F are the main assets, making these AudioSolutions unexpectedly strong speakers.
JAMIE BIESEMANS

Conclusion: The Overture O205F has somewhat surprised us. You don't often come across a relatively unknown brand that comes in and immediately creates something very beautiful. Some people would say: "In terms of sound, they score, because design is not our thing." Well, we would understand that remark, although you have to admit that thirteen finishes offer a bit of personalization that you do not often encounter elsewhere. Not at this price point. The Overture O205F is also the largest of the Overture speakers, and a large size scares some. The smaller O203F, for example, will integrate better into your interior. However, the most important thing is the sound quality. The smooth control, excellent timing and coherence of the Overture O205F are the main assets, making these AudioSolutions unexpectedly strong speakers.

REVIEW: can you still start a speaker brand and expect to lure people away from names that have had decades to attract a loyal audience? For the young Lithuanian AudioSolutions we hope that the answer is "yes". Because they do have something that is worth hearing.

AudoSolutions

Gediminas Gaidelis is a name that you probably won't sound familiar. This Lithuanian engineer is the driving force behind the young loudspeaker builder AudioSolutions who has won a lot of praise in a short time. Interestingly, and after a brief exposure to a number of speakers from the brand at the recent XFI Show , we decided to get the O205F from the cheapest Overture line for testing. It was not so much the demonstration on the show that stimulated us, but the philosophy of the brand. After all, when designing speakers, AudioSolutions emphasizes scientifically based acoustic design - and that is exactly what we love.

Look mama, no glue

The O205F is the largest loudspeaker from the Overture family, which also has two smaller floor stands (O203F and O204F), a center speaker (O201C) and a bookshelf speaker (O202B) among its members. "Large" is a label that is fully in place here, because the floorstand that we place in our listening room weighs 36 kg and is just under 125 cm high. The width and height are in proportion, in contrast to many slender speakers that we recently saw passing. This makes the 0205F a really solid and very present presence in a room. We can imagine that for smaller living rooms it is too much of a good thing. But remember: there is also a slightly more compact 0203F. The large O205F costs 3,850 euros per pair, unless you choose a more expensive finish.

The O205F is not a loudspeaker that makes our heart beat faster, we must admit that. We prefer a smooth, rounded design. The size and the angularity make this Lithuanian speaker look very classic, although that impression is not entirely correct if you take more time to view and investigate the speaker. Yes, the speaker is basically matte black, but you can get the side panels in many different colors and finishes. Thirteen to be exact. Our test speaker was finished in 'Texture White', a glossy white with very fine, irregular lines. If you look at it better, a relief appears to have been applied, but if you brush it over by hand it is mirror smooth. It is difficult to describe and photos do not do it justice, but it is quite distinct and beautiful. Just like some other finishes, Texture White raises the price to 4,250 euros per pair. Dark Olive and Ebony the price tag rise to 4,650 euros.

So you have plenty of choice with the Overture series. The same Texture finish is also available in black, in addition to four glossy lacquers and seven wood finishes with a lacquer layer. Rotted Zebrano for example, we personally find a great finish. It may have a somewhat unsavory name, but it looks worth it. If you purchase an O205F you must immediately make the right choice, because the side panels cannot be changed afterwards. AudioSolutions first builds the Overture speakers without side panels, but confirms them as a final step in a way that is permanent. The entire speaker cabinet clicks together cleverly, a technique that Gaidelis calls a self-locking cabinet. Both the outer walls and the internal reinforcement (bracing) fit together in such a way that it is impossible to disassemble the speaker at a later time. You can of course replace drivers. The remarkable thing is that the housing appears extremely solid and resonance-free, but that hardly any adhesives are involved. Clicking the cabinet parts together is enough to build a strong whole. 

The front is the grille

What is replaceable is the front of the O205F. That sentence might make you look up, but Gaidelis has a strong opinion about the use of a speaker grille. The drivers of the O205F are mounted flush with respect to the front, with softly curving edges at each opening. As a result, the outer edge of each driver is 'lengthened', as a result of which fewer mini reflections are created at the edge of each driver opening and the edges act as a horn or wave guide to send the sound waves of a driver wider into the room. This is not obscure science, because we often see the same approach with speakers.

For example, with the tweeter of the Paradigm Monitor SE speakers that we recently visited for a test. But, says AudioSolutions, if you now place a grille for this construction, you will change the acoustic properties because it will have an extra layer. The solution according to the manufacturer is a front that is completely replaced by another with a cloth applied over the entire length of the panel. Both panels - with and without grille - are included in the box. The first time you replace the panels you may think "this is crazy to do", but actually it goes very smoothly. Just lift it off, like a conventional grille, but this is one big piece.

Fluent music

For our test we connected the Overture O205F to our fixed amplifier, the Devialet Expert 220 Pro, with Roon. Towards the end of the test we received the Linn SELEKT DSM. The latter is interesting, because this versatile all-in-one amplifier is equipped with Space Optimization - a fascinating room correction system without a measuring microphone and that takes into account the dimensions of your room and the characteristics of your speakers. You can read more about this in our review of the Selekt, which will be online soon.

During testing, we happened to meet a colleague from another magazine who had been working on the smaller O203F for some time. He noted that, in his opinion, Overture speakers are close to Sonus faber in terms of sound. A description that we can agree with, although we would dare say that AudioSolutions is less attracted to a presence presence than the Italians. This is a huge generalization of course, but it gives you an idea how the Overture O205F offers something else.

Overture O205F places the dome tweeter in the middle, between two pairs of midrange woofers. AudioSolutions is certainly not the first to do this. It is also an approach that we do like. Yes, with broad-woofers radiating the sense of detail may theoretically be somewhat lost, but on the other hand we find this driver arrangement often produce a coherent sound image. The tweeters on the O205F are also more or less at the correct ear height due to this placement and that is another plus. During our tests the O205F appears to control very quickly. The specifications support that impression, because the sensitivity of 92 dB means that you do not need an amplifier with an enormous power for this floor stand.

One of the things that we liked very much about the O205F is indeed how the speakers put down a coherent sound image, even with genres that have not been produced enormously. Even at high volumes, the whole remains very well balanced and holographic, in the sense that every instrument is perfectly placed. The brand new re-release of 'Love & Work: The Lioness Sessions' (originally dating from 2000) from Songs: Ohia, aka the early-dead Jason Molina, demonstrated that well. Almost all the songs on this album consist of a voice, a slow electric guitar, a drum that sounds like recorded in the distance, and occasionally some Hammond-like synthesizers. It is not a bad mix, but on some speakers that guitar or synth can become sharp and dominant as soon as you play loud. The O205F, however, presents the entire sound stage as a whole, very fluent and forgiving too. What also helps is that the Overture sets a fairly tight low, even if we switch off Space Optimization - which mainly affects 100 Hz and lower - on the Linn.

The timing of the drivers seems close to perfection, and that gives all music a fresh, accurate sound. The deep, reggae-like bass line at 'Gun to the Head' on 'Merrie Land' by The Good, the Bad & the Queen is also measured but has enough fat. If we once again get the beautifully recorded SACD from Karajan's Symphony No. 9 above, we will be served a relatively open presentation. At this point we did experiment a little with the toe-in (something that is also an interplay with room acoustics), and in the end we ended up with partial but not completely screwed in for the best panoramic view. We also liked the Berlin Philharmoniker to be slightly more attractive when we switched off the Space Optimization function on the Linn, or played it on the Devialet Expert Pro amplifier. Perhaps because a little more energy could be heard in the layer, due to the room acoustics. A case of: not correct, but better.

Conclusion

The Overture O205F has somewhat surprised us. You don't often come across a relatively unknown brand that comes in and immediately creates something very beautiful. Some people would say: "In terms of sound, they score, because design is not our thing." Well, we would understand that remark, although you have to admit that thirteen finishes offer a bit of personalization that you do not often encounter elsewhere. Not at this price point. The Overture O205F is also the largest of the Overture speakers, and a large size scares some. The smaller O203F, for example, will integrate better into your interior.

However, the most important thing is the sound quality. The smooth control, excellent timing and coherence of the Overture O205F are the main assets, making these AudioSolutions unexpectedly strong speakers.

At its price point, the Figaro S sets new standards.
Trevor Butler

CONCLUSION: The Figaro S provided an unforgettable impression and one which other designers would do well to emulate. It plays quietly but it also goes loud, pretty loud indeed. I found that hours passed without any hint of listening fatigue, and that says a lot about a speaker’s credentials. Overall, the sound is balanced, detailed and well-controlled. Bass is deep (and highlighted a 40Hz issue in my room), but not over-blown or boomy. The midrange is exemplary, not only extremely harmonious but detailed and accurate in this all-important frequency band. High frequencies are handled well, there’s enormous transparency and fluidity without harshness or any hint of grain to the treble sound. 

Should the listener expect more? Well, certainly not at this price point and, in my experience, would need to spend ten-times the amount to achieve any significant improvement. At its price point, the Figaro S sets new standards. 

We are promised to expect from Audio Solutions a full range of cables, room acoustic solutions as well as plans for their own electronics, comprising amplifiers, preamps, DSP and streamer. If they live up to the experience I had with the Figaro S loudspeakers we are in for a treat

Audio Solutions Figaro S

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
floor standing loudspeaker
Trevor Butler

Eastern Europe has been generating a clutch of new audio brands, among them loudspeaker marque Audio Solutions which has launched a new range. Trevor Butler’s been taking a listen.

I first heard Audio Solutions’ new range of  loudspeakers at the busy Hamburg show at the start of the year and was immediately impressed. Any manufacturer who can create a good sound in a hotel bedroom has a product worthy of closer investigation. This Lithuanian brand is the creation of Gediminas Gaidelis who, after working in his home market for the best part of a decade, launched Audio Solutions as a global marque four years ago. The company is interesting: it targets mainly consumers in the 24-45 age group, including women, and offers a enormously wide range of finishes which extend beyond just colour choice to textures which allow the cabinets to integrated more easily in contemporary interiors.

With the mission statement of ‘Art and Science of Speaker Engineering’, Audio Solutions’ aim is to combine physics and psychoacoustics. It started with two model ranges: Euphony and Rhapsody. Euphony was upgraded and became Overture, while Rhapsody has been re-launched as Figaro. At the recent huge Dutch audio affair which is XFi I had the chance to hear the three-way floor-standing M (for Medium) model. This prompted me to try a pair in my own listening environment and I was delighted when two large cartons arrived containing a pair of the slightly smaller Figaro S models. S may stand for ‘small’, but such things are relative – it is second-up in the range, above the two-way bookshelf Figaro B. Here we have a floor-stander which measures a substantial 94cm high.

Engineering
I have always had a penchant for three-way designs – they are, after all, proper speakers, are they not? Two-ways are a compromise in that one is expecting a midrange cone to produce meaningful bass; while a plethora of drive units in a cabinet all too often sounds just that. 

 

 

The [near] perfect drive unit combination of paper mid and bass drivers (doped for extra rigidity) with a soft-dome which comes into play at a higher than expected 4kHz, which is almost certainly the key reason I find the broadband characteristic of the Figaro S so enjoyable to listen to. The tweeter is referred to as a mini-horn which aims to overcome a silk dome’s tendency to become slightly dulled at higher frequencies. It is combined here with a carefully engineered waveguide to aid HF dispersion. The tweeter is smaller than one might expect on a speaker of this size, and that’s a deliberate attempt to create a faster response in the extreme top-end.  As Gediminas explains, while bigger tweeters perform well in two-ways, where a greater power-handling is needed, in a three-way we can benefit from a smaller speaker with its much lighter membrane and this translates directly to a faster response and lower distortion.

There’s attention to detail throughout this speaker: from the WBT Nextgen connectors, to a ‘self-locking’ cabinet to give maximum rigidity, and deployment of Jantzen components in the crossover network. Everything is sourced in the EU with absolutely no Chinese labour, I’m assured. Audio Solutions manufactures cabinets in its own factory, sources drive units from leading producers including SB Acoustics, SEAS and Scan-Speak. 

Normally something of an add-on, a designer’s after thought, with the Figaro range the grilles are worthy of note. The Stealth Grille has geometrically identical baffle option for either cloth-covered or bare drive units as a matter of listener choice. 

 

The hefty speaker weighs in at 28kg and combines a pair of 150mm doped-paper woofers for frequencies below 400Hz, with a 150mm doped-paper midrange at the top of the array. Sensitivity is quoted at a respectable 91dB/W and nominal power handling at 90W RMS. The frequency response (-3dB) is given as 31Hz to 25kHz. A 90mm wide port is located to the rear of the reflex-loaded cabinet.

Sound quality
Placement proved relatively easy and I began with a direct connection to my beloved Hegel Röstintegrated. I knew that these speakers had been used at a recent show and therefore needed no run-in period. My memory was that they were good, but I hadn’t realised just how good until they were in my own system. Wow! 

My usual routine of acclimatisation to newly-installed speakers, followed by careful and analytical audition using some well-known recordings went completely out the window. I became so immediately absorbed by the sheer quality, scale and detail of the Figaro S’s performance that it was several hours before I picked-up my laptop to begin making notes. 

In essence it is hard to fault these speakers. For the size and, especially for the price, they offer a truly phenomenal sound which is hard to equal let alone beat. Bass was sufficient to alert my neighbour that I had something really special on test, while all the usual assessment parameters of imaging, soundstage, detail, transparency, attack, weight and involvement were passed with flying colours. Here was a product which I didn’t want to review, here was a product I just wanted to sit and listen to – not something I often say about speakers on test. 

 

Down to specifics, though… and listening way beyond my normal test repertoire into library albums and tracks streamed from the cloud because I just could not stop enjoying everything the Figaro S did, and did so well. My favourite genre of choral works were just lapped up by this design which found it so easy to re-create meaningful renditions of even complex works to fill my listening space with some of the world’s top performers as though they were there in front of me. Such convincing realism is really what a top-notch loudspeaker is about. Full marks here to Audio Solutions as I wallowed in the immersive portrayal of Bach’s Magnificat (Collegium Vocale Gent under Herreweghe) on an award-winning Harmonia Mundi recording from 2002 where the tempo brings the composer’s kaleidoscope into focus. Here it was evident that the Figaro S handles even complex material with aplomb; rendering human voices with extreme realism is achieved with consummate ease during the twelve-minute whirlwind of exuberance and solos. 

On to orchestral works and arguably Tchaikovsky’s most powerful symphony, his sixth (Kiov Orchestra/Gerfiev) on a Phillips CD made in 1995. Such weight, sheer power and phenomenal scale proved a cinch for these speakers which managed to capture virtually every facet of this amazing symphonic edifice from the conductor’s first recording with this orchestra. The listener is treated to the heart of the darkness at the beginning and end of the composer’s 1893 Pathétiquework, and can revel in the powerful extremes in a most moving and involving way. So many products at this price-point fail to immerse the listener fully in the performance, but not this one.

Many will know that I turn to well-know human voices to test speakers, and that many fall down given such material – all too often revealing a tendency to nasality, sibilance or chestiness. It amazes me, when visiting factories, to discover that there is a total absence of voice recordings and the thought of using some to prove a speaker’s credentials has not crossed the manufacturer’s mind. So it is, with some trepidation, that I pressed my well-used tracks into service. 

 

Needless to say, the Figaro S passed the ‘voice test’ with flying colours. Trying first a 1994 recording of the mellifluous Charlotte Green reading BBC Radio Four’s news bulletin brought back memories of being in the studio as it was re-created with such natural realism as to send tingles down my spine. Moving to some BBC Radio drama, and my much-loved Rumpole of the Bailey material featuring the unmistakable voice of Julian Rhind-Tutt in the star role, this excellent recording is often the acid test. Passed! The midrange and, all-important ‘presence region’ of the Figaro S are sublime.

Unable to trick this Lithuanian box with my standard repertoire, it was time to get heavy. Rock, courtesy of Bon Jovi’s 1986 ‘Livin’ On a Prayer’ certainly showed how the Figaro S could move some air. Here is a design with plenty of rhythmic ability and pace in equal measure. Weight and scale are pretty amazing from the start of the distorted talk box effect guitar and, excusing the rather cheesy lyrics, the fake falsetto singer seemed to be at a mere arm’s length from me. What more can an audiophile ask from a speaker but such a level of natural realism?

I normally spend my mid-day break sitting at my desk with a sandwich ploughing through emails and listening to BBC Radio Three’s Lunchtime Concert through a DAB receiver. With the Figaro S in my system downstairs, I was increasingly migrating to enjoy a variety of intimate live recitals in all their glory. These speakers are dangerously addictive.  

 

Conclusion
The Figaro S provided an unforgettable impression and one which other designers would do well to emulate. It plays quietly but it also goes loud, pretty loud indeed. I found that hours passed without any hint of listening fatigue, and that says a lot about a speaker’s credentials. Overall, the sound is balanced, detailed and well-controlled. Bass is deep (and highlighted a 40Hz issue in my room), but not over-blown or boomy. The midrange is exemplary, not only extremely harmonious but detailed and accurate in this all-important frequency band. High frequencies are handled well, there’s enormous transparency and fluidity without harshness or any hint of grain to the treble sound. 

Should the listener expect more? Well, certainly not at this price point and, in my experience, would need to spend ten-times the amount to achieve any significant improvement. At its price point, the Figaro S sets new standards. 

We are promised to expect from Audio Solutions a full range of cables, room acoustic solutions as well as plans for their own electronics, comprising amplifiers, preamps, DSP and streamer. If they live up to the experience I had with the Figaro S loudspeakers we are in for a treat

I’m happily giving out the Mono and Stereo Best Buy Product Award to his proud creations - the Audiosolutions Figaro M speakers. Hats off and well deserved.

CONCLUSION: There are many exciting features about the Figaro M speakers. The convenient proportions, properly executed voicing, highly engaging sonic performance, captivating aesthetics, value for the money and more.

It’s never easy to establish a worthy replacement for any audio product. The usual undertaking in high-end audio always follow the money traits and a heftier price sticker comes mandatory. Acting completely contrary, Gediminas Gaidelis managed to create a more affordable speaker line with the choicest attributes of the preceding line and most importantly with the key elements expected and required from the contemporary high-end audio loudspeakers.

The Figaro M’s easily engages you into the listening and thanks to a clever construction and careful selection of the drivers, a rare quality was achieved — a—non-problematic prolonged immersions into the musical universe without experiencing listening fatigue. That alone is a winner strike! 

AUDIOSOLUTIONS FIGARO M SPEAKERS REVIEW 

What makes any audio product worthy of the high-end notion? Recently the high-price is surely becoming or is already a driving factor of determining so-called high-end audio kittening. Audiosolutons acts completely opposite under the leadership of Gediminas Gaidelis.

As you’ll learn on, Gediminas deliberately and constantly challenges not merely himself but with his latest products also the industry with his quest for a loudspeaker of a true high-end audio pedigree, but an omission of the elite conduct of a loftier pricing.

MEET THE FIGARO

The all-new Audiosolutions’ Figaro speaker line is the developmental and evolutionary step up from the Rhapsody range. There is no stepping down when it comes to the quality of the materials, built in parts and most impotently the sonic potency.

After six years of R &D, Audiosoluitons team has managed to optimize the production in such a way, that they can bring the same quality at a considerably more affordable cost and without losing the auditory impact. Their Self-Locking cabinet approach to the enclosures assembly, dedicated tweeter horn and plenty more of propriety designs were being trickled down from the Vantage Anniversary flagship speaker series. The key factor of doing this was also the production efficiency and highly competitive determination of the Audiosolutions CEO and owner Gediminas Gaidelis.
 
One cannot argue about the fact that there are already more than enough speaker companies taking care of the steady demand for the natural wood finishes and veneers. Gediminas wanted to follow the ongoing trend of the interior design and gradually, but surely pointed his manufacture and speaker designs towards more contemporary outlook. The Audiosoluitons head honcho strongly believes that classical shapes and finishes are not fitting well into the modern surroundings of the younger generation.  
 
Consequently, the all-new Figaro line was brought to life as the successor of the Rhapsody series in the same way as the Overture line was established to take over from the Euphony series speakers (after being highly successful for six plus years). “Figaro maintains the same style accents as Overture or Vantage series and gracefully slides into overall AudioSolutions production portfolio.”

THE INNER HEART  

 
Figaro M speakers implement new custom SB Acoustics drivers with the ER (extra rigid) cones. Gediminas wished to deliver so-called locked performance (the speed and transparency from the much more costly speakers to considerable more down to the ground priced loudspeakers.

 
Audiosolutions’ Self-Locking cabinet assembly that translates to an exceedingly solid enclosure joints technique that symbolizes the attributes of the monomythical structure assures focused, fast, deep and highly controlled bass even for the S, the smallest model in Figaro line.
 
Self-Locking chassis reacts very differently to the inertia, then the common six surface approach. Such designs are generally lacking appropriate handling of multiple frequency control. The bass reproduction is tamed down, decays and delays are presented more chaotically and in most instances sound energy accumulates at particular frequencies, therefore functioning as an equalizer. 
 
In more familiar—earthly language, the booming bass (d)effect takes place. 
 
“This is typical problem for speakers under 10000Eur. Our Self-Locking cabinet is designed in completely different manner. It is possible to achieve much greater sonic properties with only little more expenses if engineer knows what he is doing and financial department approves for couple more bucks in self-cost. The key concept in eliminating unwanted vibrations is combine materials with different resonant properties so they damp each other. Simplest way to do that is to use different thickness materials or make sandwich of different materials. We did both. Figaro cabinet thickness varies from 18mm up to 50mm in different areas, and starting from middle way to all back speaker part is made from sandwich materials (in the back of speaker maximum pressure is always present and this is critical area). Combining materials is nice, but we stepped further, we modeled every surface in speaker and made its vibration analysis as a whole, so we can see how important is joints between different surfaces. It is remarkable what modern software can do. It is a very big difference between simple glue joint between two surface edges and our Self-Locking joint. Without Self-Locking joints cabinet was good but not perfect, after calculating our joining technique cabinet became almost monolithic.”
 
The secret behind this method is the cordial acting of all surfaces as one giant sandwich construction that dampens and cancel out singularities.
 
The usual sandwich construction might perform their duties stellarly on its own but simply loses the potency once all of them are joined together as a whole. Suddenly the potential properly functioning process of solitude solutions develops into a giant assembly of non controlled conditions. 
 
As opposite, the Figaro M speakers function in absence of typical bass booming. The result of Audiosolutions technique secures the even and regulated delivery of all frequencies. One would predict how such an enclosure would be stiff and heavy as anything. Well, not at all.
 
Gediminas has managed to scale down almost 50-70% of the sheer weight and Figaro M’s 41 kgs would claim almost 70kgs in the real world. 

MY WAY OR THREE WAY

“All Figaro models, except bookshelf and center speakers are three ways. Why three? Well there is two main opinions where one states that two way is better because speaker is closer to point source and there is only one crossover point meaning more homogeneous sound, another opinion is that three ways is better because engineer can pick crossover points not to meet critical area where human ear during centuries of evolution became most sensitive (800-2000Hz). I myself was for two ways at first, because design is much simpler yet cheaper, however now almost all our products shares three ways (even bookshelf Vantage) because not having crossover point in critical to ear area really does the job. All products which were designed following this fashion received best impressions usually like “highly detailed and clear midrange”. I am not saying that two ways is much worse, we have some bookshelf designs with two ways but we are forced to use more complicated drivers and raise crossover point as high as possible to step away from critical crossover area.”
 
The usual soft dome tweeters can (and do) start distorting too quickly at the greater playback volumes. Figaro M implements the mini-horn and waveguide that undoubtedly helps with the “shaping” of the highs. Gediminas also picked slightly smaller tweeter driver for ensuring the faster transient response in the higher spectrum. 
 
Larger tweeters might be more suitable for the two-way designs, that calls for better handling of energy, but the Figaro M tweeter choice escapes the loosing of the slower reaction time, thus lower level of transparency. Figaro’s smaller tweeter has a much lighter membrane, that provides faster response and considerable lower distortion. 
 

THE GRILL MASTER

In high-end audio loudspeaker's grill serve as more or less the necessary evil and consequently the sound presentation will highly likely be changed in a not exactly subtle way.

Audiosolutions constructed their own “stealth grille” for the Overture series based on their analysis and understanding: “The main concept of grilles is wrong starting from a scratch. That’s why people are forced to remove grilles when they are listening to speakers. Our protective grills share a unique technical decision where one speaker has two different FRONT BAFFLES (one with protective cloth other without) which shares the same geometry.” 

With anything in a stand before the speakers' drivers, the front baffle geometry changes and alterers the early reflection as well the originally sonic direction It’s a compromise, to begin with.  

"When scientists are talking about reflections, standing waves, scattering etc. the key variable here is geometry. It is geometry to blame for all effects of poorly designed grilles. By applying typical grills on top of front baffle you change speaker geometry and what is most audible is first reflections from plastic grill mesh or from MDF edges which is usually 1cm thick as minimum."

Audiosolutions's “stealth grilles” employs the same geometry for both front covers. Its actually more spot on to call them baffles as Figaro M speakers’ grills were actually projected from the ground up as an integral part of the front baffle. So, when they’re exchanged the geometry is exactly the same and as planned originally.

Gediminas ensures that the difference cannot be measurable and audible evaluations confirmed it. 

VARIETY IS THE KING!

 
There’s no uncertainty. The customer is the king and diversity of finishes are essential for covering as many distinct tastes and preferred color preferences. Figaro M speakers are available in 17 various surfaces. This allows finding an exact interior matching for even most demanding clients.

 
Along with favorites like high gloss Xiralic finishes, Audiosolutions are also extending their unique looks with the 3D textured high gloss finish, or three contrasting colors of linen in a high glaze.
 
These refreshing and newly introduced finishes permit much broader variety for the upmarket customers and nonetheless interior designers that are (like it or not) also playing a prominent role in the speakers' placement in the modern homes. 
 

THE MUSIC

 
I’ve covered fairly extensively the design fundamentals, but how are they Audiosolutions Figaro M speakers playing in the real world aural challenges?

Even non-casual listener would certainly place the ECM tag on the Batik - Headland and for the proper reasons. It’s a terrific album with a mightier sonic nucleus and an excellent reference for classifying any high-end component. With speakers evaluation, there is no pardoning when the system is already set up at the appropriate level. They’ll either handle Batik’s sonic enormousness or won’t. Despite their given size, Audiosolutions Figaro M speakers have preserved the required grip intact. In order to really shine many sonic requirements are needed to be met with Headland as it also heavily challenges the rendition of spatial presentation and frequency balance.

Figaro M speakers have demonstrated their adequacy to distribute the sonic energy properly across complete spectrum. The metallic percussions' sphere can too easily evade from the control in the same form that bass can, yet Figaros’ enclosure and tuning have granted a grander than expected purview of music’s information.

This album distinctly evinces the advances and benefits of Audiosolutions’ specific Self-Locking cabinet construction.

Wes Montgomery - The Alternative Wes Montgomery compiles the alternate non-releases takes for previously published albums on the Riverside label.

Especially Stairway To The Stars and Milt Jackson’s vibraphone playing takes the song’s opening instantaneously to the celestial spatial spheres. This particular clarity and ethereal quality of vibraphone never fail to excite me to delve further with any speaker under evaluation. Audiosolutions Figaro M’s balancing act was at once acknowledged and my listening notes page was relatively dense with my mind’s metaphors and words’ permutations.

Yes, Figaros’ have passed the initial spatial and resolution analysis with a higher grade. Stairway To The Stars has greatly facilitate further under the loupe evaluation. The timbral structure of Vibraphone is no exactly easy to convey. The acoustical cue density aims for a more accomplished performer. And so does the remarkably exceptional atmosphere of The Alternative Wes Montgomery. Again, without the required density of acoustical cues the degree of believably cannot be attained, yet Figaro M speakers were adequate to deliver an unanticipated level of contextualized atmospheric impact.

The same continues for the discernible timbral quality. With Figaro M speakers it was not just about the compelling sum of quark like decays and delays, but about reaching it scrupulously close to the point of realism. And Figaros have espoused it daringly and with the finer grasp of genuine fundamentals, that are indispensable for the enticing reproduction.

Tanita Tikaram - Ancient Heart is another one in the personal collection of the safe side of melancholy aural journeys. This Tanita’s debut album is still as sharp and influential as it was back when it was released. I’m certain people of my “decent” age” remembers album’s chart-topper Twisting My Sobriety.

The whole album is recorded more than adequately for the regular pop album, yet Ancient Heart holds nothing that would classify it as common. It still astounds me what then 19 years old Tanita Tikaram managed to accomplish artistically with this record. Album represents quite a few particular sonic demands, most notably it immediately discloses the way speakers can bear the impact with the well-recorded studio music.

There is something about this record, that demands proper loudspeakers’ voicing when it comes to the vocal. It’s not exactly simple to establish a believable vocal interpretation, that won’t disintegrate when its mixed with the numerous instruments.

The research of determining Figaros’ chameleon-like universality ability was further confronted with the portrayal of Ancient Heart’s metallic percussions. The rides, hi-hats and the rest of the iron percussion paraphernalia were recorded, mixed and equalized with an expert engineer touch allowing them to embody natural timbral propensities as well as stand out airiness.

Twisting My sobriety shares some resemblances with Tracy Chapman‘s Fast Car from, another extremely powerful debut album from 80’s that was recorded above average expectations and is sonically is even a few steps above the Ancient Hearth. After all the years this song still sends shivers down my spine on each playback. Tracy Chapman self-titled debut album keeps powerful message across the whole record and with the current climate it appears like it was recorded yesterday. It’s very dear album of mine for many reasons and one of the getaway records I’ve played on my deliberate no-strict-end journeys... 

With this timeless gem, the referencing quest is in the segregation of the instruments and a rich formation of bass guitar. The bass will subtly find the problematic acoustical nodes before you even have the time to realize. Figaro M speakers have allowed lower octave notes to form captivating and refreshing control. Instruments had enough acoustical cues to constitute a fixated and righter than expected three-dimensionality. 

The next challenging track Across The Lines can instantaneously clear any deceptions of many speakers designers about the achievement of their beloved speakers. One of the factors to especially look for (when all is set right) is the fretless guitar like tone, that will take the control of the room with the energy around and far beyond the speakers. No, this exact momentum doesn’t take place with every speaker, but it did with Figaro!

Behind The Wall holds the same uplifted positions for yours truly as Susan Vega’s Tom’s Dinner when it comes to the studio vocal analysis and Figaro M have again and again shown its assets and uplifted standing! No matter how simplified human vocal might occur, it’s not! Even non-live, studio recorded vocals will illustrate the foibles of the voice’s formants. Audiosolutions Figaro M speakers never skip over to the spheres of analytic dissection of vowels and consonants. This can be elucidated via spectrogram, but going deep into subject matter is not an objective of this review. Most importantly Figaros didn’t modify the constitutional parts. This cannot be asserted for many speakers priced way beyond Figaro M. That tell A LOT!

 

CONCLUSION

There are many exciting features about the Figaro M speakers. The convenient proportions, properly executed voicing, highly engaging sonic performance, captivating aesthetics, value for the money and more.
 
It’s never easy to establish a worthy replacement for any audio product. The usual undertaking in high-end audio always follow the money traits and a heftier price sticker comes mandatory. Acting completely contrary, Gediminas Gaidelis managed to create a more affordable speaker line with the choicest attributes of the preceding line and most importantly with the key elements expected and required from the contemporary high-end audio loudspeakers. 
 
The Figaro M’s easily engages you into the listening and thanks to a clever construction and careful selection of the drivers, a rare quality was achieved — a—non-problematic prolonged immersions into the musical universe without experiencing listening fatigue. That alone is a winner strike! 
 

Unique removable grills were already mentioned above, but it's more than worthy of bringing them up again. With most of the speakers, the grill is regarded as a stylistic hubris. A compromise, that is most often a must aesthetically wise. Audiosolutions Figaro M speakers grills were developed with a lot of attention. Each pair of speakers comes with two set of covers/grills. Usually one can immediately detect the variation when the grill is in place. Well, that’s not exactly the case with Figaro M speakers. Both of the grills were constructed from the ground up to provide diffraction-less sonic uniqueness, that is not in the way of the sound…

 

A lot of energy went into balancing the technology, aesthetics, and performance and especially at such price each right choice is valued. 
 
It’s great to see Gediminas Gaidelis‘ Audiosolutions proud venture growing so prosperously. As we require the newer generation discovering and entering into our beloved industry, so we need the young creative people, that understand the generation’s momentum and collective minds of present generation for creating the high-end audio products, that can inspire their hearts.  
 
Audiosolutions Figaro M speakers and Gediminas Gaidelis deserves to be recognized and appreciated for the efforts and what they are representing musically and price wise. Yes, I do love exotic, esoteric and consequently, sky-high priced high-end audio products, but I’m no snob when it comes to the down to earth high-end audio products, that make all the sense and are of importance to our industry. Figaro M speakers are a clear reminder of a too often neglected aspect of the era; the affordability and a real-world value. 
 
I’ll never forget my roots and how I’ve started my audio journey almost three decades ago. We ’ve always needed and still urgently need products, that are created by enthusiasts for the enthusiasts. 
 
Gediminas is bringing back the right spirit and I appreciate his earnest efforts with his beloved brand very highly. That’s why I’m happily giving out the Mono and Stereo Best Buy Product Award to his proud creations - the Audiosolutions Figaro M speakers. Hats off and well deserved. 
 
Matej Isak

What’s nice about the AudioSolutions Overture O203F is that it can play any music in a satisfying fashion, but without drawing attention to the flaws of poorer recordings -- all while sounding open and resolved enough that it never sounded boring or tame.
Jeff Fritz

CONCLUSION: What’s nice about the AudioSolutions Overture O203F is that it can play any music in a satisfying fashion, but without drawing attention to the flaws of poorer recordings -- all while sounding open and resolved enough that it never sounded boring or tame. In short, I thought the pair of them struck just the right tonal balance: not veering too far from neutral, but possessing a slightly fulsome bass range that gave them a sound slightly bigger than I’d expected. They didn’t play ridiculously loud, but they could get up into the low-90dB range without seeming to strain. as long as you keep the volume level reasonable, you won’t hear anything amiss.

SUMMARY: All over the world, there are good audio manufacturers you’ve never heard of. As entrenched as I am in high-end audio -- I’ve been with SoundStage! for two decades now, many of those years as editor-in-chief -- not a week goes by that I don’t see online some cool, audio-related thingamabob from a company I’ve never heard of. Granted, many of these “companies” are just a guy with a shop and maybe an uncle who’s helping him assemble his thingamabob. But if you don’t want to buy from the mainstream companies, there are options around every corner.

You may never have heard of AudioSolutions if you are from North America, but they are quite well established and operate out of a 350-square-meter factory. Based in Lithuania, they’ve been in business for five years now. The founder and chief designer is a young buck named Gediminas Gaidelis, who began studying loudspeakers in 2003, and in the course of time learned that speaker design and manufacture are as much art as engineering. He formally launched AudioSolutions in the summer of 2011.

AudioSolutions Overture O203F

Since then, Gaidelis has been busy filling out his already impressive stable of speaker models. He makes the tiny Guimbarde bookshelf model; the five Rhapsody models, the bread’n’butter of the AS line; and the flagship, the four-way, five-driver Vantage. In May, at High End 2016, in Munich, he launched the new Overture series, the least-expensive models yet from AS: a center-channel, a bookshelf, and three floorstanders. I chose to review the smallest floorstander, the Overture O203F.

Design

The Overture O203F is a three-driver, two-way design standing 40.9"H x 9.1"W x 14.8"D and weighing 55 pounds. The speaker is boxy, though thoughtful design touches give it a unique appearance. The cabinet proper is made of MDF up to 1.4” (36mm) thick and is internally braced, and the speaker sits on a small rectangular plinth that gives it a firm foundation on the floor. To make the design cost-efficient while offering multiple finish options, most of the enclosure -- front, back, top, plinth, and edges around each side -- is covered in a textured gray paint not unlike Nextel. The sides, however, have permanently affixed recessed panels that can be ordered in a multitude of finishes -- the AS website lists 13 of these, from high-gloss and textured colors to high-gloss wood. You almost never see speakers at this price that can be customized to this degree. My review samples came with HG Ebony side panels. I found these panels to be well done; they added a touch of luxury to an affordable floorstander.

AudioSolutions Overture O203F

Among the most visible features of the Overture line are the grilles. Each Overture speaker comes standard with two grilles: one with fabric, one without. These grilles are not optional devices, which is why there are two sets. Their pins fit into holes in the baffle, and the grilles must be installed for the speaker to perform properly. The tweeter is actually loaded by what AudioSolutions calls a mini-horn -- it’s not as wide-angled as a more traditional waveguide -- machined into the grille (the other drivers’ outputs are optimized with chamfered openings in the grille). The only difference between the grilles is that cloth covers one of them. Gaidelis told me that the reasons for the horn loading are several: for increased sensitivity and lower distortion, but also to lower the crossover frequency to 1900Hz. To accomplish this, the horn loading increases the tweeter’s output by 5dB between 700 and 3000Hz. In an e-mail, Gaidelis said that most inexpensive speakers suffer from distortion at or near the crossover frequency, and that his design addresses that.

The O203F is equipped with a 1” (25mm) SEAS silk-dome tweeter; above and below it are a pair of midrange-bass drivers with 5.9” (150mm) cones of hardened paper. The midrange-bass drivers are vented to the rear through a flared port just above the biwirable metal binding posts (jumpers for single-wire operation are included). AS specifies the O203F as having a highish sensitivity of 91dB/2.83V/m and a nominal power handling of 90W (180W peak). The in-room frequency range is a claimed 36Hz-26kHz, the nominal impedance 4 ohms.

AudioSolutions Overture O203F

Sound

I began my auditioning of the Overture O203F by listening to “Scared for the Children,” from Jeff Beck’s new Loud Hailer (16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC, Atlantic/Rhino/Tidal). Beck’s ethereal electric guitar immediately cast a thick layer of sound in my room, sounding tangible but not overtly sharp. At about 1:35 in, when Rosie Bones begins to sing, her voice, unlike the guitar, was more precisely positioned on the stage. The center image of the voice was solidly there, but never veered toward the hyperrealism of too-crisp outlines. The bass was full and somewhat round, with enough low-frequency depth to steer most listeners away from adding a subwoofer. I thought, They sound pretty big -- surprising for a speaker with a pair of 5.9” woofers.

Next up was “Light Me Up,” from Ingrid Michaelson’s latest, It Doesn’t Have to Make Sense (16/44.1 FLAC, Cabin 24/Tidal). Her voice soars in this song, and the AS speakers nicely conveyed her wide vocal range -- unlike some soft domes, this one is not subdued. No, the sound was more open than I’d thought it would be, perhaps owing to the tweeter’s mini-horn loading. Regardless of why, I was impressed, and enjoyed the free-flowing sound of the O203Fs with this recording.

AudioSolutions Overture O203F

Then I loaded up the Silk Road Ensemble. In 2016, the current lineup of cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s rotating group of classical musicians released Sing Me Home (16/44.1 FLAC, Columbia Masterworks/Tidal), which features Abigail Washburn singing “Going Home.” The sound of the stringed instruments was authentic, with none of the offensive edge so often heard from cheap metal-dome tweeters. I attribute this lack of brightness not only to the silk of the O203F’s soft dome, but also to the speaker’s voicing -- it’s clear that AS didn’t want to make a speaker with tilted-up highs. They’ve succeeded. The O203F’s tonal balance will suit most any music, though it will be perceived as being slightly forgiving of lower-quality recordings.

At this point in my auditioning I concluded that while the AudioSolutions could sound nice and cozy, it was time to open them up a bit more to hear just where their limitations might be. I cued up Donald Fagen’s Morph the Cat (24/96 AIFF, Reprise/HDtracks), an old standby of a demo for the well-recorded kick-drum that opens the title track. I cranked up the volume and played the opening minute about ten times in succession. At 90dB in my room, measured at the listening position with an SPL meter app on my iPhone 6, the O203Fs did not fall apart. Far from it -- the sound was punchy and palpable, if missing the last iota of physicality that bigger speakers can produce. Just shy of 93dB, the O203Fs had about all the power they could handle -- I could sense that their woofers were doing all they could with this track’s ample bass and midbass content. So, yes, the AudioSolutions O203Fs did have some output-level limitations, but what was impressive was that their woofers never bottomed out, nor did their sound become ragged. The tweeters’ output remained clean and under control.

AudioSolutions Overture O203F

I said earlier that the O203F had a tonal balance that sounded well chosen by the designer. This was a definite strength -- the speakers didn’t sound dull or blunted, nor did they try to be monsters of resolution. They did a good job of morphing to the music -- or, better yet, morphing to suit the listener, no matter what music they were asked to reproduce. You won’t be able to dissect every single microscopic sound in your best recordings, but for many listeners, that’s not what gives them the ultimate in musical enjoyment.

Comparison

I hadn’t reviewed a floorstander in this price range in quite a while, so I went back to my listening notes for the Aperion Audio Verus Grand loudspeaker which I’d reviewed in 2011 but have heard more recently - a friend owns a pair.

I wrote in 2011 that “Aperion’s tweeter is cut from the same cloth as the Dynaudio tweeters I’ve heard through the years, in that it produced the meat of the highs really nicely, as well as most of the ultra-high frequencies.” Although the AudioSolutions’ tweeters were similar in this regard -- meaty, if not resolution machines -- it was in the treble that the O203F had the advantage over the Verus Grand. Depending on the music, the AS speakers could sound a touch more open in the treble, and this proved important. They had just a bit more sparkle when the highs called for it, which became apparent when I listened to Alexandre Desplat’s score for the film The Secret Life of Pets (16/44.1 FLAC, Back Lot Music/Tidal). This high-energy orchestral music requires a speaker to let its hair down, and that’s just what the O203Fs did. The sound in the highs was quick and agile, but remained painless at all times. There was an effortlessness to the highs that I don’t often hear at this price point, and that I didn't hear with the Aperions.

Conclusion

What’s nice about the AudioSolutions Overture O203F is that it can play any music in a satisfying fashion, but without drawing attention to the flaws of poorer recordings -- all while sounding open and resolved enough that it never sounded boring or tame. In short, I thought the pair of them struck just the right tonal balance: not veering too far from neutral, but possessing a slightly fulsome bass range that gave them a sound slightly bigger than I’d expected. They didn’t play ridiculously loud, but they could get up into the low-90dB range without seeming to strain, as long as you keep the volume level reasonable, you won’t hear anything amiss.

For the chameleon musical like nature and the level of dedication, that goes into the creation of the AudioSolutions Overture O204F speakers I'm happily giving out the Mono and Stereo Highly Recommended Award.
Matej Isak

SUMMARY: AudioSolutions Overture O204F offers a stylish and musical package, that is not shy in delivering the balanced sound. These are the "honest" speakers, voiced right and with a healthy dosage of bottom end. The lower end impact will keep bass fans more than just happy. O204F also reveals the potent Overture musical universe to the music lovers in demand of powerful and musically involving sound

REVIEW: I'm more then sure, that many of you already heard about or heard the AudioSolutions speakers from Lithuania. The company operates for quite some years pointing back to their beginnings in early 2000. 
 
My main inner interest triggers are in 99% percents ignited by the upper echelon and top of the line high-end audio products. On contrary to my modus operandi Gediminas Gaidelis (owner and CEO of AudioSolutions) asked me to start my exploration of the AudioSolutions loudspeakers in another way around. He wanted me to explore the Overture product line in order to understand, the difference between their flagships and more affordable speakers and how much of the AudioSolutions' gestalt comes already with their entry-level loudspeakers. 

I've asked Gediminas to select, what would be the most proper speaker to start with and a few weeks later the AudioSolutions Overture O204F speakers had arrived at Mono and Stereo... 

THE OVERTURE 0204F

Overture O204F is a 3-way design floor-standing speaker equipped with customized silk dome tweeter, paper cone mid-band driver and two long-throw woofers, that can be also used with bookshelf and center channel speaker sets to form home cinema environment. 

 
 
Slim, small and light cabinet will fit in any part of the listening room, a variety of finishes including high gloss colors, classic wood, and piano gloss woods will satisfy all tastes. Unique highly braced, CNC-machined, self-locking cabinet gives stand out performance in the bass region and specially shaped front panel with mini horn tweeter loading ensures lowest THD in this price range.
 
Overture O204F's highly braced, CNC precision milled enclosure, that uses MDF with up to 36mm thickness is a ground stone of the acoustically silent and rigid structure. High-flow bass reflex port with highly rounded flange eliminates airflow noise. 
 
High-grade components were chosen for the crossover and Overture offers bi-wiring/bi-amping binding posts. Mid-bass lightweight paper cone lightweight customised soft dome mini-horn loaded tweeter loaded elevates performance and delivers greater sensitivity in the critical range.
 
 
With the Overture product line, AudioSolutions have introduced self-locking cabinet system, that is also used with the recently introduced Vantage anniversary speakers. This technique gives very strong joints between different parts. The fully assembled enclosure is much more tough and rigid compared to similar sized and priced speakers.
 

THE INSIGHTS

 
Overture speaker line is the AudioSolutions' entry line range, that was inspired by its predecessor - the Euphony. From the initial idea, Overture line was designed to be a cost-effective speakers with a classic design. Much attention was placed to provide the same captivating audio quality as a top of the line AudioSolutions speakers. Gediminas Gaidelis also described the Overture line as the best way to enter and discover the AudioSolutions world of High-End sound reproduction.
 
 
Overture name was not chosen lightly. Gediminas Gaidelis wanted to introduce something more substantial, than just a mere entry line speakers. It needed to be both delicate and majestic. All that has resulted in an Overture speaker series, that delivers a grand portion of AudioSolutions's top tiers despite being the entry level and a first step into the high-end audio world of AudioSolutions.
 
 
In the usual dealings, the top of the line models creates a blueprint for any lower line models. With Overture line AudioSolutions started the other way around. The overture was set to give the "tone" for the upper series from the very beginning.  

"Downgrade from something better is quite simple to achieve, meanwhile having high-class product from the very beginning and pushing limits in more expensive products it is something that needs a lot of efforts and knowledge." - Gediminas Gaidelis

The development of the Overture took almost a year for the cabinet construction only. Speakers chassis combined with some clever engineering and backed up with the years of experience in making the loudspeakers resulted in much more faster production and shorter assembly time, that translates to the much lower final price. The shorter production time has allowed AudioSolutions to implement more expensive materials and technologies, that are usually associated with the higher priced speakers.
 
 
No usual sound-damaging grilles are used in Overture. Gediminas Gaidelis's engineering heart is not softened by the grilles and he has a very strong opinion about them. 

"However, grilles is a must for cheaper speakers. We couldn't design usual grilles that wouldn't interfere with sound reproduction. Usually, it was not cloth as we thought at first - it was the frame. Even a thin-braced frame was creating a lot of reflections. We decided to raise our expenses for better sound reproduction. We designed double removable front baffle." - Gediminas Gaidelis

One set of the speaker includes four front baffles. One pair is covered with transparent acoustically cloth and the other pair is painted in the matching speaker color. All four panels are identical in shape and have similar performance characteristics.
 
 
Implementation of the waveguide with the soft or hard domes almost comes as mandatory these days. This raises sensitivity and creates controlled radiation pattern. While this is beneficial, AudioSolutions had decided to go a bit further... 

"Since by default we think that customer will have at least little acoustically treated room we do not control radiation, but we unload tweeter in its critical region. As You may notice usually speakers in lower price region plays nice when driven up to 90dB-95db. Troubles starting when they are driven really hard I mean like 100dB (trust me it is VERY loud don't dream about 120dB in a home)." - Gediminas Gaidelis

Usual soft dome tweeters starting to distort because of soft materials and act more like waving sea than piston driver. It can get even worse when the whole assembly of coil and suspension starts to make radial movements at some specific frequencies because the suspension is too soft (better sensitivity for data sheet). All this translates into screamingly/noisy and unpleasant tone. AudioSolutions Mini-Horn is working in quite a narrow band around tweeter's resonance frequency, where most of the distortions described above appear. The result is unloaded drive system in the specific area and lowered distortions. Overture Mini-Horn lowers distortions by 8dB in that region.
 
 
A second no go for the Gediminas Gaidelis's engineer mindset was the use of standard PCB boards, where thin copper layers come as standard. That why a pin-to-pin assembly was used (similar as point to point with tube amps).
 
 
But this was changed recently when Gediminas had found a good supplier, that could provide three times more dense copper signal paths compared to the traditional PCBs. At the end, measurement had shown no difference between pin-to-pin construction and PCB mounted and this is now a preferred solution.
 
 
The audiosolutions team has pushed from the very beginning to finalize a working prototype, that would include all the high-end criteria associated with the expensive models. This might be the very reason, that many people, that have listened to either Overture or Vantage, discovered the same sonic DNA spread across all of the AudioSolutions' models.
 
 

THE MUSIC

 
The technical side was covered quite extendedly, so its time to enter into the musical realms. Overture O204F went through the prolonged listening sessions with quite a few different amplifiers and speakers' cable. Sometimes, the speaker undervaluation points towards the particular music genre, yet with AudioSolutions Overture speakers, there was no specific genre preferring. They've handled the music in equal equilibrium.
 
Donald Fagen - Morph the Cat
 
Gediminas Gaidelis loves to present the AudioSolutions speakers' ability to deliver a grand but focused bass rendition. There is no better record to test the "submarine" depths then Donald Fagen's Morph the Cat. First few notes of the albums' title track will let the speaker to "make it" or "brake/fake it". 
 
Overture O204F mighty bass is consequential to the sum of all the design choices. First and foremost O204F (luckily) won't turn into wobbling sonic momentum, that is too often associated with the similarly priced speakers. The bass expands with the full energy impact and carries over the rawness needed to employ the lower frequency energy into the room. This was positively evident in both smaller sized room and a bigger listening space. 
 
As with all the speakers, you'll need to find the right spot in order to let speakers "breath", but once properly positioned, Overture O204F will lock and load. 
 
When Morph The Cat's music expands with all the instruments in place, O204F allowed the even distribution of complete sonic range, that let instruments to appear with believable three-dimensional rendering. This particular track can bring many speakers to its knees with its demanding energy transfer, yet Overture O204F have kept the sonic projection firm and focus!
 
Nancy Brick - Nancy Brick
 
Nancy Brick belongs to one of my favorite Nordic duos. Mysterious music, sensually packed into the sonic scenery, that penetrates deeply into the subconsciousness. 
 
 
There is an immersive purity in these compositions. In their simplicity, they can instantly reveal any non-balanced nature at the very end of the audio chain, namely the loudspeakers. 
 
The Mountain's ghostly atmosphere expands with the subtle pinpointing of the notes, that call for a highly potent mirroring of the acoustic cues. 
 
The AudioSolutions Overture O204F braced and thick MDF enclosures were certainly "guilty" of delivering the powerful spatial cues. Micro and macro details are too easily masked within the intreated resonance frequency of the speakers' enclosure, yet Overture O204F delivery of micro decays and delays formed a sensual interaction, that pulled me into more than just one track aural evaluation with my beloved Nancy Brick. That alone is worthy of the praise...
 
 
Music For Viola and Cello - Herbert Downes and Jacqueline Du Pre is by no means an easy reference evaluating album for any speakers. It's challenging. This iconic, classical gem, that reaches a crazy pricing on the vinyl is extraordinary and both sonic and musical marvel. 
 
I've especially love to pull this remarkable album out to challenge any speaker ability to deliver the sheer density of tone and how well it deciphers the potency of music's message. 
 
Overture O204F tone, timbre, and color were on forte, without stepping into the overblown realms. At the O204F given price range, this is something to be proud about... 
 

CONCLUSION

 
With Overture line Gediminas Gaidelis wanted to embrace all the qualities of AudioSolutions upper speaker's range at more affordable pricing while keeping the recognized sound quality and design. And he succeeded...
 
AudioSolutions Overture O204F speakers are stylish contemporary take on the "classical" loudspeaker design, but with enough attributes to stand out from the crowd.
 
The hardest thing for any high-end audio speaker manufacturer is founding its own recognizable signature design. After years of exploration, Gediminas Gaidelis managed to develop his own design language, that is recognizable and different enough to draw the attention.
 
I really liked the Overture self-locked and exchangeable front panel system, that allows quick change of aesthetics from more classical to the modern as well as the quality of fit and finish. Even some of the long-standing speaker's brands struggle with quality at the more affordable level, but Gediminas managed to expertly deliver a visually captivating design with the instantly recognizable carpentry quality.
 
From packaging, manual and up to the speakers, everything screams out "quality". I like and love when manufacturers do their homework properly. Its still baffles me, how some, even crazy priced exotic products are being presented. Rather then "we want to please and thank you for your purchase" the very opposite "we simply want your money" applies. Sad, true and unforgiven.
 
AudioSolutions Overture O204F offers a stylish and musical package, that is not shy in delivering the balanced sound. These are the "honest" speakers, voiced right and with a healthy dosage of bottom end. The lower end impact will keep bass fans more than just happy. O204F also reveals the potent Overture musical universe to the music lovers in demand of powerful and musically involving sound.
 
Gediminas Gaidelis pushes himself further by each year, to implement better materials, make speakers better looking and most importantly to deliver better sound.
 
For the chameleon musical like nature and the level of dedication, that goes into the creation of the AudioSolutions Overture O204F speakers I'm happily giving out the Mono and Stereo Highly Recommended Award. 
 
Well deserved Gediminas Gaidelis! Keep the flow on!
 
Matej Isak
When I told people the price $7500 USD excl tax (NZ$9,995/pr incl GST), they could not believe it, Some said they thought it was US$30,000 excl tax. Now if that's not excellent value for the money, I don't know what is.
Alex G.- HiFiALEX

SUMMARY: Having spent almost 3 months with the Figaro M speakers, I was very sad to part with them. Their excellent design and construction, their natural and balanced sound brought me hours of enjoyment of music. They allowed me to rediscover albums and performances I thought I knew well.  
Loudspeaker market is overcrowded, but I can honestly say that in terms of performance and value for the money they are very tough to beat. Sure you could find better sounding speakers, but they will cost a lot more, yet will not have some of the unique features that Figaro speakers offer, such as choice of 17 beautiful finishes as well as "Stealth" grille. So if you are looking to upgrade your speakers and considering models in under US$10K price category, Figaro M are highly recommended. You will be getting a lot for your money with performance that rivals speakers in much higher price categories.

Introduction

 

AudioSolutions loudspeakers have been on my radar for a while because of their distinct looks. But being from Lithuania, and without North American distribution (until very recently), it was impossible for me to experience them in person. As luck would have it, an opportunity soon presented itself. Gediminas Gaidelis, the chief designer and founder of AudioSolutions, contacted me through this blog to ask me if I were attending Munich High End 2018. Sadly, I could not go, but my good friend Jonathan of Sonic Artistry was going. I quickly put them in touch with each other and the rest was history. Jonathan absolutely loved the sound of the Figaro line of speakers in Munich.

 

 

 
Munich High End 2018

Munich High End 2018

 

 
 
3/4

 

Soon after, three Figaro models arrived in Toronto - M in Marine Blue finish, L in Burgundy Rain and the massive XL in Gold Linen. A few days later Figaro M were in my living room and ready to spill their secrets.

 

 

 

Design and construction

 

Figaro M loudspeakers are a 3-way design with one 2.5 cm Mini-Horn loaded silk dome tweeter and waveguide ER (Extra Rigid) paper cone drivers (2 x 18.3 cm woofers, 1 x 15.2 midrange). The rest of specifications are:

 

Dimensions (HxWxD) : 1120 mm x 272 mm x 470 mm; 44.1 x 10.7 x 18.5 in

Weight : 41 kg/90 lbs each

Sensitivity : 91.5 dB @ 2.83V 1 m

Nominal power handling : 140 W RMS

Maximum unclipped power handling : 280 W;

Impedance : nominal 4,0 Ohms

Crossover frequency : 400 Hz; 4000 Hz

Frequency response (in-room environment) : 32-25000 Hz

 

Figaro M cabinets use back ported Self-Locking design developed in-house for improved sound quality. The cabinet joints trickled down from AudioSolutions' top of the line Vantage 5th Anniversary series. The key in eliminating unwanted vibrations is to combine materials with different resonance properties so that they damp each other. The simplest way to do this is to use materials of different thickness or make a sandwich of different materials. AudioSolutions did both. The thickness of the Figaro cabinet varies from 18mm up to 50mm in different areas, and starting from the middle of the speaker the whole back part is made from sandwich materials. They went one step further than that. They modelled every surface of the speaker and made vibration analysis. The Self-Locking joints design is the result of the analysis. The key concept here is that all surfaces act as one big sandwich dampening each other out. This results in bass that is not boomy, but fast and tight. Mini-horn tweeter, which is used in all AudioSolutions speakers, was introduced to reduce tweeter sharpness at higher volumes. A slightly smaller than usual tweeter size was chosen to provide faster response and lower distortion.

 

 

 

Figaro towers come with height adjustable feet. Minimalistic design comes in 17 different finishes. You can view them in my earlier blog entry. Build quality as well as quality of the materials and finishes is superb!

 
5

5

 

 
 
5/6

 

The entire Figaro line (B, C, S, M, L and XL) was in development for 6 years to replace the older and more expensive Rhapsody line, which was in production since the company's inception in 2011. All speakers are hand made and assembled in-house in Vilnius, Lithuania with special attention to strict quality control.

 

As Jonathan and I unpacked the speakers and installed them, I was very much intrigued by another unique feature of the Figaro line - the "Stealth" grille system. It's a unique technical solution where each speaker has two detachable front baffles which are different in looks (one with protective cloth and the other without) but share the same geometry. The manufacturer claims that the same geometry of front baffle means exactly the same power response. According to them, cloth rarely interacts with sound waves because wavelengths even at high frequencies are much longer than thickness of cloth fibre. Yet, I did hear a bit of difference between the grilles and ultimately preferred using cloth-less grilles.

 

 

 

 

Sound and performance

 

Over the course of 3 months, I have used Figaro M to listen to all kinds of music with 3 different amplifiers; 

  • Marantz NR-1402 AVR (solid state, 70 wpc)

  • THÖRESS F2A11 Stereo Integrated Amplifier (vacuum tubes, 6 wpc)

  • Luxman L-509X integrated amplifier (solid state, 220 wpc; review availablehere)

Each provided its own distinct signature, yet the speakers had common characteristics with all 3 - very natural and uncoloured midrange and highs), plenty of details, great imaging and well defined sound stage. Bass performance varied, obviously, my favourite being provided by Luxman pairing. Luxman gave ample bass that was tight and focused, while with Marantz it was more relaxed.

 

Bass with the THÖRESS depended on music. With very challenging musical pieces, like Shostakovich symphonies, it was not up to par. But as I quickly learned, THÖRESS is absolutely superb for jazz and acoustical music with or without vocals. Due to Figaro M's high sensitivity, THÖRESS  had no problem driving them. Playing jazz, provided absolutely superb holographic imaging, which is the signature of all THÖRESS amplifiers. You have to hear it to believe it, but trust me, it is amazing!

 

 
THORESS

THORESS

 

THORESS

THORESS

 

 
 
5/5

 

Playing acoustic guitar performances, specifically Nils Lofgren's "Acoustic Live" or Mark Lanegan's "Imitations", was pure joy. In both instances, I could hear every single pick of a string, fingers moving up and down the strings, with plenty of notes decay. Vocals were natural and warm, pronunciation of each word was heard clearly and without any distortion or sibilance.

 

711m+gQk3AL._SL1200_
 
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R-6513862-1429911297-4348.jpeg
 
 

Actually the very first album I played after connecting the speakers was Vanessa Fernandez "Use Me". Even with my Marantz I immediately noticed how natural and involving the sound was. I was completely unprepared for it and sat quietly for a while, lost in the music and the moment of revelation. But the best was yet to come!

 

Next I played Norwegian folk/jazz album "Quiet Winter Night" by Hoff Ensemble and the speakers just disappeared! Playing their latest album "Polarity" provided the same result.

 

cover
 
cover1
 
 

In my conversation with Gediminas about my first impressions, he said that was the exact intention with combination of the wavelength drivers and mini-horn tweeters.

 

A few weeks later, after giving the speakers plenty of hours to burn in, first with Marantz and then with the THÖRESS, I held a demo session for members of theGreater Toronto Area Audiophile club, as well as other local audiophiles. We played all kinds of music (jazz, classical, opera, blues, world, hard rock and heavy metal) in various formats (vinyl, CD, CD quality and HiRes FLAC, as well as streaming from TIDAL). Everyone enjoyed the sound and the performance of the Figaro M, remarking how natural and balanced they sounded, how pleasant they were to listen to. It was never harsh and never fatiguing. We listened to them for hours without any issues.

 

Of course, not everyone prefers this kind of European speaker sound. Some like the absolutely precise sound of speakers like Magico. Those people may not enjoy the Figaros. It's all about personal preference. Personally, this is my kind of speaker.

 

When I told people the price ($7500 USD, $8500 CAD), they could not believe it, Some said they thought it was $30,000. Now if that's not excellent value for the money, I don't know what is.

 

Yet, the biggest surprise and even more enjoyable listening were still ahead, when I paired the speakers with the Luxman L-509X integrated amplifier, courtesy ofAudio by Mark Jones

 

 

Due to the ample power (220 wpc) and refined Japanese sound, everything I played with this combination was absolutely amazing. Especially the explosive dynamics, which were revealed when I subjected the system to the ultimate test by playing various movements from some Shostakovich symphonies. Allow me to quote from that review:

 

"But my absolute favourite is Symphony No. 10 performed by Boston Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons (Deutsche Grammophon ‎– 479 5059). 

While playing all these, I really cranked it up to push the system to the limits. And I must say it performed wonderfully. The sound was fast and very dynamic without a single negative issue. Previously, when I played Symphony No. 10 using my Marantz AVR and the same AudioSolutiions Figaro M, the sound was severely lacking, with lacklustre dynamics and the whole performance felt lifeless in the entire frequency range. But with the Luxman it truly came to life and just exploded in my living room. There was no distortion nor any kind of clipping even at very high volumes. It did sound like I had an entire orchestra  right in front of me. Plenty of frequency extension on both ends of the spectrum, with excellent bass control. It did not sound boomy or loose, but instead it was tight and very well textured. All instruments were clearly defined within the sound stage, which was deep and wide and provided plenty of ambience of the Boston Symphony Hall, where this performance was recorded."

 

This excellent performance was possible not only due to the Luxman, but to Figaro M themselves and the overall combination of these components. It speaks volumes to the capabilities of these excellent speakers and their value for the money.

 

Of course my review would not be complete with some notes on the performance of the speakers playing hard rock and metal. It is always challenging playing this kind of music due to its nature and often less than stellar recording quality. So for my listening tests, I carefully chose the albums to play.

 

My first choice was "Rock & Roll Machine" by the legendary Canadian power trio Triumph (Attic ‎– LAT 1036). Properly recorded, it sounded fantastic in all aspects - plenty of deep punchy bass, clear and detailed midrange and extended highs. The songs themselves are excellent too, of course. It's too bad the band was often overlooked and overshadowed by the other Canadian trio - Rush.

 

My next selection was Ayreon's latest album "The Source" on double vinyl (Music Theories Recordings ‎– MTR 7515 1, Mascot Label Group ‎– MTR 7515 1). Arjen Anthony Lucassen has always paid attention to the production quality of his albums and "The Source" is no exception. Powerful rhythm section, sweeping keyboard and guitar solos and soaring vocals combined with excellent melodies were reproduced exceptionally well by the Figaro M. By its nature, this type of music seems compressed, with so many instruments playing at the same time. But the speakers managed to eliminate this problem and every instrument was detailed and distinct. 

 

The most challenging metal release I played was Dragonlord's new album "Dominion" (Spinefarm Records ‎– spine712762). It's a symphonic black metal project by the legendary guitarist and founder of the thrash titans Testament, Eric Peterson. The music here is even more complex and compressed, with multiple tracks overlaid on top of each other. But it is recorded well and the Figaros were up to the challenge and provided plenty of enjoyment.

 

Conclusion and final thoughts

 

Having spent almost 3 months with the Figaro M speakers, I was very sad to part with them. Their excellent design and construction, their natural and balanced sound brought me hours of enjoyment of music. They allowed me to rediscover albums and performances I thought I knew well.  

 

As the last note, I must mention that I also experienced Figaro XL at Sonic Artistry Aurora. They were driven by soulution 311 stereo amp, brand new 525 preamp, with Dohmann Helix 2 turntable and the amazing DS Audio DS 002 optical cartridge as analog source. As much as I loved Figaro M, Figaro XL simply blew me away! Very detailed sound with precise imaging, excellent instrument separation, deep and wide sound stage and lots of ambience. When Ed played for me Black Sabbath's debut album, it's like I was hearing it for the first time. If you wish to audition the XL, do not hesitate to contact Ed or Jonathan at Sonic Artistry. I'd like to thank them both for providing me Figaro M speakers for this review.

 

Associated equipment:

 

Marantz NR-1402 AVR

THÖRESS F2A11 Stereo Integrated Amplifier

Luxman L-509X integrated amplifier

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon turntable

Ortofon 2M Red cartridge

Gold Note PH-10 phono stage

Gold Note DS-1000 DAC and streamer

Denon DVD-3800 DVD player

Sony TC-WE635 double cassette deck

Bluesound Node 2 streamer

PSB Stratus Bronze speakers

KirmussAudio speaker cables

Transparent and EnKlein interconnects

BIS Audio power cables and power bar/surge protector

The AudioSolutions 023F are thoroughly synergistic and symbiotic, harmonious and complete. It's a real "dream set" that can be recommended to anyone who appreciates beautifully sounding music. I assure you that you will love this Lithuanians immediately
Stereo and Colourful - Underground
Sound impressions
I made a listening session in a room with an area of ​​about 30 m2. The comparative amplifiers are transistor Hegel H160,  The speakers are Pylon Diamond 25 and Vienna Acoustics Mozart Grand. 
 
The first felt feature of the Italian-Lithuanian tandem is its unforced freedom of playing and the excellent naturalness of the sound. You can not feel any increase or blurring of tones, you do not hear any excessive sharpening or aggression. There is full harmony and first-class balance here. The sound is exactly what it should be - strong and expansive, but balanced and emphasizing tonal subtleties. It is organic and coherent. The second very pleasant feature of the described set is complementarity, complement and saturation of the message supported by excellent volatility and agile lightness. The message is characterized by high caloricity and ardent tangibility, which is manifested not only by the high voicing, but also the carnal sensuality of the sound. For these are cultural and sophisticated. Refined. Yes, it is possible to point out a set of light distancing and sometimes not very extensive offensiveness, but you can not deny him the first-rate plasticity and soundness of the sound. the precision and faithfulness of the sound are phenomenal. In other words, the Lithuanian-Italian set focuses on imaging the beauty of music, showing its natural attributes such as melodic, tangible and expressive, emphasizing the advantages of tone and tone color, and far-reaching detail and tonal depth are in the further place (which does not mean that the set can not reveal the piece and show the resonance of details, because it can, but this is not the main accent here!). It is hard not to admire such a sophisticated sound substance - from the very first beats of the listening session.
 
Okay, I'm overjoyed with the raptures and elation, now it's time for specifics. How is this game set? The general expression of the sound is dense, fleshy and saturated, but light - aerated. The diameter is essential, but at the same time very clear and detailed. The tested duo plays a very bold, wide and compact middle band, building a direct and credible first plan, because the major part of the show concentrates here. In turn, the low tones are bold and expansive; they are also well controlled and springy. It is not a bold, hard and blocky (or showy) sound, but provides good consistency and consistency - substantiality and corporeality. Nevertheless, the offensive of the strongest beats is somewhat softened and rounded, which results in some kind of velvetiness and silkyness - even at high volume levels. For this reason, the sound produced by the amplifier and transmitted by the speakers is always very physiological and pleasant. One hundred percent attractive and not tiring. Hedonistic.
 
Overture loudspeakers stands out very positively among many other constructions. Because it is characterized by fantastic vividness and communicativeness, freedom and clarity, expressiveness and obviousness. It is characterized by full harmony of sound as well as mutual synergy. Such sound has all racial and full-blooded qualities. Consummated.
 
Special microdynamics also pay attention to; in this area there is a lot going on, sound subcutaneously bursting with hidden potential. This set has a great willingness to play and does it in an unrestricted way - on "full drive". At the same time, he is deprived of any aristocratic manner - he does not ditch his nose. Live everything that is contained and hidden in the recording. Just..
 
Conclusions

The AudioSolutions Overture O203F are loudspeakers characterized by exquisite box and woodwork, beautiful finish and attention to every detail. 
The class itself is a material masking frame, which is exchanged with the entire front. Lithuanian speakers offer a massive and full sound with a fancy cord. It is a committed and energetic message, and at the same time precise and credible. In addition, Overture perfectly determine the timbre, so that the instruments and vocals are imbued with a colorful glow. It's a refined and coherent sound.
 
In conclusion. AudioSolutions 023F are thoroughly synergistic and symbiotic, harmonious and complete. It's a real "dream set" that can be recommended to anyone who appreciates beautifully sounding music. I assure you that you will love this Lithuanians immediately! 
 
The Audio Solutions Figaro M is a fabulous sounding speaker that managed to excite my soul every time I sat down to listen to my favorite tunes.
Suave Kajko

Conclusion: The Audio Solutions Figaro M is a fabulous sounding speaker that managed to excite my soul every time I sat down to listen to my favorite tunes.  It performed very well with all genres of music and paired equally well with all the amplifiers that I tried it with.  It’s a good sized speaker that requires a decent sized room to fit into, both sonically and visually.  I personally enjoy its textured industrial finish and color glossy panels.  If you’re looking for an honest performing loudspeaker with a distinctive design  – I definitely recommend you give this one a good listen.  And if this model doesn’t fit in your space, or budget, then check out the smaller Figaro S model at NZ$9,500/pr incl GST. 
Well done Audio Solutions!

REVIEW: It’s always fun to learn about a new audio manufacturer, especially one that manages to impress you with the performance and quality of its products.  I first learned about Audio Solutions from Canadian high-end audio retailer Sonic Artistry who offered to lend me a pair of the company’s Figaro M speakers at the end of 2018.  Founded by speaker engineer Gediminas Gaidelis, Audio Solutions is a high-end loudspeaker manufacturer based in Vilnius, Lithuania.  A lot of very interesting high-end audio companies have sprouted in Eastern Europe over the last decade – it’s a part of the world that we’ve been paying closer attention to lately when it comes to audio.  Perhaps that’s why Warsaw, Poland has also become host to one of the largest high-end shows in Europe.

Today, Audio Solutions offers five attractively styled product ranges that go under the names Vantage Classic, Vantage 5th Anniversary, Guimbarde, Figaro and Overture.  In the spring of 2019, Audio Solutions will add a sixth line, called Virtuoso, which will sit Visually, I love the styling of the Vantage 5th Anniversary series the most, perhaps because these speakers look like they would fit perfectly into a sci-fi movie like TRON.  Sonic Artistry’s owners Jonathan and Ed promised for the Figaro M to deliver a stunning performance to price ratio, but of course they would say that – after all they are a retailer for the brand.  As a reviewer, I hear such promises all the time so naturally I take such statements with a grain of salt.  There is only one way to judge a loudspeaker: you have to give it a good listen.

But first, let’s examine the range of products offered by this company.  The Audio Solutions Figaro M loudspeaker hails from company’s third-from-the-top series in terms of performance and price.  There are four floor standing models in this series – the Figaro S ($5,750 US), Figaro M ($7,500 US), Figaro L ($10,000 US) and the headlining Figaro XL ($15,000).  The series also includes the Figaro B bookshelf speaker ($3,250 US) as well as the Figaro C center channel ($2,500 US).  The inclusion of a center channel of course indicates that the company intends these speakers for use in both 2-channel music systems and home cinema setups.  All the prices I mentioned are for the standard finish, and like most high-end loudspeaker manufacturers today, Audio Solutions’ speakers can be ordered in many custom options – in this case there are 17 custom side-panel colors to choose from.

Product Description

It’s a little difficult to judge from the pictures on the website but the Figaro M is a pretty good sized speaker, measuring 1120 mm H x 272 mm W x 470 mm D (or 44.1” x 10.7” x 18.5”).  Since it is rear-ported, it’ll perform best when placed at least a foot or two away from the back wall.  My 12 x 20 foot room was just barely large enough for this speaker and I suspect that giving it more space would allow it to breathe a little better and further improve its sound.  Styling-wise, the Figaro series offers a somewhat industrial look because of its textured, flat dark grey/black finish.  Each side wall of the cabinet is decorated with a glossy panel which covers roughly half the side wall.  These panels can be ordered in a choice of 17 colors/finishes, and include some very attractive 3D textured finishes.  The only trouble is that unless you place these speakers in a large enough room, where you’ll be able to see the sides, in most rooms, you’ll likely mostly see the front of the cabinet and hence won’t be able to enjoy the beauty of the custom side panels.

From a technical standpoint, the Figaro M offers a 3-way design, with the midrange driver playing a slightly wider range of frequencies than more traditional designs, to reduce crossover distortion in this most-critical region of the frequency range.  The 3-way design approach means that no crossovers sit where human hearing is most sensitive, in the 800 – 2000 Hz range. Sonically, this allows Audio Solutions speakers to achieve a cleaner, more detailed midrange sound.  From top to bottom, the front baffle houses a 15.2 cm ER paper cone mid-range driver, a 2.5 cm mini-horn loaded silk dome tweeter, and two 18.3 cm ER paper cone bass drivers.  Its key specifications include: a frequency range of 32-25,000 Hz, sensitivity of 91.5 dB, and an impedance of 4 ohms.  The cabinets offer an in-house developed self-locking design which promises an improved sonic clarity and performance.  The Figaro M comes with a unique “stealth” grille.  To be more precise, it actually comes with two detachable grilles: one that blends perfectly with the front baffle and allows you to see all the drivers; and one that is a traditional cloth grille.  Regardless of which one you choose, the Figaro M is designed to deliver precisely the same sound.

With a price of NZ$13,500/pr incl GST the Figaro M speaker sits in a market that’s flooded with a lot of great sounding / great looking speakers from both major and boutique brands.  The competition is stiff in this space – there’s no question about that.   So how well did this speaker perform?

General Sonic Impressions

My initial impression when listening to the Figaro M speakers was that they offered a very well balanced sound.  The ever critical midrange was spot on.  The vocals sounded natural and palpable, while instruments in the midrange played with great clarity, detail and a natural timbre.  The high frequencies played with an excellent resolution and crispness that you would expect from real instruments.  And at the bottom end, there was more than enough punch to satisfy those that like recordings loaded with great bass lines.

During the three months that the Figaro M speakers spent at my house, I had the chance to pair them with different electronics – including my Jeff Rowland Continuum S2 integrated amp, the Unison Research Sinfonia Tube integrated amp, as well as the ModWright Instruments LS 100 tube preamp / KWA 100 amp.  All of the components were plugged into my Nordost QB8 power distribution box and wired up with Nordost Tyr 2 cables.

Listening Tests

During my in-depth tests, I listened to a long list of digital files, streamed music and dove deep into my record collection.  I began with a few recently released tracks like “Relentless” and “People’s Champ” from Arkells, “Ready to Let Go” from Cage the Elephant, and “Lo/Hi” from The Black Keys.  The Figaro M immediately filled my listening room with an intoxicating energy, placing a great big grin on my face.  It wasn’t long before I danced my way out of the armchair and broke out into a full body dance.  The Arkells’ tracks teleported me back to the live show I recently watched in Toronto, bring back the memories of the dark stadium filled with dancing, singing, alcohol-fueled fans.  The Figaro M speakers effortless performance certainly recreated the memory of the concert, and that is definitely a great personality characteristic of a speaker.  The tracks from Cage the Elephant and The Black Keys were equally as engaging – I can’t wait to hear the full albums from these bands when they come out.

With the dancing out of my system, I cued up a fine selection of classical music and I reached for my (imaginary) conducting baton.  André Rieu is a Dutch violinist and conductor, responsible for creating the Johann Strauss Orchestra, who presents classical and waltz music, combined with a sprinkling of humor, to the masses with incredible success.  He is the “rock star” of these music genres, filling stadiums around the globe with fans, much like the biggest rock and pops stars of today.  The Figaro M speakers painted an expansive soundstage with great dynamic energy while playing his albums.  The separation between the sections of the orchestra and instruments was excellent, even when the music reached its crescendos. I was able to easily tune myself into any section of the orchestra when I chose to do so. Of course, just as importantly, the recording as a whole was presented with a great cohesiveness, everything presented with perfect timing and pace.  Instruments sounded lively and played with a natural timbre and detailed textures.  High frequencies were presented with a high level of resolution, yet they never tired my ears.  The Figaro M was capable of excellent sound staging with these types of music.  Overall, classical music was nothing shy of a great pleasure to listen to on the Figaro M.

So far, so good, but a great speaker has to deliver a convincing vocal performance.  To test this, I turned to various tracks from Florence and the Machine, Johnny Cash, Jack White, and the Sounds of Anarchy soundtrack.  Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine has a remarkable vocal range – and one of the greatest voices in the world of music in my opinion.  I love listening to her MTV Unplugged album, and love playing it for friends.  Some of the tracks send chills down my spine every time I hear them.  The Figaro M was more than up to the task of faithfully reproducing Welch’s voice, with a passion and emotion that had me craving more.  Every nuance and quirk of her voice was presented clearly.  The Figaro M captured my attention and wouldn’t let go – I couldn’t break away from this performance and ended up listening to the whole album.

Where the Figaro M definitely outperformed my Raidho speakers was in the low frequency department.  This speaker dove deep and sang the bass notes very cleanly and I enjoyed every part of it.  Putting its through its paces, I listened to several albums from bands like BORNS, Milky Chance, Florence and the Machine, Prodigy, Collective Soul and the TRON: Legacy soundtrack.  With the various BORNS tracks, the bass was fast and very well articulated.  “The Grid” on TRON: Legacy starts out with a gentle electronic beat and builds up in intensity until it explodes like a star going supernova, energizing the room as it washes over the listening space. Wow – that’s all I can say – the Figaro M speakers did a fantastic job here.

During the time the Figaro M spent at my house, I was lucky enough to also listen to its larger brother, the Figaro L at NZ$18,995/pr incl GST, at the Sonic Artistry store.  In this system, the speakers were connected to much higher caliber equipment from Soulution Audio.  As much as I enjoyed what I was hearing in my own room, the performance of this system was several notches up on the “sonic ladder”.  This system offered a dramatic increase in sonic details, the soundstage was significantly larger and better defined and the overall presentation was even more energetic.  I am well aware of just how capable the Soulution Audio components are – I’ve heard them on several occasions and quickly fell in love with their sound.  What really had me impressed though, was the performance of the Figaro L speakers and their ability to relay all the musical information extracted from the music by electronics of this caliber, something that is no easy feat.  This demonstrated that in some ways, the Figaro L was able to punch well above its price point.

Conclusion

The Audio Solutions Figaro M is a fabulous sounding speaker that managed to excite my soul every time I sat down to listen to my favorite tunes.  It performed very well with all genres of music and paired equally well with all the amplifiers that I tried it with.  It’s a good sized speaker that requires a decent sized room to fit into, both sonically and visually.  I personally enjoy its textured industrial finish and color glossy panels. If you’re looking for an honest performing loudspeaker with a distinctive design  – I definitely recommend you give this one a good listen.  And if this model doesn’t fit in your space, or budget, then check out the smaller Figaro S model at NZ$9,5000/pr incl GST. 
Well done Audio Solutions!

You should include the AudioSolution Figaro L speakers in your audition process. I would recommend you try them.... you may find them at the top of your list.
Byron Baba

SUMMARY: The AudioSolution Figaro Ls are an outstanding pair of speakers. I went down my checklist and they exceed every expectation I have for a speaker costing 5 figures. If you are looking for a pair of speakers and have a budget of up to US$20,000, you should include the AudioSolution Figaro L speakers in your audition process. I would recommend you try them with tube amplifiers because you may find them at the top of your list. 
The Quicksilver tube amplifiers created a magical experience with a more focused placement of all of the musicians. Although this was a large pair of speakers, they created a distinct image and, combined with a credible soundstage, they were just like a pair of small mini monitors except with great bass. I could picture the musicians right in front of me. There was really good spacing between the instruments as well as front to back layering of them.

REVIEW: I am a lifetime member of the Los Angeles Orange County Audio Society and their monthly meetings give the members opportunities to be introduced to some great sounding lesser known audio components. This was the case one Saturday afternoon in March, 2019, when our meeting was held at High End by Oz in Westwood, CA. The owner of the store, Mr. Ozan Turan (Oz), was a gracious host and played some beautiful music through a pair of speakers made by a company from Vilnius, Lithuania called AudioSolutions. I told the person sitting next to me these are a pair of great sounding speakers, and he concurred. I was sitting on the most comfortable seat in the house; however, I moved to a different seat to get a more complete listening experience. Oz put on a recording of Chick Corea’s “Spain” and I enjoyed the entire performance. But, there were a lot of people waiting to listen to these speakers, so we had to rotate seats. I asked Oz if I could review a pair of AudioSolutions speakers for Dagogo.

I ran into Oz again at T.H.E. Show. He was in a room playing copies of safety master tapes on a pair of AudioSolutions Figaro L speakers driven by the Vitus RI-101 integrated amplifier. This was an awesome combination. I again requested a pair of speakers to review and he suggested this pair. I immediately accepted and we made arrangements for delivery and set up.

The AudioSolution Figaro L speakers are a very large and heavy three-way speaker with five drivers.  The shipping weight according to the shipping receipt was 568 pounds for the pair. They have two extra rigid paper cone bass woofers at 9.17 inches with two ports in the back. There are two 6-inch extra rigid paper cone midrange drivers and a mini-horn loaded 1-inch silk dome tweeter. You can pick from 17 different piano gloss finishes. The Figaro L is two feet deep, there is a single pair of WBT Nexgen pure copper connectors in the back. The fit and finish of these speakers is first rate. The cabinet is solid and aesthetically pleasing and would look great in any room.

The very heavy Figaro L requires at least two people to set up. We were very meticulous when putting the speakers in the room where they would sound the best because I could not move them by myself afterwards. The pair of Figaro L ended up in the middle of the room with the drivers toed in directly towards the listener. I usually listen to speakers pointed straight ahead about 4 feet from the front wall. I have vaulted ceilings and I was afraid being right underneath the highest part of the ceiling would suck the bass completely out of the music. Fortunately, it did not. Once Oz felt they were properly set up, he left and told me they needed some additional break in time.

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I was concerned my equipment would not be up to the standards of these wonderful speakers, so when discussing these speakers with Oz, he told me the Figaro Ls are not particularly demanding of the equipment you use. They will sound great with inexpensive quality gear and will improve as the equipment improves.  They are very amplifier friendly, although they deserve much more than your typical audio-video receiver.

I used my Parasound HCA 1200 high current power amplifier, which has similar power to the Vitus amplifier Oz had been using. The preamplifier was my NAD Monitor 1000 with a built-in phono stage that also includes a moving coil step up. The turntable was the Goldring GR1, a Rega 2 clone. The Goldring was fitted with a Talisman A low-output moving coil cartridge retipped by Soundsmith.The compact disc player was an inexpensive Sony.  I was excited to listen to these new speakers in my system as my experience finds that speakers more than any other component have the biggest impact on the sound.

I first put on Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite with the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Eiji Oue on Reference Recordings. I noticed the very deep bass that only large floor standing speakers can give you. The Figaro L’s also had that big speaker sound that could carry the scale of a full orchestra. Although some Dagogo readers are willing to sacrifice deep bass for a purer midrange, missing the bottom octave(s) of an orchestra makes it very difficult for speakers to transport me to the event. Deep bass requires a larger cabinet with bigger, costlier drivers, and this makes a modern speaker more expensive.

Next up was some big band jazz by the Joe Henderson Big Band. After that, I played several more CDs to burn in the speakers and then switched to playing records.

Playing my LA&OC Audio Society 25th anniversary record of the Shoji Yokouchi Trio plus Yuri Tashiro (I guess this makes it a quartet) let me hear how beautiful the midrange was. A great midrange should be a given nowadays with any high-end pair of speakers and the AudioSolution Figaro L was no exception. I wanted to listen to these speakers with a wide variety of music, so I played my Steely Dan Aja album and a JBL “Superecord” album that I won at a stereo show in the 1970s. There was a wide-open sound, although I did notice the drum sets were a little exaggerated on these multi-miked recordings. There was also a nice integration between the bass and midrange. This is normally a problem when you add a separate subwoofer to extend the bass of a pair of smaller speakers, which is why I prefer a single pair of floor standing speakers over a mini monitor/subwoofer combination.

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The highs from the Figaros were very sweet with almost a softening of the music as opposed to being overly detailed. The music was never harsh. They had a very nice, pleasant sound no matter what music I played. Recorded cymbals had a natural shimmer.

I have been using the Acarian Systems Alon 1 speakers for the past 26 years. I really like the wide-open sound of the Alons and find them to be a wonderful pair of speakers, but have come to recognize some weaknesses. They are a bright and forward sounding pair of speakers, so they are not compatible with some transistor amplifiers and preamplifiers. It took a tube preamplifier and tube power amplifiers to really tame the Acarian Systems. It also lacks the last octave of bass. The AudioSolution Figaro L matched the wide-open sound of my Alons and also gave me the missing bottom octave of bass along with no brightness or forwardness at all. Acarian Systems went out of business in 2003 and Carl Marshisotto formed Nola Speakers right after that. The comparable Nola speakers to my Alons would be the Vipers and their last price before being discontinued some years ago was $4,000 per pair. Adjusted for inflation, today’s price would approach $5,000. When comparing the two, I felt the AudioSolutions Figaro L speakers were easily worth the price difference.

After using the 200 watts per channel (300 watts 4 ohms) Parasound amplifier, I switched to my low powered tube amplifiers —the wonderful sounding Quicksilver Mini Mite 25-watt tube power amplifiers using the 4 ohm taps and KT77 output tubes. The Quicksilver tube amplifiers created a magical experience with a more focused placement of all of the musicians. Although this was a large pair of speakers, they created a distinct image and, combined with a credible soundstage, they were just like a pair of small mini monitors except with great bass. I could picture the musicians right in front of me. There was really good spacing between the instruments as well as front to back layering of them. I did not crank up my Quicksilvers because the amplifier seemed to struggle a little and I did not want to risk damaging either the speakers or the amplifiers by clipping the amplifiers. This was my favorite combination despite being slightly under powered. It is interesting that the Quicksilvers drove my 87 dB Alons with ease, however, they seemed to struggle when driving the 92 dB Figaro Ls.  Maybe the deep bass took a lot of extra power. Careful matching of components is a must if you use lower powered amplifiers.

T.H.E. Show 2019 had several rooms with speakers with 5-figure price tags and expensive electronics that did not sound very good. I was told that it was due to room conditions at the hotel. Well, these AudioSolutions Figaro L speakers were in a similarly sized room and had no problems sounding wonderful. I do not want to call a US$10,000 pair of speakers a bargain, however, when you listen to speakers in the US$10,000 to US$20,000 category, the AudioSolution Figaro L at the lower end of that range is very competitive.

Drawbacks? The Figaro Ls are large and heavy, so they are best suited to a decent sized room. And they are difficult to move around being so heavy. Fortunately, it is fairly easy to find the optimum placement for them.

The AudioSolution Figaro Ls are an outstanding pair of speakers. I went down my checklist and they exceed every expectation I have for a speaker costing 5 figures. If you are looking for a pair of speakers and have a budget of up to US$20,000, you should include the AudioSolution Figaro L speakers in your audition process. I would recommend you try them with tube amplifiers because you may find them at the top of your list. 

They are by a wide margin the best speaker Ive had in my listening room costing US$10,000 or less, if your budget is anywhere near close then your way to an Audio Solutions dealer.
Andrew Quint

The Absolute Sound review, please press here...

it can be said to be a special model, for listening to music that is innovative in many respects and tempting to rediscover our music,

SUMMARY: it strives for a coherent display of different music and an authentic reproduction of the original mood and atmosphere, inter alia through its constructions reminiscent of broadband speakers. As a result of the much higher than usual 4000 Hz cross-frequency, there is no interference in the range covering most of the instrument and vocals, making the display smoother and more natural and the two woofers playing only below 400 Hz.......The sounds and voices are sounded in precisely layered boxes, in addition to maintaining integrity, so that the individual characters and the more complex details also receive plenty of attention. The complex sound is friendly, round, free of all kinds of corners and sharpness, and thanks to its latest features, it can be listened to very well in essentially all genres. The airy, light-hearted and friendly highs blend perfectly with the mid-range, the integrity of the two ranges could almost be taught. Full-bodied, precise, powerful, but never protesting, strenuous, or exaggerated bass.......the welcome feature of the Figaro S, that it is able to preserve the character at a high volume, even at wide volume limits. In addition to classical and various other acoustic instrumental genres, the box is also very enjoyable on pop and rock music, and Audiomatic's "audiophile tuc-tuc" music also reveals that electronic rhythms and sound orgies can be a great experience 

REVIEW: After the FIGARO B stang mtg model, we were lucky enough to meet the smallest of the four standing speakers from the Lithuanian Audio Solutions Figaro series, which is unique in many respects.

As I mentioned at the introduction of the Figaro B stand mtg speaker, the Lithuanian team worked for six years to create the previous Figaro series, which replaced Rhapsody, and many of the box’s technological solutions came straight from the high-end Vantage 5th Anniversary models. One of the most significant of these is the self-locking cabinet called Self-Locking, which was born from the combined use of two techniques for stiffening boxes - a combination of sandwich structures and materials of different thicknesses and densities.

Audio solutions Figaro sUsing special software and measurements, Audio Solutions engineers tried to map out the exact locations and quantitative distribution of the formation of various vibrations and resonances in order to really combat them effectively. Based on the result obtained, the carefully designed and created Self-Locking cabinet was created, which consists of a unique combination of various MDF and HDF boards with wall thicknesses ranging from 18 to 50 mm. In their experience, the rear wall of the speakers is under the greatest pressure, so this area has received special attention in terms of stiffening and stability. However, the dedicated designers did not stop even at this point. Using another special analysis software, it was found out that the meeting points of the different surfaces are also quite exposed to resonances, so instead of simply gluing the meeting surfaces together, unique solutions were used in these places as well, so that the cabinet could withstand vibrations as a complex whole instead of separate sheets. As a result, the bass became accurate, fast, dynamic, and caught without any distractions and “humming,” and the mid-range was significantly clearer. In fact, one of the most interesting features of the solution is that its construction is even cost-effective, because according to the calculations of AS engineers, a similarly stable cabinet would be about 30-40% heavier in a classic structure, which means using much more valuable materials. and the 28 kg Figaro S weighs approx. It would be 40 kg.

With the same width and depth as the Figaro B stanf mtg speaker, the Figaro S is really as if the small box had been “stretched” to the ground and supplemented with two more subwoofers. The family-friendly interchangeable double front panel and the Xiralic side panel range of 17 high-gloss colors are, of course, available in the same way, and the reflex opening is located on the back of the cabinet.

The 152-mm ER (Extra Rigid) Paper-diaphragm center speaker is located at the top of the 3-way 4-speaker speaker with its inverse speaker layout, fast transient transmission, clear sound and precise, powerful bass, and below that it significantly improves the phase and there is a 25mm silk dome tweeter tucked in a mini funnel that eliminates the potential sharpness of soft domes at high volume. The beeper membrane is light, so you can expect fast sound and transient transmission from it, among other things.

At the bottom are two 152mm ER (Extra Rigid) paper membrane woofers that enter the “game” below 400 Hz. Switching between treble and midrange speakers is much higher than usual at 4000 Hz, which is an important parameter for the broadband-like character of the speaker. The connection terminal is the WBT NextGen type, so the quality of the output will certainly not depend on the contacts. The slender and tall Figaro S is stably supported and effectively detached from the ground by leveling and height-adjustable legs.

As I mentioned in the Figaro B test, Audio Solutions rather than achieving maximum accuracy and rationality, it strives for a coherent display of different music and an authentic reproduction of the original mood and atmosphere, inter alia through its constructions reminiscent of broadband speakers. As a result of the much higher than usual 4000 Hz cross-frequency, there is no interference in the range covering most of the instrument and vocals, making the display smoother and more natural and the two woofers playing only below 400 Hz. The Figaro S, which is very similar to its younger brother in many respects, is easily detached from various sounds, and the instruments, groups of instrumentals and singers of the unified sound image are nicely separated from each other and fill a wide and deep space nicely compared to a standing box. The sounds and voices are sounded in precisely layered boxes, in addition to maintaining integrity, so that the individual characters and the more complex details also receive plenty of attention. The complex sound is friendly, round, free of all kinds of corners and sharpness, and thanks to its latest features, it can be listened to very well in essentially all genres. The airy, light-hearted and friendly highs blend perfectly with the mid-range, the integrity of the two ranges could almost be taught. Full-bodied, precise, powerful, but never protesting, strenuous, or exaggerated bass, thanks in part to the carefully crafted special box construction, doesn’t distort the listener’s nerves with any distracting effects we hear from it, a reality without all sorts of deposits and “greasy pluses”. Thanks to the same technology, among other things, the natural and colorless sound, as well as the welcome feature of the Figaro S, that it is able to preserve the character at a high volume, even at wide volume limits. In addition to classical and various other acoustic instrumental genres, the box is also very enjoyable on pop and rock music, and Audiomatic's "audiophile tuc-tuc" music also reveals that electronic rhythms and sound orgies can be a great experience for good recordings. him. Of the many recordings and performers who played a role in the audition, be sure to mention Brian Bromberg, who plays virtuoso on both bass and bass, and Figaro S, who excels / controls resonances in a virtuoso way, it sounds melodies that are quite tight in some places in a dynamic and realistic way, moving much larger masses of sound than expected from the sight, without any effort, and at least as importantly, without any “side vocals”. What’s more, it’s almost impossible to shake the box out of your style or embarrass you with anything, so as the audition progresses, your increasingly seemingly familiar voice in all genres and volume levels brings what you’re rightly expecting from it based on the previous ones.

Recommendation

Like its smaller sibling, the Figaro S has the same neutral character, natural and colorless sound, although it is noticeably more full-bodied and larger, and in many respects also reminiscent of broadband models, rewriting the rules of the genre here and there. establishment. For this reason, it can be said to be a special model, for listening to music that is innovative in many respects and tempting to rediscover our music, and in terms of design, we can also choose from a cavalcade of colors that are rare.

The unshakable sovereignty the Figaro S demonstrates in various genres is astonishing. A loudspeaker that simply has to be loved. It is equally predestined for long, relaxed listening sessions as well as intensive, differentiated listening.....
FINN CORVIN GALLOWSKY

SUMMARY: Its diversity and precision not only invites you to enjoy the well-known favorite recordings, but also arouses a boundless desire to discover new things with its help to decode comprehensively and to understand it musically. The Figaro S is the ideal loudspeaker for both. And the best thing about the whole thing: There is also an M, L and XL variant. The fact that this fact is more than evident is another indicator of the outstanding playback quality of the Figaro S. Its diversity and simultaneous precision not only invites you to enjoy the well-known favorite recordings, but also arouses a boundless desire to discover new things with its help to decode comprehensively and to understand it musically. 

AudioSolution's flagship, the "Jubilee Vantage" for the five-year company anniversary, is already an icon in my eyes - unfortunately it will be unaffordable for me in the near future. Fortunately, in this review I can get an affordable foretaste with the Figaro S from the latest series of Lithuanian speaker manufacturers.

For a change, a loudspeaker that can be brought into the living room by a bunch of friends while installing and a bank loan without the help of a shipping company. The Figaro S is the smallest floorstanding loudspeaker model in the series and does not come from Seville, but, as already mentioned, from Lithuania, more precisely: the capital Vilnius. The model comes from the pen of company founder and developer Gediminas Gaidelis. The Figaro series is unusually extensive, so in addition to three other floorstanding speaker sizes, a bookshelf speaker and a center are offered. This makes the package not only interesting for stereo fans, but also for owners of surround systems of all colors.

To be honest, I consider myself lucky to "only" have the S model available as a test candidate. The larger models are more than appealing, but the way from the ground floor over several floors to my apartment was much more pleasant. Together with the packaging, a loudspeaker weighs around 31 kg, just barely enough to be sent as a package by DHL. After unpacking, which is actually quite relaxed to do alone, about 28 kilos remain. Time to take stock: the dimensions are even more compact than expected. The Figaro S is only 94 centimeters high, about 23 centimeters wide, but quite deep at 40 centimeters. "Cute" is the first immediate association. The side walls are adorned with a textured core with a linen look, garnished with golden glitter flakes. Too cute is adorable. The finish appeals to me very much, although muted colors are more my case.

Unfortunately, a photo does not give a picture of what is going on visually here. With different light sources, the decorative element can be made to stand out even further, so that the loudspeaker really becomes an independent design element of the living room. The stated goal of building not just a simple loudspeaker, but a piece of jewelry has been achieved. This and 16 other designs should fit perfectly into any living room or set a clear accent depending on your personal taste. The rest of the speaker has a rough anthracite-black surface coating consisting of ground stone and polyurethane paint. It makes a very resilient impression and is certainly more forgiving for one or the other scratch than the glossy finish of the sides. Overall, the build quality is very convincing.

As usual, developer Gediminas Gaidelis gave me perfect information about the turnout design through his German sales manager Thomas Wendt. In the past - Euphony and Rhapsody series - so-called peer-to-peer switches were used. The components required were located directly on the loudspeaker chassis itself. A manufacturer of circuit boards with particularly thick conductor tracks was found for the Figaro and Overture series. The advantage over the peer-to-peer connection is an identical frequency response for each switch produced. Unfortunately, minimal crosstalk cannot be avoided, but it is also the same for every turnout built, making it more predictable and easier to plan. All components from Jantzen are made to the highest quality and minimize losses. For example, the coils for the bass driver only have a resistance of 0.04 ohms. For components used by other manufacturers, 0.5 to 1 ohm is not uncommon. Ultimately, it is no longer working with third-order filters, but with filters with different edge steepness in order to obtain the desired frequency response. In the Figaro series, it ranges between 12 and 24 decibels per octave. Together with the chassis, all of which are manufactured exclusively by SB Acoustics according to the specifications of AudioSolutions, the Figaro S achieves a sensitivity of 91 decibels at one meter and 2.83 volts and a frequency response of 37 - 25,000 hertz. The crossover frequencies are at 400 and 4000 Hertz. 5 to 1 ohm is not uncommon. Ultimately, it is no longer working with third-order filters, but with filters with different edge steepness in order to obtain the desired frequency response. In the Figaro series, it ranges between 12 and 24 decibels per octave. Together with the chassis, which are all manufactured exclusively by SB Acoustics according to the specifications of AudioSolutions, the Figaro S achieves a sensitivity of 91 decibels at one meter and 2.83 volts and a frequency response of 37 - 25,000 Hertz. The crossover frequencies are at 400 and 4000 Hertz. 5 to 1 ohm is not uncommon. Ultimately, it is no longer working with third-order filters, but with filters with different edge steepness in order to obtain the desired frequency response. In the Figaro series, it ranges between 12 and 24 decibels per octave. Together with the chassis, all of which are manufactured exclusively by SB Acoustics according to the specifications of AudioSolutions, the Figaro S achieves a sensitivity of 91 decibels at one meter and 2.83 volts and a frequency response of 37 - 25,000 hertz. The crossover frequencies are at 400 and 4000 Hertz. Together with the chassis, all of which are manufactured exclusively by SB Acoustics according to the specifications of AudioSolutions, the Figaro S achieves a sensitivity of 91 decibels at one meter and 2.83 volts and a frequency response of 37 - 25,000 hertz. The crossover frequencies are at 400 and 4000 Hertz. Together with the chassis, which are all manufactured exclusively by SB Acoustics according to the specifications of AudioSolutions, the Figaro S achieves a sensitivity of 91 decibels at one meter and 2.83 volts and a frequency response of 37 - 25,000 Hertz. The crossover frequencies are at 400 and 4000 Hertz.

Setting up and wiring is relatively unspectacular. With a single-wiring terminal there are no misunderstandings and I can already anticipate: I will not miss a bi-wiring variant. For installation, four MDF feet with thinly rubberized underside are recessed in the base plate. Slight bumps in the floor are quickly leveled out, and anyone who wants can unscrew the feet and use spikes with an M6 thread. The right version is available from AudioSolutions' German distributor Genuin Audio, if you don't already have your favorite spikes on hand. In my usual setup, the mid-range and tweeters are a little too low for an optimal stereo image, because I'm sitting very close to the Figaros. In this case, a thick granite slab would be conceivable as a base or an unusually low couch. The usual, i.e. larger, distance between the seats is as follows: For an ideally timely, in-phase and thus undistorted reproduction, the signals of the midrange and tweeter must arrive at the ear of the listener at the same time. To do this, the so-called acoustic centers, which are located at different distances from the front edge of the baffle depending on the design and nature of a chassis, must lie perfectly on top of each other. To achieve this, different manufacturers are pursuing different approaches. For example, to slightly tilt the baffle of the housing backwards, as was the case with Audiosolutions Rhapsody, to bring the tweeter above in line with the acoustic centers of the woofers / midrange speakers. Another, much more common variant is the arrangement of the tweeter under the midrange. If the listener's ear is at or slightly above the height of the midrange, the sound waves from the tweeter and midrange cover an identical distance due to their arrangement and thus arrive at the ear at the same time, even though the acoustic centers of the two chassis are not perfectly aligned. Since this design principle does not work with my seat spacing, which corresponds to that for midfield monitors, I actually sat on the floor, which leads to the most convincing result. the more common variant is the arrangement of the tweeter under the midrange. If the listener's ear is at or slightly above the height of the midrange, the sound waves from the tweeter and midrange cover an identical distance due to their arrangement and thus arrive at the ear at the same time, even though the acoustic centers of the two chassis are not perfectly aligned. Since this design principle does not work with my seat spacing, which corresponds to that for midfield monitors, I actually sat on the floor, which leads to the most convincing result. the more common variant is the arrangement of the tweeter under the midrange. If the listener's ear is at or slightly above the height of the midrange, the sound waves from the tweeter and midrange cover an identical distance due to their arrangement and thus arrive at the ear at the same time, even though the acoustic centers of the two chassis are not perfectly aligned. Since this design principle does not work with my seat spacing, which corresponds to that for midfield monitors, I actually sat on the floor, which leads to the most convincing result. due to their arrangement, the sound waves of the tweeter and the midrange cover an identical distance and thus hit the ear at the same time, even though the acoustic centers of the two drivers are not perfectly aligned. Since this design principle does not work with my seat spacing, which corresponds to that for midfield monitors, I actually sat on the floor, which leads to the most convincing result. due to their arrangement, the sound waves of the tweeter and the midrange cover an identical distance and thus hit the ear at the same time, even though the acoustic centers of the two drivers are not perfectly aligned. Since this design principle does not work with my seat spacing, which corresponds to that for midfield monitors, I actually sat on the floor, which leads to the most convincing result.

The speakers are at a healthy distance from the back and side walls, in order to stimulate critical room modes less and to keep the bass area under control, although due to the "self-locking" housing construction not much control should be necessary. It promises a particularly controlled and responsive bass. In order to eliminate resonances, different material thicknesses and different combinations of several layers were used. The individual components are not connected according to the tongue and groove principle, but are manufactured and assembled so precisely that they support and dampen each other. In this way, an optimum of low resonance should be achieved.

In order to check the plausibility of this assumption, I rely on electronic music at the beginning of the listening session, contrary to my other test habit, but it has a strong acoustic core. "A Place" by Hamburg artist Nils Frahm from this year's album All Melodyat 24 bit and 96,000 hertz is an excellent candidate. The sound painting not only offers an abysmal bass sample, but various acoustic instruments, some of which are heavily influenced by effects. Typically supplemented by musically used noise. Most of the album was recorded and produced in Hall 3 of the “Funkhaus Berlin” renovated by Frahm. For long stretches of the album, a real reverberation room was used, which served as a storage room before its Renaissance. In today's usual productions forgotten or rationalized well-tried techniques can revive and shine on this album, which was made with love and passion. So much for the recording technique, but of course it should be about playback. The low tone is surprisingly pronounced for a loudspeaker of this size. Of course in extremely tasty and pleasant dimensions. It perfectly reflects the organic component of the piece and, in addition to its enveloping and engaging nature, stands out as extremely fast and impulsive. The interplay of a relatively small, movable diaphragm and a low-resonance housing construction seems to be paying off. Another strong characteristic of the speakers is a very localized stereo panorama. Every sound event, no matter how small, is clearly positioned on a horizontal, even vertical level. The representation of the imaginary depth of the stage is not the greatest, but this leads to an outstanding equality of the different instruments. With its very neutral midrange, the Figaro S develops a very finely drawn sound that reproduces the original material faithfully, almost like a studio listening. A highly professional reproduction level, just without being overly analytical or cold.

Next I take a look at “You Saved Me” of the Supergroup The Winery Dogs from the album of the same name in CD quality to hear a well-known voice on the small floor-standing speaker. A classic rock production, the level of which was nevertheless not driven against the wall. Above all, all three musicians have distinctive styles and sounds that I want to experience as authentically as possible. The selected song detaches itself from the speakers much more beautifully than its predecessor, which is probably due to the less hard panning. None other than Billy Sheehan opens with an exemplary tapping intro on the bass. Everything is right here: attack, timbre and fullness, swing-out behavior and dynamics. The pelvis vertebrae Mike Portnoys that followed shortly afterwards sound extremely authentic, the loudspeaker neither hides their light hardness, nor does he add a shimmer or loveliness. The hi-hat is very present in the room, just as intended in the mix. After the first guitar sounds, the bass drum starts at the same time as the vocals. The former has a sufficient amount of body, but the Figaro cannot hide its “S” abbreviation, the little one lacks a little pressure in the deepest frequency range, but that's not too bad or surprising. The precision and speed shown compensates the listener across the board. Richie Kotzen's voice sounds very direct, dry and seamlessly embedded in the mix. Once again, I am reminded of reference speakers from the recording studio, because nothing is simply beautified, invented or overemphasized and every facet is reproduced with equal rights. The performance of the three wine-loving virtuosos sounds exactly as intended during the recording or album production. At least you get the feeling. Of course I was - unfortunately - not. The midrange working over more than three octaves also fully demonstrates its linearity with many other singers. The tweeter blends in seamlessly and shows sufficient good-naturedness with somewhat sharper S-sounds in the vocal range, contrary to the relentless drawing of the cymbals. A perfect combination. In addition, with the volume, which has now increased significantly, I notice that the loudspeakers stimulate my floor to vibrate less than other candidates so far. The very simple feet therefore do a very good job.

Finally, I would like to turn to completely unreinforced instruments and listen to Joaquín Rodrigo's famous “Concierto de Aranjuez”. I have a wide variety of recordings, including recordings by guitarists Narciso Yepes (1979-96 / 24), Paco de Lucía (1991 - CD) and Pepe Romero (1992 - CD), of course, with the associated, no less important conductors and orchestras. The reproduction of the orchestra and the guitars is fantastic, the finest differences in the recordings and styles of the guitarists can be clearly distinguished from each other. All instruments are completely detached from the speakers. The dynamic, especially in the emotional end of the 2nd movement, the recording with Pepe Romero is breathtaking. Regarding the depth of the stage, the Figaro S increase once again in all three recordings, no wonder finally, orchestral recordings have a considerable spatial component. It is and was microphoneed fundamentally differently than in the previously heard productions. The fact that this fact is more than evident is another indicator of the outstanding playback quality of the Figaro S. Its diversity and precision not only invites you to enjoy the well-known favorite recordings, but also arouses a boundless desire to discover new things with its help to decode comprehensively and to understand it musically. The Figaro S is the ideal loudspeaker for both. And the best thing about the whole thing: There is also an M, L and XL variant. The fact that this fact is more than evident is another indicator of the outstanding playback quality of the Figaro S. Its diversity and simultaneous precision not only invites you to enjoy the well-known favorite recordings, but also arouses a boundless desire to discover new things with its help to decode comprehensively and to understand it musically. 

Those for whom music is always in the first place will appreciate how musically and naturally their favorite recordings on Figaro S.
Marek Dyba

SUMMARY: It was confirmed once again that these are not some very analytical columns. Rather, they focus on a large - especially considering their size - coherent presentation, for free, panache playing, but still more "comprehensive" than with clearly separated plans or groups of instruments. Is it wrong? If you want to analyze the recordings and performances to the smallest detail, maybe so. However, if listening to music is to be primarily a pleasure, an experience reminiscent of what we experience at concerts, it can be an advantage.

So I think that the decisions regarding the choice of these AudioSolutions loudspeakers will be based primarily on expectations - those who expect highly analytical, allowing to look into the deepest layers of the recording columns will probably look further. Those for whom music is always in the first place will appreciate how musically and naturally their favorite recordings on Figaro S.

REVIEW: Dawno, a long time ago, because almost five years have passed, I had the pleasure to describe for you in the magazine High Fidelity the Rhapsody 80 model of the Lithuanian brand AudioSolutions. Even earlier Wojtek wrote about the smaller model Rhapsody 60 . In both texts there is a lot of information about the brand and its creator, Mr. Gediminas Gaidelis, so I will not repeat them all.


Company | Let me just remind you that the company exists since 2011, and its headquarters is Vilnius and, which I personally consider a huge advantage, it has a narrow specialization. He deals only with the design and implementation of loudspeakers. There are several series on offer, such as: Rhapsody, Overture, Vantage, and Figaro. The aforementioned Rhapsody 80 model was a not very large, beautifully made, two-way floorstanding speaker, which left very good visual and sound impressions. I wrote at the time that it was an excellent column primarily for acoustic music, jazz, and classics, which probably would not completely satisfy fans of heavy sound.

Figaro S.

Mr. Arek Sztander, representing the Polish distributor of the AudioSolutions brand, Premium Sound, offering me a test of one of the models from the latest Figaro series called her the successor of Rhapsody (although the latter series is still on the manufacturer's website). Ultimately, it brought the Figaro S model for review and probably similar to the previously tested columns, their size and weight were of great importance. "Eska" in dimensions resembles Rhapsody 80 - it is a bit lower - but it is a three-way structure, not a two-way structure.

Appearance Visually, it is also a significantly different product. By the way, looking at the development of the AudioSolutions offer over the past five years, you can see a departure from classic design with a finish combining natural veneers with leather in favor of more modern and probably also more practical. At a relatively reasonable price, the manufacturer offers as many as 17 (!) Possible finishes for each Figaro model. As he emphasizes, this allows you to choose one of the variants so that it perfectly matches the given interior, either blending in, or on the contrary, focusing attention.

Please look at AudioSolutions page and see available options. Some of them are classic - even the version that I got for the test combining dark gray with black high-gloss side panels, or with "wooden" side panels. You can also go into extravaganza - orange, blue or green are just some of the available colors.

Finishing is just one of the interesting features of the new AudioSolutions speakers. For example, the issue of the grill, or rather the front wall being replaced, is another; we get two at our disposal. One with black material covering the entire front, i.e. - let's say - classic. The second in the form of a plate with profiled cutouts for transducers. In fact, the only difference between them is the black material, because underneath there is an identical front wall.

Its shape is not accidental and is intended to optimally propagate sound waves, in both cases the same - according to the manufacturer, the impact of black material is negligible. In the lower part of the front there is a small hole - just put your finger there and pull to remove the masking pad attached at the moment and put on an alternative. The advantage of this solution is the lack of visible holes that can disfigure the front of even the most beautiful column.

Construction Also interesting is the ventilated enclosure with a rear-facing bass-reflex, whose design is called "self-locking", which was borrowed from the reference series Vantage 5th Anniversary. number of materials with different own resonances were used to make it, creating the so-called "Sandwiches". In addition, individual elements of the housing have been modeled and connected together so that some eliminate the resonances of others.

In this way, solid, rigid enclosures with very low resonances were obtained, which is to translate into sound purity, especially at low frequencies. The shape has nothing to do with a classic cuboid, which on the one hand eliminates the risk of standing waves inside the enclosure, on the other hand increases the attractiveness of Figaro. The whole is set on four adjustable anti-vibration feet firmly hidden in the base of the column.

And finally the pickups. In a small waveguide, a tube with a smaller, 25 mm silk dome, responsible for the reproduction of treble, was smaller than in two-way models The smaller size is to translate into faster response to the pulse, and placing the transducer in the tube and waveguide is, according to the manufacturer, to eliminate the sharpness of the soft dome sound appearing at higher volume levels.

Other transducers - midrange and two bass drivers with ø 152 mm diameter each, are equipped with ER paper membranes (extra rigid). An interesting fact is the quite wide frequency range supported by the midrange speaker, which starts its operation from 400 Hz and ends at 4 kHz. In this way, a split point has been avoided to the extent that the human ear is most sensitive to distortion. The bass-reflex outlet is placed at the back at the bottom of the column above a single pair of WBT Nextgen copper speaker terminals.

It so happened that Figaro S visited me when I had three other pairs of speakers - my Ubiqi, GrandiNote MACH4 and Ciarry. While the boxes are still quite big and weigh a little, the speakers themselves, especially in comparison with the mentioned three, are rather small. They have a similar width as MACH 4, transducers of similar diameter, but still give them a height of 30-35 cm. The other two pairs are simply large and wide packages, so against them Figaro S seemed to be just midget. But only until I set them on Acoustic Revive quartz platforms (not only that they eliminate vibrations very well, they additionally lifted Figaro by 2-3 cm) and connected to the GrandiNote Shinai amplifier .

At the beginning I started (and it was the first listening session) the new Marcus Miller album. I wrote at the beginning that Rhapsody 80 played acoustic music brilliantly, but heavier sounds were not their strongest sides, and Figaro S are to be their successors. The latter may mean a similar school of sound, but it may be going in a different direction - without listening I could not know that. The very idea of ​​including the Marcus disc seemed quite breakneck, but the loudspeakers were initially to be adapted to the system, and I to them. So I pressed "Play" and ... after a while I knew that the new product of Gediminas Gaidelis, although it shares some sound features with Rhapsodia, it sounds different.


To put it simply, one could say that three drivers were immediately heard from Figaro S, which (well "sewn together") offer a larger, and above all fuller sound than two. The sound of this model is strong, dense and set low. It can be said that they were based on a solid foundation, on which the whole message is built, which gives it depth and power and which makes this small speaker sound as if it were definitely bigger. Importantly, there is no artificiality in it. This is not an efforted, inflated sound in which the "big sound" effect was obtained by "tricks", by cheating on the ears. It falls very naturally, partly because the sound easily breaks away from the columns, creating a large, dense stage.

This one starts on the line of the loudspeakers, and sometimes it is moved slightly behind it, very often (it depends on the recording) going (sometimes even far) beyond their spacing. The instruments are large, have adequate mass, are three-dimensional, present. They are not clearly cut from the background, but have a natural size, and the right proportions are kept between them. All this means that the picture painted by the columns is taken with the benefit of inventory, without reservations, it should be so and there is nothing to think about.

With all this low sound embedding, there is no question of slowing it down. This is partly due to the fact that "Eski" do not try to force down to the lowest areas - 30 or even 30 Hz you will not hear them. 40 Hz and above will be played with power, energy, in a compact, fast way. For example, like on the album I listened to with the greatest hits of Billy Joel. As in the case of compilations, the quality of recordings varies (although usually quite good). In addition to the wonderfully presented vocals, my attention was drawn to the bottom of the band. Practically speaking, the lowest tones did not appear in these recordings, but the drums, including the foot and bass guitar, were great.

There was immediacy, compactness in this sound, I would even say that sometimes the beat of the sticks against the drum membranes sounded almost "dry" confirming that Figaro S does not add anything from itself. They do not weigh down, do not "grease" the bass artificially and can play it quickly, with great timing, causing that the man involuntarily ticks out the rhythm. Similar conclusions came from listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan's album, where the combination of a very good "pace & rhythm" effect with the master's thick, strong, fast guitar and convincing, expressive vocals made the head nod itself, limbs tapping the rhythm vigorously, and I felt like double espresso - charged up to the top of the head.


And what happens at the other end of the band? The treble played by Figaro "S" is quite delicate, but vivid and open. I listened to the same discs of Kermit Ruffins and Wycliff Gordon, which I used during the Rhapsody 80 test. Memory is unreliable, so I made the comparison using my own review of the latter. On this basis, I can say that building space, subsequent plans, elements of room acoustics, decay were at a similar level.

The older model probably offered a sharper, but not sharp, treble top, which made the trumpet drill a bit more in the ears. With Figaro they seemed a bit more dull, smoother, slightly milder, but - paradoxically - cleaner. It sounds like a paradox, but that's how I received it. The trombone or saxophone for a change, with "Eskami" had more body, their sound was a bit deeper. On several recordings I got the impression that the drums are a bit more hidden than usual, maybe slightly dimmed with the tested loudspeakers.

Except that I turned on the Trio Bobo Stenson disc and when the drums appeared solo, each beat of the stick against the plate was strong, fast, sonorous, the cymbals very well differentiated, and when the brooms went in motion and it sounded clear, expressive. This confirmed my earlier suspicions - AudioSolutions may not to a large extent, but they prefer events at the front of the stage, or rather those that the recording engineer places in the listener's attention. When, after all, the percussion at the back of the stage was in the spotlight, any reservations about the sonority and openness of the cymbals immediately disappeared.

Remembering how well the Rhapsody 80 did in the classic, I had to check the possibilities of the new Figaro in this respect. At the beginning I reached for an album with fifty fantastic performances by the divine Luciano Pavarotti. After a while I knew - yes, Figaro "S" can also play the classics, like few speakers (by the way, I associate Figaro with Mozart's opera, so it can be assumed that this is another reference to classical music). The master's voice sounded absolutely delightful, expressive, clean, but how strong!

These are not loudspeakers that give the best (as I know) insight into the color and texture, but only a few are able to attract attention so much, so "turn off" the whole environment making the person experience intense emotions, so convincingly conveyed by the maestro alone. Although the sound was not very analytical, the resolution was good but not outstanding, the Lithuanian speakers differentiated the recordings well. Those on the aforementioned compilation come from many different sessions carried out over several decades by different people, in different acoustic conditions.

Despite the efforts of the people behind this build, the differences can be heard better or worse depending on the system. Figaro S showed them above average well, adding an additional flavor to listening to this release, allowing somehow to follow the career development of the master. The more so that the track layout is not chronological at all, so you can have fun guessing which recordings are older, and the younger master, and which are newer, and more mature, and having even better "conditions" ...

While listening to this album, as with other music genres, 'Eski' focused my attention on the central character - Pavarotti, so to get a better look at the orchestra's presentation I reached for several symphonies by Wolfgang Amadeus, Beethoven and Mahler. Listening at a similar volume level as the performances of Luciano, and before other musical genres, I missed something. Only a larger throttle opening, so to speak, i.e. adding a few decibels on the volume scale opened the sound, showed the right dynamics both on the macro and micro scale.

It was confirmed once again that these are not some very analytical columns. Rather, they focus on a large - especially considering their size - coherent presentation, for free, panache playing, but still more "comprehensive" than with clearly separated plans or groups of instruments. Is it wrong? If you want to analyze the recordings and performances to the smallest detail, maybe so. However, if listening to music is to be primarily a pleasure, an experience reminiscent of what we experience at concerts, it can be an advantage.

So I think that the decisions regarding the choice of these AudioSolutions loudspeakers will be based primarily on expectations - those who expect highly analytical, allowing to look into the deepest layers of the recording columns will probably look further. Those for whom music is always in the first place will appreciate how musically and naturally their favorite recordings on Figaro S.

Summary

How do Figaro S fall on the background of Rhapsody 80? They offer a fuller, lower sound. They are probably a little more universal, because while the older rock fans were unlikely to convince, the former should not have a problem with that anymore. Like the older model, and despite the greater overall universality, "Eski" fits well in classical music. Their strong point is convincing rendering of the emotional layer of recordings, engaging the listener and taking him on beautiful journeys to the world of music. A wide selection of finishes, both classic and modern, great workmanship and large sound in a small size - these are all strong arguments for the new Figaro S.

AudioSolutions Figaro S is a mid-size, three-way, floor standing speakers czterogłośnikowe housing vented bass-reflex with an outlet on the rear panel. Each column is equipped with a 25 mm silk dome, working in a small tube and waveguide, and three 152 mm drivers (one medium and two woofers) with paper membranes.

Enclosure
Transducers work in an enclosure, which the manufacturer calls "self-locking". This type was developed for the top Vantage 5th Anniversary series, and now also used in the lower Figaro line. It was made of several materials with different resonances forming the so-called sandwich. In order for the enclosure to suppress resonances even better, ensuring optimal conditions for the drivers, individual components of this enclosure have been modeled and connected together in a special way so that some delete the resonances of others.

The shape of the columns is not a classic cuboid. The column has a hexagonal section - it widens slightly behind the front - to this place the side walls are finished identically to the front, bottom and top, and after reaching the widest place it begins to narrow to the rear wall, which is narrower than the front. This second part of the side walls is finished with a second color with a "high gloss" surface.


The manufacturer offers as many as 17 different finishes, each of which is two-colored. Among them are classic - like a combination of gray with black or wood veneer, but also modern where gray is combined with blue, orange or burgundy. The quality of workmanship and finish is at a high level, and the columns look modern and attractive. The whole is set on four adjustable anti-vibration feet firmly hidden in the base of the column.

The Figaro XL is a very, very good speaker that pretty much destroys the competition as far as sound quantity and quality is concerned
HIEND NEWS

SUMMARY: The effort of the Lithuanian based company of Audio Solutions has definitely made the competition’s life way more difficult. The built quality, everything that hides inside a loudspeaker but has major impact on the final sound result has, in the case of the XL, reached almost their limit and, believe me, it sounds like it. This is a game-changer (for the category it belongs) loudspeaker, a speaker that is extremely competitive even when directly compared to much more expensive designs, that will give you back whatever you “feed” it. So it is only natural that I give it my highest recommendation if you are looking for a speaker in that price level or even higher, since is a very effective and valuable solution for pretty much every taste, an almost perfect solution for most of us. How many times have you encountered something like that?

A BIG Upset !

«This is a very big loudspeaker»… was my first comment when I saw the Figaro XL from Lithuanian based manufacturer Audio Solutions.
Of course, with such dimensions (1748mm x 356mm x 618mm (HWD)), this loudspeaker, including its feet is taller than me, while when viewed from the side is almost as massive as my refrigerator!

And yet, despite its volume and, let’s be real, its huge size, viewed from the front (and from a distance) the speaker looks almost like it can be placed easily everywhere and does not appear to be so “threatening”…
While I was circling around Figaro XL, so that I “digest” all of its sides and imposing size, like a child that was given by its parents the best gift of all, I slowly started to notice these minute details that are very important to the final audio result. Like, for example, the speaker’s binding posts (original WBT NexTGen) since the company specifically mentions not only the importance of the high quality construction of those but also the importance of a high quality electrical connection at that point as a prerequisite for high-end sound (the decision of Audio Solutions to choose high quality parts in all steps of constructing the Figaro line of speakers –more about that later on- shows their commitment to built something that performs way better than what we consider to be “normal” in the specific price category).

And that is not the only thing I observed.
The drivers that the company uses in its lineup come from SB Acoustics, a company that combines top European engineers with many years offigaroXL-review-side-right-audiosolutions experience in a European company with top credentials with the normal cost but still very high quality built that results from an Indonesian based, production company, since only there they were able to find the proper combination of high quality, reliability and low cost.
Most importantly in the Figaro lineup, they use custom
made speaker drivers with the ER (extra rigid) cones and a tweeter with a special design chassis
and front cup (some kind of a mini horn loading) that gives the sound top levels of detail and dynamics with a smooth and natural character.

So, I was looking around the speakers and the next words coming out of my mouth were “so how much do the weigh?” with the answer being “around 105 kilograms each”, which sounded a little less than what I was expecting, for the size of the speakers but also for the amount of drivers that each contains (seven in total, four 8 inch woofers, two 6 inch midranges and 1 tweeter). And yet because of a revolutionary build method, Audio Solutions has managed to make this new line of speaker boxes with exemplary stiffness and substantially effective vibration control (secondary vibrations, aka colorations) which would be around 50-70% heavier if they were made with the traditional way while keeping the stiffness at the same high levels.

This method is called Self-Locking construction and it offers that same level of stiffness as a monolithic design .
This method, besides the lower box colorations, helps so that the resulting cabinets are also much lighter .

It’s like in Audio Solutions decided that they will upset everything we know about speaker construction methods and pricing.

And from what I saw and heard, they are in the right path…

And yet, they did not stop there.

To keep the costs low without any losses at the“looks” department they chose to keep things simple but elegant and yes, they do not offer full wood veneer coverage of their speakers in the Figaro lineup, but they do offer such a variety of colors (targeting mostly the younger generation) that honestly I cannot see generating any righteous complaints, even from the worst conservative users, about their looks.

Now, if we also take into account the two front cover choices they offer (one with cloth and one with specially geometry designed “naked driver” approach) that both leave the drivers to work without any disturbances (the “naked” more than the clothed one), I am sure that everybody will be happy from their looks. But a loudspeaker is not only quality drivers, top stiffness cabinets and high-end binding posts, the crossover circuit is a major factor on its final sound.
Here again Audio Solutions have gone one step further since not only the use quality parts (baked air coils, film capacitors of very low tolerances, point to point cross) that other more “sic” manufacturers put in much costlier models, but it combines these parts in a way that result in very low colorations (from secondary vibration microphony), seamless driver synergy and very low electrical distortions.

Audio Solutions mentions that in the Figaro line they use special boards with very heavy traces in a way that results in very tight spec matching without lengthy tweaking.
So, everything about the construction and execution of the Figaro speaker lineup leads to the conclusion that the target set by Audio Solutions, which is to upset the norm in speaker design and construction, has been pretty much taken care of. But, we all know that the community does not only ask for something that is affordable , we want also top quality sound. Well, for that you have to read a little further…

 

figaroXl-review1

Chameleon Audio Greece Auditioning Room: Canary Audio USA, Audio Solutions Figaro XL speakers, Origin Live Turntable, TelluriumQ Cables, Metrum Acoustics DACs.

 

Big but very natural sound…

As you can guess, size and weight limitations prevented me to move these speakers in my listening room, which by the way it cannot sustain such big speakers because of its limited size (25 sq meters).
I am sure that the future owners of such big speakers will put them in the bigger rooms they deserve (and demand).

Besides that limiting factor everything else went as planned. What does that mean?

figaroXL-Review-side1

Well, let’s start with the review system (at the local distributor room).

As the source I used the pair from Metrum Acoustics Onyx I2S & Ambre (Roon end point) with music files I brought with me in a USB stick.
The preamplifier was the pretty good Canary Audio C800MkII (two chassis) and the power amps were the monoblock pair, again from Canary Audio, M350 (Class A 50W) that use four 300Β per channel, while for further evaluation I used also some Hungary Audio amplification plus a Class-D (Texas Instruments based) power amplifier.

That way I had the chance to successfully ascertain the degree of transparency and revelation of each amplifier character from the speakers.
Power cables were the Tellurium Q Silver Power / Tellurium Q Black Power, interconnects the Tellurium Q Silver Diamond / Black Diamond, speaker cables the Tellurium Q Silver Diamond, and for the I2S transmission I used the Tellurium Q Silver Diamond.

Of course the rack was one of the many Chameleon Audio designs and makes. This time I did not use any AC filtering, but I am sure with the use of such devices the level of reproduction would raise even higher.
Listening distance was around 4 meters from the speakers as in that point, and in that dealer’s room the resulting low frequency response was proper as far as extension, control and speed were concerned, while keeping the naturalness of the mid frequencies as correct as possible.

And yes, the sound from all these drivers was seamlessly combined even at close distances of 1.5 meters, I checked that too.
So, the Figaro XL is a very, very good speaker that pretty much destroys the competition in the 10,000 euro price category as far as sound quantity and quality is concerned. Specifically, the speaker is capable to reproduce almost the entire frequency range with very low distortion and deliver a very high quality sound result .

Small groups, solo voices and instruments, big orchestras are being reproduced without any perceivable compression (if the amp can provide of course the necessary dynamic power, even though in the case of the XL with its 92dB/W/m sensitivity and 8 Ohm nominal impedance the load does not present a big hurdle).

Also, because of the size of the speaker and the number of drive units, in
the dealers listening room, which by the way is at least 50% bigger than mine, things got a bit overwhelmed when I tried to go a overboard in the sound pressure department (which of course was not a speaker problem per se, so if you have a room that is of the medium to small size try the other smaller speakers of the Figaro line, they deserve your attention) which resulted in lower satisfaction listening points in this case. But still the result was a lot of fun!
Tonal balance of the XL was almost flawless, direct result of the drive unit quality, the “stealth” front covers, the rigidity of the cabinet and seamless drive unit combination. The ability of the speaker to differentiate and set up the harmonic envelope of each instrument in space is very high and that will be a plus point with many demanding audiophiles.
The speakers possess a harmonic versatility that we usually find in as expensive or more but smaller in size loudspeakers that by the way have trouble reproducing the dynamics and power of live music like the XL.
Indeed XL’s ability to present the sound color palette of each and every
different amplifier I tried, made clear that the XL will be a valuable tool for the demanding listener so that he/she can tune their system to their individual tastes.
So, yes, this speaker is transparent despite its size (and yes, I am familiar with other speakers of that size that are as much or more transparent but they cost multiple amounts of money).
The ability of the Figaro XL speakers to define the dynamic range of each recording is another very strong point you should appreciate (which by the way should be capable of because of its size and driver combination, but in this life “should” and “would” most of the time do not go together). Now, depending on the amplifier connected to it the speaker either was ruthlessly dynamic or very gentle, either more “earthly” or “ethereal”, more “pistonic” or “feather like”… It is so transparent, cool and sufficiently uncolored that dealing with it was such a delight!
Last but not least, the Figaro XL excelled also in the department of stereo imaging, which is something difficult enough to achieve with such a large loudspeaker. Size is, usually, a limiting factor in this department (especially with basic “boxy” constructions), but this time shape and size doesn’t seem to be an object in the creation of real life presentations in front of the listener. That is my friends the result of careful crossover design, cabinet geometry and special attention that was give at the shape of the front driver covers.

figaroXL-review-end


Goal achieved…


The effort of the Lithuanian based company of Audio Solutions has definitely made the competition’s life way more difficult. The built quality, everything that hides inside a loudspeaker but has major impact on the final sound result has, in the case of the XL, reached almost their limit and, believe me, it sounds like it. This is a game-changer (for the category it belongs) loudspeaker, a speaker that is extremely competitive even when directly compared to much more expensive designs, that will give you back whatever you “feed” it. So it is only natural that I give it my highest recommendation if you are looking for a speaker in that price level or even higher, since is a very effective and valuable solution for pretty much every taste, an almost perfect solution for most of us. How many times have you encountered something like that?

HIEND NEWS

 

The Virtuoso are extremely elegant loudspeakers and I am talking here both in terms of the external appearance and their performance. These are truly classy, high-end speakers! ■
<arek Dyba

| SUMMARY: The Virtuoso are extremely elegant loudspeakers and I am talking here both in terms of the external appearance and their performance. It is the ELEGANCE, COHERENCE and REFINEMENT that first come to my mind when I think about the long listening hours I spent with the Virtuoso S, and that I will remember them by in the future. Plus, of course, VERSATILITY, or the ability to "tune" the sound to my own taste in a very simple way. ....... These are excellent loudspeakers for top, well-balanced systems. Simply, as befits good loudspeakers, the AudioSolutions Virtuoso S are to be "only" the last, key element of a system that will convey its full potential without taming it or imposing its own character. These are truly classy, high-end speakers! 

|REVIEW:  AudioSolutions was founded in 2011 in Lithuania with its headquarters in Vilnius. The founder and chief designer is Mr. GEDIMINAS GAIDELIS. The company specializes in expensive and very expensive loudspeakers. The lineup consists of four series. For this test we received the floor-standing model from Virtuoso line, called VIRTUOSO S. ⌋+

Each time few years passes between my reviews of Gediminas Gaidelis products. It is a bit too long to reliably compare individual models, but the gaps are not large enough to blur the positive impressions and associations Audio Solutions loudspeakers leave behind. Obviously, every year they are presented during Munich’s High End Show and Warsaw’s Audio Video Show (and, I bet, many others) and also there they impress with their performance, but listening to them during any show’s is not quite the same as experiencing them in my own system.


My earlier reviews of AudioSolutions speakers offered a lot of information on this brand and its founder, so this time let me recall only the key information. The company has been founded in 2011 (so next year it will celebrate its 10th anniversary - I wonder if we will see some special products on this occasion?), with its headquarters in Vilnius. It is one of those highly specialized companies - it designs, develops and manufactures only loudspeakers.

Lines | The current Audio Solutions lineup consists of four series. The portfolio opens with the OVERTURE line, than there is FIGARO and I had the pleasure to test representatives of these two series so far (as well as the no longer offered Rhapsody). At the top of the lineup there is the VANTAGE 5TH ANNIVERSARY series. Its name suggests that it was developed for the brand's first round anniversary. The prices of this series reflect their positioning at the top of the offer, in contrast to - of course relatively - reasonably priced Overture or Figaro speakers.

The Virtuoso series, based (for now) on two models, price-wise sits roughly in the middle between Figaro and Vantage. These are loudspeakers that already cost a lot of money (much more than Figaro), but still significantly less than top models. The two models, designated with the letters S and M (for Small and Middle), differ in the size of both the cabinets and the mid-woofers. Arek Sztander from Premium Sound, the Polish distributor of the brand, left the decision to choose between the models to me. I decided that smaller loudspeakers would better fit into my room. Plus, as a man not cruel by nature, I thought that the crew delivering the product for the test would rather carry 2 x 50 kg (net) to my apartment instead of 2 x 75 kg (admittedly, their faces showed only moderate gratitude, but still ...)

| VIRTUOSO S

The reviewed loudspeakers are quite large - 1130 mm high, almost 550 mm deep. They look thoroughly modern. I am a fan of classic shapes, natural wooden surfaces, etc., but I have to admit that the perfectly finished Ice Blue version with shiny varnish sitting on top of solid bases looked great in my room. The special finish of the base and top panel, as well as the side walls, with a custom-made polyurethane varnish with an admixture of crushed stone and carbon, appeared clean no matter how many times I touched the speakers nor how much dust they gathered - it's a big advantage from my point of view.

As we read on the company's website, AudioSolutions, when developing this line, used several solutions from the top Vantage series. That’s something that many companies do - they develop the best possible solutions for the most expensive products, and then trickle some of them down to use for cheaper series, on the one hand upgrading performance of the latter, and on the other, using the economies of scale, as manufacturing larger quantities of said elements makes the production less expensive.

One of the elements taken straight from the Vantage Classic is the adjustable crossover ... or actually three of them. The manufacturer himself uses both terms, but as he explained to me in an interview, it is more appropriate to use the term "three crossovers", because the offered adjustment is not a simple solution based on resistors changing the tonality of the sound, but a more advanced one that changes the character of the sound, but not the tone. You can read more about it in the "A few simple words ..." section.

| ADJUSTABLE HARMONICS CROSSOVER




On the rear panel of each speaker there is a large three-position switch/knob that allows user to choose between the following settings / profiles (let me use the description prepared by the manufacturer):

BALANCED | this mode is a sweet spot with a perfect balance of musical clarity and an immersive soundstage.

MODERATE | this mode is ideal for prolonged listening sessions when less dramatic and less detailed sound required.

The continuous evolution of high-end audio components and speakers means, that today's equipment reveals many recording imperfections that can make the sound seem distorted, loud and tiring to our ears. This is especially true when it comes to classic rock albums. The soft mode uses a technique similar to a one used in a recording studio, manipulating distortion and very sharp peaks in terms of the transmitted frequencies.

ENHANCED | engaging this mode will allow the listener to experience the finest level of musical details from their recordings. This mode is especially well suited for quiet evening listening sessions when ambient urban noise is reduced, and micro details in the music come alive. This mode can make the difference between simply listening to music and establishing an emotional connection with your music, prompting you to get up and dance or shed a tear, when listening to your favourite tunes. 

I will return to these settings and their influence on the sound in the part describing the sound, trying to confront the above description with what I actually heard. Still, you have to admit, that it is an interesting solution and can help user to adjust the sound of these loudspeakers to his sonic and musical preferences, and even to specific recordings. As the manufacturer emphasizes, changes to the settings do not result in a different SPL level, so they do not involve a change of the levels of individual drivers.

The Virtuoso uses a much more advanced system, which utilizes the natural patterns of distortions of the individual drivers so as to influence the sound perceived by the listeners. All drivers have their own inherent distortions, smaller or bigger, but there are always some. AudioSolutions engineers, by manipulating the crossover frequency and the steepness of the filter slopes, affect these distortions, slightly changing the character of the reproduced sound. As they claim, this unique solution allows them to offer three different presentation characters using the same speakers. Sounds interesting, doesn't it?

Let us return, however, to the specific features of the Virtuoso S provided by the manufacturer. One of them is a cabinet called box-in-a-box. The solution was developed for the Figaro series, and further enhanced for the Virtuoso. Let’s see how AudioSolutions explains its usage:

The weakest points of a traditional speaker cabinet are the corner joints since they behave more like hinges, rather than tight joints in a vibrating environment. The “box in a box” approach resolves this issue by combining two cabinets, arranged in an offset pattern. The internal cabinet is fully sealed and outfitted with heavy internal bracing and dampening.  It is then covered with an outer box, which is glued tightly to the internal cabinet. This technique allows the cabinet to achieve 10 times the stiffness of a single layer enclosure. The sonic gains from the stiffer cabinet are enormous. Due to excellent vibrations dampening sound is neutral and ever so authentic.

Other special features of the Virtuoso S are a three-inch silk dome placed in a small wave-guide, a 132 mm midrange driver with a paper (basically papyrus) diaphragm and a wide frequency range (up to 7 kHz), two bass woofers also with a paper membrane, each 165 mm in diameter.

Virtuoso S on paper are not particularly difficult to drive with their 91,5 dB sensitivity and 4 Ω nominal impedance, plus on option of bi-wiring or even bi-amping due to the two pairs of high-quality WBT Nextgen speaker terminals. It offers users a fairly wide choice when it comes to choosing an amplifier to drive them. Still, the designer makes it clear - the more (high quality) watts and the higher the damping factor, the better for the performance.

Cabinets | The cabinets that manufacturer also calls self-locking are one of the developments that AudioSolutions is particularly proud of; it is an element borrowed from the Vantage Classic series. As I wrote in the Figaro S review, a number of materials with different own resonances were used to make up these cabinets, creating a so-called sandwich. In addition, individual elements of these cabinets have been modeled and connected with each other so that some of them eliminate / cancel resonances of others. In this way, solid, rigid boxes with very low resonances were built, which translates into sound’s particular purity, especially in the lower range.

Their shape has nothing to do with a classic cuboid, which on the one hand eliminates standing waves inside the cabinets, and on the other increases the visual attractiveness of Virtuoso. The cabinet’s width is the biggest at about a third of its depth, and the narrowest at the back. The whole structure is placed on four adjustable anti-vibration feet with felt pads, although these are almost completely hidden in the solid, heavy bases of the speakers.

Bass-reflex | In theory, the rear-firing bass-reflex port does not make the setup of speakers in a room easier, but this model does not abuse the b-r port to (excessively) „pump up” the bass, so even placed close to the wall they perform really well, better than most. Besides, Gediminas claims that according to the measurements, also due to the appropriate profile of the b-r tunnel and the outlet, the distance from the wall is not of great importance. As he told me, some people even place these speakers only a few centimeters from the wall. Which does not change the fact that during my listening sessions, the distance between the rear panel (and the B-R outlet) and the wall in my room was 70 cm, because for my taste such placement simply worked best.

Finish | Let me add two more cents regarding available finishes, because in this respect AudioSolutions has a lot to offer, to be honest more than many bigger loudspeakers manufacturers. There are as many as seven standard finishes, from white through gray, green, to two blue options. Additionally, there are six non-standard ones - metallic high gloss, including slightly more extravagant colors such as yellow, orange or one self-explaining called "chameleon".

 

As you may remember, in the Figaro series the customer was given a choice of a traditional grille or a front baffle with profiled openings for individual drivers. For the Virtuoso S, there is no grille option, and such a front baffle with cutouts for drivers is installed permanently.

| HOW WE LISTENED TO IT

During the test, I drove the Virtuoso S mainly with my 30-watt class A transistor amp, the GrandiNote Shinai, which seemed to drive these loudspeakers equally well as, for example, the 375 W (at 4 Ω) hybrid Pathos Kratos, which I had at my disposal during this test, confirming that the class or quality of the amplifier plays a big role while its output a bit lesser one. Which doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter at all.

 

However, after talking to Gediminas who suggested using a high output amplifier to get a not "warm and slightly rounded" but "faster, tighter" bass, I switched to a separates setup with my AudiaFlight FLS 1 preamplifier and 350 W hybrid LampizatOr Metamorphosis monoblocks. The standard sources were the J. Sikora Standard Max turntable with the KV12 tonearm and the AirTight PC-3 cartridge and the LampizatOr Pacific DAC. Additionally, I used a very interesting, new Weiss DAC - the DAC501.

As a curiosity, I would like to mention that I connected the Virtuoso S to the 8 W SET, the Felix-Audio Arioso 20th Anniversary Edition for a short period of time. This setup was not perfect, and certainly not particularly versatile, but listening to acoustic and vocal music at low volume levels offered a large dose of SET magic. With no other amplifier the sound was so spacious and tangible, so airy, so ethereal (in the best sense of the word) in the treble area, so colorful (not colored, mind you) in its midrange.

At the same time, it was clear that the Polish amplifier was not able to fully control the woofers, and thus the lower part of the band. So the latter was rather soft and rounded and not particularly fast, which actually worked well in some recordings, but in most it was a bit disturbing. It does not change the fact that everything that was happening in the frequency range above the bass sounded really beautiful. I do not intend to suggest such a system to anyone to use permanently, but I think that the general direction may be worth exploring.

After what I heard with the 8W Felix-Audio, I would love to combine Virtuoso S with some 20-30 W, or maybe even more powerful SET (e.g. Ayon Crossfire), or PSE, or maybe SE - the Audio Reveal Second comes to mind. I feel that such setup could work really great (at least from the point of view of my personal sound preferences). Of course, still primarily for fans of acoustic, vocal and chamber music, but it would be a much more versatile system anyway than with an 8W SET.

Optionally, although bi-amping is much more difficult to properly set up than you may think, a SET driving the Virtuoso S's midrange and treble plus a powerful solid-state for the bass - both obviously top-notch - could do the job. This is just a hunch, not supported by an empirical test, basically a synthesis of the listening experiences with a few amplifiers, but I'm pretty sure of what I'm saying.

With the Felix-Audio amplifier driving the “S” I spent a few hours listening to Eva Cassidy, Patricia Barber, Martyna Jakubowicz or Etta James, admiring how beautiful and expressive their voices sounded, how they attracted attention with their presence and uniqueness. The more so because the Virtuoso S surprised me again and again with the spaciousness and tangibility of the sound. When, for example, the announcer during Oscar Peterson's concert began to speak standing over a meter to the left from the left speaker, I just started looking for him on the balcony because the illusion was extremely convincing ...

 GrandiNote Shinai

It was a very interesting and enjoyable experience but let’s move on to the main listening session, with the Virtuoso S being initially driven by the GrandiNote Shinai amplifier. It offers „only” a 30 W Class A output, but usually it is enough to drive even quite difficult loads. This time was no different - I did not find any shortcomings that could be a result of power shortages. The volume levels I set, as I realized at one point, were actually the same as for the very easy-to-drive MACH 4 speakers.

The bass was still rather on a bit softer side in this setup, but also fast and „springy” enough for this softness not to be an issue while playing music. I did not find any reason to complain about the dynamics of the presentation, I liked the differentiation, timbre, the pace and rhythm and the perfect coherence between bass and midrange. The latter, although not as palpable, not as present as with the Arioso amplifier, was still dense, very well differentiated both in terms of timbre and dynamics, and was as seamlessly combined with the treble as it was with the bass.

The treble presented by Virtuoso S, which was emphasized in some very good drums recordings, for example ones with the fantastic Steve Gadd, were exactly as I expected from high-class loudspeakers driven by the Shinai amplifier. It means pure, vibrant, full of air, lively, with long reverbs, but at the same time completely unobtrusive, full-bodied, yet light/carrying, rich in information, and presented in a very smooth, non-grainy way.

Regardless of the amplifier, as I had similar impressions from listening to the Pathos and LampizatOr amplifiers driving Virtuoso S, the midrange is the key element of the presentation of the tested loudspeakers. The truth is that I did not have any absolutely neutral amplifier at my disposal (I generally don’t like them as listening to them brings me no joy). On the other hand, the ones that I used delivered the most important part of the sound spectrum in spades. And I think this overlapped with the Virtuoso designer’s decision to set the crossover frequency so high - at 7 kHz. Due to this decision, the mid tones are extremely coherent, rich and effortless. All of the aforementioned amplifiers are a bit warm, but without getting muddy, without losing purity and transparency, offering high density and intensity, and the Lithuanian loudspeakers were able to convey such character perfectly.

Perhaps the Virtuoso will sound differently with some "cold" amp, because they allowed me to hear the differences between the amplifiers driving them quite clearly, as well as between the signal sources. After all, Gediminas told me that he offers neutral sounding loudspeakers. It’s just that, I suspect that any doubts about what he meant, may come from the definition of that term. After all, when you listen to a guitar, violin, piano, double bass, saxophone, trumpet, etc. live, you can clearly hear that all acoustic instruments sound „naturally warm”, as I like to say. If this is what they sound like in nature, then perhaps this should be the definition of neutrality, which is equivalent of lack of coloration, right? If we can agree on that, the Virtuoso S offer the most neutral sound. And natural too. More precisely - naturally warm.

Moderate | This is why they are so easy to listen to, regardless of the music genre, and even, to some extent, of the selected crossover mode. Except that in my case, after playing around with these three options I actually spent most of my time with the "Moderate" setting which was defined, among others, as "the best one for long listening sessions". I often turn the system on in the morning and it plays until late evening - hence the moderate mode was preferred. This is, obviously, a matter of individual preferences, but also a tool that, to some extent, can be used to make listening to slightly lesser quality recordings more acceptable, or even pleasant.

Enhanced | Unless it was already evening, that is, and I had to set a much lower volume - then the "Enhanced" mode provided the most information, most complete, richest sound. And no, this was not a result of my susceptibility to the manufacturer's suggestions, who described this mode as perfect for such occasions, because I actually listened to the speakers first and read about them later. Even with such quiet listening, Virtuoso S impressed me with a presentation rich with details and subtleties in the whole frequency range.

I clearly heard the bass going as deep as any recording required, every gently brush touch on cymbals or drums, or every tiniest pluck of a guitar string. And there was still the same balance of all elements of the sound that was equally perfectly delivered while listening much, much louder. There was the same coherence and clarity, too. In the other two modes, when listening quietly, some information was lost somewhere in the background, despite the fact that the ambient noise drops significantly at night, so usually I can almost always hear more of the tiny musical information at that time of a day regardless of the system I use.

In the "Balanced" mode, listening to, for example, a recording with a double bass, that is over 60 years old, I found it touch too soft and too boomy. A change of the crossover setting helped - it was still an instrument that sounded quite soft, but more focused, tauter, with clearer, slightly faster transients accompanied by proper sustain and decay, that delighted me already in the previous mode. All this changes, insignificant in themselves, combined created a much more enjoyable, yet still true presentation.

Same happened with the highly non-audiophile tracks by AC/DC, Rush, and even Metallica - they also sounded better in the "Enhanced" mode. It is a matter of combining great energy, powerful, dense bass, great pace and rhythm and high dynamics with a gentle softening of sharpness, brightening, even graininess present in most such recordings. I got the impression that these were very delicate treatments applied by Virtuoso, introduced with great sensitivity, which allowed the presentation to stay true to the nature of these recordings. There was still a bit of aggression / sharpness /roughness left that is essential for such music. And yet listening to rock in this mode was highly enjoyable, even at higher volume levels.

Amplifier’s output | And here we also get to the issue of the output that Virtuoso S actually require to offer their best. Because I can’t deny that while for playing high-quality recordings 30 watts offered by the Shinai was enough, when it came to those of lesser quality, with a bit too „loose” or to „boomy” or too soft bass, the much more powerful amplifiers, such as the Metamorphosis or Kratos, did a better job and made such recordings sound better. Hence, for people who listen to a lot of rock or pop music, a powerful amp might be a better choice.

However, when it came to listening to a live concert by the Ray Brown trio (i.e. also quite an old recording), or a live production of Patricia Barber, I returned to the "Balanced" mode. It allowed me to hear even the tiniest detail of these recordings in a better, clearer way. Using it made that soundstage, the placement of instruments and vocals on it, their three-dimensionality, and the impression of the presence of musicians in the room most convincing. Plus, this large, three-dimensional stage was best filled with air, giving the instruments, but also Patricia, a chance to breathe freely. Similarly as in the "Enhanced" mode. It also creates an impression that the music consists of more low-level details, the so-called musical plankton. But the space is not as impressive as in the "Balanced" mode.

It might seem that Virtuoso S offers too many options to the user, that they may have a problem of choosing the right one, but in practice, every time when I felt that perhaps a given album/track could sound better, it took me only a moment to determine the optimal mode. In short, it is a really useful tool, maybe not so much to "improve/fix" recordings, but rather to enhance the listening experience. By using the adjustable crossover, which most loudspeakers simply do not offer, one can make improve any given experience, make it better. And it works for virtually any recording and any kind of music.

| SUMMARY

 

The Virtuoso S are extremely elegant loudspeakers and I am talking here both in terms of the external appearance and their performance. It is the ELEGANCE, COHERENCE and REFINEMENT that first come to my mind when I think about the long listening hours I spent with the Virtuoso S, and that I will remember them by in the future. Plus, of course, VERSATILITY, or the ability to "tune" the sound to my own taste in a very simple way.

The smaller representative of the Virtuoso series is also absolutely versatile in terms of the musical repertoire. They did great in my favorite acoustic music, built a unique atmosphere and soundstage for good live performances, impressed with super punctual pace and rhythm and high energy in blues and rock recordings, or the momentum and scale of music when playing large classical pieces. The vocals sound great, convincing and present with these speakers, but also the slightly lesser in terms of recording quality tracks/albums can sound really good, better than usual, because some of their flaws may be slightly tempered. Whether I listened to an acoustic trio, a rock band or a large symphonic orchestra, the Virtuoso S treated every challenge the same - in an unforced, effortless way but still a highly precise one, and the only limitation to the quantity and quality of information reproduced by the speakers, was the signal they received, i.e. the quality of the recording and the system that „prepared” signal for the Virtuoso S.

These are excellent loudspeakers for top, well-balanced systems. Simply, as befits good loudspeakers, the AudioSolutions Virtuoso S are to be "only" the last, key element of a system that will convey its full potential without taming it or imposing its own character. These are truly classy, high-end speakers! 

 

SOME WORDS WITH GEDIMINAS GAIDELIS
Owner, designer

MAREK DYBA: Thank you for sending me the technical paper on Virtuoso. After reading it I still have some questions, if you don’t mind. Let me start with the one regarding tweeter. In the paper you have explained why you put the tweeter of your choice in a horn (to minimize distortion of the soft dome), but there is nothing about why did you choose this particular driver. If you need a horn to correct its issued maybe it would be better to choose a different one altogether?

GEDIMINAS GAIDELIS: The reason is the same as for why I use paper cone drivers - soft domes are the best "sweet middle" tweeters. They have probably best all around set of parameters to work with. And as we intend to manufacture neutral sounding speakers they fit perfectly. In general, horn is not there to fix a problem but to make system less distortive or more sensitive.

MD: Some people get an allergic reaction just at the sound of the word „horn” claiming, that using it always causes coloration of the sound. They usually mean using it for midrange, but still...
GG: Well, yes. That’s why we use a mini horn. A small one just for a specific region of bandwidth so there is no such thing as a horn sound in our mini-horn system.

MD: In the paper you’re describing the box-in-box cabinet concept. Do I understand correctly that the outer shell is fixed directly to the inner one?
GG: Correct. There is an inner structure with all the bracing. And the outer box is secured on top of it, so basically you don’t see inner box from outside.

MD: What materials did you use for both layers?
GG: We use MDF and HDF. The MDF is medium density material and it’s widely used, while the HDF is two times denser.

MD: What about internal damping?
GG: Dampening is a task to be handled by various methods working together. One way never works well. We use real wool for midrange as all hairs are of different thickness and it works flawlessly with upper frequencies. Synthetic wool for bass cabinets obviously. Then comes vibration control - bracing of the cabinet. Then we have inner cabinet which is very dense and outer shell which is less dense. You see, it is easy do damp something but if you use damping, it means that energy is being stored and dissipates slowly. While this method doesn’t give sharp spikes in response, it does make sound muddy due to a long energy dissipation. On the other hand material which is very dense and doesn’t store energy for so long, tends to have sharp spikes in response and some ringing too. So we use many different dampening techniques to benefit from all of them.

MD: OK, let’s move on to the key feature, which is the crossover. Or crossovers? Even in the paper you sent me I found you using both - a single adjustable one and crossovers (plural). So which one is it?

GG: Technically, there is one crossover. But to distinguish it from those who simply adjusts only level (Sonus Faber for example) I use the term "three crossovers" because it actually is like that. Three crossovers for midrange and tweeter, but one crossover for one speaker. It would make more sense if I stick with three crossovers everywhere.

MD: OK, but I understand that there are no three totally separate circuits, or are there?
GG: For midrange and tweeter there are indeed three different circuits. One can get it to work only with resistors for example, but we have developed a totally different solution for our crossovers and they don’t just change levels for individual drivers.

MD: What was your intention with this solution - do you think users will play around with it every day changing settings depending on what music they listen to, or how they listen to it, or will they choose one and settle on it permanently?

GG: I think they will use this feature. Just as they use sport button sometimes in their cars. If it is one button to touch or one handle to turn - they will use it, especially when differences on emotional level are quite huge. If a person feels lazy, of course they will leave the switch in neutral position. Which is perfectly fine.

MD: A practical question – can you switch the crossover settings while playing music?
GG: Yes, you can. But it’s better to ask someone else to do it. As getting near playing speakers usually makes you less sensitive to sounds for at least half an hour. I never understood people during shows getting close to speakers and trying to listen to every single driver from up close. If you do it you will get quite insensitive to sounds for a long time, hence it’s better if someone else changes the setting for you while you’re listening from your listening spot. If you have to do it yourself first pause playback, change the setting, go back to your listening spot and only than resume playback. It’s a much better solution for both, your ears and your amplifier.


MD: Guys who delivered Virtuoso S to my place mentioned „special feet”, but since these are large and heavy speakers I am not able to flip them over to check those for myself. Could you explain what makes them special?

GG: Our feet use felt dampers used in musical instruments. Mostly hi-hats to dampen ringing. The base itself is quite massive. You have to have massive base if you want to absorb vibrations. Remember what I said about storing energy and releasing it slowly? Here it works perfectly, we want to even out vibrations and slowly release them to felt dampers. Of course any special purpose feet will be an upgrade to felt dampers.

MD: Next issue - bass-reflex. I will not ask why you used particular tunel or outlet, but more generally - why bass-reflex design at all? (asked a fan of closed cabinets)
GG: Hmm... why not? Its like asking about turbocharged engine versus naturally aspirated. A different approach, different emotions, that’s all. Both systems have their advantages and disadvantages. I chose BR as it suited me more. There is really nothing more to it.

MD: OK, I see. So another b-r related question - it fires back which makes it more difficult to set up properly particularly in smaller rooms. The S version is not that big - you don't need a 40 sq m to use them but the back-firing b-r forces user to place them far away from the wall not to have any coloration. Wouldn’t a front b-r port be a better solution?

GG: I know that BR firing back got bad impressions. Some manufacturers of cheap speakers used firing back ports to boost performance of incapable drivers. But in the designing stage you can design cabinet and port in such way that a rear firing port will not do any harm at all. It is all up to engineer.


If you have good drivers that don’t need boost from back wall you can design port which gives better results than front firing one or the worst scenario - down firing. In our case rear firing port does not require speaker to be placed further away from the wall. It has absolutely nothing to do with which way it fires, it is up to how it is engineered and how it is calculated (frequency, volume etc). If you ever measure port output you will notice that not only bass comes from it. A good portion of lower mids comes from there as well.

So a port firing forward is not good as you can’t fine tune your system. Most of the times it sounds like it sounds and there is nothing much you can do about it if it sounds wrong. Where a back firing port allows you to fine tune your speaker. But again - it must be designed properly otherwise what you said will be true. In the case of the Virtuoso S, 25-30 cm from the wall should be enough. Some of our customers placed them as close as 5 cm from the wall if there was no other way, and they still sounded really good.

MD: Hmm... in my case I placed Virtuoso S 25-30 cm further away from the wall than my own speakers (so 75-80 cm in total), because that’s how they sounded best to me.
GG: Oh.., that’s a lot. But it was to be expected from the fan of closed-cabinet speakers :). Moving the speakers further to the middle of the room you heard a faster bass and that was what you, knowingly or not, expected. Alternatively you can try and plug the b-r ports. It costs nothing but may improve the sound so it is worth checking it out.

MD: For now you’re offering two models of Virtuoso, the S and the M – are there more coming?
GG: Yes, we have plans to expand the line. Information will be made available when the time comes.

 

MD: Do you have any suggestions regarding amplifiers customers should use with Virtuoso?
GG: As a rule of thumb - the more powerful the amplifier the better. Output stages with proper dampening are recommended. These speakers, unlike Vantage 5th Anniversary, are much quicker and more controlled, but I still prefer a proper control provided by an amp. Usually for model M a 300w per channel AB class with higher idle current will do just fine. GG

Gediminas, talks about some of the reason on what prompted Overture.

"Overture, the beginning of something more exquisite. The range consists of five models: one centre channel, one monitor and three floorstanders. We developed a special type of protective grill which unlike conventional solutions doesn't distort the sound. Each speaker comes with two detachable front panels, one of which is cloth covered. You get exactly the same sound, tonal balance and overall clarity with or without these cloth-covered versions."

"The tweeters of this range are loaded with a deep waveguide. This raises their sensitivity in a critical region and unloads the drivers themselves to net measurably lower THD. All Overture models are available in an expanded array of exciting finishes - gloss colours, textured gloss never seen before and classic veneers, all protected by a scratch-resistant coating." 

"Naturally the first reason was that I felt how during these past few years, I'd gained knowledge and better tools to make a far superior speaker. The Euphony line played and was balanced extremely well—we even received Fairaudio.de's Product of the Year award—but I felt that I could push it a lot further. To do so, I couldn't simply design a better crossover. It had to be a far more complete complex makeover. I started with computer analysis and blueprints. First I wanted to change the basic enclosure concept. I wanted higher rigidity without excess weight to ease assembly for my employees. We modelled enclosures with modern software to identify the bad spots in our old enclosures. Then we came up with the notion of a self-locking cabinet where all parts would slide into each other, then lock in. Such a concept exhibits great stability and once assembled, becomes monolithic. Weight increased 35% compared to the previous models but rigidity by more than 100%. That was clearly audible. I also exchanged the ScanSpeak tweeter for a custom SEAS silk dome. This change was minor but essential to work with our miniature horn loading. That small horn helps a lot. The Euphony models had small problems with high SPL. The tweeter would start to distort near the crossover region due to low sensitivity and a membrane that was too soft. When loaded with our mini horn, the tweeter in this critical area now has 5dB more sensitivity and lower distortion. The Peerless mid/woofer remains unchanged from the Euphony line. But a different crossover, more precise measurements and stiffer enclosures allowed me to push the Overture performance close to our Rhapsody range. 

"The second reason for the new line was that I felt a bit ashamed about our entry range not looking as good as subsequent models. Finally end users and distributors pushed me for grilles. It was a very hard decision since I am very skeptical about grilles and their inevitable sonic degradation. But finally I agreed that cheaper speakers must have grilles because of children, cats etc. So I started to think about how to make a frameless grill because frames alone distort the sound with a high level of early reflections. We made some conventional trials, then decided to change the entire concept. We arrived at a detachable baffle, then covered it with acoustically transparent cloth. The customer gets two baffle pairs, one with and one without cloth. Measurements prove identical performance. We even demonstrated our speakers at various shows where one had the cloth grill but not the other. Nobody ever heard a difference between the left and right channel. Where the Euphony was a very good line for the price, Overture is a very big leap forward. Finally I'd like to mention our variety of finishes. Usually affordable speakers come only in black or white. We decided to give people 13 finishes to choose from. This raises domestic friendliness. Due to improved manufacturing technologies, we can make any colour very fast so there is no big delay on special orders. Our stock finishes include 7 options for the same price: white, ivory, red and black in high gloss and natural, stained and dark oak in soft-touch matte. For an additional 10%, we have exotic rotted zebrano, matured oak and entirely new textured black or white finishes with a lovely 3D effect. For an additional 20%, we finally have dark Olive and Ebony in high gloss." 

Mono & Stereo review link
Matej Isak

The Audio Solutions Virtuoso-M goes beyond the usual frontiers and above the common expectations with refined voicing and dynamic capabilities are well suited for the audiophile and music lover of the 21st century ..  giving further insight and a more diverse and richer sonic canvas, pinpoint tuning and voicing direction that closely follows the natural warm-dark nature of music, the Virtuoso-M allow a new level of translucency......compared to the completion the "M" offer an high-quality tonal balance that is not accentuated. The bass, midrange and treble are arrange side by side, this results in a more coherent frequency over the entire frequency spectrum....for what they represent in terms of sound and performance I grant Audio Solutions M", Mono & Stereo 2020 UPPER ECHELON CLASS Award .... Matej Isak- Mono & Stereo

"The AudioSolutions Virtuoso M are more convincingly coordinated.....than hardly any other speaker I know".

SUNMMARY: the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M act extremely sensitively and - yes - offer a somehow seldom heard "unobtrusive obsession with detail". Even the most subtle details come to the surface, but are by no means served with the notorious silver platter. A hint that the mid-high range of the Virtuoso will be trained for extremely low distortion values. In terms of sound purity, “black background”, that is, freedom from the very last and finest artefacts, the Lithuanian transducers clearly distance my Spendor D9, the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M simply shine here.
The fine beats in the texture that reach up to the very highest levels, the short inhalations, the natural sharpness of the sibilants: everything is there - without any "hyperanalytical" touches. The passage “naturalness of voices” sometimes reads banal and for one or the other may seem like a mere compulsory exercise of good hi-fi. But in truth it is an art - which the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M have mastered!
The instruments, including the initial drum roll, are not only handed out very precisely, they fill their intended spaces three-dimensionally and realistically on the virtual stage in a disturbing way. I could easily indulge in the illusion of dedicated sound sources “hanging freely” in front of my ears. In terms of plasticity, that's pretty much Premier League. With all of this, the sound image as a whole approaches the listener in a beautifully involving way, does not neglect the depth behind the baseline and is as generously defined in height and width.
Undisguised timbres, easy distinguishing of textures, even from those like transients, high transparency in the absence of unpleasant analytical echoes and a nimble but not "wiry" dynamic behavior - the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M are more convincingly coordinated in these areas than hardly an other speaker I know.
The look at the purity of the sound is more interesting: the Lithuanians offer significantly more calm and sovereignty, a blacker background between individual instruments and draw timbres even more unmistakably, even more artifact-free. It goes with the fact that the tweeter of the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M is even clearer and more subtle.

REVIEW: "Hand made in Lithuania" - this is what it says on the covers of all three cone drivers. This certainly speaks to the pride of the seven-strong AudioSolutions team in Vilnius that they have established an internationally renowned loudspeaker manufacturer. What you notice not least when you talk to the dynamic founder Gediminas Gaidelis, whom I met a few years ago at a Munich “High End”. Fresh from the Baltic tiger to me in the listening room is the motto here and now with a view to the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M - one of the latest litters of the manufacturer, which we will examine in more detail below want to feel.

AudioSolutions Virtuoso M - Hand made in Lithuania

A manufactured product from Vilnius: the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M

AudioSolutions has been on the market for almost exactly eight years, currently they have six lines of passive loudspeakers, some of which contain several models and a price range from 1,000 to 110,000 euros. The AudioSolutions Virtuoso M, with 75 kilograms per speaker and a pair price of NZ$48,995 (incl GST), is one of the heavier solutions in terms of both size and pecuniary benefits. Accordingly, they make their premium claim clear from the outside. The design and workmanship appear less licky in some details than you might otherwise know from larger series production, but that's exactly what gives the impression of a real manufactured product, I think. Either way: the quality of the paintwork, the driver and bass reflex tube fittings,

Two in one

AudioSolutions Virtuoso M: housing on top

With a view of the 124 centimeter tall housing, there is a special and rather elaborate construction clou that is actually hidden from view: namely, “Two in one” is the name here. AudioSolutions identifies the mechanical, and therefore resonance-related weak point of typical loudspeaker enclosures, namely their edge areas, which would act more like "hinges" as fixed connections between the individual enclosure walls. To counter this, the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M are designed as a box-in-box system. An inner, sealed, heavily damped housing section with massive struts has the visible outer shell almost slipped over it. The whole thing is pressed tightly and glued. AudioSolutions expects a "ten times higher rigidity" from this measure, along with an "enormous tonal gain". According to Gediminas Gaidelis, the MDF enclosures are built entirely on their own in the 350 square meter factory. By the way, the surface finish of the dark headstock of the Virtuoso M is made from a mixture of polyurethane, stone dust and varnish that is obtained from Germany.

Good walking

AudioSolutions Virtuoso M: Bass driver and foot section

The same applies to the eye-catching bumper-shaped foot construction, which was given preference over plain trusses for design reasons. Incidentally, our test model stands on felt-reinforced, floor-protecting plates that are more than the size of the palm of a hand, which thanks to their grip under the "fenders" of the base can be turned surprisingly well, which facilitates the wobble-free positioning of the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M. Nevertheless, I would recommend using spikes, which are usually included as standard - I would guess that a more contoured, drier bass reproduction can be teased out of the Virtuoso M, especially on plank floors.

Three sound aesthetics

Speaking of bass: "Moderate", "Balanced" and "Enhanced" can be read under the rotary control embedded in the rear wall of the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M. Anyone who - like me - initially suspects that a low frequency adjustment is taking place here will be surprised that even in the moderate setting it is quite lush. So lush that one is inclined not to even test the other, presumably even more “full-bodied” settings - and rather accuse the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M of being low-frequency indulgence per se. But the comfort comes to an audible end in the enhanced position at the latest: This is where the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M sound the crispest, most detailed and most present. Closely followed by the balanced position, which has a slightly rounder,

AudioSolutions Virtuoso M: rear tone control

"Moderate", "Balanced" and "Enhanced" - the sound character of the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M can be adjusted depending on the application or taste

Yes, by turning the control you can not only bend any frequency ranges, but also achieve something like different "sound aesthetics". A real practical highlight, in my opinion, because the “Balanced” and “Enhanced” settings not only work “in themselves” successfully and coherently, but also, I strongly suspect, address precisely those groups of listeners who are basically Looking for "something neutral, balanced" with a view to fine-tuningbut then prefer different directions. Even the moderate position, which does not really do justice to its name, has its meaning: If you like it more pleasurable below and more smoothly further up, so the bottom line is a little sounded, you should get your money's worth. Nonetheless, “Moderate” pursues a different goal: According to AudioSolutions, poorer recording quality and its distortion should be pimped up and made easier to digest.

Division of labor

The technically complex background of the whole thing is three different crossover designs, each of which specifies crossover frequencies and edge steepnesses with slightly different dimensions. Which doesn’t change the fact that the midrange driver (around 500 to 7000 Hertz) of the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M, which is already noticeably poaching in the heights, is extremely broadband. I am quite a fan of such adjustments, I have had very good experiences with them, especially in terms of coherence, coherence and spatiality.

AudioSolutions Virtuoso M: Mid-high range unit

The midrange of the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M is designed to be extremely broadband

The 16.5 cm midrange is provided with a fiber paper cone - as are the 19 cm basses, which are designed twice in each speaker. All of the "custom-made" cones according to the manufacturer come from SB Acoustics, while AudioSolutions purchases the 3 cm silk dome from Scan-Speak, which is also optimized for its own needs. The overall ensemble of switch circuits and drivers should ensure a respectable efficiency of 92 dB / 2.83V / 1m.

AudioSolutions Virtuoso M: Sound test & comparisons

AudioSolutions Virtuoso M: Loudspeakers in the listening room

The AudioSolutions Virtuoso M are among the loudspeakers with a fairly confident and powerful sound. As one would expect, given its size. Therefore, during the first few listening rounds, one other thing struck me: an extremely well-balanced mid-high range. Who zombified themselves on Alien Sex Fiends “Now I'm feeling zombified” (Album: Curse) pays. As the title suggests, not an audiophile song that quickly becomes uncomfortable when you look at the voice and the dust-dry Tom-emphasized beats. With my Spendor D9, “pushes” a bit at high volumes in the midrange. The AudioSolutions Virtuoso M, on the other hand, are exemplary: On the one hand, they cling to any prettiness, the mids of this song are still offensive and by no means unduly warm. On the other hand, too cheeky presence also shines through absence. The bottom line is that the Virtuoso gives you the impression that the song was deliberately mixed up in a frontal, snotty way - and by no means exclusively sloppy, as I previously suspected.

Celebration - The Modern TribeThe fact that the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M sound unsounded and permeable in the mid-high range, but at the same time extremely cultivated and long-term suitable, will not least be heard on Celebrations "Evergreen" (album: The Modern Tribe; listen on Amazon) clear, in which my ears have to resolve something like a melodious contradiction. Because the initial chimes seem a touch more restrained in terms of tone than I usually know, but still make their metal sparkle finer, more shimmering and somehow more elaborate. The half-open hi-hat, which repeatedly appears briefly, sounds as aggressive and sizzling as it should be, but the presumably chaotic and disdainful hissing appears more defined, calmer and overall cleaner in its texture. It integrates more consistently with the rest of the music. The following subtle eighth beats of the closed hi-hat on the right channel, which inexpensive loudspeakers often completely conceal, also appear more defined than through my work loudspeakers. Which additionally underlines that the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M act extremely sensitively and - yes - offer a somehow seldom heard "unobtrusive obsession with detail". Even the most subtle details come to the surface, but are by no means served with the notorious silver platter. A hint that the mid-high range of the Virtuoso will be trained for extremely low distortion values. In terms of sound purity, “black background”, that is, freedom from the very last and finest artefacts, the Lithuanian transducers clearly distance my Spendor D9. This is by no means the horse of my D9, which is basically also very stress-free sounding, which I still count among my absolute all-time favorites - the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M simply shine here.

Laura Veirs - July FlameThese special merits of the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M of course benefit instruments captured with high quality recording technology. Like the grand piano and viola in “Murata: Liange” (Anoice: Selected Works). The spring water-like, completely "non-technical" purity of the timbres is really striking. Voices also benefit, of course: The clarity of Laura Veirs' vocals in “July Flame” (album of the same name: (listen on Amazon is impressive). The fine beats in the texture that reach up to the very highest levels, the short inhalations, the natural sharpness of the sibilants: everything is there - without any "hyperanalytical" touches. The passage “naturalness of voices” sometimes reads banal and for one or the other may seem like a mere compulsory exercise of good hi-fi. But in truth it is an art - which the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M have mastered!

AudioSolutions Virtuoso M: connection terminal

The Bi-Wiring-Terminal from AudioSolutions Virtuoso M

Saxophone, guitar, cornet, steel drum, keyboard, percussion - there  is a lot going on in Robert Wyatt's “On the Town Square” (album: Comicopera). And captured in such a well-ordered manner in terms of recording technology that I like to use this track to really feel the "stage skills" of test devices. The intro alone, in which a broom-made tom vortex oscillates evenly through the stereo panorama, is a good touchstone. In which the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M once again show how complex they are in the mid-high range. The richness of the transients, which are profane at first glance, but in truth extremely complex and chaotic, makes me lose sight of the topic of spatiality for a moment.

But back to the basics: on the left the steel drum, in the middle the guitar, the keyboard and the airy metal percussion, on the right the tenor saxophone. As I said, “On the Town Square” is extremely clearly defined spatially. And that is exactly what can be said about the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M: The instruments, including the initial drum roll, are not only handed out very precisely, which is not the greatest difficulty with this title, but rather they fill their intended spaces three-dimensionally and realistically without To get into the enclosure on the virtual stage in a disturbing way. I could easily indulge in the illusion of dedicated sound sources “hanging freely” in front of my ears, although actually only a “stereo system” is playing. In terms of plasticity, that's pretty much Premier League. With all of this, the sound image as a whole approaches the listener in a beautifully involving way, does not neglect the depth behind the baseline and is as generously defined in height and width as I like such as the Thiel CS 3.7, which I owned for a long time, have a clear disadvantage here.

Coptic Light - Coptic LightAs if the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M wanted to combine the best of two worlds, they tackled the subject of dynamics. Because on the one hand the Virtuoso M emanates a pleasant - no, not a soft focus - suppleness, on the other hand they have zero problems, hyper-bustling, percussive tracks like "Mix the Races" by the post  rockers Coptic Light (album of the same name; listen on Amazon) to deliver rabbit-like agile. The many rimshots, blows on the outer edge of the eardrum, tom pegs and the sixteenth notes trembled with the plectrum on the muffled electric guitar strings make the eardrum vibrate as it should be. A super-nervous title that the super-clean AudioSolutions Virtuoso M jingles to your eardrum without adding additional nervousness. The special "calm" and sovereignty that emanate from the Virtuoso M even with such music, in addition to the fundamental lack of distortion, is certainly also due to the fact that they catapult individual tones into the room with unchecked attack, but also the "body" Trace the sustain of tones with high sensitivity.

AudioSolutions Virtuoso M: speaker surround

Undisguised timbres, easy distinguishing of textures, even from those like transients, high transparency in the absence of unpleasant analytical echoes and a nimble but not "wiry" dynamic behavior - the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M are more convincingly coordinated in these areas than hardly any other speaker I know.

If I could wish for a pair of “boxes” from a good, audiophile fairy, then the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M up to this point would be something like a perfect magic wand output. Until here? Yes, the bass is still missing. I myself like the bass to be deep, dry and more neutral-slim than neutral-rich. And certainly not fat.

Deep? Can the virtuoso. There are other large loudspeakers, that dig even deeper with Burial's "Etched Headplate" (album: Untrue ), but I think that is more of an academic advantage than actually a listening pleasure, as long as you don't count yourself among the outspoken infrasound extremists. Personally, I wouldn't need a single Hertz to go south, the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M are absolutely grown up here, but with a view to their size and price range, they are still not breaking records.

AudioSolutions Virtuoso M: foot section

Dry? Yes. An even more defined, harder board would be conceivable, I'm thinking of my Spendor D9 or the Wilson Audio Sabrina, but with a view to the depth and the "tonal mass" that the Lithuanians unleash below, this is basically an apple-pear comparison. Because, of course, more cautiously tuned speakers often feel more light-footed and more precise with one or the other song in terms of bass level and depth. In doing so, the light feet lack the ability to reproduce a deeply tuned bass drum so sustainably and confidently - and to create a downright physical, plastic illusion. Treat the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M to controlled amplifiers with sufficient power reserves despite their high efficiency. You will not exhaust the potential of the AudioSolutions on delicate tube amplifier treasures - and not only in the bass.

Neutral? Hm, the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M offer three "sound aesthetics" as described, none of the three can be considered a slimming diet. The “Enhanced” or “Balanced” setting, on the other hand, can be called “powerfully neutral” to “with a slight extra kick”, although I imagine a small peak in the range from medium bass to deep bass. Only the ascetic reading of “moderate” falls out of the ordinary, as mentioned above, and brings a certain degree of duplicity into play. Nonetheless: The bottom line is that the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M are aimed at listeners who appreciate a punchy and pleasurable rather than inconspicuous, monitor-esque lower bass. Further up, in the keynote, it is pretty linear, by the way - otherwise we would have noticed that with the midrange and vocal reproduction.

AudioSolutions Virtuoso M: Compare with other speakers

AudioSolutions Virtuoso M company logo

To start with, my very low-distortion-pure looking Sehring 903 play less powerfully in the bass, also in terms of high-frequency fine definition and airiness and ultimately when it comes to resolution they neglect. In terms of space, I also find the Audio Solutions Virtuoso M a bit more vivid. My Spendor D9 seem a touch more “direct” than the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M, not least because of their slightly centered tuning, which is further emphasized by the lighter and less powerful but agile bass. In terms of coarse dynamics and level stability, the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M are noticeably more powerful and have a larger displacement - only as expected, given the size differences. The look at the purity of the sound is more interesting: the Lithuanians offer significantly more calm and sovereignty, a blacker background between individual instruments and draw timbres even more unmistakably, even more artifact-free. It goes with the fact that the tweeter of the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M is even clearer and more subtle.

So that the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M can compete at eye level, you have to be something like a Wilson Audio Sabrina into the ring, which are among the few speakers that I would even give my Spendor and Sehring speakers the run-out for. Tonally fat-free-linear, at the same time absolutely clean-stress-free-music-serviceable, they sound extremely defined, contoured and possibly even show an even more unmistakably gridded spatiality. In terms of definition and transparency, the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M play more or less on a par, although the crucial point is a different one anyway: The Virtuoso M simply deliver significantly more thrust and dynamic power in the bass. Two loudspeaker models for different types of listeners? Definitely for different listening rooms, because the Sabrina also feel comfortable in rooms below 30 square meters. The AudioSolutions Virtuoso M basically only starts at the brand. In any case, there is no general objective better or worse - two world-class speakers at eye level. The same applies to the tonally neutral, also tending towards the direct Blumenhofer Acoustics Genuin FS 1 Mk2, which, as is typical of the horn, involve an incomparably effortless, fast, direct sound image over the entire frequency range, while being gripping and concise and tending to articulate high-frequency information a little more emphatically. The AudioSolutions Virtuoso M, on the other hand, penetrate deeper, more powerfully into the lowest bass realms and also score with an audibly more plastic stage and - I think - even clearer timbres. Personally, AudioSolutions Virtuoso M say more to me, and colleague Ralph Werner than his Blumenhofer.AudioSolutions Virtuoso M: back / bass reflex opening

The rear bass reflex openings of the AudioSolutions Virtuoso M

I can’t suggest the AudioSolutions speakers highly enough. They offer all the qualities I love in a speaker at incredibly reasonable prices. Close your eyes, and you might just think you’re in Italy
Jeff Dorgay

SUMMARY: I prefer speakers in the GamuT, Sonus faber, and Gold Note part of the spectrum. Slightly on the warm side, but still dynamic and resolving. A bit of extra tonal saturation goes a long way with me. So, that’s my bias. IIf you are looking for a speaker with these sonic characteristics, I can’t suggest the AudioSolutions speakers highly enough.

All but the most bass addicted end users will probably not need a subwoofer. The Figaros achieve true full range performance. 

As you might expect from what I’ve told you so far, vocal and acoustic music is perfection on the Figaros

The Figaros are cranked to the point of pain. That’s my pain though, the speakers show no break up even at ear-splitting levels – they play loud with ease. The Figaros create a soundfield that is wide, deep, and tall. These speakers do an incredibly good job at reproducing height information along with the standard width and depth. 

While the price can bring you a considerable glimpse into the upper strata of high-end speakers, Audio Solutions delivers a masterpiece. In the context of a $10k – $100k system, they’d probably be the last thing I’d upgrade if I did at all. The only key is that if you like this “sound” as much as I do. If you’re more of a mega detail person, these may not be the droids you want. I can’t think of a speaker in the last decade that’s delivered more sonic enjoyment than the Figaro Ms do for NZ$14,500-NZ$16000/pair. Hence, I am happy to give them one of our Exceptional value awards for 2019. This is a lovely pair of speakers without fault, that could easily be the last pair of speakers you buy.

REVIEW: To be straight up with you, I prefer speakers in the GamuT, Sonus faber, and Gold Note part of the spectrum. Slightly on the warm side, but still dynamic and resolving. A bit of extra tonal saturation goes a long way with me. So, that’s my bias. If you are looking for a speaker with these sonic characteristics, I can’t suggest the AudioSolutions speakers highly enough. They offer all the qualities I love in a speaker at incredibly reasonable prices. The Figaro M floorstanders you see here are NZ$14,500-NZ$16,000/pair. Close your eyes, and you might just think you’re in Italy.

After about 50 hours of background duty, the first track up is Drab Majesty’s “Foyer.” Hardly the last word in audiophile fidelity, this track offers layers of atmospheric sounds and synthesizers, that in a lesser system, just sound flat and uninvolving. A great alternative track in the same vein is Thomas Dolby’s “I Scare Myself.” I’m sure you have your faves.

Team players

The Figaros present an easy load to drive, working equally well with tubes, solid-state or class D amplifiers, keeping their signature sound, but revealing the character of whatever they are plugged into. Mating them with the Boulder, Nagra, and Vitus amplifiers we had on hand for review, the Figaros become more dynamic overall, producing more LF extension and sock. Pass and Luxman provide a bit more warmth with tube amps from Line Magnetic and PrimaLuna even more romantic.

 With a rated sensitivity of 91.5db/1-watt, precious few amplifiers will be off-limits, but a few vintage amps in the queue were a bit too much of a good thing for this writer. As always, experiment, experiment, experiment to find your little slice of nirvana. The Figaros even turn in an enchanting performance with my PSAudio Sprout II. This was used in the garage after unpacking to burn them in, with a lot of metal tracks being played at a neighbor annoying level. After a weekend’s worth of parts cleaning, they were ready to move into the studio.

The front panel snaps off so you can use them with flush grilles or without – I always love to look at the drivers, so sans grille cloth I say. The flat, speckly finish covering most of the cabinet tends to diffuse the light bouncing off of the Figaros, so they are not as imposing as a pair of gloss black speakers. They are not as fussy to live with as a result.

The music lover trying to get as much sound as they possibly can for their dollar will appreciate this approach. Beautifully finished cabinets are wonderful, but they do add to the MRSP. AudioSolutions keeps the cost in check going this route. This finish is certainly easy to keep clean and fingerprint free. Half of the side panels are available in a range of finishes.

Free of fatigue

Even after a long string of punk tunes, via the Pass XA200.8s (at a higher volume than is reasonable and prudent) the Figaros prove they can play loud with total control. Listening to Amyl and the Sniffers “GFY,” lead singer Amy Taylor channels Wendy O. Williams, along with a little bit of Lemmy and Yoko Ono, the Figaros are cranked to the point of pain. That’s my pain though, the speakers show no break up even at ear-splitting levels – they play loud with ease.

Going back to Yello’s “Vicious Games,” music bounces all over the place. The Figaros create a soundfield that is wide, deep, and tall. These speakers do an incredibly good job at reproducing height information along with the standard width and depth. Same thing, tracking through U2′s debut, Boy. All the tinkly bits float in space, and the Edge’s layer upon layer of processed guitars are all easily decipherable.

As you might expect from what I’ve told you so far, vocal and acoustic music is perfection on the Figaros. ABBA’s rendition of “Dancing Queen” is just as much fun as the Yayhoos remake. Yoko Ono’s vocals on “Watching the Rain” are everywhere in the sonic picture. If your musical taste is more traditional, I had an equally engaging time with Ella Fitzgerald.

Big bottom

AudioSolutions claims bass down to 32hz, and while we don’t measure speakers, a quick run of test tones confirms there is plenty of action at 30hz. The trick to getting the optimum setup with the Figaros (at least in my three rooms) was to get them a bit further out in the room than you might other speakers. It’s kind of like when you order shoes and a particular manufacturer runs half a size large. Get it wrong, and they sound uncharacteristically boomy – it’s not the speakers’ fault. Once you have achieved the perfect low and mid-bass balance, play some of your favorite bass-heavy tracks, and you’ll see what I mean. The Figaros deliver solid and substantial low-frequency output.

Running through a long playlist of hip-hop, EDM, and even some classic rock tracks with a lot of LF information, all but the most bass addicted end users will probably not need a subwoofer. The Figaros achieve true full range performance. Should your musical taste be strictly EDM and electronica, move the speakers slightly further towards the room corners to pick up a little bit of room/midbass gain and get the party started!

Further tech bits

The black finish is definitely slimming. The Figaros weigh 90 pounds each, so it’s up to you if you’ll need help placing them. They are well packed and easy to unpack without drama. Their footprint is small (44.1 inches tall x 10.7 inches wide and 18.5 inches deep) so they won’t overpower your listening environment.

A pair of 7.2-inch woofers, a 5-inch midrange that is run “further than the usual region” and a silk dome tweeter with a mini waveguide make for a full three-way system. Again, it’s important to note what a great job AudioSolutions have done on the crossover network and driver choices. These speakers have a coherence that you’d expect to pay 2-3 times this much for.

Even though the speckled finish is utilitarian in nature, the execution of the cabinetry is flawless, thanks to AudioSolutions “self-locking” cabinet. This is a level of detail I would expect on a $50k pair of Sonus faber speakers, but am thrilled to see in a NZ$14,500 - NZ$16,000/pair.

Adding up to excellence

We could go on and on, with this track and that, but the bottom line with the Figaros is the level of music they reveal. While the price can bring you a considerable glimpse into the upper strata of high-end speakers, Audio Solutions delivers a masterpiece. In the context of a $10k – $100k system, they’d probably be the last thing I’d upgrade if I did at all. The only key is that if you like this “sound” as much as I do. If you’re more of a mega detail person, these may not be the droids you want. I can’t think of a speaker in the last decade that’s delivered more sonic enjoyment than the Figaro Ms do for NZ$14,500 - $16,000/pair. Hence, I am happy to give them one of our Exceptional value awards for 2019. This is a lovely pair of speakers without fault, that could easily be the last pair of speakers you buy.

 

Testimonials

Thanks for your help and patience. It was a long haul to get to where we are.

Hi Terry

Thought it was time to give an update on the:

Antipodes Audio EX music server
Ayon Spirit V tube integrated amp

Audio Solution Figaro S speakerts

 

The reason I haven’t done so sooner is very simple: I have just been enjoying listening to the music and hearing the differences as the system opens up.

 

For not having an ideal positional setup, no isolation equipment, racks or standalone DAC (everything sits on 20mm marble slabs) the system has no right to sound as musical, detailed, open  and wide as it does. I know that previous systems I’ve had would struggle under the same conditions. For the range of music styles that I listen too, the system manages them with ease.

 

The Audio Solutions Figaro S speakers are a genuine surprise.

Beautifully open, communicative and (the surprise)  they do not lack for bass. My wife was surprised in that they were bigger than she expected but they have a neat trick in that the rear half of the side panels is reflective. We have wooden panels in our old house, so by getting the speaker with the xiralic brown finish, the rear bulk of the speaker has effectively disappeared. Nice.

 

Thanks for your help and patience. It was a long haul to get to where we are.
Now to get some of those missing pieces in place.

 

cheers 
Ross

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