High End 2012

Germany’s Adam Audio has established a strong reputation for active loudspeakers in and out of the studio, but this year the company took the bold step of offering its Tensor range in passive form. Two of the original Tensor models were released as active-only designs, but the latest iterations of the three floorstanders are devoid of amplification, which brings prices down to an €16,000-per-pair starting point for the Gamma Mk 2 (right), rising to €29,000 for the Beta Mk 2 (middle) and reaching €45,000 for the mighty Alpha Mk 2 (left). As is Adam’s inclination, midrange and treble are handled by X-ART ribbon drivers, while the company’s 7" Hexacone driver delivers the lower midrange and woofers with honeycomb cones take care of the bass. The enclosures feature a so-called Hawaphon layer that consists of a polymer sheet with a matrix of cells that are filled with steel pellets, an approach that at least one German turntable maker (Clearaudio, notably absent from this year’s show) has incorporated into one of its models. The front baffle is inch-thick aluminum, helping the Alpha Mk 2 weigh in at over 400 pounds.

Adam Audio's demo system sounded suitably powerful and dynamic; these speakers may be passive, but they're still in control.

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