REVIEW: AUDIO PHYSIC CLASSIC 5 FLOOR STANDING SPEAKERS
Over the last few weeks, we have been testing the Audio Physic Classic 5 floor-standing loudspeakers. These are the introductory level of Audio Physic's floor-standing speakers.
Audio Physic loudspeakers maintain an excellent reputation amongst audio fans and are known for their high-quality construction as well as performance. This tradition of quality has remained such even through some more challenging times in the marque's 30+ years.
The Brilon-based brand has made a name for itself through supplying technically advanced custom-made drivers wrapped in beautiful cabinets. Furthermore, as you would expect from a premium brand, they spend lots of time creating intelligent solutions to eliminating harmful vibrations.
The Audio Physic Classic 5 was born out of the need to meet the requirements of audiophiles but also offer a fully-featured floorstander at a more approachable price. However, do not think that this means that they have skimped on performance or woodwork, albeit constructed by Pylon Audio out of Poland.
The Classic 5 loudspeakers employ a two-way system based on a silk dome tweeter and a bass-mid driver with glass fibre cone. They also represent a more affordable entry to Audio Physic's line-up.
The Classic 5 is design based on the universal two-way speaker system. Here you have a silk dome tweeter and a low-midrange glass fibre cone. The tweeter operates in a damping chamber and sports a lightweight coil with increased thermal resistance. The slight horn-like shape allows frictionless behaviour in the transition zone between mid and high frequencies. This way, the spatial image remains homogenous and three-dimensional even outside the sweet spot.
The woofer cone is made from woven glass fibre, combining low weight with high internal damping. Sound-disrupting partial oscillations of the cone are thereby effectively prevented. Furthermore, you have a low-loss suspension and a steel basket designed to provide the highest possible freedom of airflow both under the lower centring spring and through the ventilated magnet. Both drive motor and suspension ensure rich bass performance and excellent step response at the same time. The fixed phase plug reduces compression effects and positively influences the propagation of sound waves, and also helps to remove heat from the coil thus increasing the thermal stability of the entire system.
A further feature of these speakers is the crossover's architecture. Instead of using a classic printed circuit board, the Classic 5 comes with a freely wired crossover with high-quality components such as film capacitors.
I do like the mixture of form and function regarding the driver surrounds. The metal sleeves protrude from the casing and so function simultaneously as pins for the removable grilles as well as providing a secure fitment of the speakers into the cabinet. Such focus on items like this is generally only seen on more expensive speakers. While on the subject of practical aesthetics, there is also the oversized plinth. The plinth not only gives the speaker a secure footing on any surface but also provides the Classic 5 a modern and elegant presence.
Additionally, thanks to the integrated M8 threaded bushings to take the standard spikes, the Classic 5 also offers the possibility to be equipped with the optional high-quality Audio Physic VCF II M8 feet. The company tells us that the Vibration Control Feet (VCF) decouple the speaker from the floor and lift the sonic performance to another level.
The Classic 5 is easy to drive so will suit most amplifiers, even low powered units. The Classic 5 will even happily play along with the 20W per channel Musical Fidelity V90 Amp, so those of you with low output tube amps will find them ideal. Do keep in mind that 20W is the recommended minimum though with the max being 120W.
Based on a resonant tunnel located high in the rear of the casement, the Classic 5's bass-reflex system is such that it overcomes the "blowback" that can occur with ports nearer the floor. Furthermore, it produces a wide bass frequency range without it over-powering the mids or treble. A unique mat consisting of a combination of pressed fibre and loose, slightly dense threads of synthetic wool dampens the chamber in which the woofer works. This combination aids low register efficiency while losing nothing in the damping performance. The speakers boast a frequency range of 42 Hz-30 kHz and 89 dB sensitivity.
All-in-all, what we have here are beautifully made speakers sat on solid pedestals with adjustable spikes and a driver line-up that promises precision performance aplenty. However, do they make good on this promise?
- Height: 950 mm / 38.0"
- Width: 170 mm / 6.7"
- Depth: 230 mm / 9.1"
- Required Space: Width x Depth 210x300 mm / 8.3x11.8"
- Weight: ~ 13 kg
- Recommended amplifier power: 20-120 W
- Impedance: 4 Ohm
- Frequency range: 42 Hz - 30 kHz
- Sensitivity: 89 dB
As well as the aforementioned tiny MF V90 amp, I was lucky to have the Classic 5 cross paths with both the Simaudio MOON 240i and the McIntosh MA5300 integrated amplifiers as well as my usual daily driver in the form of the Musical Fidelity M6si. With all the ‘full-sized' amps the Classic 5 showed great musicality as well as an ability to possess control and finesse when dealing with intricate pieces.
The 50 Watt MOON 240i really opened up with the Classic 5 producing a wonderfully three-dimensional soundstage, proving that sometimes it's more about delivery than sheer power. However, I did have a couple of powerhouses at my disposal.
With the big Mac MA5300 the speakers were able to prove that, even with such a slender silhouette, they were able to produce accurate and punchy bass with exceptional control even in the lowest ranges. This ability brought to life everything from Electronica to Doom. Granted, you are still limited somewhat by the 17cm driver and skinny cabinet (170 x 950 x 230 mm (WxHxD)) but, with some time taken in regards to positioning, the Classic 5 can rattle your trousers with well-controlled bass. When partnered with the MF M6si, strings were the most articulate here, to the point where I wanted to invite my neighbour around (she's a professional orchestral violinist) for her opinion, only to be greeted by a confused AirBnB tourist as my neighbour was on tour again.
For many people, myself included, £1,890 is still quite an investment. However, when looking at the fit and finish of these speakers as well as their consistently exceptional performance, I reckon I could get away with telling people that they cost twice that. Well, the quality of the walnut veneer and the impressive glass fibre membrane drivers certainly look like they belong to a more expensive set-up for a start. Furthermore, I dare say that the Classic 5 also performs at least as well as some of the floorstanders at the £3,500 mark.
The sound from these speakers is effortlessly engaging, and they project clear contours and thrilling dynamics while never being fatiguing. The small, 22-mm silk dome tweeter never sounded harsh or strained and proved capable of handling the minutiae details to enrich the musical reception.
The Classic 5 proves that the German manufacturer has it where it counts. Audio Physic has managed to create a floor standing speaker that not only looks deceptively expensive but also punches above its weight in the performance arena. Additionally, thanks to its size, this musical performer can fit into practically any room. Its dimensions also allow you the flexibility in placement experimentation – this is something well worth spending some time doing.
The Audio Physic Classic 5 will undoubtedly appeal to listeners who have wide-ranging musical taste who want an accurate speaker that will also put a smile on their face. The Classic 5 also plays its bonus card of being quite compact, as well as easy on the eyes.
You get a choice of Black Ash, Cherry, Walnut, and White Semi-Gloss as finishes. They are available now for £1,890.
For more information visit Audio Physic.
Further reading: StereoNET UK Discussion Forums
StereoNET UK's Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He's captained the GadgetyNews good ship for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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