In for the review, this time came the Xavians XN Virtuosa arrived from the Czech republic Unpacking them was straight forward and once out of the box they looked drop dead gorgeous in the in the American walnut veneer. Setting them was much easier, then what it usually takes for speakersto be placed ideally. Normally it took me much more efforts and many repositioning to get to the optimal place. Xavians XN Virtuosa's seems to fit within my room acoustic very well and that might be one of the reason for the easy installation. I've ended up with having them ten feet apart, with three feet aways rear walls and five feet away from the side walls. Speakers already got good week of burn in prior to arrival, but for the correct and fair measuring I've decided to let them settle in my room for three-four weeks just to be sure they were stable in there performance.
BEYOND THE SPECIFICATIONS
When looking at the specifications the Xavian's appeared as quit a heavy load for the amplifier. Surprisingly under the real world conditions, they were not at all demanding. During the test period I've tried several tube and solid state amplifiers. None of them had any problems in driving the Xavians XN Virtuosa speakers. Even a twenty watt tube power amplifier could get them rocking.
Its very nice to see, that someone is still using the Scan Speak carbon/paper units. Despite might being called a older design, in my personal opinion, they are still among the best and most harmonic sounding units out there. Xavian drivers are custom made for them by Scan Speark and the midrange looks a lot like the 8545W, but with an added phase plug. The phase plug version compared to the original seem to have a more dryer and precise sound. I will return back to that later in the review.
The sub woofer unit also comes from the the Scan Speak. The very solid and stable 8 inch carbon/paper unit, that was used in many great speakers over the years. And not without a good reason. When implemented correctly, this woofer can produce very deep and fast bass.
XN Virtuosa is a compact 3-way floorstander speaker at aprox one meter in heigh. Despite, its size, there were nothing compact about the sound coming from them. Interestingly my Acoustic Plan Sitar integrated was a proper match for the Virtuosa's. It provide them with just the right amount of power to hold them in a iron grip and with the grand tonal balance in the Virtuosa´s favour.
First album I've used with the Virtuosa was Eric Clapton's Me and Mrs. Jones. Album with a high boogie factor. And, what an album to start of with! The Xavian's portrayed the album with ease, flow and a great sense of "being" there. Claptone voice was old and raspy and the instruments was staged right behind him and impressively extended to both sides. The Virtuosa's were really showing off here with a big and coherent soundstage. They created impressive amount of sound space and always with the correct timbre. With these two attributes they, were filling my living room in avid and authoritative way. The bottom end was stable, hefty and with very fast transient response. Again they sounded like going deeper than what was shown in the technical specifications. Something, that shows how seriously they took to present the correct technical background for the performance. Something, that many loudspeaker manufacturers at present fail to deliver.
Midrange reproduction was natural and very transparent with a sparkling top end being full of life and without a problem in presenting even the finest nuances.
Eric Gales album Transformation brings the powerful blues rock album with a tons of dynamics. Xavian speakers under the review seems to let the full enjoyment of this kind of music. The track Double Dipping is fast and "straight in your face." The bass notes coming out of the Virtuosa's were with out a glimpse of any stress. Even when music was going loud the Xavians XN Virtuosa speakers kept its cool pace. Drum solo´s combined with guitar solo was presented with and all most realistic lifelines. If felt like being there. This track sometimes projects the wrong feel at first few notes, but make no mistake, the track will grow in both pace and volume very fast when the loudspeaker s are able to reproduce this.
And the Virtuosa's did this SPOT ON! The base drum hits hard without any boominess or overhang. Snare drum dynamics were hellishly good with out being harsh or over done. This is an album, that is very hard to recreate right. Very few speakers can make this album come a live with out loosing grip and focus. Not the Xavians XN Virtuosa speakers. They kept everything stable and multi layered. Quite awesome. Quite awesome indeed!
The Royal Philharmonic & James Persons album Organ in Splendour and Majesty is one of my favourite organ albums. The atmosphere of the recording is grand with enormous spacious sound! The Toccata and Fugue in D Minor never fails as a test track check the speakers can space presence and depth. The Virtuosa did a fantastic job presenting this with a natural and open sound. Very detailed, and focused on the both organ and on the church ambience. I could easy close my eyes and let being taken to church that day. The organs on the album goes really deep and despite XN Virtuosa was only able to dip down to 30ish something hertz didn't felt the absence of anything important. Perhaps just a very small amount in the deepest octave, but this felt like a minor thing. What Vituosa did so good made me forget about the deepest octaves missing. The tonal balance of these speakers is really well balanced. Xavians XN Virtuosa speakers are three driver way design, but they sounded like one coherent driver with almost limitless headroom. This must be a result of the drivers being chosen and their actual matching in implementation.
Arnett Cobbs album Again with Milt Buckner share something magical in it. Its old and Jazzy as hell. Cobbs Blues is charming and swinging. Xavians XN Virtuosa speakers layered out the album with so much soul and realism, that you could actually hear Cobb "spiting" in his sax. I could hear and sense how much Cobbs enjoyed playing the music. The crispiness of his Sax and the speed of how he played was so darn good. With feelings like these, musical reproduction makes me smile and create an urge for buying more music! The more Cobbs was blowing the more I've got blown away. This album might not be the best sounding recording out there, but I could easily enjoy it through the Xavians XN Virtuosa. Most speakers with state of the art drivers would just make this album scream in your face. But the well balanced and a bit laid back character of the Virtuosa just portrayed this album to its fullest potential. And it's all about the recreating the music and emotions at the end. Not driving on the technical specs.
FOR THE LOVE OF THE MUSIC
Its feels strongly that the Xavians XN Virtuosa speakers were designed and manufactured by the people who enjoy listing to the music rather than people who enjoying the only technical side of things. If Virtuosa slightly laid back character is matched by the right amplifier it will be a sonic heaven without the need of draining ones bank account.
The build quality is flawless and with some very nice details. The leather at the speaker terminals and the engraved logo in the wood just screams quality and draw attention to the detail. The use of very fine speaker drivers with a clever technical twist seems to enhance the attention to detail. Virtuosa´s crossover is deigned in the most balanced way and the rolloff of the units helps in the ability of the Virtuosa's being natural loudness without being stressed. Those Scan Speaks units can handle a ton of stress before driving them to the maximum.
Not to forget the aesthetics. The Walnut finish fitted my room very well and they added the room some natural warmth, just like the speakers them self did with music.
Xavians XN Virtuosa presented every kind of music with the same respect and without highlighting some recordings more than other. They are not totally neutral, but they are also not coloured.
Xavians XN Virtuosa might not benthe most analytic speakers out there, but as said above, they're were not builded to do that. The Virtuosa are being build for the listener that enjoys the music and have a focus on letting the music being a part of his life rather than being a speaker with to much focus on its self.
When the music starts going under the skin, you'll forget all about specs and numbers. Then, the speakers will disappear in front of your and present you with a grand and very life like soundstage. And as written they can rock you big time. The technical aspect is ready to fly out o the window the minute music starts...
When ever I've listen to them I was smiling. Whatever kind of music it was being reproduced, I was having fun. They are capable of getting me to forget the every day trouble and stress of some times life's impact of being cronically I'll...
Xavian XN Virtuosa performed flawless all the time in my test period and were such a pleasure to deal with. The thing I most liked about them was there easiness of installation and how fast one could be seduced by them. Both sonically and with aesthetics. Xavian matched the wood finish as a mirror effect. The wood has natural depth and is a true eye candy.
The last three months with them, was a journey into something new. In the past 20 years I can't remember when I had such a blast listening. The Virtuosa takes you on a musical journey with a ton of history to tell. It will grow on you in time in such a way that you would most likely not part with them. They are amongst the best valued speakers out there and will grow on and with you. The better electronic you match them with, the better they get PERIOD!
SUMMING IT UP
So, to sum it up. If you are in the market for the new speakers and having around 25 square meters of space you should really consider the Xavian XN Virtuosa speakers. You could easy spent more money, but most likely not get something better. These speakers are for the grown up audiophiles who loves to enjoy music. And as mentioned few times, they are drop dead beautiful to look at.
Sadly this reviewer have to ship them back and its very hard to say goodbye. Or maybe not. Cause it feels certain, that the Xavians XN Virtuosa will return in due time when then funds are raised up and ready for them. They will be missed!
Text: Kenneth Jensen
Bass frequency unit 222 mm custom made Scan-Speak, paper membrane with carbon fibers, 42 mm voice coil, SD1 low - distortion "motor", double magnet
Mid-bass frequency unit 180 mm custom Scan-Speak, made to Xavian specification, paper membrane with carbon fibers, 42 mm voice coil, SD1 low distortion "motor"
High frequency unit selected Scan-Speak Ring Radiator - 26 mm voice coil, copper short circuiting ring, double magnet, enlarged working chamber
System type pure 3-ways damped bass-reflex, massive rear aluminium port
Cabinet 22 mm MDF hand-crafted, bituminous damping
Frequency response ( -3 dB on reference axis ) 30 - 30000 Hz
Connection 2 pairs of singly mounted XAVIAN binding posts/ bi-wiring, bi-amping
Nominal impedance 8 ohms
Crossover frequency 300 / 2600 Hz
Sensitivity (2,83V / 1m) 86 dB
Recommended power amplification 50 - 250 W
Dimensions (HxWxD) 1000 x 240 x 400 mm
Net weight (1 unit) 35 kg