Chiara is clearly an Italian word and can be translated as "bright" or "clear." It is also connected with music via few Italians singers naming their songs including renowned Andrea Bocelli.
Bright and clear would better translates to Kaiser Acoustics Chiara’s transparency and the musical part to the intrinsic musical nature.
I’ve had a real luxury or exploring the prototype version, normal production version and special edition with full blown Duelund upgrade. So, from an opening act up to the final full blown production version brought a lot of material to deal with and provided great food for a thought over the periods of almost a year. These time gave a great opportunity to dive deeper into the Chiara universe.
Chiara Zizicote special edition speakers were brought personally by Rainer Weber and Hans-Jürgen Kaiser. I saw few of pre production photos of them. These are real rare gems as nothing is standard with this version starting with exclusive selected rare Ziricote veneer with the same piano lacquer as Fazioli grand pianos. Particular review model was finished with the transparent lacquer consisting of mighty 14 hand polished layers. Rare, exotic Western Electric AWG 16 tinned copper, cotton insulated cables are being used for internal wiring and crossover implements Duelund silver bypass cap over the Duelund CAST Cu cap at the tweeter. This is comparable to the hybrid caps from Frederik, where this bypass cap is already incorporated.
It took me whole afternoon in trying to get the light right with Ziricote veneer and transparent lacquering. You should get the idea from the enclosed photo, but they are even more stunning in person.
Review set came witt improved stand with same tankwood bars from the main speaker cabinet being added to the acoustic labyrinth in the stand.
The acoustic labyrinth sucks out structure borne vibration. It is very critical at this exact point to have right mechanical impedance, otherwise the vibrations (structure borne sound) would just bounce inside the main cabinet causing the intermodulation. This technology is one of the key elements to have such a big sound coming from small sized monitor with active 5 inch unit.
New labyrinth on the review pair and including all the new production Chiaras is extended and has additional tankwood bars at two threads in the bottom of the speaker. Kaiser team eliminated vibrations from the main cabinet and from the floor.
They’re also developing external custom tailored platform similar to their high-end audio racks, which can be mounted below the Chiara and locks/connects to this two "vibration carrying" threads and increases the amount of structure borne elimination further. This special new accessory will be called vibration terminator.
Q & A
To understand better the philosophy, dedication and know how behind the Chiaras’s here are few comments from Kaiser Technical director Rainer Weber…
Do you feel there is certain aspect of your speaker designs that sets it apart from the traditional dynamic speakers ?
First we want to produce a speaker which touches the soul of a music lover. There are a lot of specific solutions in the speaker to achieve this. We pay a lot of attention to just have sound where we want it so no unwanted vibration in the cabinet or whats ever. We name that perfect boundary conditions for our drivers.
That means we pay attention to use the best components, lowest vibration on the components and drivers and reduce RMI/EMI.
Second we thought about the right requirement for speaker design. A flat response in 1 m distance in an anechoic chamber is not the right requirement. You need to accept that the speaker is usually placed in a living room or dedicated listening room where it faces room acoustics (so no anechoic chamber and also no free field like an open air concert). You need to consider that in your design. Furthermore psychoacoustics are very important as we produce our speakers for human beings not machines.
Why did you decide to use drivers on the back side? Some might argue that decision!?
The reason is psychoacoustics, especially the importance of the direct and diffuse field. The direct field (first wavefront) is important for spatial hearing (in the frequency range where phase information and interaural differences are important).
The diffuse field is very important regarding the tonal quality of a sound. See a human being needs at least 2 ms to distinguish a noise from a tone, events shorter than 2 ms just do not have a tonality importance. But in that range above 2 ms the first wavefront is almost gone, you have reflections (room interaction) and the diffuse field dominates.
First we do calibrate the tankwood boards on special machines. We order them a big thicker as we would need them and to avoid the tolerances of the supplier we sand it down to the thickness we need ( a few mm).
After that we do the veneering. We apply two veneers on the tankwood – inside and outside. One so called blind veneer and then the nice top veneer. The reason is that tankwood and the top veneers have different properties in thermal expansion and humitidy expansion.
Therefore we have a “middle veneer” which can absorb this reaction forces – otherwise you get severe cracks in the top veneer.
So what is the benefit of tankwood?
Tankwood is very dense and stiff, it has almost the same Young modulus like aluminium (standard not air craft grade). And it is an inhomogeneous material. It starts a 1,4 mm beech veneers slices which are bonded together under enormous pressure and with some 2 component resin. So there is a correlation to carbon panels, which are carbon fibres embedded in a resin. Here we have wood fibres embedded in a resin.
You can order different alignments between the layers which have different properties to address what kind of mechanical stress (push-pull, bending, torsion) you have in your panel. Most interesting feature compared to homogenous materials like MDF, HDF and aluminium is that the speed of sound in the material is different in each direction. Why? See, the speed of sound in a rigid material is the square root of Young modulus divided by density.
The young modulus is different in the 3 directions but the density is constant. Therefore the speed of sound is different in each direction leading to a high dispersion of energy so that resonance can not build up so easily.
Please tell us more about your unique internal design?
All internal braces and panels are designed to have different eigenfrequencies.
We use several approaches to do this, one is to design some dimensions according to the Devine ratio (“Golden ratio in nature”) the other is about modal spacing where we try to use Fibonaci algorithm.
Furthermore we are implementing an acoustic labyrinth with a billion of possible transfer paths in the critical areas (crossover brackets, stands and some more). There the cancelation of unwanted vibration energy goes with some phase randomisation not with damping.
The math behind this is quite complex.
Each time I write something about the Kaiser Kawero Chiara speakers reactions starts to fly in as the an endless torrents of the rain. As it seems these stand mounted monitor speakers ignite different emotions and a huge contemplation from both audiophiles and music lovers.
In my last postings I was being asked how do they compared to the small monitors from other companies. Well, each company have chosen their sonic orientation in reaching out to the music demigods.
In the era, where physical dissection of the music and analytic approach seems to become an audiophile merit for the ultimate sound reproduction I’m kind of lost in these sound orientation. For me, the intricate ability of any speaker should be the potency that can touch the essence of the music. This plays the first, foremost and most crucial role in my judging.
Anyone is free to spend their hard earn money. No questions asked. What I’m putting forward as the food for the thought is the real reference and sound orientation. There is no question in my book of leafs for what should stand as the the one and only guidance. Music! Pure, unaltered, uncompress and as raw as it gets. Comparing some of the speakers with live, un-amplified, acoustical music recorded in the natural acoustic space is not only frustrating, but completely wrongly oriented. As, we’re following the robotic language of automatons rather then poetic, lyrical and tuneful nature of the music. Something is lost in the translation with many of the contemporary speakers.
As first and foremost clear distinctions of Chiara I would put forward few things and elaborate. The tonal correctness, non fatigued spatiality (yes they can address the audiophile pin pointing), ability to portray layers of the harmonics from different instruments vividly and the absence of dynamics distortion.
Compared to the often very cold nature of the typical aluminum entrapped enclosures, Kaiser Chiara is able of tuneful colors. One thing I closely connect with the completeness and correctness of the presentation is the choice of the tweeter.
For me the typical tweeter just don’t qualify for the ultra and high-end sound performance, what to talk about given price point. Compression horn loaded driver based tweeter and ribbons posses intricate ability of non fatigued and non distorted sound. I’m not saying that traditional tweeter fails completely. Still, even the most exotic endeavors and materials deals with the physical limitations of the basic tech being implemented. At certain point they come to the plane of the distortion impact, that is audible to the trained ear instantly. This sadly brings the fatigued, push forwardness of the sound, that reflects very little of what supposed to be associated with the actual sound.
Harmonic decay of the instruments can be quickly squashed, restrained and in the absence of the real life attributes, yet Chiara is as vibrant as it gets when driven properly and set into the right conditions. Involving and captivating.
Passive woofer on the back side brings an unimposing performance and the Chiara speaker stand chamber generates the physical size of the sound that is more close to the balanced performance of the bigger floor standers then small monitor speakers.
With their unique design they are able to disappear instantly, but still keeping the large size soundstage and sense of the space. This is actually the Über achievement and the thing of prolonged R & D from the Kaiser Acoustics team.
Here are few musical reference used through the review…
When it’s special its special. There is always a standard procedure with the set of reference material, but when something is of more profound nature I always bring out few unique and favorite gems…
Zia Mohiuddin Dagar - RAGA MANGEYABUSHAN
Zia Mohiuddin Dagar was suggest by dear friend and legendary Kavi Alexander. It took some time to get my hands on it, but I’ve got lucky in my net search in finding this unique album on vinyl. Zia Mohiuddin Dagar playing the Rudra Veena is recorded by Georges Kisselhoff and released on the French label Alvares.
These albums demands more from the listener, then usually, but also brings an immense pleasure and insures in depth journey into the rarest and deepest music-scape of the universe. For those who can appreciate this kind of music.
With this album harmonic richness and complexity of overtones is of different plane. It takes a life time (or few) to perfect the instrument.
Tone structure gives a hard run not only to speakers, but to any high-end audio component. Sheer audacity of complex and majestic interplay is not easily reproduced or match at a certain degree.
Making this record sing and act on its interactive plane is not an easy task and here is where Chiara acted firmly with the fundamentals in play. Lush, with plethora of air around the instruments and with ability to move with glacier momentum when needed.
This subsequently continued with large scale instruments where the Kaiser’s clarity of approach once again established their inner sanctum reminiscent of the musical core. Like with Zia Mohiuddin Dagar’s Audra Veena playing, where harmonic layering and tone shifts with the hidden complexity Baroque Tedesco by The EAR Enhanced Acoustic Recordings (Stefano Bertoncello) continued the explorations of finer, subtler and perplexed universe of consequential and constitutional sound particles that resolve into the musical momentum.
This is another hard to find record and it was recorded on Revox G 36 tube tape recorder custom modified by Tim De Paravicini.
In recreating to the simpler, direct miked session typical high end audio reproducing is beyond usual tasking. It takes so much more to decipher this record. Like with Audra Veena the complexity of overtones and marvelous acoustical landscape.
8 Ensembles in 1 Bit
Switching from analog to digital. 8 Ensembles in 1 Bit at DSD 256FS from Native DSD offers an eclectic mix of acoustic, jazz & classical music recorded. This collection further addressed the Chiara’s potent ability to render acoustical music with more meaningful experience then usually attached to this particular type of loudspeakers. The atmospheric sense of space as well as flamboyant natural density played a key role connected with the perpetual rather then evanescent sound experience.
Jimi Hendrix Experience - 1983 (A Merman i Should Turn to Be)
Jimi’s masterpiece expertly curated by Eddie Kramer reveals spatial information, separation and almost mushroom like trip without even a scent of the the herbs needed :). Eclecticism to the fullest and energy in motion demands luminously enabled speakers that are not astray from timbral gravitas and in absence of sonic mildness and austere sounding. Chiara managed to paint the condensed nature, never sounding sounding, which happens to often with Jimi’s 1983 in play.
Usually what is essential is hidden to they eye and ear. On contrary as proven across the different musical genres and music Kaiser Acustics Chiara speakers acted not only chameleon alike, but as forte perpetual mobile, that could continuously reawaken the emotional impact and translate the needed info than curates our inner musical sensors.
So the final conclusion and elaboration regarding the small high-end audio monitor speakers is needed to sum everything up.
What I can say? This is by far the best high-end audio monitor speakers I’ve head pleasure of experiencing in my environment!
This is the Porsche of high-end audio for many reason even before hitting the sound domain… I was entrapped with the sonic performance and most positively surprised with all three models. Each of them revealed the Chiara’s basic nature, but also a step up in performance. Where first prototype was involving and refined and proven the importance of burn in the new regular version (white finish) on the photos brought further balance and focus to the reproduction. As the cherry on the top of the cake, the last Special Edition pushed things up to the different plane. By each hour of burn in things would change and the ethereal impact of Western Electric AWG 16 tinned copper, cotton insulated cables internal wiring, cross over implementing Duelund silver bypass cap over the Duelund CAST Cu cap at the tweeter and new acoustical labyrinth was coming into the focus.
This is what can be expected when two German minds are jointed under the same roof in pursue of the perfection. Rainer Weber and Hans-Jürgen Kaiser are both key elements in the Kaiser Acoustics venture. Combined effort, enthusiasm and dedication resolves in pure German DNA that goes beyond promising.
Chiara is constitutionally different from other stand out monitors by default. While many companies are trying to implement the speakers stand with the matching aesthetics, Kaiser Acoustics team went further and made Chiara stand the integral part of the speaker itself. Special compartments adds to the speaker acoustic volume and this results in completely different sonic perspective then expected.
Kaiser Acoustics Chiara speakers looks different, sound different and are technically designed in very different way. And as a testament, from the the first notes played through them, the timbre, tone and the color were spot on. One can always argue regarding everything else with the sound reproduction and too often this become a matter of the endless, nonsense discussions, but one cannot argue about basic, fundamentals. Like with the basic food taste, the timbre of instruments are what they are. Either they resonate with the original or not.
Rainer Weber tuned and voiced Chiara in the strict way that clearly follows the language of the music. But, Chiara’s are also a complex, demanding chameleons.
Do note, that despite their size Chiara’s need to be driven properly to expose their real nature. This is no entry level speaker and to made them excel you need to pair them with the proper electronics. I’ve found that when matched with solid state monoblocks they can begin to breathe as they’re designed for. Goldmund Telos 360 locked very well with Chiara’s, but Thrax Audio Teres hybrid mono power amplifier really pushed things to the upper plane. When paired with the Totaldac as the digital front, Robert Koda Takumi K- 10 as a preamplifier and a pair of Teres monoblocks, the sound outcome was something completely different and more then just well versed. It is always a matter of synergy, but this particular setup let Chiara’s excel.
As mentioned above in the text, there are a lot of attributes that ignites audiophiles criteria these days. For some it might be the soundstage, transparency, particular details etc. For me, the first and foremost thing is the sound that reflects the real music and can instantly pull me in and let forget about all these “materialistic” attributes. The real magic of high-end audio reproduction is much more eclectic mix; the grand illusion, that entrap our senses and let us into the musical oblivion via juxtaposition of many attributes.
Chiara is brining the tradition into the present by the sound orientation focus and propriety sound architecture by following the past and heritage of speaker design.
As described before, Kaiser Acoustics Chiara is no beginner loudspeaker. While it can be used with the satisfying result with high-end audio electronics, they really start to manifest their real character with upper echelon gear.
Do note! I strongly suggest to withdraw from any firm conclusions before giving the Chiara proper break in time. While 200-300 hours would come as a good guiding block their real nature starting to take shape after 800-900 hours.
This phenomena is associated with a lot of contemporary cables and electronics. By implementing different contemporary built in parts the rules of the high end audio game changed. This why we can witness to many of high-end audio gear being exchanged after very short intervals. In many if not most cases people simply didn’t gave the proper time to let the gear settle in. To take things even on more esoteric level… White noise, tone signals etc won’t help with this process. It has to be the music material, that fills up the “burn in” time. I’ve tried to come down with the logical explanations and even discussed this with few renowned audio designers. So far there is no white paper or firm conclusions on this subject matter. Yet, the results are the continuous proof.
Kaiser Acustics Chiara speakers are a special gems and luckily few of the end customers and reviewers could decipher their real potency. They are a proud labour of love from both Rainer Weber and Hans-Jürgen Kaiser. They infused their life time expertise into the creation of these unique product.
Yes, Chiaras’ are not cheap. You’re buying into the brand, R & D and the sound. At this price point one can easily explore great amount of floor standers and some other monitors, yet it’s a challenge to find such a natural performer with the matching level of aesthetics.
Chiara’s are Made in Germany and designed by Germans. Somehow the result is far fetched from what one might expect. These speakers are in absence of any scent of being mechanical, industrial etc. They embrace and evoke the emotional part of music, that can engages one into the deep world of music instantly and make it an lasting journey.
Best monitor - stand mount speakers on the planet? When everything is set up with the utmost attention and following the path of synergy and when used in the proper acoustical space, that won’t challenge Chiara size, they can bring something that is not easily rivaled.
Chiara’s comes as a testament of Kaiser Acoustics efforts and long standing operations with exotics woods, acoustical materials, bespoke elements etc.
I’ve been repeatedly asked about the current state of the high-end audio industry. For me, its the best time to be around as finally we’re reaching the realms of audio genuinely refined advancement. With the products like Chiara my faith in the matured and complete high-end audio speakers is restored. Kaiser Kawero Chiara speakers represent something that is more then worthy of all the attention and highlighting. This is what 21st century high-end audio supposed to stand for and how it supposed to sound.
When everything is on the proper plane it’s hard to keep the enthusiasm bottled. This is why I’m also happy to to give out the Mono & Stereo Upper Echelon Award to Kaiser Acoustics Chiara speakers. For what they represent and especially how they executed the idea in practice they are more then worthy of the given accolades.
Text: Matej Isak
From EUR 22.000 - depends on finishes and the country VAT
Bandwidth 40Hz – 30kHz ±3dB
Impedance 4 Ohm
Crossover Point 3100Hz
Recommended Power 150 Watts
Weight 34kg ea.
Geschäftsführer: Hans-Jürgen Kaiser, Hans Kaiser
Phone: +49 (0)8593 9389110
Fax: +49 (0)8593 9389120