German Physiks Emperor Mk II Speaker Insights

A series of pictures taken as the latest set of German Physiks Emperor Mk II speakers were assembled and prepared for factory testing. Along with detailed descriptions.  

Here is a series of pictures taken when the latest set of German Physiks Emperor Mk II loudspeakers was being assembled and prepared for testing at the factory.

On the left is the base plate and central column of one of the loudspeakers. The projection on the front of the column is the motorised beam that the four-DDD driver array will be attached to. The listener can move the beam on each loudspeaker and thus the attached DDD drivers, back and forth from the listening seat using an infra-red remote control. As the Emperor’s DDD drivers cover 180Hz to 24kHz, moving them is essentially the same as moving the whole loudspeaker – which weighs 425kg - but is much easier and quicker. This simplifies the set-up process.

The woofer and sub-woofer cabinets will be stacked either side of the column.

On the underside of each loudspeaker’s base plate are 15 recessed nylon ball casters. These allow the loudspeaker, which weighs 425kg, to be moved relatively easily on smooth floors. They are very helpful if you need to make any major changes to the loudspeaker’s position.

A note about the German Physiks DDD driver.

The original DDD driver used a diaphragm made of titanium foil. This worked well sonically, but was very fragile, which made it difficult to manufacture and easily damaged in the field. You can see one of these on the wooden cabinet behind the Emperor central column in the first image. In 2008 we introduced an improved version of the DDD driver that uses a diaphragm made of carbon fibre. This has a wider frequency range at both ends of the spectrum than the titanium version; it has a wider dynamic range and it is much more resistant to physical abuse. This video shows how much abuse the carbon fibre diaphragm can tolerate before sustaining any damage: 


The carbon fibre DDD driver has a very wide frequency range. The low-end frequency limit depends on which German Physiks loudspeaker it is used on, but it is generally around 200Hz. At the upper end, we start to roll it off at 24kHz - giving a range of nearly 7 octaves. This wide range allows it to avoid the crossover point in the midrange that all conventional loudspeaker designs must have and so avoid any discontinuities this may cause. This and the facts that the DDD driver is comparatively compact and that it covers the range that in conventional loudspeakers would be covered by at least two different types of driver, gives exceptional coherence.

It also has a very low moving mass: less than 3 grams. This is close to that of many tweeters, but it can move as much air as a conventional 6.5-inch driver. This low moving mass gives a very good dynamic response.

It is phase linear across its range, so it accurately reproduces the timbral characteristics of instruments and voices.

There is only one type of carbon fibre DDD driver and this is used on all of German Physiks loudspeakers, from the entry level Unlimited, up to the top-of-the-line Gaudi. This means that our entry level loudspeakers give a very good taste of what you will hear from our higher performance models.

As you go up the German Physiks loudspeaker range, we use one, two or four DDD drivers combined with increasingly larger bass systems and more sophisticated crossovers. This allows us to produce loudspeakers with progressively higher maximum output levels, better resolution and more extended bass, which are capable of driving progressively larger rooms. The Emperor shown in these pictures can drive rooms up to 200 sq m, the forthcoming improved Mk III version of the Gaudi will be able to drive rooms up to 300 sq m and our entry level Unlimited can be used in rooms as small as 10 sq m.

There is one odd man out in the German Physiks loudspeaker range, which is called the Unicorn Mk II

This uses one DDD driver to cover the range from 40Hz to 24kHz. The low-end extension is achieved by coupling the energy from the pistonic radiation of the DDD driver to a horn. It is not the prettiest loudspeaker in the world, though it does look better in the flesh than it does in pictures. It more than makes up for its unconventional looks with the exceptional clarity and over all coherence of the sound. It is wonderful on jazz, classical and vocal music and can even do a pretty good job on rock. When we have had them at shows we have played tracks like Edgar Winter’s Frankenstein at high levels and listeners have been impressed.


 You can find a list of the 8 advantages the DDD driver gives German Physiks loudspeakers over conventional designs on our web site here.

This shot shows the motorised beam with the DDD drivers partly extended.

In the background are two of the three German Physiks Emperor stereo power amplifiers that were part of this system. The Emperor must be tri-amped, so it needs three power amplifiers per loudspeaker : one for theDDD drivers, one for the woofer section and one for the sub-woofer section. These are driven by our Emperor DSP- X digital crossover which is supplied with the Emperor. An analogue volume control using the same relay switched resistor network as the Emperor preamplifier uses allows the relative level of each of the three outputs of the DSP-X to be adjusted by +/- 4dB. This provides a simple means of tuning the system. A more comprehensive range of digital filters is accessible using an App that runs on Windows, iOS and OSX devices. This allows the user to set up to 8 filters, where they have the choice of the filter type (bell, shelf, notch, or all-pass), centre or turnover frequency, Q or bandwidth and gain.

You don’t need to use German Physiks power amplifiers with the Emperor. As long as the amplifiers have the same gain and can provide sufficient power, any good quality high-end amplifier can be used. Naturally, we think that our amplifiers sound the best.

Both loudspeakers have had their woofer and sub-woofer cabinets fitted.

Each woofer cabinet is fitted with two 6-inch drivers and these cover the range from 180Hz to 80Hz. Each sub-woofer cabinet is fitted with a 12-inch driver and covers the range from 80Hz to 18Hz. Next the front trim panels go on and then the DDD drivers are fitted – shown in the foreground.

A front trim panel for the woofer cabinets. This one is finished in carbon fibre.

The loudspeakers are now fully assembled. After resetting their position in the room and tidying up the cables they will be listened to for the first time. They will then be measured and allowed to run for several days. After this, they will be measured again and these measurements compared with the first set to check for any changes. Following this they will be given a final listening test and if all is well, packed and shipped to the customer. 

This shot shows the Emperor electronics that will go with these loudspeakers. Three Emperor stereo power amplifiers, two on the floor and one on the rack. On top of the amplifier on the rack are the Emperor preamplifier and Emperor DSP-X digital crossover.