On the 120H, three powerful speakers are driven by a subwoofer built into the cabinet – we checked what it sounds like!
Despite the impressive size and versatility of the speakers, the Founder 120H amplifiers can be powered by 12-watt tube woofers and not very efficient “transistors”. How is this possible? Well, inside each amplifier is a Class D amplifier, which covers the high power demand of powerful amplifiers. What does this unusual “floor heating” offer?
At first glance, you can see that these speakers are very different from the speakers the model has provided so far. The boxes, perfectly finished in natural walnut veneer, are a completely new and original design: they are narrow at the top, and the side sections consist of two panels joined at an angle that increases towards the top panel. The unusual design certainly attracts attention, but it is about something else, which is to provide the best working conditions for the speakers installed in the boxes. For this purpose, within each room, parallel planes that favor the formation of unfavorable reflections, including standing waves, which contribute to the sound coloration, have been excluded.
The speakers on the H120 have been completely redesigned, keeping in mind new materials and construction solutions. The triple scale is entrusted to a dome made of a mixture of aluminium, ceramics and magnesium. While designing it, the goal was to have the best possible ratio of stiffness to the lowest possible weight. In addition, the “whistle” is equipped with a perforated acoustic lens, known, for example, from speakers of the Premier or Prestige series. However, the greatest attention is drawn to the flat spherical waveguide, thanks to which it was possible to obtain the widest possible angle of radiation for high-frequency waves with uniform properties. This waveguide also has the effect of aligning the phase of the amplifier with the midrange, which is reflected in the coherently reproduced audio stage, accurately displaying the background levels.
The mid-range is processed by a cone-shaped aluminum-magnesium diaphragm tweeter. It works with a full-surface acoustic lens, known from the cheaper Persona Series or the cheaper Premier Series. In the case of this converter, the designers focused on obtaining maximum linear processing for the medium frequency range. An important role was played not only by the accurate determination of the rigidity of the diaphragm suspension, but also by the completely new magnetic coil drive, which has low distortions. Many components of this engine are manufactured in such a way as to reduce their susceptibility to resonance as much as possible. On the other hand, in the place where the amplifier is connected to the front, a special damping system was used that physically isolates the amplifier basket from the mounting hole.
The bass range in each speaker is handled by three powerful 215mm tweeters, equipped with drive systems capable of transmitting massive power. The diaphragms of these engines are made of carbon fiber enriched with metal to obtain a higher internal damping coefficient and, accordingly, the ability to suppress resonance that may arise during diaphragm vibrations. In addition, these speakers are equipped with the signature ART ribbed surround top suspension system, which is designed to ensure high flexibility and the ability to suppress resonance.
At the rear of the speakers, attention is drawn to a very large metal plate with perfectly crafted dual input terminals and an IEC power jack, used to supply a Class D amplifier with continuous power of 1000 watts placed inside.
The 120H tweeters deliver sound at an impressive scale. Thanks to the built-in effective class D amplifier, the bass achieves excellent parameters, for example the 22 Hz range. The sound quality goes hand in hand with the high parameters. The low-tone range is graceful, fast, rhythmic, and defined as on loudspeakers equipped with enclosed enclosures. In addition, there is an exceptionally curated display in the range of mid and high tones. The sound in this frequency range is very coherent and crystal clear.
The 120H speakers play music without any distortions, even at very high volume levels. During several listening sessions, I played it with the Polish Reveal Second Signature tube tweeter, as well as the built-in Accuphase E-270 solid-state tube amplifier. With both the domestic “tube” and the Japanese “transistor” I managed to get high-quality sound with perfect control. This proves that the powerful 1000W woofers running inside each speaker are capable of providing the necessary amount of power and subwoofers to power fully powerful subwoofers operating in the bass range at any time.
The triple-band reproduced by the Founder’s 120H has very good accuracy – this feature caught my attention from the first moments of listening. Paradigma speakers actually included every detail in the Bach tracks that Masaaki Suzuki played on the harpsichord. The sound of this complex and demanding instrument for subwoofers was perfectly reproduced in terms of dynamics and timbre.
These are speakers that push the boundaries of sound quality to an exorbitant level.
In the mid-range, regardless of whether I pursued classical or jazz, the sound was very clear and informative. I listened particularly well to 120H tracks by Wynton Marsalis and Akich Fukuhara, especially when I was driving the speakers with the second tweeter from Audio Reveal. Models managed to show the characteristic color of the tube body in all its glory. My attention was also drawn to the amount of midtones in relation to the treble – these ranges were very skillfully selected, thanks to which, regardless of the volume, a balanced sound reached my ears.
I return to the range that deserves special attention, namely the bass. The 120H is treated as proprietary not only because of the speakers built into the speakers, but also because of the DSP system coupled with ARC correction that monitors the propagation of low-end components in the room from 300Hz to bottom. Low levels have an almost atomic effect and excellent control in literally every aspect – they are agile and fast, when needed, ramp up quickly and then fade just as fast. In the case of the 120H, there is no question of a rubber-like bass. In the work of Patricia Barber, the double bass sound had exceptional power, but it resulted more from showing the dimensions and range of this instrument than by enhancing the sound in the bass by emphasizing its mass through a bass reflex system (which is often common). Low tones, when needed, can drive the listener down to earth with their power. At the same time, don’t feel for a moment that it lags, seems too heavy, or fades more slowly than it should.
Space is the sound aspect that is one of the most formidable features of the Founder 120H sound. It includes both the correct size of individual instruments and their precise placement in the sound stage. In the music of Mike Oldfield or Jan Garbarek, the forms explode with so much detail depicted in space so vividly that I can point my finger at where they are all. Stereophones built by 120H have the allure that even the largest speakers deserve – just place them in a room of at least 30 square meters to experience the encounterable space while communicating with live music.
The Founder 120H is one of the best Canadian speakers I know. They belong to the amplifiers that push the boundaries of sound quality to an exorbitant level. The dynamics and bass performed by the Canadian speakers are amazing! But there is also a perfectly depicted space and a naturally and faithfully reproduced timbre for each instrument. I am very impressed with their vocal qualities: great stereo, timbre and ability to convey the power of recordings. The great advantage of these amplifiers is also the fact that thanks to the built in amplifiers, there is no need to invest in powerful amplification, and a tube amplifier can be used to power them. Well deserved recommendation!
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