Based on the more or less aggressive advertisement campaigns, you might have an impression, that the Polish audio manufacturers offer mostly cables. However things are quite different. When you check on the actual offerings, you can notice, that the scales are tipping towards loudspeakers. Besides the “dinosaurs” like ESA or RLS, or well known brands like Audio Academy or Pylon, there are a lot of other companies in the liking of Audioform, Ciarry or Zeta Zero. Today we will have a look at such a newcomer, a brand so fresh, that when it arrived for testing it was to be called P&D Acoustic, while one day before publication the name changed, I hope to a final version, DearWolf. Additionally the official introduction of the company is planned for the November Audio Video Show in Warsaw, so this test is a kind of advance action. Ladies and gentlemen, behold the Roe Deer.
As you can see for yourself the Roe Deer is a very rare case among Polish manufacturers, as it is based on porcelain drivers from the German Accuton. This is the reason, that instead of local competition we should compare the Deer to brands like Gauder Akustik, Marten, Neo or the Italian Albedo and Nime Audiodesign. Of course there are more manufacturers reaching for the Accuton drivers, but creating this list I recalled only the brands that moved through our pages.
Yet the Roe Deer are going further in their originality, as not only the drivers are standing out, but also the way those were applied is. They do not use the popular bass-reflex vented cabinet, or the less popular closed cabinet setting, but passive radiators, also ceramic ones. The cabinets themselves are made as a sandwich (two layers of plywood and a layer of MDF), and are painstakingly perfectly painted with white, high-gloss varnish. The whole is placed on massive, 30mm plinths, cut from aluminum slabs, then glass-blasted and anodized. What is important, the structure of the cabinets did not appear by chance, it is a result of precision measurements with an accelerometer, optimizing proportions and the positioning of the individual layers against the double, 173mm mid-woofers and 30mm, unprotected, tweeter. The passive radiators have the same diameter as the mid-woofers and are placed on the back, just above the single wire terminals. You can judge the sturdiness of the construction by their weight – each loudspeaker weighs 50kg. Also the cabinet has an internal skeleton, but also the walls are 25.7mm thick, while the diamond shaped front is even 34mm. According to Mr. Krzysztof Dudek and Mr. Jan Przybył, the creators of the speakers, this kind of cabinet makes them not adding anything to the bass, and the only known and controlled excitation is at 620Hz. Talking about frequencies it is worth mentioning, that due to a proprietary modification of the tweeter, with amongst others dampening of the chamber behind the diaphragm, the resonance of the membrane was moved to around 610Hz. The mid-woofers were also modified to minimize reflections from the magnetic drive.
The DSC (Dynamic Slope Control) crossovers are also very rich, they create an acoustic first order regardless of the electric slope, and are made based on wax impregnated coils and Mundorf Supre evo Silger Gold Oil, Munddorf evo Silver/Gold/Oil i Mundorf Supreme Silver/Gold/Oil capacitors.
You may now be wondering how the Roe Deer sound. Frankly speaking, before we placed them in our listening room and attached to our reference system, we had not the slightest idea what to expect. However life has taught us, that used drivers or type of their application are only elements from which something outstanding can be brewed, or not, depending on the skills and knowledge of the constructor. Because in Hi-Fi and High-End you come quite close to the popular “cooking contests”, where the participants might cook something heavenly tasty, or an abomination you would not like to put in your mouth, using the same ingredients. Staying in this consumption based aesthetics, just after a few notes played from “Possibilities” by Herbie Hancock, I knew, that in case of the Roe Deer, I am in for a treat at a two Michelin stars awarded restaurant. The Deer sounded in a way, one could not expect based on their price range as well as the used drivers. Maximally simplifying things I could say, that the effect reached by the Poznan dream-team did not resemble, in at least 2/3, what you usually associate the Accuton drivers with, and what causes the audiophile environment to be polarized. It cannot be hidden, that the ceramic drivers have a different sound aesthetics to paper, silk or polypropylene. Of course this is something that bases on individual taste and habits, however in most cases you cannot expect the Accuton to have silk smoothness or paper euphony. Yet in the Deer the treble is not only incredibly resolved and hellishly quick, but also undeniably shiny and sweet. I do not know if this due to the removal of the factory installed protective mesh, or other modifications ordered by DearWolf, but this sound comes shockingly close to the diamond diaphragm based brethren. One thing are the bells and cymbals and Miss Christina with Herbie, but the brass parties and lisping vocals from “A un Paso Lento Pero Firme” by Pepe Rios y Orquestra la Mancha, is something completely different, as there we will earlier have blood flowing out of our ears than catch any timbre on ceramic drivers. Yet the Roe Deer put an accent on the timbre. Of course there was no such saturation of the midrange, like with our Isis, but it was the level of the Estelon. And that is a feat, even today.
Now when we talk about the lower part of the sound spectrum, I did not give the tested speakers and chance and reached for an album, which scares not only all kinds of presenters on audio shows, but also many listeners, “Supernaturals Record One” a kind of cooperation between the formations Ufomammut and Lento, and that was it. I have not heard such power, a wall of sound which really pinned me to my listening chair, for a long time. This multiplane marriage of extreme doom metal, reaching speeds, which were seemingly reserved only for funeral, stoner and psychedelic versions, is a true obstacle course, as on one hand we have unending amounts of lower octaves, but the obvious goal is to keep its clear structure and the individual planes, where the unison even is being staged. In short, this is a very complicated form of somehow ordered chaos, which can be tamed only by the best. Clearly Krzysztof Dudek and Jan Przybył, who occupied one of the listening rooms of a High-End shop in Poznan in their early years, absorbed so much good sound, that when they started to design their own product, they were able to avoid errors made by others and created something really exceptional.
But to assess the dynamic capabilities and the volume of the generated sound you do not need to reach such extremes, as commercial, Hollywood superproduction soundtracks in the liking of “Jurassic Park – 20th Anniversary” of John Williams or “Alladin” will suffice. Big symphonic orchestra and equally big budgets mean a crowd of musicians able to fill even the biggest orchestrion, so you get so many planes, that you assume compromise from the start. Now I need to sadden you, even with big symphonics I could not catch the Deer on any attempts of simplifying or flattening things. And I am not talking about the ability of placing the individual sections in space, but full insight into their composition. Of course I want to remind you, that we are here at a very decent price point, especially for High-End, so please do not think it cannot be done better, as it can (we tried to articulate that during the test of the YG Acoustics Sonja). What I mean here, is that even with more expensive electronics the Roe Deer will not limit its potential, they do not filter supplied information and do not impoverish the sound. If someone thinks this is nothing special, then this means, that person did not deal with the dCS Vivaldi DAC2, it is in our sound patch since some time, and it placed the threshold so high, that we can immediately find out, if there is something lost from the signal along the way.
So we have a not so small sensation here, and a Polish one (after the headphone amplifier Fulianty Audio ST-18). It comes out of nowhere, a new and unknown entity, which presents its debut product, which, without any restraint, no even mentioning respect for the elders, jumps into the top class. Additionally, in case of the DearWolf, the tested model Roe Deer is meant to be only the introduction to the main offering, what tunes us very positive to the future, as if this is the entry point, then the products planned to be introduced during the Audio Video Show may shatter the foundation of the High-End Olympus. And we sincerely wish this to the DearWolf team.
Nobody will even try to counter the fact, that the German company Accuton is one of the pioneers of supplying ceramic drivers to loudspeaker manufacturers. Why? The biggest players in the market use their products, and this is a fact speaking for itself. An obvious result of this approach is, that seeing the business success of loudspeakers based on those drivers, smaller companies start to get interested in using them, what results in a vast increase of ceramic based loudspeakers even on lower price ranges, being a very interesting proposition for the average music lover. And everything would be OK, if not for one issue. Which one? This is probably clear – the ceramic drivers are very sensitive to bad applications, so you need to be really aware of that before trying to construct a speaker using them. Unfortunately not everybody takes this into account, or, they think they can get away with any sound result, as long as they show the white membranes on the baffle. But why am I talking about that? There is a very clear reason for that, as lately we had a chance to meet some very good speakers equipped with Accuton drivers. What is most interesting, the brand comes from Poland, is named DearWolf, and it supplied is first construction, using passive radiators to tune the bass, carrying the name Roe Deer. Are you becoming interested? I can tell you, that even if you are not to happy seeing white diaphragms, you can only gain something from reading the text below. Did I convince anybody yet? Yes, no? OK. Regardless of the answer I invite you to read some information about the surprisingly friendly, even for paper color lovers like myself, ceramic driver using Deer.
Looking at photos of the tested speakers, you can clearly see from the very beginning, that those are very lean constructions. The Roe Deer are not very high, yet very slender towers, with the front nicely broken into a few planes, varnished in glossy white and able to fit in any listening, and living, room. From the information supplied by the manufacturer it seems, that those are three-way speakers, with a sensitivity of 87dB and frequency response of 38Hz to 38kHz. The used drivers, although they seem identical to the series version, are modified during production, as the constructors decided to make some adjustments to them based on their tests and research. Looking at the baffle of the MDF/plywood sandwich cabinet we see three dynamic drivers – one tweeter and two mid-woofers. On the back you can find the mentioned already, passive radiators, located on the lower part of the cabinet. There is also a single set of wire terminals, but of very high quality. The speakers are placed on black plinths, made from one slab of aluminum for each speaker, cut by CNC, which make the base support wider. As you can see, there is no unnecessary extravaganza, just plain, timeless design.
So what must have happened, for a die hard paper loudspeaker endorser, started to praise constructions with drivers, which are regarded by many as too offensive, often wrongly, as shown by the tested loudspeakers. In fact it was nothing special, it was sufficient, that with a given way of sounding, the tested speaker had traces of musicality. Of course this must not mean copying the dense sound of BBC monitors, or stuntmen of resolution like the Magico M3 with graphene and diamond diaphragms. It is enough, that listening to them for hours, in any musical genre, did not bring any anxiety to the music lovers hear. And that was the case with our tested speakers. No offensiveness, no ringing or dryness. Starting with the treble loaded with a significant amount of vital information, through a quite smooth midrange, which avoided to heat up too much, and, combined with my amplifier, quite energetic and very pointy bass, the Roe Deer were enchanting with a very good balance between speed and weight of the sound, something, that is not very common in such speakers. But this is not the end of surprising findings. Due to the narrow baffle, the beautiful Polish speakers were able to create a very wide and also very deep sound stage, something you attribute mostly to stand mount speakers. Also the artists were very clearly located on the virtual stage. Are you surprised with so many positive aspects? I must confess, I was. A lot. Not from mischief, but being very positively surprised, that you can use ceramic drivers for very emotionally loaded music. So how did those all aspects fare when listening to music? Taking into account the speed, at first I used the disc “S&M” by Metallica. Do you think it was too laid back? Absolutely not, especially in some pieces from the second disc. Were those the strong guitar riffs, or the base drum supporting the rest of the drums and percussions, or even the not so well shown, albeit clear, vocals of the frontman, the whole was very convincing, not only satisfying my expectations regarding the clarity of the sounds reaching my ears, but also by filling a quite large (when compared with the size of the speakers) listening room with sound. There was drive and energy, something, without which this kind of music would not be able to lift at appropriate quality level. The subsequent title was meant to be a true “finger of God” of this test. What was this killer? The newest compilation of Adam Bałdych in the quartet “Sacrum Profanum”. And the effect? Easy on, there was no defeat, but I must recall my words about “way of sounding”. In general everything was in order. But I know this disc very well, and I know, that in some aspects (read: how the violin is reproduced) the ceramic drivers are not able to compete with cellulose ones, so I missed some saturation of the strings and wood in the sound of this instrument. But I ensure you, this was not a degradation of the sound, just another interpretation of its timbre. And I would like to remind you, that we are talking about a ceramic membrane, so that what the constructors were able to achieve may be regarded as well deserved success, as I listened to this disc from the beginning to the end. The last quest was the music created by computers, sonic knots of borrowed pieces and all kinds of overdrives from the disc “Liminal” by Acid. Here the overall presentation was similar to the one of Metallica, with the difference, that sometimes you could feel lack of foundation for the lowest sounds, which were not able to shake my room in this version. This was of course out of reach for the tested speakers, but I recalled this to remind you about not biting more than you can chew, while planning potential listening sessions. In general, also in this case the finale was on a level rarely achieved by speakers utilizing ceramic drivers.
I am not sure how you did receive the text above, but coming close to its end, I support my initial claim, that the tested Roe Deer are very well tuned set of Accuton drivers. Maybe not usually, but quite often, similar constructions put emphasis on clarity above everything else, and in music, it is not always about that. Of course, when it is meant to be a race, then shavings should fall, but most of music is just harmonious notes, one following another, and in that case the goals should be different, and the potential speakers should differentiate those and show them in appropriate way. And the tested speakers acted like that, in my opinion. Of course with all their aspects, but wherever possible they are far from being put in a drawer with a label “screamers”. And this is the realm only the best can reach.
System used in this test:
– CD: CEC TL 0 3.0 + Reimyo DAP – 999 EX Limited TOKU, VIVALDI DAC 2.0
– Preamplifier: Robert Koda Takumi K-15
– Power amplifier: Reimyo KAP – 777
– Loudspeakers: Trenner & Friedl “ISIS”
– Speaker Cables: Tellurium Q Silver Diamond, Statement
– IC RCA: Hijri „Million”,
– IC XLR: Tellurium Q Silver Diamond
– Digital IC: Harmonix HS 102
– Power cables: Harmonix X-DC 350M2R Improved Version, Furutech NanoFlux NCF Furutech DPS-4 + FI-E50 NCF(R)/ FI-50(R), Hijiri Nagomi
– Table: SOLID BASE VI
– Accessories: Harmonix TU 505EX MK II, Stillpoints ULTRA SS, Stillpoints ULTRA MINI, antivibration platform by SOLID TECH, Harmonix AC Enacom Improved for 100-240V, Harmonix Room Tuning Mini Disk RFA-80i
– Power distribution board: POWER BASE HIGH END
– Acoustic treatments by Artnovion
Drive: SME 30/2
Arm: SME V
Cartridge: MIYAJIMA MADAKE
Phonostage: RCM THERIAA
Price: 15 000 €
Frequency response: 38 Hz-32 kHz
Impedance: 4 Ω (3.4 Ω Min @40 Hz)
Sensitivity: 87 dB
Type: 3-way, sealed
Mid-woofers diameter: 173 mm
Passive drivers diameter: 173 mm Alu cone
Tweeter diameter: 30 mm
crossover : DSC – acoustical 1st order
Weight: ~50 kg
Dimensions without platform (HxWxD): 102 x 20 x 34 cm