Langerton Configurations Division
Manufacturer: Langerton Configurations Division
y visit with family to Berlin earlier this year has left me with only good memories. Very nice food, great beer and some really cool people (see Straussman Story HERE). Hence my surprise at Andreas Krebs’ casual remark, while carrying the speakers up to my third floor, that he may have visited Berlin only once and wasn’t even sure when. Apparently, that’s possible, too. Perhaps he’s found his own place on earth in his “small homeland” of Trautskirchen, north of Munich, and he doesn’t need any other.
Dear Mr. Pacuła,
Phew, that’s lots of information, isn’t it? At least it helped to explain the strikingly similar appearance of the Configuration 217 and Ascendo products. But Capable Duo are quite different. Columns that came to me was relatively easy to bring, because consist of two modules: low-midrange and tweeter, stawianego a large woofer enclosure. The concept of a phase alignment of transducers, they are set relative to each other depending on how far and at what rate sit, is not new. Used by many companies to mention even the Swiss Goldmund http://www.goldmund.com a>, or American http://www.goldmund.com Wilson a>. But it is Ascendo "implanted" it in the consciousness of audiophiles. Beautiful, newly constructed columns of mechanisms allowing for precise control of the speakers to each other, appealed to both the mind and the heart.
A few simple words from…
I don’t know if there’s any significance to this, but I noticed that many German manufacturers have their roots in Central Europe. For example, Norbert Heinz had a Polish grandmother, my grandmother comes from Wroclaw, and Walter's roots are in the Czech Republic. And speaking about Walter, he is not only a co-owner of LANGERTON Equipment and Cables Division, which is a separate part of the company dedicated to cables, but has also been Norbert Heinz’s technical assistant for 10 years. The company’s name, LANGERTON, comes from Walter’s surname – Langer [ed. note: by sheer chance, my parents’ next door neighbor’s name is also Langer], and goes back about four years when he began manufacturing cables. After Heinz left Ascendo and asked me to organize the production of his speakers, we decided to use the name ‘Langerton’. To keep the two entities independent, we divided it into separate branches dedicated to speakers and cables: LANGERTON Configurations Division and LANGERTON Equipments and Cables Division respectively. Both parts of Langerton Configuration work very closely together and with strict cooperation with Norbert Heinz’s research and development laboratory called R&D by 4C.
Albums auditioned during this review
How can you not talk about speakers’ “personality”? Of course, we can naively believe that there exist speakers – electronics, too, but this time it’s not about the latter – with perfectly flat and neutral tonal response. If that were true, they would faithfully reproduce exactly what they receive from the amplifier output. As newcomers to the audio world we may even believe in this Holy Grail, and it works to our benefit. Unable to find it, we look deeper and deeper, getting to know various designs and becoming familiar with the design philosophies of particular manufacturers. Sooner or later, there must come a kind of “awakening” with the resulting understanding that there is no such thing as a “neutral” speaker. There are only various speakers that embody these or other design assumptions. And the latter are the result of a certain vision of sound and of the compromises in its implementation. Each speaker simply has its own “inherent” sound, intended by its designer.
Listening to 99, especially the short interludes where the surround effect was used to the fullest, I was trying to figure out what type of space it was and how it was presented by the German speakers. They did it unlike almost any other pair of speakers I’d ever had at home. I don’t think I need to mention that they are extremely spacious as that’s rather easy to guess. Yet they don’t sound the same with anything they play. While each album, even in mono, received its own proper setting in the form of individual, clear acoustics, its particular elements were presented differently from one album to another, and often from track to track. I didn’t even realize previously that some of these differences existed.
The dog on Waters’ album that barks from behind the window or the sound of sled running on the snow behind us – that’s normal. You can hear it even on a small portable stereo in the kitchen corner, as long as it has two speakers. Referring to it in the context of high-end in order to emphasize audio system spaciousness is downright offensive. It can only be a basis to build up something bigger. The Langerton speakers do it perfectly. Not only do they define phantom images on the sides and at the back, but they also combine them with what is happening in front of us. If the reverb on 99 runs from front to back, it is continuously audible, without jumping between these two points. When the infamous dog barks, it doesn’t happen for its own sake but in a certain space in which we are also located. There is a connection between HERE and THERE; both have the same exact set of distinctive sounds, reflections and reverberation.
However, to reduce these speakers’ advantages only to great imaging would be most unfair. I think that their ability to show the space so precisely and naturally, and so well differentiated has some other origin: a very flat and even frequency response. These are really neutral speakers. Perhaps this is the reason for such a tight and dense connection between the front and back and the sides. Creating spectacular space is often done at the cost of thinning down the lower registers and emphasizing a few frequency ranges. I didn’t notice any of that here. Even though, at first, the listener unprepared for such a presentation may find the bass slightly lacking. And this is another aspect that makes these speakers different from the majority of other designs I've ever heard.
The tonality of these speakers seems to be, or should I rather say it simply is brighter than that of the Harbeth M40.1. It generally resembles the JBLs mentioned earlier, which also have a better constructed treble, with higher definition. The frequency response of the 217 is flatter, however, with no unevenness that is always present in horn designs. Yet it is not a "bright" sound. I have mentioned the strong bass earlier on. The midrange also sounds saturated and very stable. It is helped by the method of driver mounting and the selected crossover network. But the main thing is that the speakers differentiate very well and hence the vocals will not always be strong and saturated, nor will be located in front of us on each album. When the recording was made in a large space, such as church – Antonio Caldara’s Maddalena ai piedi di Cristo, for example – the vocals are recessed deep into the soundstage. When it is a mono recording made with a close up microphone, right before the singer, his vocals will be in front, just before us. However, since we are used to the fact that the sound at home is to a large extent “made” or recreated, it puts us slightly off our stride. Due to the physical constraints of audio playback on speakers in small spaces, sound and production engineers who monitor it in even smaller sound control rooms attempt to condense the sound to make it “fit” between the speakers, without reducing the volume of individual instruments. It's very difficult but feasible, as evidenced by the best examples. This is the path taken by speaker designers who "help" them create a large volume. An outstanding example of such thinking are the Harbeth M40.1.
“School of Sound” is a basic audio concept that is worth remembering. One can of course talk about good and bad products, but most of them are simply dull. However, if something is good, it will most likely be different from other good things. The Langerton Configuration 217 speakers are also different from most others, resembling – I couldn’t help saying that – the Ascendo speakers I once auditioned at home. I don’t know how it’s possible, but the 217 seem more refined to me. While the ribbon in the System ZF3 S.E. is far better than the 217’s tweeter, bass delivery and a total integration of everything into one smooth whole are better with the speakers Andreas and Walter lugged up to my third floor.
The 217 were set up and positioned by Andreas and Walter. They took the same exact spot as all other speakers before them, but were heavily toed-in, with their axes crossing well in front of the listening place. I also tried less toe-in, but that suggested by my new friends turned out to be optimal. I experimented with the treble modules, though. The guys left them positioned 6 cm back from the front of the bass modules. My attempts to move them further back led nowhere as everything was getting blurry. However, moving them forward to about 3.5 cm from the front resulted in the most coherent and stable sound image.
The idea of a phase corrected speaker design was first realized by Norbert Heinz in 1988. Perfected over the years by Ascendo, it received a new form in the 217 Configuration speakers, based on electrical rather than mechanical phase correction. As Walter said, the real key to these speakers is their crossover network, their true heart and brain. Its proper design and tuning is always the most difficult aspect of maintaining linear phase response between the drivers. In the reviewed model it’s divided into two separate PCBs, on in the low-midrange and one in the tweeter module respectively. They feature high-quality components, such as expensive capacitors and air coils from Mundorf.
Design: Two-way, bass-reflex
- Turntable: AVID HIFI Acutus SP [Custom Version]
- Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory ZERO (mono) | Denon DL-103SA, review HERE
- Phono stage: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE
- Compact Disc Player: Ancient Audio AIR V-edition, review HERE
- Multiformat Player: Cambridge Audio Azur 752BD
- Line Preamplifier: Polaris III [Custom Version] + AC Regenerator, regular version review (in Polish) HERE
- Power amplifier: Soulution 710
- Integrated Amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
- Stand mount Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
- Stands for Harbeths: Acoustic Revive Custom Series Loudspeaker Stands
- Real-Sound Processor: SPEC RSP-101/GL
- Integrated Amplifier/Headphone amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
- Headphones: HIFIMAN HE-6, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-300, review HERE | Sennheiser HD800 | AKG K701, review (in Polish) HERE | Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, version 600 - reviews (in Polish): HERE, HERE, HERE
- Headphone Stands: Klutz Design CanCans (x 3), review (in Polish) HERE
- Headphone Cables: Entreq Konstantin 2010/Sennheiser HD800/HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE
- Interconnects: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, review HERE | preamplifier-power amplifier: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
- Loudspeaker Cables: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review (in Polish) HERE
- Interconnects: Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0PA | XLR-1.0PA II
- Loudspeaker Cables: Acoustic Revive SPC-PA
- Power Cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300, all system, review HERE
- Power Distributor: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate, review HERE
- Power Line: fuse – power cable Oyaide Tunami Nigo (6m) – wall sockets 3 x Furutech FT-SWS (R)
- Power Cables: Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version, review (in Polish) HERE | Oyaide GPX-R (x 4 ), review HERE
- Power Distributor: Oyaide MTS-4e, review HERE
- Portable Player: HIFIMAN HM-801
- USB Cables: Acoustic Revive USB-1.0SP (1 m) | Acoustic Revive USB-5.0PL (5 m), review HERE
- LAN Cables: Acoustic Revive LAN-1.0 PA (kable ) | RLI-1 (filtry), review HERE
- Router: Liksys WAG320N
- NAS: Synology DS410j/8 TB
- Stolik: SolidBase IV Custom, read HERE/all system
- Anti-vibration Platforms: Acoustic Revive RAF-48H, review HERE/digital sources | Pro Audio Bono [Custom Version]/headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, review HERE | Acoustic Revive RST-38H/loudspeakers under review/stands for loudspeakers under review
- Anti-vibration Feets: Franc Audio Accessories Ceramic Disc/ CD Player/Ayon Polaris II Power Supply /products under review, review HERE | Finite Elemente CeraPuc/ products under review, review HERE | Audio Replas OPT-30HG-SC/PL HR Quartz, review HERE
- Anti-vibration accsories: Audio Replas CNS-7000SZ/power cable, review HERE
- Quartz Isolators: Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010/CP-4
- FM Radio: Tivoli Audio Model One