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LOUDSPEAKERS ⸜ floor-standing


Manufacturer: LECONTOURE
Price (when reviewed): 23 990 PLN/pair

Contact: Lavardin Technologies
CEVL 42, Rue de la République
37230 Fondettes | FRANCE



Provided for test by AUDIO ATELIER


translation Marek Dyba
images Lecontoure (nr 1) | Wojciech Pacuła

No 215

1 April 2022

LECONTOURE is a brand owned by Lavardin, a manufacturer of amplifiers. It’s a separate brand for this French specialist’s loudspeakers. We are testing the middle model, belonging to the AirLine series, in the Reference version.

NE DOESN'T NEED TO KNOW THE HISTORY OF THE LECONTOURE BRAND, all it takes is just look at its AirLine speakers to know that it has its own idea for the world of sounds. Medium-sized tubes covered with fabric, without visible drivers, are designed in such a way that we do not have to sit in the so-called "Sweet spot", that is, the ideal listening place, to get a very clear and pure sound.

The photos posted by the manufacturer on his website suggest that we only need one such speakers to fill the interior with sound. The point was clearly so that the potential user should not feel that he was sitting in front of the loudspeakers, but that he should be able to forget about them. As we read, "AIRLINES create a 3D sound stage from anywhere in the room". And next:

With the AIRLINES there is no longer "A" privileged listening spot along the axis of symmetry where the two speakers have consistently equal effect, no more unique sweet spot as imposed by all past and existing stereo and multichannel setups.; accessed: 28.02.2022.


The AIRLINE 200 REFERENCE SPEAKERS may look different, but they are quite classic designs, and you could even say conservative ones. They are a two-way design and with a bass-reflex cabinet, featuring a 200 mm mid-woofer and a 25 mm dome tweeter. Their frequency response, the manufacturer says, is to start at 27 Hz and reach 30 kHz, although with a greater drop than usually stated, as he states the values at -5 dB; when we place the loudspeakers against the wall, as Lecontoure declares - we can get the bass down to 18 Hz, although it does not specify the decrease of the volume.

Of course, these are not loudspeakers like the ones we are used to, due to the shape of the cabinet and the way the drivers are applied to it. Instead of a typical cubic "box", the manufacturer chose a tube with a bass-reflex port underneath and with a mid-woofer screwed on from the top so that it points towards the ceiling, not the listener. Solutions of this type come back from time to time, because thanks to them you can get low bass from a relatively small housing and at the same time a "spatial" sound, taking advantage of the fact that the low and medium tones will reach us reflected from the ceiling and walls. Each cabinet measures 230 x 1020 x 230 mm (W x H x D).

However, it is not a speaker offering an "omni-directional" sound that DUEVELor GERMAN PHYSIKS or MBL talk about, to mention only the most obvious examples. We will not find a "reflector" in there, reflecting and dispersing mid and high tones (Duevel), or a true omnidirectional driver (German Physiks and MBL).

In the case of the Airline 200 Reference, it was more about cooperation of the loudspeakers with the room. The more so that the treble are reproduced by a driver facing the listener. The company materials point out that such an arrangement of the drivers results in the lowest distortions and allows for the best linearity. The producer also points out that in this way he eliminated the Doppler effect, which - as he says - is a problem of other designs. To make the design as simple as possible, there is only one element in the path of a signal for the larger driver - a voice coil.

The tubes of the cabinets are placed on pedestals cut out of steel. These are to stabilize them and raise them a bit above the floor in order to set the appropriate distance from the bass-reflex port. Inside the cabinet there is a "structure" made of 19 mm wooden plates, in which the sound from the speaker side is dampened. There are also speaker terminals on the bottom of the speaker. These are quite simple, gold-plated clamps. They will require a fairly flexible cable with banana plugs. Next to them there is a small toggle switch that can raise the treble level by 3 dB. However, the manufacturer does not state at what frequency.

The speakers are fully covered with fabric, supported in one place by an aluminum hoop; the logo placed on it shows the place from which the tweeter emits sound. The driver itself has no housing, it is attached to the top edge, just above the mid-woofer. The sound waves radiated by it have the cardioid shape, so they reach us not only on the axis, but also reflected from several directions. If the loudspeaker user wants to add some color to the interior, he can buy the loudspeakers finished not with the black fabric, but one of the other five colors.

⸜ REFERENCE The Airline 200 Reference is available in two versions - Basic and Reference; we are testing the latter. The Reference version is structurally identical to the basic one, except for one element - internal cabling, in this case using an expensive Lavardin CX series cable. They are made of Litz cables in air insulation and belong to the middle series of this manufacturer. As with the others, the main emphasis is on reducing distortions called memory distortion.

What is it? There is something like residual orientation of the molecules in every conductor after current flows in it. Lavardin Technologies engineers claim that these distortions significantly affect the useful sound, and what's more - that they managed to eliminate these distortions. Let me remind you that we deal with a similar situation in the case of turntable cartridges for which special demagnetizing systems (degauss) have been developed.

Lavardin cables are terminated with BFA plugs, so if it turns out that you like the Lecontoure Airline 200 Reference speakers, you should think about buying the same cables for them as the ones used inside. This type of synergy always pays off.


⸤ HOW WE LISTENED I set up Lecontoure Airline 200 Reference loudspeakers a bit differently than usual, at a distance of 150 cm from each other and 220 cm from me; they were 100 cm from the back wall, and 60 cm from the bookshelves behind them.

I performed the first part of the test with the Soulution 710 power amplifier, and the second with the LEBEN CS600X tube amplifier. With the latter, I used a switch that boosted the bass by 3 dB. In both cases I had to use Western Electric WE16GA (NOS) cables. I terminated them once with high quality Eagle.

Cable BFA plugs, made of gold-plated beryllium copper. The speaker sockets in the tested loudspeakers, however, are located so shallow that I had to unscrew the plastic covers from them, otherwise they would be too long and the loudspeaker could not stand firmly.

The omnidirectional radiation pattern of the mid-woofer in the Airline 200 Reference theoretically frees us from the tedious positioning of the loudspeakers. However, the thing is that fine-tuning improves the soundstage stability and focus. It is also desirable to cut the axis of the tweeters at the listening position.

I determined the distances between the speakers and their leveling with the Bosch PLR 50 C meter. More about setting the speakers in the article, Fine tuning. Speakers setup (HIGH FIDELITY № 177, January 1, 2019,, accessed: 28/10/2021). During the test, I listened to SACDs and CDs.

⸤ Recordings used for the test | a selection

⸜ OLEŚ BROTHERS & DOMINIK STRYCHARSKI, Koptycus, Audio Cave ACD-001-2022, CD (2022).
⸜ FRANK SINATRA, Sinatra Sings Gershwin, Columbia/Legacy/Sony Music Entertainment 507878 2, CD (2003).
⸜ CHARLIE HADEN & CHRIS ANDERSON, None But The Lonely Heart, Naim naimcd022, CD (1997).
⸜ KRAFTWERK, Minimum-Maximum, Kling-Klang Produkt/EMI 3349962, 2 x SACD/CD (2005).
⸜ ROGER WATERS, Amused To Death, Columbia/Analogue Productions 88765478842, SACD/CD (1992/2015).
Music For A While. Improvisations on Purcell, wyk. Christina Pluhar, L’Arpeggiata, Erato 4636203, CD + DVD (2014).
⸜ ELVIS PRESLEY, Elvis is Back!, RCA/BMG Japan BVCM-37088, seria „Living Stereo”, CD (1960/2002).
⸜ TAKESHI INOMATA, The Dialogue, Audio Lab. Record/Octavia Records OVXA-00008, SACD/CD (1977/2001).
⸜ CHARLIE HADEN & ANTONIO FORCIONE, Heartplay, Naim Label naimcd098, CD (2006).


I COULDN’T REFUSE MYSELF A PLEASURE OF listening to the newest album by OLEŚ BROTHERS, the Koptycus, recorded with DOMINIK STRYCHARSKI, and I did so as soon as I connected the speakers to the amplifier. This is one of the best-recorded albums I have heard for a long time, and musically beautiful. It will be a brilliant way to calm down and push away anxiety - something extremely important nowadays.

The French loudspeakers built a huge space in front of me, which confirmed what I read earlier in the company materials. It was a performance placed a little further away from me than usual, about a meter behind the line connecting the speakers, but a spectacle with panache, in every direction, also upwards. Unlike with the omnidirectional speakers, the virtual sources, that is the instruments "seen" by us, had well-defined places and were not blurred.

The timpani placed on the left, hitting quite low and quieter, had clear contours, just like the snare drum on the right, played harder and faster. It was a surprising experience for me because, as I say, speakers with omnidirectional radiation pattern tend to blur details and blur the bodies. Nothing like that happened here.

So I listened carefully to the monophonic recording Sinatra Sings Gershwin from the FRANK SINATRA’S I’ve Got A Crush On You. The loudspeakers immediately revealed their "otherness", and this was caused by moving the foreground back and by "de-stressing" the sound. By the former I mean that Sinatra "stood" a bit like on the stage, while with the Harbeth M40.1 he was placed in front of me, in my room. It was a different presentation, but not a worse one. This is because it was incredibly natural, and also because the proportions in volume between the vocal, trumpet, drums, etc. were kept.

The second thing, that is presenting the sound in an unobtrusive way, was based on such sound delivery that did not force me to do anything. With classic designs we are in a way “chained” to the listening position by the emotional pressure they exert on us. The Lecontoure Airline 200 Reference, taking the foreground away from us, make room for ourselves, for our emotions. But if we engage in music while listening to them, it will not be lost in the depths of guesswork, and will be presented in front of us in a well-defined and realistic way.

One of the things that absolutely charmed me with the French loudspeakers was the tonal balance. They sound amazingly, really incredibly even. Already with the Koptycus I knew that it was very good, but it was confirmed first by Sinatra's album, then the beautiful, soothing album of CHARLIE HADEN & CHRIS ANDERSON’s None But The Lonely Heart. Released in 1997 on the Naim label, it was recorded by Ken Christianson with two microphones - a technique he would later call TRUE STEREO.

The tested speakers showed this recording as the microphones "heard" it. It just so happens that I know the AKG C414 B-ULS, a later version of the AKG 414 EB, with which the recording was made - I used them for many years - and I can say that the Lecontoure showed the piano perfectly from a distance, without a resonant attack and with a slightly blurred body, but also a strong double bass in the foreground. So they showed them exactly as they were "heard" by the microphones. This recording is very natural in its expression, but not entirely in line with reality. How it's possible? - This is one of the paradoxes of the recording world. This is why additional microphones are usually used placed close to the instruments.

| Our albums


Naim naimcd022, COMPACT DISC | 1997

None But The Lonely Heart is an album released in 1997 by the audiophile company NAIM through its Naim Label division. It was recorded by the masters of their instruments - CHRIS ANDERSON on the piano and CHARLIE HADEN on the double bass. This material was recorded on July 5-7th. 1997 at Cami Hall, New York. KEN CHRISTIANSON was responsible for the process, and Naim's owner, JULIAN VEREKER; for mastering. Album was produced by Haden himself.

The album was recorded in a manner characteristic of Naim, in a minimalist technique developed by Christianson (more in the interview HERE). He used two selected AKG AKG 414 EB condenser microphones from 1978, set at a height of 2.5 m, in a stereo setup. The double bass was closer to them, and the piano a little further. The signal was led to an analog Nagra IV-S tape recorder, without compression, limiters, reverberation devices and EQ. The sound was processed during mastering to the CD version.

The resulting sound is incredibly coherent and natural in spatial relations. The proportions in the size of the instruments and their natural timbre are preserved. The downside of this approach is the reduction in the "presence" of the sound, which we are used to because of other recordings. It eliminates the fact that we cannot see the instrument, but only hear it. The piano is therefore a bit less saturated and does not have a strong attack.

Still, it is a phenomenal recording of top jazz musicians - Haden tried to persuade Anderson to play together for many years and only on this album he managed to do so. What's more, every change of the playback system for a better one, every change in it brings out something new from this disc, we just hear more and more. It is worth buying the first CD edition with a dust jacket. A true REFERENCE album!

EVERY TIME, WITH EVERY ALBUM, I was pleasantly surprised by the consistency, that is, density of the bass. The manufacturer pays a lot of attention to this aspect of the presentation in his materials, but you know how it is - these are "company" materials, and therefore largely promotional. Lecontoure seems to be, above all, an engineering company that uses PR, but does it "by the way". Because both the timpani from the Oleś brothers album, Sinatra's vocal, Haden's double bass, and then the low, electronically generated bass from the KRAFTWERK's Minimum-Maximum concert album, all of them had fullness and density, which would confirm the manufacturer's declarations.

More important, however, was that the bass seemed to be "in tune" with the rest of the band. It didn't fight anything, didn't pull anything, much less delay anything. The manufacturer gives the values of '27' and '18' in his materials, referring to the frequency response, but I would treat them conventionally. The energy of the low bass is not too high. There is no "kick", nor is it "energizing" a room. The bass is where the events happen, that is, behind the line connecting the speakers.

At the same time, the low tones have a nice, soft character. Together with a strong, clear, resonant and very clean treble, it results in an impression of effortlessness, lightness - the latter is not tonal lightness, but ease of conveying information. So the Kraftwerk album was pulsating, not intrusive, but also not boring. However, unlike the Harbeths, it was not a "tangible" and "here and now" sound. It was just a different perspective from which we can watch musical events.


ONE OF THE THINGS LECONTOUR offer, that I was absolutely fascinated with, was the effortlessness of the presentation. They emit sound in such an incredibly stress-free way that you can also listen to music with them in the background, you don't have to focus on it. But if we sit down comfortably and listen carefully to them, we will get a coherent, dense and incredibly spatial presentation.

These speakers do not differentiate recordings according to the type of music, because they play brilliantly jazz, rock, electronics and classical music, as from the Music For A While disc. Improvisations on Purcell performed by CHRISTINA PLUHAR and the L'Arpeggiata; this disc was chosen for his set by my interlocutor from last month, Roy Gregory, the founder of the "Hi-Fi +" magazine, and now "freelance" (more HERE ).

The loudspeakers sound in a very clean way, they are fast and coherent, they also have a nice, soft bass. I would not count on a really deep, extended bass, unless we place it close to the back wall, although even then it will only be a close approximation. They charm with effortlessness and with the fact that - really! - they sound good even when we are sitting or standing somewhere in the room, not in front of them. In this case, the company materials describing the technical solutions and the benefits resulting from them coincide in 100%. Beautiful loudspeakers for those who do not want to have a hi-fi at home, but simply music.

Technical specifications (according to the manufacturer)

Design: 2-way, bass-reflex
Frequency range: 27 Hz - 30 kHz (-5 dB)
In a room (near wall) cut: 18 Hz
Sensitivity: 89 dB
THD (88 dB): 0.25% (100 Hz - 30 kHz)
Dimensions (W x H x D): 230 x 1020 x 230 mm
Footprint: 250 x 260 mm


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