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LOUDSPEAKERS ⸜ floor-standing

Pylon Audio
DIAMOND 30 Mk II

Manufacturer: PYLON S.A.
Price (in Poland): PLN 11,999/pair

Contact:
ul. Powstańców Wlkp. 1
63-200 Jarocin ⸜ POLSKA


www.PYLONAUDIO.pl

» MADE IN POLAND

Provided for test by: PYLON AUDIO


Review

text by WOJCIECH PACUŁA
translation Marek Dyba
photos "High Fidelity"| Pylon Audio

No 237

February 1, 2024

˻ PREMIERE ˼

Pylon S.A. is a company established in May 2011. It is the largest Central European manufacturer of loudspeakers and cabinets sold under the PYLON AUDIO brand. What's more, it is also a manufacturer of cabinets ordered by many renown brands from Europe (and beyond). It has its own state-of-the-art anechoic chamber, and also produces the drivers it uses in many of its designs. This is a PREMIERE review of the DIAMOND 30 model.

THE DIAMOND SERIES HAS BEEN PART of Pylon's lineup for a long time, since 2015. At that time it underwent an upgrade to the Mk II version, and a top-of-the-line Diamond 30 model was added to it. The general framework of the design, such as the number of drivers, type of construction and appearance remained unchanged, however a large part of the components were replaced with other components including drivers.

Take, for example, the latest model in the series, the Diamond 30 Mk II, which we are testing for you. As the manufacturer writes, the drivers in it have been replaced with significantly more deeply modified than earlier versions from SEAS and Scan-Speak. A slight change has also affected the cabinet. Its body is slightly more tilted back, which, as the manufacturer claims, in addition to aesthetic value, "improves the time alignment of the individual ranges". The speaker's plinth was also redesigned, so that - again, based on the manufacturer's materials - "silhouette of the set became slimmer while maintaining a timeless, minimalist character." In addition to reinforcements and ribbing, the designers used a new damping material in addition to natural sheep's wool.

The whole thing was measured in an anechoic chamber owned by Pylon, and tested with a laser vibrometer. The company says the following about the effects of these changes:

In designing the upgraded version of the Diamonds, we were able to improve the sound quality and design of its predecessor, while maintaining the same characteristic philosophy of the series in both sound and appearance. The lowest frequencies have gained in depth, speed and control. The midrange shows even more naturalness and neutrality and the treble has become much more detailed. Simplicity, impeccable aesthetics and refined sound are the undeniable strengths of the new 30s.

⸜ → www.PYLONAUDIO.pl, accessed 14.12.2023.

»«

| A few simple words...

MATEUSZ JUJKA
CEO

Photos Pylon Audio, „High Fidelity”

» WOJCIECH PACUŁA • The Diamond series is now seven years old, isn’t it?
» MATEUSZ JUJKA • Yes - seven or eight years. During all that time, the Diamond 30 model in its previous version sold very well (emphasis - ed.).

» WP • In the new version, however, these are different speakers, or am I wrong?
» MJ • You're right - the external design is very similar, although we changed the cabinet’s tilt from 4 to 7⁰, there is no decorative plinth, etc. Our designers found that integrating it into the cababinet looks better.

Instead, the drivers have changed, significantly. It's still SEAS, but you can see at the first glance that the midrange driver features a non-moving phase equalizer instead of a dust cap, and the woofers are also different. Coming from Scan-Speak, the tweeter is completely new, it's the next generation of the driver found in the Mk I version.

» WP • Why did you change the older model at all if it was selling well?
» MJ • The main reason was that after these seven or eight years we were able to develop a different path of cooperation with SEAS. Now we have much more to say when it comes to the drivers, we can even impose certain solutions.

» WP • So you have "grown up"?
» MJ • Well, yes, you could say that :) But it's mostly about the number of drivers we order. If they wouldn't have allowed us to make deeper modifications with our designs in mind, sooner or later we would have found another supplier to do so. And this was, I think, the reason for the change in this company's approach to Pylon.

We started work on the Mk II version two years ago, and a year ago we had it at such a stage that we knew it was going in the right direction and that the improvement would be significant. Not cosmetic, but just that - significant. The idea was that if we put both versions side by side, everyone would be able to say that there was a difference, and for the better, in every aspect. If that were not the case, we would still be selling the Mk I version.

» WP • What specifically did you change in the drivers?
» MJ • As for the SEAS drivers, virtually everything has changed. Different, larger coils, a different magnetic system, we also modified the suspension, and in the midrange driver - as I said - we added a cone. In the woofers, we changed the magnetic system to a much larger one. The idea was to make the bass stronger and better controlled.

This was forced upon us by the ... India. In India, people play music very loudly. If we think we're the ones playing it loud, that's the average level in India. Therefore, all of our speakers turned out to be too weak in terms of power. Their sound appealed, people praised the design, but when it came to playing in specific rooms, the speakers "didn't make it".

» WP • In that case, what sort of power handling do they expect and what speakers fulfil these expectations?
» MJ • Klipsch loudspeakers - although their timbre is clear and they can sound bit bright when played loudly, they did play much louder than the Pylons. Interestingly, our speakers were more versatile.

Salesmen in Indian stores said that the speakers had to be able to handle the amplifier knob at 12 o'clock position, and when watching a movie or when friends came over, they had to be able to withstand playing at 3 o'clock, and for a long time. The Jade and Amber models had no problem with this, but the Diamond in its new version needed to be at least 20% more powerful than its predecessor, and its bass more compact.

The key decision we made at the time was to assume that the new version will stay with us for the next eight years. So it must be perfected in every detail, and we could not improve it during that time. We couldn't make any mistakes. And this is because Diamond is the most important line for us. Although other series are very much liked. For example, we just received an order from China for forty sets and a request for a larger model from the Jade series. So the Jade 30 will be ready soon, and it will be a three-way design, with a larger woofer and with a cone in the midrange driver.

» WP • Can you say that the Mk II is a revolution or an evolution?
» MJ • I don't like revolution where everything works well. That's why the Diamond 30 Mk II is an evolutionary version. We didn't want to completely change the character of the sound, but improve what needed to be improved.

Therefore, the midrange is now stronger and better controlled. The lows are much better controlled. The bass goes lower, you see it in the measurements and hear it as well, but it is faster, it does not "hand" on the floor. It's not a slow, syrupy sound. In the older models of this series, if someone did not have a well-prepared room acoustically, they could have problems with the bass. We've also made the tweeter sound softer, which - in comparison - seems brighter in the older version.

» WP • Did you have to change the crossovers?
» MJ • Yes, and significantly so. They are assembled as a point-to-point circuit on an MDF board, and we still made a last-minute fix to it that pushed even harder the changes we wanted. During the last listening sessions before the acceptance of a prototype of another speaker, the Diamond 28 Mk II, two days before the start of mass production, the designers came with the freshest idea and asked to check it out.

And the change would seem simple - they made the air coil using a wire with a diameter of 1.4 mm instead of 1.1 mm. The difference in price between the two is PLN 50, which is two or three times more, but it was worth it. We listened to it and found that the progress was significant. Earlier we thought the speaker was already polished, yet such a small change added something "extra" in the midrange. We already had the final price calculated, so we decided that it would be our additional cost and left the retail price unchanged.

The internal damping is also different. Previously it was a bitumen mat, and now it is a foam. We chose it from among a dozen models - we measured them with a vibrometer, and then listened to the speakers with them. We also measured the finished speakers using the vibrometer. However, the sheep wool remained, it is a very good material that is difficult to replace with something else. But the biggest evolution happened in terms of drivers.

» WP • Tell us, please, something about the special project.
» MJ • It's a secret, but we've been working on it for five years, and it's with it in mind that we built an anechoic chamber at the time and are now buying modern multi-axis machine tools. For now it's top secret.

» WP • But it will be something big?
» MJ • Yes, very big. We don't know yet if we will have it ready for the Munich High End Show or maybe later, for Hong Kong, that we will also participate in.

» WP • But in Warsaw it will be ready for sure?
» MJ • Yes, it will be ready for sure and, who knows, maybe with the "High Fidelity" logo for the 20th anniversary of the magazine. By the way - we wish you all the best on this occasion!

» WP • Thank you and fingers crossed!
» MJ • Thank you and greetings to the readers of "High Fidelity"!

»«

Diamond 30 Mk II

JUST THIS SHORT LIST OF CHANGES leads to a simple conclusion: Mk II is simply a new design. It's still a large model, measuring 196 x 1090 x 525 (W x H x D) and weighing 30 kg (a piece) with four drivers in a three-way arrangement. Its cabinet is made of veneered MDF panels and reinforced with rims in several places. The body of the Pylons is quite slender for such large speakers. In addition, the front and rear panels are sloped, giving them a lightweight appearance.

Standard options include natural veneers covered with eleven coats of oil-wax, veneers stained in several colors and covered with clear varnish, and lacquers; the manufacturer says it fulfills individual orders for RAL colors. The speakers can be covered with a black-colored, magnetically attached grille. You can see in the photos that the screw-on plinth is always black. Spikes or feet are screwed into the plinth.

DRIVERS • Completely new are the drivers. Although they bear Pylon's names and symbols, they are - except for the tweeter - custom-made, modified drivers from two of the best-known manufacturers - SEAS and Scan-Speak.

The treble is reproduced by a new version of the soft dome we've seen before, the 19mm Scan-Speak D2010/852100. As we read on the website of AkustyK, or Andrzej Kisiel's company, this is the successor to the D2010/851100, which - along with the D2008/851100 - was the longest remaining driver of this type in this manufacturer's lineup. The changes concern primarily the magnet, now neodymium, as well as the material damping its front.

The midrange is the domain of the PSW 15.8.CA/P or the SEAS CA15RLY/P_CUSTOM driver. Measuring 146 mm in diameter and belonging to the "Prestige" series, the driver is actually a low-midrange model. It features a coated cellulose cone. The speaker also uses the Norwegian manufacturer's own technique, called SpiderRing. As he writes, it consists of a ring, spider, voice coil, connecting wires and terminals. He continues, "All parts are perfectly matched and glued together. The component can be attached to the magnetic circuit, which allows us to measure impedance and test parameters."

This driver has been modified by Pylon engineers. Specially for the Diamond 30 Mk II, the dust cup in the center of the midrange driver's diaphragm was replaced with a so-called phase cone ("bullet"). Thus, as we read, the space under the protective disc was eliminated and "resonances in this space disappeared, resulting in reduced upper midrange coloration."

The lows are reproduced by as many as two Pylon Audio PSW 18.8.CA/X drivers, or the SEAS CA18RNX_CUSTOM. This one belongs to the Prestige series, but - like the midrange - features a 170 mm diaphragm made of coated cellulose (paper). They have a massive magnet system that is significantly larger than its predecessor's, a larger 37.5 mm aluminum-copper wire coil, and a design that provides, as we read, "more piston-like operation."

The manufacturer declares that the speakers should work in rooms from 28 to 48 m².

Sound

HOW WE LISTENED • The DIAMOND 30 Mk II speakers stood 240 cm from the listening position and 255 cm from each other (counting from the center of the front baffle). They were 75 cm away from the rear wall, counting from the center of their back panel. The speakers' tweeter is not on their axis, but was moved to the side. During the test, the speakers were toed in so that the axes of the drivers crossed in front of my head.

I determined the distance between the speakers and their leveling using a Bosch PLR 50 C. For more on speaker positioning, see the article Mikrodostrajanie. Czyli ustawiamy głośniki, HIGH FIDELITY № 177, January 1, 2019, → HIGHFIDELITY.pl, accessed May 10th 2022. You can find out more about the acoustics of the HF listening room in the article Pomieszczenie odsłuchowe „High Fidelity” w oczach Mariusza Zielmachowicza, HIGH FIDELITY № 189, January 1st 2020, → HIGHFIDELITY.pl, accessed 12.07.2022.

In the test, they were driven by a SOULUTION 710 power amplifier, and the signal was sent via SILTECH TRIPLE CROWN speaker cables. The reference point was HARBETH M40.1 loudspeakers, and the music was played through an AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF SACD player and a LUMIN T3 file player.

⸜ Płyty użyte w teście | wybór

SUPER AUDIO CD/COMPACT DISC
⸜ MATT DUSK, Sinatra With Matt Dusk, Agora Muzyka 05903 1 1149510 7, CD (2020).
⸜ AQUAVOICE, Waves, Requiem Records 236 | 2023, Master CD-R (2023).
⸜ SONNY ROLLINS, Way Out West, Contemporary Records/JVC VICJ-60088, XRCD (1957/1997). ⸜ BECK, Sea Change, Geffin Records/Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab UDCD 780, „Special Limited Edition | No. 01837”, Gold-CD (2002/2009).
⸜ TOTO, IV, Columbia/Sony Music Labels SICP 10139~40 „Deluxe Edition. 40th Anniversary”, SACD/CD ⸜ 1982/2022.

FILES
⸜ ANGUS POWELL, Monsters EP, self/Tidal, EP, FLAC 24/48 (2015).
⸜ DANIEL SPALENIAK, Back Home, Antena Krzyku/Tidal, FLAC 16/44,1 (2017).
⸜ MONARCHY, My Body Is a Cage Hacan Sound/Tidal, FLAC 16/44,1 (2015).
⸜ JESSIE MERCHANT, 7 & the Fall, No Other/Tidal, SP, FLAC 16/44,1 (2015).
⸜ BRIAN ENO, Chamber Lightness, Universal Music Recordings/Tidal, EP, FLAC 16/44,1 (2023).

»«

I CANNOT START this text any other way but with MATT DUSK and his interpretation of Frank Sinatra’s songs from the album - no surprise here - Sinatra. I couldn't chose any other one because literally two days earlier my wife and I had attended his concert at the ICE Krakow Congress Center. And it was a fantastic concert. Dusk has a wonderful voice, very similar to the one we know from his idol's recordings, but at the same time also slightly different, his own. Together it offers a new quality.

He's also a very good leader and a man who really sings the way you hear it later on the records. At one point he asked the band to stop playing and the sound engineers to mute all the microphones. Complimenting the acoustics of the ICE hall, he sang one song a capella, without amplification. It was one of the highlights of the evening.

Listening to the same tracks from the album, with the Diamond 30 Mk II speakers, I had a similar impression of participating in an event, one that vibrates, pulsates, swings - soars forward. And that's because the Polish designs are so wonderfully open, so free of compression, that it makes you want to try more albums with them, out of curiosity to find out how will they sound like.

The lack of compression may have to do with the high efficiency of these speakers combined with their precise sound tuning. Although Dusk was the first to appear here, to be honest, I started my listening not with him, but with the latest AQUAVOICE album entitled Waves. Since I reviewed it exactly when Mateusz Jujka brought the Diamonds 30 Mk II to me and unpacked them, immediately after listening to this disc through the Harbeths I also tried out how the same recordings sound with the Pylons.

And here’s what i found out - it's a significantly different sound. And on the other hand, so interesting that the dissimilarities in question did not determine how I perceive them. It's fast, transparent, open, dynamic sound - oh, very dynamic. I was talking about Tadek Luczyka's album, and it was with it that the Diamonds in the new version showed low, well-controlled bass, even at high volume level. I played this music really loud, and the speakers remained unaffected, I heard neither compression nor distortion, such as brightening.

I was also surprised by the scale of their sound. Seemingly I shouldn't have been, because these are large speakers with two sizable woofers, but I know from experience that this doesn't always go hand in hand. Especially since the Pylons did not help themselves with a warm low midrange and higher bass, which is how you achieve high volume. They did it classically, offering a solid bass base with a brilliantly controlled character. When it needed to be, it was hard and contoured, and at other times soft - as with BECK's Sea Change album.

The musician's vocals were low and dark but were not brought closer to the listening position. This is one of the proprietary features of these speakers. They don't pull the sound in front of the speakers, but rather build a deep panorama behind them. The width of its base is large, although we focus our attention on the listening axis, on what is in front of us. Of course, the strings in the ˻ 2 ˺ Paper Tiger were wide to the right, and their reverb was reflected wide to the right. But the most important part of presentation was in front of me, in the center.

Interestingly, these are speakers that easily blend into a room. In the sense that most of what they offer can be achieved by placing them without precise calibration of the setup. Toed in, so that their axes intersected in front of my head, fairly close to the rear wall, they played with well-placed bass, and didn't cause low notes to become boomy, even in an otherwise strong ˻ 3 ˺ Guess I’m Doing Fine track from Beck's album.

The same control, the same freedom, fullness and depth, was repeated on the title track from ANGUS POWELL's Monsters single. It is based on kick drum strokes, joined by acoustic guitar and piano plus, spread wide and deep, the rest of the percussion. At the same time, the kich drum is quite dry and "here and now." The speakers showed these differences in an effortless manner. Their selectivity is truly superb, without breaking the boundary of becoming highly detailed, i.e., prioritizing details over the whole. However, it was also clear that these are not warm or dark sounding speakers.

So the next track in my playlist, Night by DANIEL SALENIAK, sounded really beautiful as well. This musician and composer, exactly twenty years younger than me, has a wonderful tone of voice and a beautiful musical imagination. It is no coincidence that his compositions can be found in many well-known series, for example Ozark (Netflix, dir. Bill Dubuque, 2017-2022). Listen to the track Night but loudly, and with Diamond 30 Mk II speakers, and you'll see what I mean. The speakers created a powerful soundstage with low bass. And they controlled everything perfectly.

So these are not speakers from the BBC "family". They don't enchant listener with a warm midrange, they don't emphasize it, nor do they "sweeten" the treble. When listening to something stronger, a wall of sound, such as My Body Is a Cage by the MONARCHY, a cover of a Peter Gabriel track, I heard a strong, fast, direct sound. There was a strong top, a firm middle and controlled bass.

Summary

AND THAT'S WHAT THESE SPEAKERS ARE LIKE. This is a proposition for those who like direct, powerful and open sound. Unless we mess something up at the electronics’ and interior acoustics’ end, there is no problem with either too bright treble or too little bass control. Both of these elements are sensitively controlled and refined.

The scale of sound is huge with the Pylons Diamond 30 Mk II. And at the same time the speakers absolutely disappear from the room. Yes, this is one of these cases. The sound comes from somewhere in between, and is brought out far into the stage. The presentation is stable and clear no matter how loud we play. But, interestingly, they perform just as nicely when playing not too loud, almost in the background.

This is a very good model that will play well in large and smaller rooms, no matter your musical preferences. And on top of that, it's fabulously easy to drive, so you can use tube amplifiers too! Well deserved ˻ RED FINGERPRINT ˺ from us.

Technical specifications (according to the manufacturer)

Nominal impedance: 4 Ω
Frequency response: 30 Hz - 20 kHz
Rated power: 130 watts
Power handling: 250 watts
Efficiency: 90 dB
Tweeter: Pylon Audio PST 19.TN (Scan-Speak D2010/852100).
Midrange woofer: Pylon Audio PSW 15.8.CA/P (Seas CA15RLY/P_CUSTOM).
Bass woofer: 2 x Pylon Audio PSW 18.8.CA/X (2 x Seas CA18RNX_CUSTOM)
Grille: Yes
Spikes: Yes
Dimensions: 196 x 1090 x 525 (W x H x D)
Weight: 30 kg/pc.
Warranty: 5 years (2 years standard + 3 years with product registration)

THIS TEST HAS BEEN DESIGNED ACCORDING TO THE GUIDELINES adopted by the Association of International Audiophile Publications, an international audio press association concerned with ethical and professional standards in our industry, of which HIGH FIDELITY is a founding member. More about the association and its constituent titles → HERE.

www.AIAP-online.org

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Reference system 2022



1) Loudspeakers: HARBETH M40.1 |REVIEW|
2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|

Cables

Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

AC Power

Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|

Anti-vibration

Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

Isolators:
  • PRO AUDIO BONO Ceramic 7SN |REVIEW|
  • FRANC AUDIO ACCESSORIES Ceramic Classic
  • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|

Analogue

Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

Record mats:
  • HARMONIX TU-800EX
  • PATHE WINGS

Headphones

Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC