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Floorstanding Loudspeakers
Graj-End. Advantage through passion

Price (in Poland): 8000 PLN/pair

Manufacturer: Graj-End

Osowicze 64a 16-010 Wasilków - Polska
tel.: (85) 743-80-66 509-928-990



Country of origin: Poland

Text: Wojciech Pacuła
Pictures: Wojciech Pacuła | Graj-End (2, 3, 4)
Translation: Marek Dyba

Date of publication: 01. March 2012, No. 94

Mr Cezariusz Andrejczuk says, that he started his quest towards best possible speakers with open baffle ones with popular Saba Greencones drivers. The present mid-way point of this quest is GrajPudla No. Three. All the quest started because loudspeakers and electronics available on the market did not fulfill Mr Andrejczuk expectations regarding sound reproduction that might be achievable at home.
He found that to satisfy his expectation, his „taste”, he had to go 50 years back, to the age before: QUALITY (high-efficiency, ultra-light, paper cone drivers handling maximum 5-10 W, low-watt SET amplifiers) were abandoned in favor of QUANTITY (drivers capable of handling dozens, even hundred watts, solid-state amps or push-pull ones)”. After such declaration one should already know what is one dealing with – loudspeakers equipped with drivers from 50-ties (of 20th century of course). Unlike designs from that time Grajpudla are not of open baffle kind – there is a closed enclosure for mid and treble, and vented one for bass woofer. In fact these are two separate sections, with individual crossovers only placed in one big enclosure.
At the very first sight, maybe except for the total „driver surface” – the shape of those speakers reminded me of Prince v2 Hansen Audio, although totally different material was used for both cabinets. GrajPudla No. Three have cabinets made of MDF covered with metallic, rough paint (unlike Hansen's cabinets made of a special, in-house developed material).

It so happened that the setup of drivers reminded me of what I saw everyday in my own Harbeth M40.1. Resemblance was astonishing. I'm not saying that Polish manufacturer copied Harbeths – I assume that even if some preliminary assumptions were different later realization of them brought similar final effects as for Harbeth's designers. Having that said I must also say that Polish loudspeakers have their front panels narrower, are also deeper and these are, unlike Harbeths, floorstanders. These are three-way speakers, with double binding posts, high sensitivity of 95 dB at 4 Ω. Manufacturer claims that all you need to drive them is just 5 to 10 W.
Together with loudspeaker I received six feet – 3 for each loudspeaker. In fact these are two metal plates and between them you have to put a steel ball – not an easy task if you try to setup speakers alone.
Additionally I received a set of GrajKable cables – interconnect, speaker cable and power cables – all from „level three”. Usually I test all products in my system, just replacing in it whatever I have to test. But this time I decided to trust manufacturer – in this particular case synergy between those elements might be the key to success. That's why you should treat this test rather as a review of the whole passive part of the system made by GRAJ-END.


Recordings used for this test (selection):

  • Chet Baker, Chet Baker Sings and Plays, Pacific Jazz/EMI Music Japan, TOCJ-90028, HQCD (2006).
  • David Sylvian, Sleepwalkers, P-Vine Records, PVCP-8790, CD (2011).
  • Diorama, A Different Life, Accesion Records, A 102, CD (2007).
  • Dominic Miller & Neil Stancey, New Dawn, Naim, naimcd066, CD (2002).
  • Enya, Shepherd Moons, Warner Music [Japan], WPCR-13299, SHM-CD (2009).
  • floating.point, Free Falling, selfmade by Piotr Szczepaniak, CD-R.
  • Jack Johnson, Sleep Through The Static, Brushfire Records, 56055, CD (2008);
  • Jean Michel Jarre, Magnetic Fields, Epic/Sony Music, 488138 2, CD (1997).
  • John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, Impulse!/Universal Classic&Jazz [Japan], UCGU-9002, SHM-SACD (2011).
  • Johnny Hartman, Just You. Just Me…, Regent/Columbia Music Entertainment [Japan], COCB-53522 (2002).
  • Pat Metheny, What’s It All About, Nonesuch Records/Warner Music Japan, WPCR-14176, CD (2011);
  • Pieter Nooten & Michael Brook, Sleeps With The Fishes, 4AD, GAD 710 CD, CD (1987).
  • Sonny Rollins, Plus 4, Prestige/Mobile Fidelity, UDSACD 2006, SACD/CD (2002).
  • Ralf Illenberger, Red Rock Journeys, Stockfisch, SFR 357.1020.2, CD (2011).
Japanese versions of recordings available at CD Japan

What an audio reviewer actually does? Long story short – he tries to get to the bottom, to the truth. I think it answers this question better than any longer answer I could come up with like e.g.: evaluating audio equipment, reviewing audio equipment, verifying its quality, advisory function and so on. I think that all these definitions are part our audio reviewer's job but the motto of each of us is: get to the truth about tested product. This requires a bit different approach to listening sessions than one might expect. And often it leads to different conclusions than the ones that are commonly expected from an audio reviewer. In my opinion our first task is to understand what this particular product is about, what was its designers goal, what he wanted to achieve with this product (sound-wise). The second basic task is to answer if particular product helps listener to connect with music and its creators (composers, musicians, sound engineers and so on).
Because if I took „standard” approach to product like GrajPudla – doesn't really matter which model – than comparing them with other loudspeakers available on the market at the same price level, those with more „classical” approach, meaning designed like most currently produced speakers using more common materials and technologies – than I would have to say that tested speakers can't be called a hi-fi product. Their sound is colored, bass not extended enough (even though cabinets are pretty large), and there is some obvious limitation to the treble. And the phantom images are not truly defined in the 3D soundstage as they should be. And if I wrote all that it would be all true.

Lets stop here for a moment. I'd like to compare GrajPudla No Three to recently reviewed Castle Howard S3. Price is similar, both use 3 drivers (being two-and-half-way speakers), both large in size, both made by experienced designers. Both designs have some special solutions to improve presentation of bass (I mean none of them are „standard” two-and-half-way speakers).
Castle, although they have their own „issues”, offer sound that is rather modern in character. Large, well extended bass, precise spacing, high macro-dynamics. These are really nice speakers. Is there something missing in this picture? Well, sound is not liquid enough, it doesn't „flow” easily, not like in single-driver designs like what I remember from listening to Acuhorn Rosso Superiore175 [improved audio 2007] or other single-driver designs, or from multi-driver designs but equipped with older, „harder” drivers. To some extend I heard this liquidity, this music easily flowing from speakers when I reviewed J.A.F. Bombard. GrajPudla No Three are in my opinion the best speakers among those mentioned above in this particular aspect.

I started my listening session – and I was not trying to give those speakers hard time, it just so happened that I had listened to this recording a day before using other loudspeakers, so I wanted to compare my impressions – with very powerful, electronic music from German band Diorama. This recording means very deep, electronic bass, very strong percussion – a really hard time for speakers driving their dynamic abilities to the limits. And I heard something that made me treat quite bold, I must say, statement of the manufacturer, more seriously. Namely he claimed that bass delivered by his speakers was „extended enough”, and that „when listening to his speakers one could not actually hear them, only music”.
So now going back to my initial conclusion that would have been based on standard approach to the testing, and that usually would have said that measurements were the most important factors defining sound of loudspeakers I would have now said that reviewed speakers offered quite nice sound while being far from neutral sounding.
But all you have to do is to listen to some music to come to realize that this „standard” approach is simply wrong. Using Mr Andrejczuk's speakers means entering different, lets say parallel, world of music presentation. Does it mean that this sound is worse than what we get from most currently manufactured loudspeakers? Absolutely not! Is it better than? – I guess it is not either…

Loudspeakers from Wasilkow sound like one transducer. And that is something special considering that it is very difficult to create a multi-driver system with paper cones, as those introduce relatively large distortions, so it is very difficult to put it all together to sound like as coherent as a single driver. What we get here is LITERALLY ONE sound source. Plus an impression that frequency response is „truly sufficient”.Comparing them with standard loudspeakers we might talk about both range extremes limitations (as mentioned before). But because presentation is so coherent, so „single-driver” like you will probably not care about those limitations.

As I mentioned I started listening session with music that should have had clearly shown all the weaknesses of Mr Andrejczuk's design. But the sound was … involving, engaging, creating other world in my room, meaning taking me TO the acoustics of the room where the music was recorded, and not trying to recreate it in my ROOM. I would compare listening to them to headphone experience with all those sounds, noises, non-musical events and of course voices and instruments surrounding me.

High playback quality of electronic music happened again when I started to listen to more „conventional”, for this vintage type of speakers, music. Guitars of Ralf Illenberger, Dominic Miller or Pat Metheny sounded … hip. I could tell that frequency response and dynamic range of the speakers were exactly the same as the ones of those recordings. Like they were tuned together. The more confused I was about what I heard with electronic music before. To try to explain that I had to focus on how these speakers processed bass range. Although proper plugs came together with loudspeakers I did not have to use them at all to cover vent holes, because bass was rich, deep and never became bummy. That allowed speakers to show large phantom images, adding some weight to the instruments. Mid-bass and lower mid range were obviously emphasized – voices of Johnny Hartman and David Sylvian were deeper, like coming deeper from their throats than I used to hear them on my reference system. Same goes for female vocals. It is one of the colorations I mentioned before, but it prevents speakers from sounding lean, which happens quite often with this kind of design. Limitation of the bass extension is carried rather in a smooth fashion, not like suddenly cutting lowest tones out, which helps to reproduce higher harmonics and combine them with actually reproduced lowest notes. It probably also helps with impulse response of woofers as well.
The upper part of frequency range seems bit bright. It was interesting to find that it was more so with tube based Leben rather than with solid-state Soulution or Hegel. Sound is not rough, harsh, it is more about treble being strongly presented, especially upper tones of vocals. I could tell it was as smooth presentation as delivered but high quality, today manufactured, drivers. But you wouldn't find any nasty peaks at the very top treble as it was not reproduced. When listening to the music I couldn't really tell that I was missing some highest tones. I could say that only when comparing directly sound of these speakers with others, that above some frequency there was not a lot going on in the sound. The more interesting was comparison with Castle speakers that present rolled off treble and upper midrange which made them sound darker than GrajPudla. Although, I bet, that if we checked frequency range chart of British speakers we would have most likely found that they go evenly at least up to 20 kHz with no sweat. Only the listening experience tells us something different…

Sound of GrajPudla No. Three is very „smooth” meaning it flows freely, without this „pressure” we feel when listening to many modern designs. Credit for that should undoubtedly go to the old, paper cone drivers with AlNiCo magnets. Newer technologies, like ferro-magnets simply lost this ease of making sound. Only few newest drivers with neodymium magnets can do something similar to what old AlNiCo based drivers could. No. Three also sound like a single-driver speakers which is extremely difficult to achieve regardless the technology used. Their slightly emphasized midrange can be tempered by proper positioning of the speakers in the room. One thing I found difficult to cope with was lesser than preferred resolution of the sound comparing to what my Harbeths offered (also even cheaper ones like Harbeth P3ESR). One has to consider also not that good ability to create 3D images of instruments in the space. You might, as the designer did, find that this information is incoherent with what I wrote above, but I'm pretty sure of what I claim. The micro-details that usually are highly appreciated feature of this kind of drivers, are not unequivocal with resolution; sound might be detailed but it does not have to mean it's resolution is also great. What resolution means is ability to differentiate sounds, define 3D images in the space of recording. GrajPudla can do it pretty well but only when reproducing small number of instruments, preferably acoustic guitars. In most other cases resolution will not be that good.
The separate issue is their price – it won't be easy to find so good sounding speakers at this price level. But important thing is that nobody says that this type of design exceeds others. Simply because that is not a all-round, all-purpose solution of all problems.
With most musical material I throw at them, GrajPudla sounded similar – sound was very nice, engaging, but there was no huge difference between 1947 Hartman's Just You, Just Me… recording and 1963 (new edition) SHM-SACD John Coltrane and Johny Hartman – similar like character-wise not frequency response-wise. I think that this is a feature of these „vintage” paper cone drivers – those can't differentiate tonal qualities of the sound so well, as modern drivers like the ones use in my Harbeths.

It should be obvious to everybody that there are no all-round solutions, products. Those who claimed that an answer to good sound lays in the past, in old technologies, are (in my opinion) wrong. But also those who claim that modern way of sound reproduction is the one and only, are wrong too. Unfortunately I can't see a way to bring those two worlds together. So each and every audiophile has to chose what is most important in sound for him and than chose proper means to achieve such sound. I personally prefer sound of my Harbeth speakers. Yes, I realize that they are not 100% modern design, but surely much closer to that than GrajPudla.
I perfectly understand those who are irritated with today’s drive for hi-fi sound at all costs, giving up naturalness of the sound to achieve „correctness”. Polish speakers are not fully „correct”, but they are not that far from it as one might assume. I can easily imagine myself a system with JAG 300B MkII amplifier (or some other based on 300B, or maybe even 2A3) and nice turntable. Or – surprisingly- some files player. It is my impression that sound of 24/96 files might suit such a „vintage” speakers nicely.

Test methodology
Speakers stood on proprietary feet but I used additionally also Acoustic Revive RST-38, nest to my Harbeth M40.1, that were slightly moved to make some room. To make sure M40.1's woofers wouldn't move I shorted their binding posts. It so happened that drivers of GrajPudla came at exactly same height above the ground as the ones in Harbeths.
Unlike for most test I din not use my own cables but the ones delivered with tested loudspeakers i IC (CD-preamplifier), speaker cables, power cables (CD and power amp) – these were GrajKable No. Three. I assumed namely that all of them were pieces of the same puzzle. The speaker cable was of tri-wire type, so I plug one pair to mid- treble section, and the other two to the bass section. During the test I sued mostly a powerful solid-state amplifier (Soulution 710) which might seem quite the opposite of what those speakers were made for but that;s my reference device. But to have a better picture I used also my tube amplifier - Leben CS-300 XS [Custom Version] (2 x 7 W).


I saw Graj-End. Advantage through passion loudspeakers for the first time (most likely as all of our Readers did) during Audio Show 2011. I was not particularly impressed with their sound but that rarely happens during the Show. Anyway I was impressed by the design, and the concept of the whole system.

GrajPudla No. Three are the smallest loudspeakers currently offered. It does not mean they are literally small – their height equals that of my Harbeths on stands, and their depth is bigger. Their weight is also impressive.
Cabinet was made of multi-layer MDF and form in such a way that the upper section has a triangular shape. The top corner of that triangle is rounded. To some extend it is the same concept a sin more expensive models and it seems to reflect the concept of Watt/Puppy used by Wilson Audio, and started years ago with KEF's top model (at the time) Model 105.
The bass woofer is a 300mm paper cone Isophon. It's suspension is integrated with cone and additionally covered with kind of paint. Midwoofer is a 200mm Siemens with distinctive green cone (similar to the one of the cabinet). Diaphragm is also made of paper and the suspension is quite rigid. Treble is reproduced by 100mm Isophone tweeter by Isophon.
Design allows phase coherence. Tweeter is slightly retracted comparing to other drivers to achieve phase coherence. Bass woofer is slightly pushed forward for the same reason.
In fact there are two separate modules – one for bass and the other one for mid- and high-frequency. The bass section is vented while the upper one is a closed enclosure. There are also two crossovers – a separate one for each module. As Mr Adrejczuk told me crossovers were very simple – just a capacitor for tweeter and capacitor with coil for other two drivers. All are NOS elements found on Ebay, and thoroughly selected. The more expensive models are equipped with large, oil capacitors, some of them with Wermacht markings…
Drivers are bolted to the front panel from its inner side. The back panel is fixed with screws. Manufacturer decides to used solid, gold plated binding posts.

Technical data (according to manufacturer):
Sensitivity: 95dB
Impedance: 4Ω
Amplifier requirements: 5-10W
Weight: 42kg/pc


  • CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Air V-edition, review HERE
  • Phono preamplifier: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE
  • Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE), Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE
  • Preamplifier: Ayon Audio Polaris III [Signature Version] with Re-generator Power Supply
  • Power amplifier: Soulution 710
  • Integrated amplifier/headphone amplifier: Leben CS300 XS Custom Version, review HERE
  • Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
  • Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro; 600 Ω version, review HERE, HERE, and HERE
  • Interconnect: CD-preamp: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300 (article HERE, preamp-power amp: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
  • Speaker cable: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review HERE
  • Power cables AC (all equipment): Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300
  • Power strip: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE
  • Stand: Base; under all components
  • Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD, Audio Revive RAF-48 platform under the CD and preamplifier
  • Pro Audio Bono platform under Leben CS300