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Floorstanding speakers

Price: (paar) 120 000 zł

Distributor: SoundClub

ul. Skrzetuskiego 42 (wejście od Al. Wilanowskiej)
tel.:022 586 3270
fax: 022 586 3271



Text: Wojciech Pacuła
Translation: Krzysztof Kalinkowski

I never had the opportunity to listen to loudspeakers from this Canadian company Hansen Audio, in such comfortable environment, like the one I have at home. I’ve seen its adverts in “Stereophile”, read tests in „Enjoythemusic”, „The Abso!ute Sound” and “Stereophile”, but I didn’t know them myself. This is the reason, that when I learned, that I would have the opportunity to test the Prince v2, the middle model in the company’s offerings, I was excited for a long time. Hansen Audio, a company founded by Lars Hansen is not just another balloon, pumped with air until it bursts. This is a true company, a real constructor and those are outstanding loudspeakers. The company is still young, as it was founded in 2003, but is already known and appreciated. We should start with the enclosure, which is made from a material, which is time consuming and difficult to process – a three layer sandwich. The first layer is made from specially prepared epoxy resin with glass fiber. The second one is Rohacell – an incredibly light material, a sponge, which is an ideal filler of multilayer structures. And the third layer – resin with different fillers than the first layer. The fourth layer is the damping material, that covers the cabinet from inside. This follows the idea of Lars Hansen, that a loudspeaker cabinet is no instrument, but a foundation for the speaker, and thus it needs to be as rigid, as well damped as possible. This is also the reason, that the tested loudspeakers weigh 85kg a piece! And in a special wooden transportation box this rises to 120kg. And the distributor carried this to my apartment… A bravo already for endurance! Also the drivers are not the first best bought somewhere, as the midrange driver (182mm diameter) and the woofer (269mm diameter) were developed and manufactured by Hansen Audio on its own. The diaphragm is made from a few layers of woven glass fiber, and in the woofer it was additionally covered by a vibration damping material. The tweeter looks conventional – this is a soft dome tweeter, with a large suspension ring and a metal front, made to specs at Scan-Speak. If I am not mistaken, the drivers were attached to the cabinet with a special glue to make the connection as rigid as possible. The woofer is mounted close to the floor, much lower than in my Dobermann Harpia Acoustics. And below it there is the bass-reflex port in the form of a wide slot.

I called upon the Dobermann on purpose. Those are my reference speakers, which I know through and through, and which I learned to appreciated. And in addition, I did not encounter any loudspeakers, that would be better than those at my home, unambiguously and in all aspects. But this is not all – the size, dimensions and construction approach are similar in Hansen and the Polish company. So I will try to summarize them quickly. First of all, the loudspeaker needs to be big enough to reproduce the full frequency range. So the Prince are three way loudspeakers in a big enclosure. Secondly – the drivers need to be phase optimized. Harpia makes it by sloping the front baffle and placing the tweeter in a special, metal basket. It is similar with the Hansen, except, that the front baffle has natural curvatures, made while creating the framework. The Prince v2 is the only other case I know, other than the Dobermann, where the tweeter, while placed back compared to the midrange driver and woofer, and is still placed vertically. Usually phase leveling is done by sloping the front baffle, or a part of it, and attaching the drivers at an angle. I think, that this is wrong! And visibly Hansen concurs… Another thing is the cross-over – both companies are of the 1st order (6dB/octave). So this is the reason I will call upon the Harpia many times during the test, not only them, but still as the primary reference.

The loudspeakers were positioned in exactly the same place as the Polish ones, but were directed almost to the front, with only a small bent inwards – the Harpia cross their axes in front of me. For powering them I used my Luxman M-800A with the preamplifier Ayon Polaris II and the power amp P-7100 from Accuphase. Sources - Ancient Audio Lektor Prime CD player and the Accuphase DP-700. Cabling – Acrolink and Tara Labs. The electronics were placed on the rack Base . LP: Linn LP12+Ittok+Koetsu Urushi Blue.


  • Depeche Mode, Sounds Of The Universe, Mute, STUMM300, 2 x 180 g LP; review HERE.
  • Ariel Ramirez, Misa Criolla, José Carreras, Philips/Lasting Impression Music, LIM K2HD 040, K2HD; review HERE.
  • Chris Connor, Chris Connor Sings The George Gershwin Almanac of Songs, Atlantic/Universal Music Japan, WPCR-25164/5, 2 x CD.
  • Clifford Brown and Max Roach, Study In Brown, EmArcy/Universal Music Japan, UCJU-9072, 180 g LP.
  • Duran Duran, Rio, EMI Electrola, 064-64 782, LP.
  • Falla, El Amor Brujo, Frühbeck De Burgos, Decca/Lasting Impression Music, LIM K2HD 023, K2HD.
  • Frank Sinatra, Nice’N’Easy, Capitol/Mobile Fidelity, UDCD 790, gold-CD; review HERE.
  • Frank Sinatra, Only The Lonely, Capitol/Mobile Fidelity, UDCD 792, gold-CD; review HERE.
  • Kraftwerk, Minimum-Maximum, EMI, 334 996 2, 2 x SACD/CD.
  • Lars Danielsson&Leszek Możdżer, Pasodoble, ACT Music+Vision, ACT 9458-2, CD; review HERE.
  • Miles Davis, All Star Sextet/Quintet, Prestige Records/Universal Music Japan, UCCO-9294, SHM-CD.
  • Miles Davis, Miles Davis And The Modern Jazz Giants, Prestige/Analogue Productions, 7150, 2 x 45 rpm 180 g LP.
  • Patricia Barber, Companion, Premonition/Mobile Fidelity, UDSACD 2023, SACD/CD.
  • Paul Desmon&Gerry Mulligan, Two Of A Mind, RCA/BMG Japan, K2 CD.
  • Pearl Jam, Ten, Epic/Legacy, 97413021, 2 x 180 g LP.
  • Rammstein, Stripped, Motor, 044 141-2, SP CD.
  • Richard Strauss, Also Sprach Zarathustra, Zubin Mehta, Decca/Lasting Impression Music, LIM K2HD 035, K2HD.
  • Sonny Rollins, Saxophone Colossus, Prestige Records/JVC, VICJ-60158, XRCD.
  • Sonny Rollins, Way Out West, Contemporary Records/JVC, VICJ-60088, XRCD.
  • The Modern Jazz Quartet, Pyramid, Atlantic/Warner Music Japan, WPCR-25125, CD.
  • Tool, 10,000 days, Sony BMG, 681 991 2, CCD.
  • Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio, Blues For Tee, Three Blind Mice, TBM-XR-0041, XRCD2.

The Hansen loudspeakers disappear fully and absolutely. This was clearly, but also incredibly pleasantly shown by the recordings from the monophonic disc Saxophone Colossus of Sonny Rollins. The leader’s instrument was incredibly full, big, slightly warm, but also aggressive. But most of all it did not have anything in common with the loudspeakers – those were just there, as if somebody forgot to pack them back in their boxes, and the dream of every woman came true: sound without loudspeakers… The virtual sources were big and massive – there was no talking about focusing everything in one point. Not that they would be diffuse, not like that. It is just, that their volume was so big, that they were spreading not only up and down, but also to the sides. Sitting in front of the Hansen – although I repeat, that those seem superfluous, as no sound comes from them – we know, that this is a mono recording, the sound is focused in the middle, the first plane is just behind the line connecting speakers, and the depth of the stage is also good. But the Hansen can do more than the Dobermann, more than all the other loudspeakers I heard in my life – they create sound sources with natural size and mass. My Harpia concentrate the sound on a smaller surface, making it a little smaller. This is an outstanding performance, but you need to hear loudspeakers of the class of the Hansen Audio to know, that there is more needed, to make the transmission natural and credible. Class of Hansen Audio or the Magnepan MG 20.1 with a good subwoofer. And frankly speaking I heard such a combination (subwoofer – the top REL). The Hansen repeated the same coherent, incredibly detailed, but – paradoxically – warm sound, I heard there. They added to that their assets, like the almost unlimited dynamics and bigger volume, loosing really little with that – some of the expansion of the treble and some of the depth of the stage. This is for me an incredible praise for those Canadian loudspeakers and dynamic loudspeakers as a whole.

Those units combine in them the best characteristics of many different projects. Those are quick and coherent, like the biggest Magnepan magnetostats. The planar transducers are known for reacting to the impulse in an almost ideal way, without any blurring in time (a kind of analog jitter). The Prince v2 repeat, to a great extent, that what I know from those constructions. And that rather from magnetostatic than electrostatic panels. The latter, mostly from Quad, are even faster, but have one, not so good characteristic – they can sometimes sound harsh. And they create a very small sweet spot. And, in terms of timbre, the Harpia sounds a bit like the electrostats. They are almost as quick (this almost is here just to be safe, and not because I think so), and go lower on bass and are more dynamic. Those are the reason, that they are for me the masters, for such a long time. But the Hansen is a completely different story – to the speed and bass extension a lot of MUSIC is added, body, warmth and fullness. Their top treble is not as expanded as from the metal SEAS, or the Magnepan – or the A.R.T transducers, for example in ADAM speakers, when we are quoting references – but it has more body, more fullness. And yet there are more contenders for the prize for the best tweeter ever. I can perfectly remember my first contact with the beryllium tweeter in the Focal.JMLab Electra 1007 Be. Their treble was incredibly refined, nicely expanded, very coherent and slightly warm. But it lacked a bit of filling, something, that would show, that this is not just a sound, but an instrument. Exactly that was achieved in the tested loudspeakers. A soft dome tweeter, something I do not regard well, was perfectly integrated with the midrange driver. And this may be the reason, that you do not hear the limit of the frequency response and resolution, as you maybe should have. Maybe, but only maybe, the sound as a whole is not as quick, like from the Dobermann, or electrostatic panels, but the listener does not care. After some time, it turns out, that this is just an added value, because just like with the Magnepan, also here everything seems more in place, not so “strained”. This straining is like a race. Yes, I get everything at the right time and in the right pace, but sometimes there is no time to think – and thinking about music – time for saturation and sustain. We are talking about top hi-end, not even hi-end, but it is here, that such differentiations get more sense, are perceived stronger and more unanimously.

For a moment I would like to return to the space reproduction. This is – after speed and coherence – another characteristic, which is mostly associated, in a positive way, with stand mount speakers. It is commonly assumed, that only small loudspeakers are able to reproduce the sound stage without any constraints, big and precise. I think, that this is an error, a mistake and al. I think, that the problem was misdiagnosed. Yes, it is true, that many floor standing speakers have problems with creating a credible stage. But it is wrong, to draw the conclusion, that this is a characteristic of all big loudspeakers, and that the bookshelves are king here. I think, that it is actually the opposite. Only big, floor standing speakers, with a full frequency range, are able to reproduce the stage with its majesty, might, depth, etc. A bookshelf speaker, even the best one, will create an artificial stage, at least for me.

Even such a big, precise stage, with perfectly shown spots for the musicians as in Janusz’s system (please see the Krakow Sonic Society reports) is for me something “created” and not “reproduced”. Something extremely interesting, something stimulating – we can learn much from it – but finally unreal. This is hyperrealism pure. Because I heard the Ancient Audio Wing speakers, made for John Tu, and also some other big speakers, I know, that only in that way we can simulate real depth and interiors of churches or concert halls. Or even a small club or medium sized recording studio, which gain sensual credibility. This was beautifully shown by discs like Rollins Way Out West and Milesa Davisa & Milt Jackson Miles Davis All Star Sextet/Quintet. The first one is stereo, but it is recorded at the commercial beginning of this technique (1957), what means instruments placed to the sides, and the second one is mono, from 1955, so it comes from a time, when this recording technique flourished.

With the first one, the incredible ability of creating a splendid, holographic space, independent from the speakers themselves. Rollins’ saxophone sounded a bit to the left of the left speaker, and the percussion on the interior side of the right speaker. Usually those nuances are not audible, and the sax is sounding directly from the speaker, but here there is no doubt, that the microphones placed at those instruments “heard” also the other instruments, and this was “embossed” on the signature of the recording space, even when the sound engineer placed them in their respective channels. With Davis, the richness of monophonic recordings was shown nicely. This means space, but only in one direction – from the listener in depth. The Dobermann and electrostats show it ideally – the main instrument is in the front and is bigger, the others are to the back, and are smaller. The Hansen do something else – although depth is splendid, but it is more important to show who is most important in the band at the given time, they follow the leader, or those, who play solo. The instruments deeper are smaller than those in front, but when they take over (and jazz is a constant switching), then everything around them gets silent, it can be heard, that the musicians are vigilant, and react to each other. This is an emotional reproduction, in most cases not available for other loudspeakers. I think even, that most constructors, not even mentioning the music lovers, never heard anything like that.

Yes – two characteristics: space and speed with coherence place those loudspeakers on a pedestal. But they would not be there, if the timbre would not be perfectly chosen and the woofer would not be fantastically integrated with the rest of the frequency spectrum. The latter is not so contoured, it does not show the attack of the sound so strong, like the metal SEAS in the Harpia Acoustics, but it reaches lower, and has a nicer, more saturated timbre. Similar to the latter, I needed to close the bass-reflex port with a sponge – my room is not that big – but this improved the impulse response of the loudspeakers and leveled the sound better. There was still more bass, than a flat characteristic would require (I am talking about a room response, and not the loudspeakers), but – the hell! – I heard “flat” loudspeakers, and I didn’t want to listen to them quickly enough. I think, that music requires a slight overdraw, slight upping of bass, to have everything make sense. And the Prince can supply all the bass anyone would need. I mean – as much as it is recorded on the disc. One of my friends, who came to listen to them, claimed that the Dobermann reach lower, when we listened to a first few discs. Until we played Kraftwerk and a few more “inventions”. He was almost blown away from the sofa he was sitting on. Such low sounds were not there anywhere else. It is equally important, that the woofer was splendidly integrated with the midrange driver. A kick-drum hit on the Rollins disc was incredibly coherent, bas did not come behind the skin, etc, it was not slow. Subjectively the lower frequencies sound here a little warm, a bit “thick”, but this is the combination of the character of the speakers and my habituation to bass, cutting with light speed, like I know from my Dobermann. So the voices – like Sinatra on Nice’N’Easy, or Chris Connor from the beautiful, double disc Chris Connor Sings The George Gershwin Almanac of Songs. On the first, the orchestra sounded exceptionally, it usually is a bit too much separated from the voice. Here it finally had a solid base and a nice, warm timbre.

So finally, I heard at my home something clearly better than the Harpia Acoustics Dobermann, which I like very much, and which I admire for the incredible coherence, speed and precision. Subjectively, the Canadian Hansen Audio are warmer and a tad slower. The first thing is true – the tonal balance is set lower, and the treble not so expanded. But the second thing is just a illusion, the Prince are incredibly quick, but they do not attack the listener, they do not require attention by focusing on details. The Canadian constructions also splendidly differentiate the recordings, but again, in a different way, than I am used to – they do not place this before the music, but leave it for desert. I’ll repeat: finally I heard something better than the Dobermann, what showed me the way, the Harpia constructor should follow. The Prince v2 are for me ones of the speakers, which are there for the music and not the sounds, and which show the sounds much better, that most other, hi-end constructions. Incredible!

However Coupe de grace came from discs recorded live, and especially from Companion Patricia Barber and Blues For Tee Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio. I have never been to a concert of the second of the mentioned artists. But I know by heart the sound of his piano, his technique, by listening, over and over, with greatest joy, to 45rpm vinyls, re-masters made, by the company Cisco, which does not exist anymore. Blues For Tee is a live recording, from a club, issued by the Three Blind Mice in XRCD2. I like this disc very much, although its sound is a bit dark on first sight, and not as direct as from the studio recordings he made. But with the Hansen I heard a real interior, a club opening behind the loudspeakers. The sound was very smooth, slightly warm, not set on analyticity. But the sounds were very natural, almost like live. This was the first time I heard that at home. On the other hand I was on a Barber concert, a small one, in the Katowice club Hipnoza, where I sat about two meters away from the stage (reportage in Polish HERE). And although the vocals was not very well amplified, the accompanying band – fantastic, really outstanding – I did hear almost “white”, almost without amplification. The disc Companion sounds, now I see that, very much as her band did live. I am talking about some kind of freedom in serving the sounds, splendid timbre, etc. With the Prince a balance between the analyticity and fluency, coherence was achieved. Those loudspeakers show splendidly, that a live sound is not as analytical as we often hear it at home, that the sound stage is not so precisely carved in the air. Yes, at home we have to go for certain compromises and tricks, to be able to talk about “reproducing” of an event. But only loudspeakers of the kind of the tested Hansen, place it somewhere in the middle, giving a phenomenal show of modern loudspeaker technology.

Does that mean, that this is “a live event”? Unfortunately – no. Unfortunately – absolutely not! Although this is an incredibly natural transmission, fully – for me – satisfying, still live music sounds in more dynamic way. I remember very well the drummer from Patricia Barber’s band – on the disc the dynamics of this instrument is clearly averaged, it can be heard, like through a microphone. This aspect of the music is shown much better by high efficiency constructions (tube speakers), or ones with wide range drivers, but mostly through stage equipment. Also big loudspeakers, bigger than the Prince v2, the height of the stage, its dimensions in height and depth are better. This is the reason, the higher models from Wilson Audio, Focal.JMLab, but also Hansen Audio are real monsters, very high. Only then we can talk about a true scale of the sound. But here and now, the Prince v2 fulfill almost all my requirements for sound at home. I liked them very, very much!


The Prince v2 from the Canadian company Hansen Audio are big, three way loudspeakers, in a bass-reflex cabinet. The 25mm soft dome tweeter was bought from Scan-Speak. The midrange driver, with 182mm diameter, and the woofer with 269mm diameter, were made at Hansen. Their diaphragms are woven laminated glass fiber, in a characteristic, milky color. The dust cups are from the same material. The company talks about the technology employed in that driver is called Sound Wave Deformation Prevention – I think, that this means, that this woven fibers disperse standing waves in the diaphragms. The spiders are incredibly solid, cast, and the magnets are big. In the tested loudspeakers we could not unscrew the loudspeakers, as they were attached to the cabinets by a plastic, highly adhesive material, which is used as an additional seal.

The cabinet is also unusual. It was made from three layers, like a sandwich, with a fourth layer being the dampening material inside. The external layer is made from epoxy resin with add-ons like glass fiber, the second is Rohacell, and the third is again the epoxy resin, however with different add-ons than in the first one. This results in a shell, that is as blunt for knocking as stone. This technology is called Hansen Composite Matrix. Due to that, the cabinet is incredibly rigid and heavy – one loudspeaker weights 85kg. It was formed in a way working for acoustics – the tweeter and midrange driver were mounted in a special part of the front baffle, which is narrower and protruding, and the woofer in the lower, wider and deeper part. The first two drivers were mechanically time aligned, by placing the tweeter to the back. This solution was developed for the top model, the King, and named Sound Wave Diffraction Distortion Elimination. The cross-over is also made to minimize phase distortion – it is a 1st order (6dB/oct) with impedance linearization unit. Yes, this has also a special name - V2 DAT (Driver Assimilation Technology) and it seems, that this gave the change of the name of the speaker to v2. The wire terminal is singular, gold plated. They should however be from a higher quality, than the ones employed – this is just jewelry, but an important one… They were affixed on a rigid aluminum plate, close to the lower end of the back plate. The bass-reflex port is in the shape of a slit, and facing forward, at the bottom of the front baffle. The loudspeakers rest on four, very solid spikes, and have a chunky, compact shape, which dominates in the room. To my knowledge two color versions are available for the Prince v2 – a silver metallic car varnish and black piano varnish. The loudspeakers have grilles.

Technical data (according to manufacturer):
Frequency response: 23Hz - 23000Hz (+/-2dB)
Efficiency: 87dB
Nominal impedance: 6Ω
Weight: 85kg (piece)

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  • CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Prime (tested HERE)
  • Phono preamp: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC (tested HERE)
  • Preamp: Leben RS-28CX (tested HERE; soon to be changed to Polaris II, tested HERE)
  • Power amp: Luxman M-800A (tested HERE)
  • Integrated amp: Leben CS300 (reviewed HERE)
  • Loudspeakers: Harpia Acoustics Dobermann (tested HERE)
  • headphones: AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, 600 Ω version (reviewed HERE, HERE, and HERE)
  • interconnects: CD-preamp: Wireworld Gold Eclipse 52 (tested HERE; soon to be changed to Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, article HERE), preamp-power amp: Velum NF-G SE (tested HERE)
  • speaker cable: Velum LS-G (tested HERE)
  • power cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9100 (CD; reviewed HERE) and 2 x Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC7100 (preamp, power amp (reviewed HERE)
  • power conditioning: Gigawatt PF-2 Filtering Power Strip (reviewed HERE)
  • audio stand Base
  • resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD (article HERE ) Turntables change continuously, as do cartridges. My dream setup: SME 30 with Series V tone-arm and Air Tight PC-1 cartridge (also in the PC-1 Mono version).