Looking for the German FIDELITY Online? Just click here!
Albedo Acclara Diamond SGS

Albedo Acclara Diamond SGS

A Sensitive Powerhouse

A loudspeaker is a technical construct? Technically, yes. But when all the variables are right, the physical aspects take a back seat and the pure sound comes to the fore. A lesson with the Albedo Acclara Diamond SGS.

Albedo Acclara Diamond SGS

At which point are we talking pure luxury? Some like to keep it abstract, saying it’s about objects that you don’t need but still desire. Others associate the term with very subjective ideas about feel and quality of workmanship. Probably the most pragmatic view simply draws a monetary line – depending on individual budget and discretion. I like the approach of the Albedo Acclara Diamond SGS: priced at well above 50,000 euros and boasting a finish that can justifiably be described as out of this world, it meets all the criteria. However, it gives the listener no chance to get worn down by such questions. Within seconds of hearing the first notes, the listener willingly sinks into her music – enveloped in a cloud of fundamental power, which she counters with an almost unearthly love of detail and pure emotionality. According to Albedo, luxury is when you forget everything around you for a while …

Albedo Acclara Diamond SGS

Of course, there is a not inconsiderable amount of engineering skill behind the intriguing heavyweight. The reason for designing the emotional loudspeaker was a sober task: the makers of the Acclara wanted to find out in how compact a package they could fit the boundlessly grown-up tone of their top model Atesia. Obviously, not everyone wants to (or has the room to) put a towering speaker in their living room. The conditions for a satisfactory solution could hardly have been better. The company was founded by two experienced professionals. One, Massimo Costa, was once editor-in-chief of a renowned Italian DIY magazine. His partner, Giuseppe Pucacco, who has since left the company, was a physicist at the University of Rome. It is hardly surprising that the current CEO Christiano Bastianelli was able to provide me with a whole pile of papers, formulas and concepts. The fundamental philosophies of the two developers have been applied in all of the manufacturer’s models to date. Let’s take a closer look at the three most important ones.

Albedo Acclara Diamond SGS

Aspetto numero uno is the unconditional will to make the radiation as phase-linear as possible. Timing … sure, every manufacturer says that. However, Albedo takes an astonishingly holistic approach. The Acclara combines several factors that support and complement each other. The five drivers of the three-way concept are arranged on the baffle – which is noticeably tilted backwards – in such a way that the need for a time control is almost superfluous anyway – at least if the listener is sitting reasonably upright in front of the speakers. The speaker configuration follows the family concept. The Acclara relies on Accuton’s excellent Cell series of ceramic drivers: three seven-inch drivers (approx. 18 cm) take care of the bass, while a five-inch driver (approx. 13 cm) is responsible for the golden glow in the mid-range. The quartet is completed at the top by a one-inch diamond tweeter (2.5 cm). The original version still used a ceramic tweeter, “Diamond SGS” marks the upgraded revision 2 of the Acclara.

Albedo Acclara Diamond SGS

The setup harmonizes so excellently that the crossover really only adds the finishing touches. True to the motto “The best crossover is no crossover”, there is hardly any need to worry about the filter network introducing phase errors. Although the crossover board looks chock-full at first glance, this is due to the high quality and comparatively large ingredients. That alone shows: Albedo’s design, construction, componentry and tuning form a logical formation. Incidentally, the combination of all factors gives the speaker a sensitivity of 86 decibels. This means it is not a timid speaker and certainly not a diva. Nevertheless, it gladly accepts every watt and thanks the increased headroom with a gain in dynamics. Operation with a power amplifier or a powerful integrated amplifier is therefore the obvious choice.

Aspetto numero due is the bandwidth. The Acclara should cover the entire spectrum. Not really a challenge for a chest-high colossus. To keep up with role models like the Atesia, it still has to stand on its toes. It achieves this with a clever trick: Albedo swears by the transmission line concept. Inside the loudspeaker are two of these sound channels, which have been constructed completely identically. You can’t see it at first glance from the rearward sloping speaker, but the housing construction is perfectly symmetrical. As the basses are not located exactly in the center of the baffle, the developers had to work with the trick of a pressure chamber from which the two sound channels branch off – a gap between the bass drivers and the midrange driver reveals where the upper inner wall of this chamber is located.

Albedo Acclara Diamond SGS

A transmission line is basically a modification of the waveguide, the length of which is in harmonic proportion to the bass frequencies reproduced. Due to their tuning, the sound channels pull the foundation of the Acclara down to an impressive 33 Hertz. By way of comparison, the huge Atesia achieves 27 Hertz. When used correctly, a transmission line also sounds faster, more direct and more precise than a bass reflex port. However, like any type of sound guide, it is not without its tonal peculiarities. Albedo counters the somewhat wavy frequency response by introducing filtering and linearizing resonators. The Italians gave this special design of the Transmission Line the tongue-in-cheek name of “Helmoline” – after the German physicist and acoustics pioneer Hermann Ludwig von Helmholtz.

With aspetto numero tre, we have finally arrived at the housing. I am pleased to pronpunce it dead in a positive sense. In fact, the Italians took no prisoners when it came to make the beautiful body of their Acclara sonically disappear. The material thickness of its multi-layered sandwich wood frame is 40 to 50 millimetres throughout. The base and top of the cabinet are made of heavy metal elements, just like the grooved back. Two damping steel plates covered with leather are suspended from the beautifully veneered (lacquered in our case) side walls and lashed together via continuous beams. With this visually wonderful construction, the cabinet walls are literally forced to rest. Inside, the channels of the Transmission Lines provide additional stability. If you consider all the factors – plus the beefy drivers, the heavy crossover and the handful of Van den Hul conductors for the internal wiring – then the uncompromisingly massive Acclara is actually surprisingly “lightweight” at 140 kilograms.

Albedo Acclara Diamond SGS

Incidentally, the speaker ships with several boxes full of accessories. In addition to foot stabilizers, huge spikes and matching floor protectors, this also includes a set of smooth-running castors. This allows you to position and angle the speaker in the room at your leisure before finally placing it on its spikes – always with at least one helper who is not too lightweight himself.

As fate would have it, we were able to enjoy the excellent speakers in different environments. Sales manager Thorsten Fennel had invited me to the listening room of his store “Raum und Ton” in Fulda to “think about” which Albedo loudspeaker we should bring to Munich. I actually had a smaller model in mind because of the handling. But then the incredible paintwork of the Acclara caught my eye. In addition to an exquisite walnut veneer, the manufacturer offers the speaker in any RAL color. The dark blue of our sample can hardly be distinguished from black in subdued lighting. However, depending on the time of day and the incidence of light, the shade changes its character to a radiant hue. As the Acclara had just been fitted with its castors, we had it ready to play after a few minutes for a first impression. The front end was a chain of Linn’s Klimax DSM (streamer/preamp) and two Klimax solo power amps – a perfectly appropriate combination. I can still vividly remember hearing the first notes of Agnes Obel’s “Riverside”. The piano sparkled across the room with wonderful warmth and gentle strokes, while the unconventionally doubled voice took up a wide-ranging stage from the center – anyone who knows the title knows what I mean. Anyone who doesn’t instantly get goosebumps at the Italian’s velvety timbre is either completely jaded or has heard the song far too often in the last few days.

Albedo Acclara Diamond SGS

About a week and a truck journey later, the sublime Albedo was able to demonstrate her skills in our listening room. Its playing partners were now the Burmester 216, Electrocompaniet AW 800, Lumin X1 and Esoteric K-05XD – not half bad equipment either. I can’t say what difference these components made compared to the Linns due to the time gap and the completely different environment. What definitely remained identical was the joy of playing and the captivating tonality of the Acclara, which was really big in our room (42 m2). In addition to the rather ballad-like impressions from Fulda, I wanted to test the Italian’s dynamic abilities. She played opulent orchestral works such as Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody (Stokowski) with outstanding fluidity and almost beguiling impulses. We were able to clearly locate the various instrumental groups of the orchestra on the huge stage. Its high-resolution diamonds drew even the smallest details into the room.

It’s no wonder that it reproduces really good recordings in such outstanding quality. What I particularly appreciate about the speaker, however, is that it always remains good-natured despite its incorruptible transparency and resolution.

Albedo Acclara Diamond SGS

In other words, you can let your hair down with the Acclara without rock recordings or compressed pop ever sounding scratchy or biting. One moment, Faithless is stomping through the listening room with “Insomnia” (Reverence), the next, the heavy guitar riffs and vocal hooks in “Them Bones” (Alice in Chains, Dirt) or the cool chord progression of Soundgarden’s “Fell On Black Days” (Superunknown) are blasting out of the membranes – and all of this with a dynamic quality and emotional depth that you won’t want to stop …

Albedo Acclara Diamond SGS

Accompanying Equipment

CD-Players: Audio Note CD 3.1x, Esoteric K-05XD | Streamers/Mediaplayers: Lumin X1, Aavik S-580, Soulnote Z-3, Linn Klimax DSM | Preamplifier: Electrocompaniet EC 4. 8 MKII | Power Amplifiers: Luxman M-10x, Burmester 216, Electrocompaniet AW 800, Linn Klimax Solo | Integrated Amplifier: Aavik I-880 | Speakers: Wilson Audio Sasha DAW, Monitor Audio Hyphn | Cables: Ansuz, WestminsterLab, HMS | Racks: Finite Elemente, Solidsteel

Loudspeaker Albedo Acclara Diamond SGS

Concept: passive 3-way floorstanding loudspeaker | Enclosure: transmission line, two symmetrically mirrored channels | Equipment: three 7″ ceramic drivers (bass), one 5″ ceramic driver (mid-range) and one 1″ diamond tweeter; all drivers from Accuton | Frequency response: 33 Hz to 30 kHz | Efficiency (2.83 V/1 m): 86 dB | Impedance: 4 Ω | Finish: high-gloss walnut, RAL finishes on request | Dimensions (W/H/D): 48/130/66 cm (with spikes and foot brackets) | Weight: 140 kg each | Warranty period: 5 years | Pair price: around €69,000

The Orange Audio

Thorsten Fennel

Frankfurter Straße 23b
36043 Fulda
Phone +49 6619 3350800



The stated retail price of the reviewed device is valid as of the time of the review and is subject to change.