Speakers With 19 Drivers Per Side?

Yesterday morning, the rather fetching young lady at the local magazine store dropped me an email to let me know that my monthly copy of Hi-Fi World was ready for collection. I promptly popped by to grab it and was paging through the reviews on my way back to the car when I flipped to page 72 and stopped in my tracks like a deer caught in a spotlight.

Noel Keywood’s review of the Hart D&W Sonix loudspeakers demanded that it be read now, or at least as soon as I avoided my impending doom and jumped out of the Ponsonby Road traffic. These speakers provoked a major “WTF” response but that’s a really good thing in a world where the standard is a rectangular wooden box with a pair of drivers stuck on the front. I’ll always applaud a designer taking the lesser trodden path but this path seems to be totally undiscovered from what I can tell; after all thirty-eight drivers across two speakers is getting up there.

The proportions of the D&W Sonix are bewildering, at least based on the images. Initially, it’s hard to tell if they’re six feet tall or as squat as a sumo wrestler. Once you take in the fact that the front driver is a Tannoy 12″ Dual Concentric, and that the array of rear drivers are made up of 4″ units, then you can start making sense of the size. Or you could just read the review to find that the dimensions are 89cm x 43cm x 45cm (h x w x d) – so very much short and squat then.

It’s an interesting idea – a 12′ Tannoy DC driver is usually enough medicine all by itself so adding eighteen 4″ drivers to the back of each speaker (effectively acting as four powerful bass units) should in theory be overkill but according to Keywood, the end result is good: “Massively powerful and startlingly dynamic loudspeaker with great bass and an easy demeanour“.

The speakers are totally passive – the “bass bins” aren’t powered, which in itself is a novel approach – I can just picture other designers stuffing a few thousand watts of Class D power in there, just because they can. In light of the overall design of these speakers, the lack of internal power seems remarkably restrained.

If you’d like to hear a set, they’re available factory direct from UK based www.hartaudio.com and can be yours for a mere 9,500 of those Great British Pounds. Anyone who orders them should let me know, I’d love to have a listen.

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