Audio Physic’s long-standing company motto, “no loss of fine detail,” has always represented more than mere sloganeering. As anyone who has ever experienced these fine German loudspeakers can attest, fine detail is a signature characteristic of the brand—a taste baked into the cake of every AP speaker. Thinking back on my experiences with Audio Physic transducers—the Yara (Issue 142) and more recently the Step 25 compact (Issue 224)—conjured up memories of narrow-baffle, clean, columnar transducers of superior resolution, swift transient behavior, and exact focus. They possessed an ability to resolve detail deep within a soundstage, precisely mapping the makeup and environment of a symphony orchestra in much the same way as the keen eyes of a surveyor analyze a landscape. But for this listener these models also had a slightly lighter overall spectral balance, resulting in speakers with the kind of detail and finesse that are tailor-made for the world of light classical, jazz, and chamber music, but somewhat lacking in the full, visceral measure of bass-range weight, foundation, and dynamism that large-scale, beat-driven pop music demands.
Enter the Classic 30 the largest and most sophisticated of Audio Physic’s new and affordable Classic line—models that also includes the floorstanding Classic 10 and 20, a compact monitor, and a center channel. In a nutshell, the Classic 30 has the sheer sonic enthusiasm of an extrovert. Versatile in the extreme it can don a tux and head uptown to take in an opera, or just as effortlessly shred its way through a Best of Twisted Sister compilation or kick back for a mellow night of Barry Manilow remixes. (Not that I consider these recommendations.)
Before I run away with myself however, a description is in order. The Classic 30 is a five-driver system that features a 1.2" (30mm) coated-textile dome tweeter that is surrounded by a star-shaped acoustic panel that promotes even dispersion. This assembly is positioned between the coated-paper cones of the 5.9" midrange and 5.9" mid/bass. It’s this latter transducer that produces the “.5” of this 3.5-way design, in that it augments the midbass region on up into the heart of the midrange where it begins a slow acoustic roll-off above 500Hz. Both of these drivers are low-passed at 120Hz. Unique to the midrange is the phase plug that’s fixed to the magnet system, which helps to minimize compression effects and improve the dissipation of heat from the moving system, thus reducing distortions at high volumes.
The real stars of the Classic 30, however, are completely hidden in the base of the cabinet. There reside a pair of offset and opposing aluminum 7" woofers that have been mounted vertically within their own chamber in a push-push configuration—a bass-reflex design that fires downward between the enclosure’s base and supporting plinth. More commonly mounted on the exterior sidewalls this configuration has the advantage of further reducing cabinet vibrations and hence potential colorations. The woofers cross over at 120Hz. Audio Physic normally employs this more costly solution on its pricier models, like the Avantera reviewed by JV in Issue 220. The Classic 30 is the first AP speaker in this price range to use this push-push woofer-assembly.
The look of the Classic 30 is contemporary and clean. Viewed head-on, the narrow baffle of the Classic 30 makes it appear for all intents and purposes like a lightweight tower speaker of yore—until, that is, you take a gander at the sixteen-inch depth of its slab-like side panels. Then you’re reminded that those twin seven-inch woofers have to be lurking somewhere inside.
For all the apparent outward simplicity of its chassis, the truth is much more complex. Each Classic-line speaker features a dual-layer enclosure with an inner shell made from MDF. But there is also an outer layer of either glass plates for the high-gloss versions or veneered MDF boards for the natural-wood-finished version. Additionally an air gap separates these layers, which cuts the transmission of mechanical energy from the inside of the enclosure to the outside (listening room) to diminish all possible cabinet-induced sonic colorations. Though unscientific, a quick rap of the knuckles suggests AP has achieved a very stiff, non-vibrational ideal in its Classic line chassis.
While I nursed my now-sore digits, I cued up my old bass and tympani drum stalwart, Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, and clamped my hands to the enclosure’s side panels to get a sense of the cabinet’s action. Even at output levels that prompted me to stand behind the speaker, vibrations were remarkably subdued.
Shrewdly the Classic 30 gives users the option of displaying the drivers with an open, solid front panel or replacing this panel with one sporting a fabric covering. Both versions are supplied with the Classic 30. (I told you this was a class act.) Finishes include veneers, high-gloss white and black glass, plus a handful of special-order glass coatings. Top-quality Nextgen connectors from WBT are standard—a design developed to isolate conductors from micro-vibrations.