While the sacrifices made to strike the appropriate balance in small speakers are often unmistakable, Serblin has so cannily blended tonal color, dynamic power, micro-dynamic detail, and lack of port coloration that the sense of compromise seems to all but vanish. The Accordo weaves an impeccably tailored curtain of sound, brimming with a wealth of ambient information, including height specifics and precisely focused, three-dimensional images.
Sonically, it emphasizes the midrange with a hint of added lower-midrange warmth. It’s a balance that conveys a goodly amount of the flavor of the live event and underscores the dynamic vitality of instruments that play primarily in the lower mids—such as piano, cello, and some brass.
Being a two-way its overall balance is on the lighter side compared to big multiways—no major surprise here—but its mid and upper bass are more than sufficient in quantity and quality to enjoyably reproduce large-scale orchestral music or high-voltage pop or rock offerings. Response into the 50-60Hz range is easily achievable in a smaller room, and with room gain factored in further extension will be perceived. There’s a hint of a midbass rise that adds warmth and weight and expertly masks the lack of true deep bass, but the Accordo avoids the dreaded upper-bass bump that results in a one-note bottom end. So, while it may not throw its weight around like a Magico Q7 or Raidho C 4.1, the Accordo establishes enough of a low-frequency foundation to achieve a fully realized performance.
As I expected from a Franco Serblin effort, soundstage and imaging are excellent. Depth is particularly well rendered although I’m not sure it’s entirely honestly earned. The upper mids have a slight dip in energy that lays vocals back just a touch and deepens the curvature of an orchestra. It’s a flaw easily forgiven after a few minutes of listening but it doesn’t go unnoticed.
Equally significant are the openness and sense of scale the Accordo affords. Part of this may be attributable to the enclosure and part to the good off-axis dispersion of the drivers, specifically the sweet, oversized tweeter. Whatever the reasons, the Accordo disappears as a source, and images emerge unconstrained by box or driver, attaining credibly natural scale in the room. Vocalists like Tierney Sutton and Norah Jones have genuine physical presence, rather than being reduced to the size of tiny bobble-head dolls. The dynamic thrust and weight of deep-throated male vocalists, such as bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, aren’t served quite as well by the Accordo, but that’s an area where most compacts simply bump up against reality.
However, that tweeter fares well on everything. It makes you thankful for great analog LPs, like the Impex resissue of Hard Bop by the Jazz Messengers, which plays right into the hands of the Accordo. The transient speed, transparency, and air of the tweeter create an engagement that borders on the addictive. Try “Stanley’s Stiff Chickens” if you have any doubts how lively and spacious a monaural recording can sound.
Minimum recommended power for the Accordo is a modest 20 watts, but that’s not to say that it has a tiny appetite. Give the Accordo a little more rein in the form of an mbl C21 or Aragon 8008, and the thoroughbred bloodline begins to show. Incredibly responsive to amplification, dynamics become bolder at the macro extremes and more finely graduated at the lowest levels. Likewise, bass response is more defined in timbre. Amplifier power tightens up pitch, and resonances vanish.
This is the first time I’ve been assigned a product review so proximate to the designer’s death. Although Franco Serblin’s passing looms large, his legacy emerges even larger. The more time I spent with the Accordo the more I came away with the impression that this was a man who had discovered another artistic level within his own creative limits. I came to believe the Accordo is not just Serblin’s epitaph; it’s a fitting celebration of a passion pursued and a life well lived.
SPECS & PRICING
Type: Two-way, dynamic driver, bass-reflex stand-mount
Frequency response: 40Hz- 33kHz, in room
Nominal impedance: 4 ohm
Dimensions: 14.1" x 7.4" x 14.1" (speakers only; stand height: 29.1")
Weight: 35 lbs. (speakers), 35 lbs. (stands)
Finish: Solid walnut or grey multilayered hardwood
Price: $12,995 with stands