The first time I heard a Vandersteen loudspeaker was the summer 1999 and it was the original Model 5. Then it was a $10,0000 pr USD loudspeaker that represented the culmination of everything Richard Vandersteen had learned about speaker building since his companies inception.
The original Model 5 was described by Richard as a “cost-no-object Model 3A with a cost-no-object 2W powered subwoofer, all built into a single very elegant package.” Whereas the all-new KĒNTO Carbon loudspeaker builds on technology borrowed from above in the ultra-high-end Model Seven MK II.
The KĒNTO Carbon replaces the outgoing Model 5a Carbon ($31,300 pr USD) and at introductory price of $37,500 per pair in painted or wood veneer finishes, and will be available early in 2020. A small deposit will hold your place and you can decide your finish later. See your Vandersteen dealer for details.
The new KĒNTO Carbon is semi-passive (or semi-active, depending how you see glasses of water) loudspeaker with a carbon tweeter, the midrange driver from the Model Seven MK II, and two new 9-inch subwoofers (per speaker) driven by a 400-Watt linear amplifier. Recommended amplification power for the passive section is rated at 40-200 Watts into 8-Ohms.
Frequency specs are ranged from 23 Hz – 40kHz (+/- 3 dB), with a sensitivity of 85 dB, and an impedance of 4 Ohms (+/- 1 Ohms). The crossover network is of course first order/6dB per octave, at 200Hz, 900Hz, and 5kHz. Input terminals are the barrier strip type with 1/2″ max width. Weight per speaker is 110lbs and each pair, like all Vandersteen loudspeakers are “Made in the USA” in a solar powered factory.
Drivers are described by Vandersteen official as the following.
Tweeter: Exclusive Aerodynamic Dual-Chamber, Transmission-Line Loaded Carbon Dome with Ferrofluid Voice-Coil Cooling
Midrange: 4.5” Patented Perfect Piston™ Midrange with 3-Layer Carbon Fiber/Balsa/Carbon Fiber Cone, Die-Cast Aerodynamic Basket with Neo-Magnet Assembly and Ferrofluid Voice-Coil Cooling
Mid-Woofer: 6.5” Woven-Fiber Cone and Precision-Formed Magnet Assembly Copper Faraday Ring
Subwoofer: (2) 9” Aluminum Drivers with Long-Throw Motor Assemblies Phase Positive Subwoofer Amplifier 400-Watt Class B High-Current Amplifier with Fully Regulated Switching Power Supply.
The system showing at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019 also featured: Vandersteen M5-HPA Monoblock Amplifiers, the AMG Viella Turntable, a VTL TL6.5 Series II Signature Preamp
And VTL TP6.5 Signature Phono Stage, an Aurender A30 Digital Source, isolation and chassis noise reduction by Harmonic Resolution Systems, and cables and power by AudioQuest.
How it all sounds? The bass on the new KĒNTO Carbon is super fast sounding and linear from the deepest notes up until it all turns into lower-midrange. The kick factor is higher by comparison to any of the Model 5a’s I’ve heard over the last two decades. On the upper end, it just blossoms with the carbon tweeter and midrange driver sounding like one voice in unison. It’s all of the traditional Vandersteen attributes of time and phase correct sound, present in a holographic like field of musical images.
by Eric Franklin Shook