Date of Testing: June 2002
Author: Leo Fung - yohifi.com - Hong Kong
If you had not read the review of the Tilia, you are advised to do so before you read this which would make you understand my descriptions of the Kedros.
Let me first talk about the major differences and similarities between Kedros and Tilia.
The materials for making the sound box are exactly the same. All boards made of spruce. Except the front panel, the thickness of board for the rest is about 4mm. The function is to let them follows the harmonic to vibrate. The key and difficulties are to make the harmonic of the sound box similar to Cello. The sound box would follow the change of signals to reproduce the sound characteristics of each instrument.
The frame is also made of beech wood. Its function is to fortify the thin spruce boards. The sound box is also varnished with violin paint.
The reaction of the sound box must be fast otherwise the details would lose at a varying degree. More importantly, there must not be stationary signal inside the box otherwise it would create destructive interference.
Furon mastered the keys.
The drivers used are different. Tilia uses PHY-HP <H21 LB15> silver coil full range paper cone unit with frequency range from 45Hz to 20KHz (no information on the decrease in db). The frequency range of this driver has already had the same as those of other smaller size floor standing speakers. But Furon and Bernard Salabert do not consider this sufficient and add a PHY-HP Piezoelectric Tweeter <TW37> to extend the high to 30KHz! Cross over is simple and direct to maintain purity of sound. <Kedros> uses PHY-HP <KM30> silver coil full range paper cone unit. Frequency range is unprecedented from 30Hz to 30Kz (+/- 3db). This is a very breakthrough designed unit. Not only has it had super high extensions but also with exact phasing. In theory, the Kedros should excel Tilia in all respects.
The manufacture and materials of both types of speakers are similar. Further, both are of 15 Ohms. In other words, amplifier with 20Ws output at 8 Ohms will only get 10Ws to drive the Ocellia. Sensitivity is 97db. It can be said to be very high. However, after testing, I felt that their sensitivity is similar to specifications of 100db or even higher! Because no matter whether you use 300B of 6Ws or 2A3 of 7Ws, they have sufficient power to drive them. Don’t forget after these amplifiers were connected to 15 Ohms speakers, the power would be reduced to just half!
In Lover’s Eye
On the day when I changed the Tilia for the Kedros, I realized that it is much bigger. The size of the Tilia is 37.5” x 13.4” x 17.75”. The size appears to be small. The Kedros is 45.3” x 18.3” x 23.3” and it looks heavy and huge. In fact, it is not heavy at 77lbs.
There are too many restrictions on the outlook design of the Ocellia speakers. They cannot be said to have aesthetic feel. They were designed for those who appreciate sound quality with no compromise on pretty look. Although spruce has high sound quality, the look of the wood grain is inferior to other furniture woods. Hand finished varnish is another choice for good sound but the feel of home made art is very strong. They are different from products from big companies.
All in all, it cannot be said there is attraction from the outlook of the Ocellia. But after you experienced their uniqueness and go with the same tone, the “brunt” look of the Kedros could become “beauty”.
This last sentence does reflect my change of attitude towards the Kedros. Today, I will defend for their outlook.
“Inferior wood! ? Do you know they are made of violin board? Colour does not look good. They are vanished with violin paint.”
There is a good saying that “Urgly will become beauty in the eye’s of lover”.
Difference in Sound
Before the arrival of the Kedros, the Graff system had been returned to its agent. However, the Verdier 300B was then available. I shall use my memory to tell the difference between Tilia and Kedros.
Although the Graff OTL had gone, we borrowed some famous gears. The first was Studer power amplifier designed by Weiss when he was working for Studer. The second was the aforesaid Verdier. The third was Audio Note M6/Neiro system. The last two were value for money Audio Space Pre-1 and two different types of power amplifiers, MP-1K with KT66 and MP-1B with 300B tubes.
The mixtures of equipment were complicated which I would not plan to analyze individually. Below is my summary.
Let me first talk about the differences in sound quality and effects between the Tilia and Kedros.
The sound volume of the Kedros is 50-60 % more than Tilia and sounds grandeur. It sounds more real for musical instruments such as piano, organ and so on.
The bass extension is superior to the Tilia and is more perfect for large orchestration.
Although the highs for both models are 30KHz, the decrease of the highs the Kedros is more obvious with the Kedros.
For the balance of sound frequency, Kedros is superior with purity of sound at the pinnacle for same class of speakers. However, the sound quality of super high of the Tilia is relatively more detailed and better.
The phasing of the coaxial Kedros is the best of its class. The frequency band of H21 LB15 used in the Tilia is very wide. The phasing of frequency band from 45Hz to 20KHz is even more absolute than the KM30!
The sound effects have a lot of similarities but there are certain very obvious differences.
Concerning response, the Tilia is faster and sounds livelier. It is very outstanding for listening to other types of music in addition to classical music. The size of the Kedros may be too large, its speed is a bit slower. However, it is 30% more superior to the already very surprising beauty and realty of the Tilia when reproducing classical and chamber music.
To cut long discussion short, Kedros is suitable for reproducing any classical, chamber and nostalgic music.
Tilia is more an all rounder in that it could reproduce other types of music in addition to classical music. It can also compare with other high end speakers and in some aspects it is even better.
When reproducing classical music, most other high end speakers could hardly compete with Ocellia.
Those who have read the review of the Tilia would know how picky it was for high quality recordings. Kedros is no exception but less critical than the Tilia by two folds. I cannot explain why.
Matching with transistor amplifier
The performance of the Kedros and Tilia in relation to matching of other gears does not have much difference. On the day of testing, we used 4 types of amplifiers, such as transistor, 300B, 2A3 and KT66. Kedros has different performance to each type.
Studer is a high quality power amplifier. To use it to drive the Kedros, I noted that Weiss has never changed his demand on sound quality for over 20 years. It still sounds like tube amplifiers with creamy colour. However, when compared with other tube amplifiers, it is a little bit inferior. It seems that the Ocellia is designed to match tube amplifiers.
To match with the J.C. Verdier 300B, the system reflected the sound of 300B tube. Was it due to the conventional design of the J.C. Verdier or the result of the matching of the two?
Anyhow, the degree of appreciation is absolutely high and it has been very difficult to hear old style 300B sound. Most of the 300B design is tailored to modern speakers and taste with emphasis on dynamic. I really miss the old style 300B sound but am able to enjoy again this evening.
Transparent as Jade
Audio Note M-6 pre-amp. was used to match with the J.C. Verdier. It was then used to match the Audio Note Neiro 2A3. The sound characteristic of 2A3 again reflected in the Kedros. The sound changed from gold to jade colour.
To match the Ocellia speakers, which amplification system is the best?
Those who love the Ocellia like its musicality and its sound quality. Some may turn away in less than a minute. It is a design of the extreme. Those who love it would like it cracy while those who hate would say bad words! Those who love the Ocellia would normally have experience in hifi and had better understanding of tubes and had personal preference. I do not need to say further.
The only thing to bear in mind is that the power output must be small. The minimum is 6Ws. The biggest should not exceed the vibration.
To me, I would buy all three, namely 300B, 2A3 and OTL but the first must be OTL. This is my decision after listening to different tube amplifiers. Anyhow, there is no particular reason. It is purely my personal preference.