Franco Serblin Accordo Essence Loudspeaker Page 2

But that's all secondary if, like me, you followed the artistry of Franco Serblin from the beginning, 35 years ago. The Accordo Essence adheres to each and every one of the values which Franco, and now his son-in-law, declared to be the mission statement for the brand. It was evident from the very first seconds of 'Sultans Of Swing' from Dire Straits' eponymous debut [Mobile Fidelity MFSL2-466; 45rpm LPs] that the two primary concerns had been addressed, beyond the physical beauty and construction of the speakers: soundstage recreation and finesse.

It's immediate – you experience without any doubt the recreation of a physical soundstage (even when the recording is studio-formed and thus not representing a real space) with vivid three-dimensionality, precision, specific image placement and 'air' or atmosphere. Every sound had its own domain, and yet at no time did they seem disembodied or artificially placed. Those who remember first-generation Sonus faber speakers, and the Guarneri in particular, will recall a silkiness over the entire proceeding. This was present, and yet had no effect on either the clarity or fluidity of Mark Knofler's guitar playing.

It's simply part of a whole, which is where the finesse enters. These were Serblin's causes célèbres, which I learned he placed above other values because – like the equally soundstage-conscious Arnie Nudell of Infinity – he argued that if the soundstage and imaging are correct, so should be everything else. As for the finesse per se, he craved ultimate refinement, which I am prepared to presume is also part of the argument about 'everything else' being correct. More to the point, Serblin argued that music should be heard from the ultimate vantage point, his beloved 'proscenium', so this speaker, as with every design he drew for his previous company, Sonus faber, is hot-seat-biased.

In Concert
Turning to a live classic, the Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East [Classic/Capricorn SD2-802 LPs], the notion that one was in a concert hall was unmistakable, a perfect example of hi-fi fooling you into thinking that you have been transported. What surprised me, irrespective of the increased driver count and cabinet size, was the bass. It was not the dominant characteristic, and both the Ktêma and Wilson's Sasha DAW [HFN Mar '19] reach down deeper, but it was equally satisfying, if more for quality over quantity. This is not a demerit, I hasten to add, because I would posit that it's exactly like Goldilocks' preferred porridge: just right.


Secrets Of The Stars
Nobody would ever suggest that it's possible to hear too much of Berry Oakley's bass, but neither could anyone find fault with the precise, rich and robust manner in which the Accordo Essence communicates it. That, however, was not what had me wishing I owned these: it was hearing the ache and the passion in Gregg Allman's vocals throughout 'Whipping Post'. Blues in excelsis, proof that Franco knew how to rock.

Vocals are what rule my heart, Allman's being powerful and energetic, but I could not think of any trial more worthy than Sophie Madeleine's 'Stars' from The Rhythm You Started [Xtra Mile XMR045CD]. This is a voice of such delicacy and clarity that she makes Dolly Parton sound like Louis Armstrong. I had heard this CD so many times that I was worrying about seeming obsessive, but the Accordo Essence unveiled more fine details, not least my belief that Ms Madeleine should come out of retirement. I cry too often, and this had me reaching for the Kleenex. It was exquisite.

So the Accordo Essence couples refinement with realism, delivers convincing recreation of the sound-space, and wraps it in craftsmanship of the highest order in the cabinetry itself. Franco Serblin was always motivated by the great violin makers of Cremona, and he taught Favella well. He'd be pleased to know that you don't need to be Jascha Heifetz to hear it (or see it) in this speaker. It is magnificent.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
The Accordo Essence honours Franco Serblin's legacy by adhering dutifully to his credo. If you desire a speaker that's physically gorgeous in the manner of the finest furniture, with sound that puts spatial concerns and refinement at the top of its abilities, this elegant floorstander must be on your shortlist. Critical in set-up and of ancillaries, it is worth the effort, for it is truly a tour de force.

Franco Serblin Studio
Vicenza, Italy
Supplied by: Absolute Sounds Ltd, UK
0045 9684 5100