Manger Audio P2 Loudspeaker

hfncommendedWith its unique Manger Sound Transducer full-range driver, this high-end floorstander is as unconventional as it looks

It is refreshing to see that there's still a place for purple prose in press releases. While so many documents describing new products are rather dry, German company Manger does things differently. It talks about its 'technological masterpiece' opening up 'a new horizon' and of 'goose bumps' triggering emotions and 'touching the heart'. Such flowery fluff might sail over the heads of hardened hi-fi hacks, but it's hardly necessary because the £11,429 P2 needs no hype at all. In practice, it's an intriguing, thought-provoking design featuring transducer technology that's far from run-of-the-mill.

The flagship passive model in Manger's range, this medium/large floorstanding design features the company's unique Manger Sound Transducer, or MST for short [see KH's boxout, p53]. Created by founder Josef W Manger, the MST is the beating heart of this product – something that defines its very sound.

This full-range drive unit is said to have a frequency response that extends from 80Hz-40kHz, which has real theoretical benefits because there's no need for a crossover in the 'presence' region where the ear is most sensitive. The company also claims great transient speed – a risetime of 13μsec – so many audiophiles will surely equate this with 'excellent timing'…

Your Flexible Friend
The 190mm active surface of the flexible diaphragm reduces as frequencies increase, so the effective surface area is always kept small in comparison to the wavelength radiated. Partnering up with this special drive unit is a custom-made 200mm woofer that kicks in below 340Hz, and uses a patented carbon fibre/foam membrane sandwich driver designed to combine lightness, stiffness and resonance control. Further to this, two rear-facing passive membranes of identical design are fitted, resulting in a claimed bass floor of 30Hz [but see KH's Lab Report, p55].

The 1139x270x214mm (hwd) cabinet is a large and solid affair which, thanks to its 32kg weight, sits securely upon any floor you care to park it. It's a very clean and unprepossessing looking design on the outside, but inside good use has been made of inner struts and stiffeners at defined points, says the manufacturer. The front baffle is 38mm thick, and has rounded edges claimed to minimise diffraction. At the bottom, there's a thick aluminium base that connects to the main cabinet by three sizeable allen bolts, and has mounting points for the four chunky spikes that come supplied. Thoughtfully, five soft pads are also fitted for those who don't wish to make holes in their floors.

Very Sweet Spot
The company says that the cabinet is available in an almost unlimited choice of finishes, including gloss or matt paint or wood veneer. At the bottom of the rear baffle [see p55], two sets of WBT NextGen speaker binding posts are fitted, towards the centre of a swish-looking anodised metal nameplate. Overall the standard of finish is very good indeed, and fully commensurate with the price.

Careful positioning of this loudspeaker is worthwhile because the Manger P2 has an easily identifiable sweet spot where everything snaps into focus from bottom to top. It's relatively easy to get this speaker into the zone, so to speak – move upwards above the plane of the MST drivers and the treble falls off, sit too far back in your seat and the bass lessens noticeably. So once you are happy the P2's bass is optimally reinforced by rear and side walls, and are experiencing that pin-sharp stereo focus, it's best to stay put because even leaning forward to scratch your knee will have things sounding slightly different.

sqnote Into The Groove
Although this speaker isn't the most impressive upon first audition, there's still something about the P2 that makes you want to keep on listening. The first few seconds will have you wondering why the bass isn't as prodigious as you'd expect from such a sizeable box. You may also think it a little lacking in sparkle and extension right at the top of the frequency range. Yet as the listening period continues, it becomes clear that actually, there's something special there.

The P2 is a fast, lithe and nimble performer, one that gets you into the groove of the music and stays there. It has real clarity and insight, connecting with the listener on that most important of levels – a musical one. 'Humans' by The Sub Ensemble [Extensions; Raw Canvas RCRCD 03] is a beautifully recorded but very modern-sounding slice of jazz/funk, driven by some lovely Fender Rhodes keyboard playing and delicious saxophone work. The production is super-clean, and quickly shows up any loudspeaker 'issues'.

Manger Audio
Mellrichstadt, Germany
Supplied by: Elite Audio (Distribution) Ltd, London
0203 397 1119