Little known here in Britain (though we did review a couple of models about five years ago), Quadral is apparently the third most successful hi-fi speaker specialist in Germany, which must mean that it’s a good size operation by any standards.
The Aurum range is actually a higher performance sub-brand of the main Quadral operation, with its own website and an extensive range of ten loudspeakers, plus some electronics. We reviewed the Altan VIII standmount quite recently (HFC 350), so now it’s time to cast an ear over the somewhat smaller Megan VIII model.
The family resemblance is unmistakeable and build again seems very solid indeed. The front and top edges of the sides are heavily post-formed and are deeper at the bottom than the top (overhanging the inset back panel) and the speaker also has a separate base, which is rather unusual. The standard version comes in a choice of three real-wood veneers, though at extra cost, high-gloss white or black are also available, or even a choice of many different lacquer colours to order.
The 135mm main bass/mid driver has a 95mm alloy cone, made from a cocktail of aluminium, titanium and magnesium. The tweeter is Quadral’s latest variation on its ribbon-shaped planar tweeter theme. It’s an area-drive 22x 50mm device, its 22mm width divided into four very narrow strips.
Twin high-quality multi-way terminals are fixed directly through an alloy plate, using wire for the optional links. Internal wiring is from Real Cable, and the network uses metal layer resistors and polypropylene film capacitors. The enclosure is port-loaded at the rear, and foam blocking bungs are supplied, which could be useful if the speakers are placed close to a wall. An optional grille is supplied and attaches using concealed magnets.
The Megan VIII didn’t fare too badly during the Blind-Listening Group Test, but it must be said it didn’t raise any great excitement or enthusiasm either. Its key strength is a very well-ordered tonal balance, which delivers a very smooth and evenhanded sound across a broad spectrum of musical material and sound sources.
However, definition and detail are unexceptional and its reproduction did tend to become less clear as the music became more complicated. Simple material comes across rather well, although some midband coloration is audible on voices, especially when reproducing speech, which sounded a little congested and nasal in character.
Although the overall balance is very good, precise timing and midband transparency were not its strengths. Stereo image depth seemed rather limited and this was particularly noticeable when reproducing choral material. Both frequency extremes attracted some criticism. Although the bass has decent weight and authority, it also lacks agility, and has a tendency, in the words of one panellist, to ‘waffle’. The top end sounds smooth, tidy and well judged in level, but could have been better integrated into the whole.
At the end of the day, there’s no denying that the Quadral’s Aurum Megan VIII produced a decent enough all-round performance, but one that was also sonically rather undistinguished. That said, it’s unquestionably a good-looking, smooth and well balanced contender.
LIKE Solid build, attractive styling, classy ingredients and very even-handed balance
DISLIKE: Sounds distinctly coloured, especially on speech
WE SAY: It lacks precise timing despite the even-handed balance
Type: Standmount loudspeaker
Dimensions: (WxHxD) 194x357x290mm
• Ribbon-shaped planar tweeter
• Reflex port on rear
• Five standard finishes includes three quality veneers and gloss paint
• Twin terminal pairs add connection flexibility
• Shaped enclosure sides overlap at rear
Distributor: Quadral GB & Ireland
TELEPHONE: 01785 748446