When the Audio Physic Caldera entered the stage in the mid-nineties, the earth shook. The arrival of the three-modular loudspeaker created about as much commotion as its most powerful examples from nature would create when erupting. International HiFi magazines heaped praise upon praise on the Caldera, and the company philosophy “No loss of fine detail“ re-defined HiFi history. A German test reviewer described the Caldera as a “Stairway to Heaven“, and the international press erupted in ecstatic applause. “Stereophile” star tester Martin Colloms dedicated a large article to the loudspeaker in August 1997 where he strongly suggested that the Caldera should be included in the editor’s list of recommendations and expressed his admiration as follows: “I couldn’t help being swept off my feet.”
Not only were international HiFi connoisseurs amazed by the sheer, stark honesty and incredibly low distortion of the Caldera which was designed with three separate chambers to avoid resonances, but some did even consider using an additional subwoofer in order to be one step closer to the ultimate audiophile heaven.
When chief developer Manfred Diestertich decided to continue the legend, he spared no effort in redesigning the Caldera of the year 2005 from scratch and he even withdraw from implementing the coaxial tweeter-midrange drivers of the internationally acclaimed reference loudspeaker Kronos. Diestertich went the extra mile and fitted the woofer with four large 10” (26 cm) membranes instead of using the previous two 8” (20 cm) Kevlar cones. Since our loudspeakers are designed for living rooms and not only for optimised listening rooms, those who will enjoy the Caldera in a test room and of course in their own living room will not even think of using an additional woofer. Last but not least, the new Caldera reproduces music with more truth and honesty, very low distortion and even sharper sound focus. A stunningly realistic sound stage unfolds when the Caldera is playing and the music sounds more real with an increased bass output and an extra dynamic punch. In fact, the instruments seem to float in the room. Listening to the new Caldera brings joyful tears to the eyes of audiophiles and professional reviewers alike. Headlines such as “Do it again, Manfred” come to one’s mind immediately. Therefore, it will come as a pleasant surprise when you ask your authorised Audio Physic dealer for the price and learn that it is surprisingly low considering the top-range world-class sound that the Caldera delivers.
More Manfred, more Caldera
When the first Caldera was built in the mid-90’s using state-of-the-art computer simulation, it was a ground-breaking achievement at that time and particularly so for small but exclusive high-end manufacturers with a limited output. The technical progress of the new millennium enabled chief developer Manfred Diestertich, mastermind behind the SSC technology, to use much more advanced and sophisticated measuring and driver technology.
It was the elaborate computer simulation of the cabinet which finally lead to the design of the new Caldera in a monolithic architecture which is generously fitted with internal structural elements and does not allow resonances to build. The Caldera is a visual stunner and comes in a lovely range of elegant wood veneers ranging from maple to cherry and rosenut to ebony. Therefore, a discolouring of the veneer’s finish hardly ever appears. The loudspeaker’s good looks as well as its 60 kg weight will impress family and friends alike. The solid loudspeaker terminals are decoupled from the enclosure by using Neoprene in new ways that represent state-of-the-art research in terms of resonance effects.
A new design from scratch
The differences between the legendary predecessor and the new Caldera of 2005 extend beyond the finish of the loudspeakers. The concept itself is completely different. The new three-and-half-way loudspeaker is fitted with coaxial tweeter-midrange drivers. In other words, the two drivers responsible for integrity and focus in the most sensitive area of voice and string instrument reproduction above 150 Hertz share the same axis and closely approximate the acoustic ideal of a point source. As a result, the Caldera provides a precise and focused reproduction of voices and instruments with less artificial coloration as well as an extremely good signal reproduction where a seamless blend to the woofer is achieved between 150 and 500 Hz by implementing a 6” (18 cm) woofer/midrange-driver
Precise bass response
The four woofers – fitted with two extremely rigid 10” (26 cm) Nomex membranes reinforced by fibre glass and two aluminium cones – are arranged symmetrically back to back and are mounted in the sides of the cabinet. This enabled Audio Physic to design a particularly graceful and slim loudspeaker which hides a technical surprise: Two of the four crosswise arranged drivers – the ones with the Momex conus – are configured as a passive system and developer Diestertich therefore succeeded in achieving a more precise fine-tuning in the bass region. The tremendous bass precision perfectly matches the quick response characterises of the coaxial drivers which were taken from the reference-class Kronos loudspeakers. It is above any comparison with conventional bass reflex designs which are, alas, still used with similar top-class loudspeakers.
There is more to learn about Cadera
The largest volcano of the Caldera type is found in Japan near Kyushi with a total circumferential length of 128 kilometres.
A major Caldera event was the volcano eruption on the Greek island Santorini around 1600 BC. However, test reviewer Joachim Pfeiffer was also shaken to his core by another Caldera event in 1996 where his objectivity was heavily challenged. In the meantime, Pfeiffer has become chief editor of AUDIO, the Caldera is making a huge come-back, and Santorini has recovered since long from the volcano eruption.
Calderas are larger then ordinary volcanoes. Where we are truly impressed by a mountain volcano erupting and spewing smoke and fire, we often find it difficult to comprehend the real size of a Caldera notwithstanding the fact that the explosive eruptions of a Caldera reach high magnitudes on the Richter scale. With the Audio Physic Caldera you need no official scale to register the earth-shaking power of the loudspeaker you are standing or sitting in front of. Rather, you just need to be able to listen.
One last little bit of information leads us to Spain where calderas or kettles are belong in every kitchen. And steam locomotives could hardly work without caldera or boiler steam pressure, now could they?