Ascendo System F Loudspeakers
All prices in euros (€) unless otherwise noted.
At time of report, 1 € is approximately 1.37 US dollars.

Germany's Ascendo has always produced elegant and distinctive speakers that seem relatively straightforward in terms of their design. But a close look reveals quite a bit of technical innovation, and the new System F loudspeaker priced at 12,000 € per pair is no exception.

The System F is actually a four-way loudspeaker -- its rather simple looks overshadow this fact. There are a front-mounted tweeter and woofer, a rear-mounted ribbon tweeter to improve ambience and provide better spatial cues (shown above), and an internally mounted woofer whose output is delivered from the port in the front.

Ascendo designs its speakers with first-order crossovers, for minimum phase shift, and attempts to time align the drivers. In the upper-end models like the System F, the tweeter's position in relation to the midrange driver can be adjusted for the listening position.

The System F also has a unique design element that the other Ascendo models don't have -- the designers paid close attention to the drivers' dispersion, not only on the horizontal plane but also in the direction of the floor. Ascendo found that this early reflection from the floor -- sometimes called "floor bounce" -- can obscure detail and compromise imaging if it's not well controlled. By controlling the dispersion in this direction, Ascendo aims to minimize the effect of floor bounce.

A look at the top part of the woofer/ribbon-tweeter section on the back reveals a measurement guide that's used to time align the drivers at the listening position. As we said, this is at first a seemingly straightforward speaker design, but in reality there is a lot of technology packed into it. Plus, it sounded great.