Franco Serblin Accordo Essence Loudspeaker

hfnoutstandingAccordo standmount gains a dedicated woofer and larger, floorstanding cabinet. Hey presto: the Essence

No kidding: when I first fired up the Franco Serblin Accordo Essence, I figured it sold for around £20,000, somehow forgetting that the loudspeaker above it – the flagship Ktêma [HFN Sep '20] – cost £25k. Surely they wouldn't price two models so closely? Equally, I failed to recall that the standmount Accordo [HFN Jan '18] from which it is derived sells for only £7500. The pricing, however, illustrates how Massimiliano Favella is sticking to a plan where each model fills a sonic and fiscal gap: the Accordo Essence will set you back £12,998 per pair.

That had to sink in, that such a gorgeous, sublimely-finished construct could sell for so relatively little given today's high-end price lists. Available only in the luxurious solid walnut cabinetry with aluminium and chrome fittings seen here, the Essence iteration of the Accordo adds another drive unit, a 180mm woofer with 'microspheres' cone and aluminium dust cap, to complement the 29mm silk-dome tweeter designed by Ragnar Lian, founder of Scan-Speak, and the 150mm microsphere-coned mid-woofer. The immediate gain is bass extension, not that the Accordo was too shy for its size in the lower registers.

Pump Up The Volume
As important to this up-scaling of the original Accordo design is the much larger, aluminium-and-magnesium-braced, floorstanding cabinet measuring 1100x230x430mm (hwd) compared to the Accordo's 360x190x360mm (hwd). As you can see, the cross-section, too, has increased, so the Accordo Essence isn't solely gaining in height. The much larger volume suggests greater bass performance, while the crossover has also been addressed.

As with the standmount Accordo, the Accordo Essence is an asymmetrical design, so the speakers are provided in left- and right-hand pairs. Amusingly, the Accordo Essence, like the regular Accordo, is a reversal of the Ktêma, which has an extremely narrow baffle, widening at the rear – by contrast both Accordos have wide baffles and narrow back sections. Like the Ktêma, however, there are rear ports which demand free space around the speakers, the company recommending a minimum of 1m from all walls, but I reckon 0.5m will suffice. Positioning, however, is critical.

221franco.bac <> One starts with placement that's close to an equilateral triangle. The speakers are then toed inwards so the baffle faces the listener with no view of the sides, while the 'violin strings' that form the grilles allow perfect visibility of the drive units. Thanks to the adjustable spiking system fitted to the Accordo Essence, there is also freedom to apply a small amount of tilt should you wish to fine-tune arrival times, à la Wilsons.

sqnote Command 'N' Control
Single-wired, via superior, multi-way terminals, the Accordo Essence has one other requirement revealed in editor PM's Lab Report. Ignore the recommended minimum amplifier power of 20W for these are hungry speakers, and they will return the favour of vast amounts of power with an increasingly commanding performance, independent of the playback levels.

I am no head-banger, so none of my tube or solid-state amplifiers was straining, but there was no ignoring gains in two specific areas as the power increased. The first was in absolute bass control, using Kodo drums and other speaker busters. The second was in the sense of impact. Was I hearing my two ~75W amps 'running out of steam'? Was it an impedance issue? I know not, beyond none of the amps being especially troubled by ornery loads. Every one of them drove the Accordo Essences but, as in Orwell's world, some were more equal than others.

Zing Went The Strings
Aside from the Lignea, which is the outsider in the Franco Serblin range, I have now lived with each model and am as impressed by the clarity of thought put into the ascending nature of the range as I am with each model's behaviour in isolation. More relevant is that each serves its own sector properly in price and performance, and the gains are logical, eg, if you crave more bass, you go to the next model up.

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