Franco Serblin Accordo loudspeaker Page 2

A single adjective kept popping into my head, regardless of the music: silky. No, I didn’t turn to Boz Scaggs or the Pretty Things so I could torment you with puns. As it turned out, I was listening to open-reel tapes (via a Sony TC-755) when the Accordos arrived, and kicked off the sessions with the US pre-recorded tape of Beatles VI [Capitol L2358] – the Americans’ mash-up of Beatles For Sale and the UK version of Help!. It was a life-changer, hot on the heels of stacked LS3/5As, in part because I was still reeling (!) from the sound of the Fab Four on tape.

Like all Yankee baby boomers, I ‘hear’ US rather than UK track listings, and this was always one of my favourite LPs because it contained five of my all-time most-loved mop-top masterpieces. What nailed me to the chair was a mere two drum beats at 30 seconds into ‘Every Little Thing’. Stage right, a couple of hammerings of the tom-tom (or timpani?) delivered the percussive thrills I usually expect only of Kodo drums via some loony-tunes audiophile pressing. Despite an absence of truly deep, quartet-of-15in-woofer-type bass, the minuscule Accordos delivered the proper, complete and convincing sensation of man pounding a taut drumhead, moving lots of air. A small, simple thing, but the authenticity was undeniable, confirmed by the more powerful percussive opening to ‘What You’re Doing’.

In The Room
Ah, what a reveal! ‘Tell Me What You See’ for harmonies, tambourine and electric piano. The build-up and the clapping on ‘Eight Days A Week.’ The luscious, lyrical and utterly peerless guitar twanging that opens and underscores ‘Words Of Love’. And the vocals! So natural, so sibilance-free, so, so in-the-room! I could go on... so how to dispel accusations of foregone conclusions? Despite all my prejudices, a part of me is even tougher than might be deemed necessary on anything toward which I might seem pre-disposed. So I turned to a milestone album that was of dubious sonic worth.


Yes, Derek & the Dominos’ Layla has been ‘audiophiled’ to death despite its occasionally muddy, murky sound – which actually suits the swamp-rock nature of the album. While its stereo properties are beyond question, it takes something like the latest Mobile Fidelity two-LP version [MFSL 2-470] to peel away a layer of grunge. What Layla did for me was provide a taste of – if not quite the final word on – the Accordo’s ability to convey a sense of grandeur in direct opposition to its diminutive size.

A Spectorian wall of sound filled the room, but – unlike a Spector masterpiece – it was wall-to-wall stereo, with every instrument enjoying its own turf, and with possibly the best front-to-back depth I’ve encountered this side of a Quad ’57. I could hear Franco’s measured tones, telling me about why his speakers had a ‘hot seat’ for optimum listening. Sure, they’re fine off-axis, but the prime listening seat, with everything in focus, yields about as convincing a 3D space as one could desire. Yet this is not a speaker for everyone, because – convincing scale and abundant detail aside – its lower registers are typical of a speaker limited by a 150mm woofer. They are lightweight, and bass addicts might find them wanting.

A Big Hit
Fortuitously, a batch of RCA ‘Living Stereo’s came my way thanks to an old friend, so I was feeding the Accordos with what are generally regarded as some of the best-sounding LPs ever issued. Perez Prado’s Big Hits By Prado [RCA LSP-2104] is a perfectly recorded orchestra, and all it took was a burst of ‘Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White’, with the volume turned up to much louder than one expects of a small box, to hear that orchestra in my room. And, yes, it was, indeed, as ‘silky’ as could be. Brass that punches like Tyson... shimmer... sheen. I’m in love.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
Take this with a caveat, as I’m biased toward 1) small, beautiful speakers and 2) anything Italian. That said, my reaction heightened by years of anticipation, the Accordo is one of the most alluring, nay, seductive speakers I have ever heard. It commandeers the term ‘musical’ and makes it its own, the way Joe Cocker stole ‘With A Little Help From My Friends.’ Forgive the melodrama, but this is a speaker ‘to die for.’

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