YG Acoustics Cairn Loudspeaker

hfnoutstandingThe smallest of the five-strong standmount/floorstanding Peaks series from YG Acoustics promises to move mountains

Depending on your age, there's the potential for confusion in the naming of YG Acoustics' latest loudspeakers. The Peaks series is inspired by the Rocky Mountains looming over YG's base a few miles outside Denver, and most of our readers will be from generations with 'life experience', and upon hearing the title 'peak' will likely associate it with products of aspirational quality. In the argot of London teenagers, however, 'peak' is now taken to indicate unexpected bad luck. In truth, the recent collaboration between Cambridge Acoustic Sciences and YG's mid-US manufacturing base has been nothing but fortuitous.

Head For Heights
Launched at the beginning of 2022, the Peaks lineup starts with the Cairn we have here, at £9900 in a choice of three finishes, or £11,500 with the dedicated, machined alloy stands. The remainder of the six-strong range encompasses a larger standmount (the £13,000 Tor) and then three floorstanders, peaking – sorry! – with the £30,000 Summit, which stands 113.5cm tall and tips the scales at 72kg. The lineup is completed by an active subwoofer, the £9400 Peaks Descent, packing a 1000W amplifier and 280mm driver, and claiming a (subsonic) bass extension down to 18Hz.

The Peaks series marks something of a departure from YG's older models with their curvaceous, sculptural shapes. As is apparent from the Peaks Cairn, the new arrivals have a more square-cut design, in the form of slanted panels – albeit with gentler curves – constructed from 25mm resin fibre in the presses of a European partner, and finished with wood veneers and deep lacquer. Overlay options are Balanced Oak, Flamed Rosewood and Datuk Ebony, the latter pictured here being supremely well finished, as you would rightly expect at the price.

All the vertical panels of the sealed cabinet have this subtle slant, giving the enclosure something of the look of a truncated pyramid, while the drivers are mounted in an aluminium baffle machined in-house from 3.8cm-thick slabs. A dished horn-loaded waveguide surrounds the tweeter, the design of the baffle, and its machining, being the result of extensive computer modelling.


The Cairn's sealed, internally braced and damped cabinet is fashioned from curved 25mm-thick resin-fibre. Three wood veneer options are offered – Balanced Oak, Flamed Rosewood and Datuk Ebony (pic'd)

In-House Focus
The Cairn cabinet uses selective bracing and acoustic absorption for resonance control, a technique the company calls 'FocusedElimination', again informed by modelling to eliminate the need for lossy internal damping. Meanwhile a lower 'plinth' section of the enclosure – yes, even in these standmounts – again milled from aluminium, houses and isolates the crossover and holds the single set of speaker terminals. Incidentally, these are Nextgen types from WBT, an audiophile favourite but not always suitable for 'heavy' speaker cables or cranking spanner-tight. To the base of this are attached the machined feet that either support the speakers directly on shelves, or sit snugly in matching dished cutouts atop the optional stands.

As a rule, there's a marked lack of off-the-shelf technology found in the Cairn. Instead, just about everything here is made by YG, either in-house in Colorado or at selected partner companies. And that includes the drive units, which use what it calls its ForgeCore and BilletCore technologies. The former, which involves the CNC machining of steel components, is used in the motor system of the drivers, where it allows more complex 3D geometries than are possible with laser-cutting or stamping, all in the quest for reduced distortion.

BilletCore, meanwhile, is used in both the vestigial 30mg 'airframe' supporting and stiffening the soft tweeter dome from behind, and in the 150mm bass/mid cone. Here each shape is machined from billet aluminium, again using CNC-controlled tools, with 99% of the material removed (and then recycled) to produce a lightweight component retaining the alloy's original structure and strength. Crossovers are also handbuilt on circuitboards made in-house, and use selected components including the company's own toroidal/air-cored (ToroAir) inductors for reduced distortion.

While the Peaks Cairn speakers aren't exactly hefty, weighing 12.7kg apiece, they feel solid and substantial, and the build and finish are impeccable. The slender stands are just as impressive. Again they're machined and anodised in-house to the same exacting standards as the metalwork elsewhere in the speakers, with ribbing inside the twin uprights to increase stiffness without adding weight. The stands are both inert – there's no hollow tube here – and more than sturdy enough for the job at hand while remaining simple to handle and install. However, some means of hiding away the loudspeaker cables wouldn't go amiss!

YG Acoustics LLC
Colorado, USA
Supplied by: Padood Ltd, Cambridge, UK
01223 653199