TRANSLATOR at a glance..
- 2-way rear-ported enclosure
- H 940mm x W 198mm x D 360mm
- Weight (each): 29kg (dependent on material options)
- 4mm bare-wire/spade terminals
- SEAS Prestige 176mm treated paper mid-bass driver
- SEAS 27mm sonolex fabric dome tweeter
- Expotus pair-matched resistors
- Jantzen Superior Z-cap capacitor 2% tolerance
- Jantzen 3% tolerance air-core inductor
- Advise amplifier to be 30 – 150 W at 8 ohms
- Sensitivity 87dB 1w/1m
TRANSLATOR - The full story
It has been an absolute pleasure to design the Translator.
A speaker to enhance the emotions of the most critical music listener.
Having worked in the hi fi industry for 36 years, regularly auditioning and demonstrating well known and respected speaker brands, it was surprising that only a handful of them performed well enough to present music as naturally and realistically as one would wish.
Having such a long period of years listening to countless speaker design variants (electrostatic, full range single driver, open baffle, Omni-directional, horn) you become experienced in hearing the strengths and weaknesses inherent in each approach and gradually you start to form a definite view of the areas in sound reproduction that seems to provide the most musical performance.
This i feel was a very strong point for us. It was never going to be a question of producing a speaker and just seeing how good we could get it to perform.
We already knew the areas of importance to us and how we expected The Translator to present the music.
When we listen to music it needs to be effortless, natural and easy, allowing the listener to relax into great detail presented in a well focussed and solid soundstage where vocals and instruments are free of colouration and maintain their natural timbre. The smallest transients must be retrieved to help maintain the freshness and speed of response while never sounding harsh or aggressive.
The bass should have sufficient extension to work well in various room configurations with tight control, even output and low colouration.
Our experience also included many years of listening to a design of speaker that used a 1st order crossover filter instead of the usual 2nd, 3rd and especially 4th order circuits found in many high-end designs. This speaker with 1st order crossovers had really become a reference point for us because it would continually out-perform all others by sounding more natural and realistic. We came to appreciate over the years that the crossover was responsible for its advantage over the others, even those speakers with considerably better drive units and enclosures.
It was a very exciting prospect to think that we could develop a design of speaker using a 1st order crossover and upgraded drive units mounted in a heavy, rigid enclosure and then paying close attention to the components in the crossover, implementing higher quality inductors and capacitors of much closer tolerances.
The field of speaker design is a fascinating arena of so many differing opinions and strategies. You may be the humble hobbyist or the maths and physics academic. It doesn't matter.It really is open to all abilities.
The internet provides a wealth of information regarding crossover circuits and the pros and cons of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, & 4th order. Reviews, forums and interviews with manufacturers proved very informative for our understanding the advantages of 1st order and why it is rarely implemented.
Here are its unique properties :
Passes through all signals with the same time delay.
Produces a phase difference that is constant at all frequencies.
Maintains amplitude and phase, unchanged, thus being transient perfect.
Has the slowest electrical roll-off, -6dB per octave.
Has the fewest reactive components, 1 inductor and 1 capacitor.
The apparent disadvantage is the -6dB electrical roll off not easily translating into an actual acoustic -6dB per octave roll off, but if achieved, each driver would then operate/overlap too close at the crossover point creating many issues for the listener. Power handling may also be compromised.
This one disadvantage discourages the vast majority of manufacturers, some notable exceptions being Vandersteen, Green Mountain Audio and Hansen.
If your speaker design priority is amplitude, a flat frequency response, 1st order is going to struggle to give you that without compromising sound quality.
Your hearing characteristics are, however, amplifying the midrange frequencies already and this is where you can now implement a 1st order crossover optimised, not for amplitude, but simply for what your hearing is telling you sounds right and natural. The resulting crossover design also minimises driver overlap and restores power handling.
Alternatively if you have access to speaker design software and input the relevant data of the drive units, enclosure and crossover circuit you plan to use the software will produce graphs and plots that show your 'theoretical' speakers frequency response, power response, transfer function, phase and impedance, et cetera. This pictorial information is fascinating and beguiling but moves your focus into trying to achieve the best 'measured' loudspeaker and not necessarily the best 'acoustic' loudspeaker. The whole design process simply becomes dominated in satisfying the goal of 'amplitude', the flat frequency response, and that's when your design software will lead you away from 1st order, and your music is about to have time coherence and phase coherence removed, and no electronic wizardry can compensate for it.
So, in brief, we trust our ears and emotional response to the music during the entire design and voicing process. As stated in the beginning The Translator has been an absolute pleasure to design and now that pleasure awaits you.
Translator reviews and testimonials
"the Translators rival speakers at several times their price ... [I] have no hesitation at all in confidently awarding them Recommended status"
Paul Messenger - HiFi Critic
Who is 3 Square Audio anyway? That was my immediate question when I first encountered these guys. It turns out that there are indeed three of them, and the operation was founded quite recently, in 2015, which probably explains why the company doesn’t currently supply dealers, but instead sells direct to end-users. This seems to be the modern way, and is probably inevitable for a brand new operation such as this. Lacking normal retail outlets, the company’s website points out that is does offer a free ‘home demonstration’ option (presumably only in the UK). Although the three protagonists (Stuart, Brian and Doug) are based in Derbyshire, one of them, by happy coincidence, happens to have a relative who lives quite near me. All are important, including architect Brian and joiner Doug, but the main man from a hi-fi perspective is undoubtedly Stuart (Dunn), who has had more than thirty years of experience in hi-fi retail, and has become very dissatisfied with most of the speakers that are generally available. That’s the basic reason why 3-Square Audio was started up in the first place. Crucially, the two loudspeakers (somewhat pretentiously named Translator and Liberator) quite deliberately feature ultra-simple ‘first order’ crossover networks, as this approach is claimed to give superior phase response (without specifying the crossover or the acoustic outputs). Such a simple two-component crossover encourages the use of top quality components, such as an air-core Jantzen inductor and a 1% tolerance ClarityCap capacitor used here. Twin terminal socket/binder pairs are also fitted, facilitating bi-wiring or –amping. The product range actually consists of a number of plinths and racks (which I haven’t tried), but the subject of this review is the £2,800/pair Translator, the floorstander of two loudspeakers. All are based on Baltic birch-ply, made from a selected slowgrowing and hence unusually dense and costly variety of the timber. One unique aspect of the speaker’s styling is that it’s deliberately left entirely ‘nude’, with no attempt to cover the plywood with any form of veneer. The net result is certainly unusual and very distinctive indeed, especially in the plywood edge stripes that surround the front panel, but to these eyes at least it’s also by no means unpleasant, thanks in part to the oil- and wax-based finish. The floor-coupling arrangements are equally unconventional. Five substantial M10 stainless steel bolts are fixed permanently into a 10mm steel plate within the recessed base of each speaker. (Five bolts permits the tripod option, though don’t tell Health & Safety!) Each bolt may then be fitted with a hefty and substantial aluminium cone that ends in a relatively sharp point. Lateral holes are drilled through the bolts to allow height adjustment, and rely on the (considerable, 28kg) weight of the enclosure to hold them in place, rather than any form of locknut. Mistrusting the latter arrangement, and already using Townshend platforms to decouple speakers from my suspended wooden floor, I screwed the cones as finger-tightly home as feasible. And extra mass-loading is also supplied by a concrete layer (alongside that steel plate). It’s basically a two-way loudspeaker, reinforced by reflex loading in the bass via a rear port tuned to 38Hz. The drivers are good quality units from Norwegian specialist SEAS’ Prestige range. They consist of a 165mm (6.5in) bass/midrange driver with a coated paper cone, plus a 27mm tweeter with a soft fabric Sonolex dome. Spatially averaged far-field in-room measurements show a decent enough frequency response, albeit one that shows certain departures from neutrality. The most serious problem is arguably the mid-bass excess (+c5dB, 35-60Hz) (probably due to the proximity of the port to our 50Hz room mode). Elsewhere the upper bass is somewhat lacking (-c4dB, 70-220Hz), as is the presence (-c5dB, 2.6-5kHz), plus the treble proper. (Alternatively, one could regard the broad midband, 250Hz-1.8kHz, as somewhat forward.) We measured the sensitivity at around 89dB through the midband, though the spec. only claims 87dB, perhaps reflecting the typically ±3dB variations in frequency balance detailed above. Impedance is claimed to have a minimum of 7ohms at 150Hz, which couldn’t be checked in this case due to test gear problems, but would seem to indicate an easy amplifier load. Sound Quality While the 3 Square guys were here, I swapped a pair of B&W 800D3s that had been in situ for a pair of Translators. One would expect such a change to favour the B&Ws strongly, and while it did indeed do so, the advantages were largely restricted to the bass end of things, and certainly didn’t reflect the 8:1 price difference. After some weeks of very pleasurable listening to the Translators, using both the Kron hybrid amplifier (see page 46) as well as my regular Naim pre-/power combo, I changed the loudspeakers over to the Arcaydis EB2S. Although this sealedbox stand-mount’s measured in-room response is comfortably superior, and the frequency balance was correspondingly more even, I found that it sounded significantly less natural overall, which might (or might not) be related to its 3rd order + 3rd order crossover network. Even though direct comparison made one immediately aware of the Translator’s departure from true neutrality, this seemed largely irrelevant compared to its ‘natural’ inherent character. I also discovered that I could quickly adjust to tonal balance anomalies, but much less so to the loss of the ‘natural’ dynamic qualities that reminded me of the virtues of full-range driver designs. I should perhaps add that this experience (along with my recent enthusiasm for full-range driver systems) has made me into something of a convert for simple 6dB/octave crossovers. I recall that B&W simplified the tweeter feed to its top 800-series to 6dB/octave some years ago, based purely on the results of listening tests, and although I perhaps didn’t realise it at the time, I now have considerable sympathy with the technique. (That said, I then brought the PMC IB2 SE references with their 24dB/octave 4th order crossovers into the listening room, and was treated to a similarly natural sound quality. It would therefore seem quite clear that either 1st or 4th order networks can be made to work satisfactorily after all!) Gentle crossover rolloff slopes are so strongly at the core of the Translator design that it seems impossible to pin down the contributions of the other constructional details: the birch-ply enclosure, the mass loading, or the hefty and unconventional spike arrangements. However, there’s no denying that they all seem to be doing a fine job, as the dynamic expression of these speakers is thoroughly impressive. Indeed, my only real criticism goes back to the paragraph that preceded the Sound Quality section, pointing out the mid-bass peak that was probably created by a combination of the port tuning and a specific room-mode. Although this prominence wasn’t at all audible with speech sources, music program invariably showed it up as a rather ‘thickened’ character, especially when a bass guitar or kick-drum came into the mix. Conclusions After spending a few weeks enjoying their unquestionably ‘natural’ sound quality, I’ve become very fond of the Translators. Indeed, in many respects they represent an ideal that offers many of the benefits of a full range driver system without some of the latter’s bandwidth disadvantages. They’re not perfect, true, and the jury might still be out on 1st order crossovers, but there’s no avoiding the fact that I reckon the Translators rival speakers at several times their price. I’ll undoubtedly miss them when the time comes round for their return, and have no hesitation at all in confidently awarding them Recommended status.
"the 3 Square Audio team have worked hard for several years to bring this dream to fruition and have combined their expertise to produce what I feel is a worthy new addition to the speaker market."
Ian Ringstead - HiFi Pig
When Stuart Smith asked me to review these new speakers he said I would enjoy meeting the designer as he had a lot in common with myself in that he used to be in hifi retailing for many years, so we would have a lot to talk about. He was right. Stuart Dunn like myself worked for a couple of retail outlets well known back in the eighties and nineties. Now he is working elsewhere out of the industry like myself, but has a strong passion for music and how it is reproduced. Stuart had always been fascinated by speakers and their design so he wanted to pursue a design that gave him everything he loved for a sensible price. Has he achieved this? Let’s see. Stuart (Dunn) has based his design on a very simple first order crossover that uses high quality components and he has experimented with the values of the capacitors and inductors, just using his ears to voice the design. Now some might criticise him for not using software analysis tools like Audiomatica Clio and laser interferometry like the big boys use. Well scientific measurements are all well and good but as we know nothing is as powerful or adept at analysing sound as the human brain and ear. Designers of course have to use their ears, as ultimately that is what we use to listen with and make the final judgement, but I bet a lot rely on scientific testing first and foremost to justify the results. There is value in both approaches and I won’t commit to either approach as being the best. It all boils down to what the sonic results are like. I’ll get onto that later. The Translator is a classic looking floorstander. Using Prestige SEAS drive units filtered by HF and LF First Order Crossovers. The cabinets use the best quality Baltic birch plywood which is expensive and a no compromise product. Pro audio manufacturers use the same birch ply as it is so tough and rigid which is an absolute must in that tough environment, not only for longevity and reliability, but also because it sounds good. The cabinet is mass loaded using steel and cement to give it a good low centre of gravity and allow the speaker to sit confidently on the floor. Bespoke M10 spikes are supplied to allow levelling for precise rigid placement. The spikes are custom made and were chosen for their solidity and ease of set up beneath the heavy cabinet. They are cleverly mounted onto steel threaded studs on the base of the cabinet and are easily adjusted. Interestingly there are five studs in total, one per corner and a central one so purists can just use three if they so wish, but I tried them on four and was more than happy that there was no rocking and the spikes did a fine job of holding the speakers firm. These speakers are heavy (28Kg) and take some lifting as I found out when helping to install them. As well as spikes, spike shoes are supplied to avoid damage to solid or wooden floors, but on my granite slabs the spikes went straight onto them and were fine and the speakers felt firmly grounded. Stuart went to great length to stress the choice and simplicity of the first order crossover design. Ultimately this design was the only one that he was happy with and along with business partner Brian who drives the company along with his skill in design, materials and managing the company (he has a background in architecture after all) gave them the sound they were after. Using upgraded drivers mounted in a heavy rigid cabinet and choosing high quality inductors and capacitors with close tolerances made for an interesting result. The cabinet’s rigidity is further aided by two cross braces internally. At the rear are the bi wired good quality binding posts which come with jumpers if you only have single speaker wiring and a port to allow the speaker to breathe. The port is tuned so as to not cause any air turbulence (chuffing) and allow the drivers to work with the optimal air resistance. Stuart assured me they are an easy load and power wise I didn’t hold back during listening sessions and had no concerns with level issues, distortion or power handling. My initial concerns were that a fairly large floorstander in my average size living room might be a poor match with overblown bass that I wouldn’t be able to tame. Well to my delight it wasn’t an issue. In fact the bass was remarkably well controlled and balanced nicely with the mid and treble. If anything it was the treble at first which I felt was lacking and was letting the side down. Having listened to a lot of different speakers over the preceding months, it’s amazing how varied speakers sound. Getting used to a new design in your living room can take some adjusting to and it was a few hours before I suddenly felt the treble started to make sense and sounded correct to my ears. I contacted Stuart about this anomaly of the initial dullness and he advised to just give it time for the sound to gel to my ears. His concern had been that the bass might overpower my room but it all worked out in the end. THE SOUND In my many years of listening to hifi I have learnt to be wary of initial impressions and make quick assumptions. Sometimes a product or system can instantly grab you and retain that magical quality, but on the flipside an initial impressive sound can soon become wearing on the ears and make me want to switch the system off. The Translator’s never made me want to switch them off; it just took a bit of time to acclimatise. From the off these speakers show a great ability to reveal detail in a recording extremely well and vocals in particular were always very clear and coherent. This is a quality you appreciate when listening to densely mixed performances and I feel can make or break your enjoyment if you can’t tell what is being sung or played. If you have to work hard at listening to a performance your brain will switch off as your concentration wanes. This phenomenon isn’t just with hifi systems but live musical events. I go to a fair amount of concerts both classical and contemporary and if the venue or sound system affects the sound badly I come away very disappointed. The evening before I wrote this review I went to see The Hallé Orchestra in Sheffield and one of the pieces they performed was Grieg’s piano concerto. The orchestra and pianist were great, but due to the position where I was sitting in the concert hall this affected the sound and the piano sounded muted in level to my ears. My aunt was sat elsewhere in the auditorium and said it sounded fine to her. Like a poorly designed speaker or system the venue adversely affected my listening pleasure. The Translator’s won’t spoil your listening pleasure. I found they liked to be pushed hard and came on song when given some current behind them. The sound opened up and the performers were easily identified and located in the soundstage. Vocals, whether male or female excelled. Jack Savoretti’s new album Written in scars impressed with his distinctive style of the gruffness in his voice and Eva Cassidy sounded sublime (she always does on a good system), especially her album Live at Blues Alley which sounded so natural, and the recording and engineering is superb. Ricki Lee Jones was also tried for her distinctive style and I listened to her album Balm in Gilead all the way through without wanting to try something else. On my last listening to that cd I hadn’t been very impressed, so the Translator’s must have been doing a good job. To test the bass and dynamic range capability of the speakers I put the soundtrack to Gladiator on. A great film in its own right you don’t appreciate how good the soundtrack is until you hear it on a good system. It is a great recording done at Air Studios in London with Lisa Gerrard on vocals (she helped arrange it with Hans Zimmer). The Lyndhurst Orchestra perform magnificently along with the soloists and the dynamic range is awesome. This recording will test any system and it certainly tested mine. The bass was incredible in places and fair shook my room, but it was never out of control. Testament to the very well controlled design and the solidity of the cabinets. I could have played louder but my wife and neighbours wouldn’t have appreciated that. There was no distortion or signs of the cones breaking up so heavy rockers would love this speaker if they wanted depth and clarity of bass. Obviously other types of music were equally catered for and I didn’t find a genre I listened to that I didn’t enjoy. The Translator’s are extremely well made and finished with all credit going to the craftsmanship of Doug the third member of the team whose joinery skills are exemplary. The fit and finish is excellent. At £2500 they should be well made but this hasn’t always been the case in my experience of products in the past. The cabinets are left in their raw state (i.e. not veneered ) with the end grain of the laminated birch ply which forms the top and side panels on show making for a very neat contrast to the surface finish of the ply on all the other faces of the ply’s lamination which are at right angles. It’s easier to see this in the pictures than try to describe. The decision was made to leave the finish like this as veneering wasn’t needed and makes for what I think is a pleasant change to the usual veneered or painted cabinets. A very durable waxed based finish is applied to the cabinet as it doesn’t finger mark and looks very smart in my opinion. My wife didn’t like the finish as she thought it looked unfinished, but she is hard to please and beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say. It’s all personal preference and I congratulate the team at 3 Square Audio for choosing this option. This is not to say they won’t supply other options in the future, but as a new company it’s best to start slowly and see what develops. Custom paint finishes or exotic veneers are all well and good, but you as the customer will have to pay quite a bit more if that’s what you want. CONCLUSION So there we have it. What was a slow start came good in the end. Persistence is the key here, as the speakers grew on me. Stuart and the 3 Square Audio team have worked hard for several years to bring this dream to fruition and have combined their expertise to produce what I feel is a worthy new addition to the speaker market. Given the quality of materials used, the build quality and excellent sound they deserve to do well and are competitively priced. The website http://3squareaudio.com/ is well worth checking out and has some lovely pictures showing the speaker details and crossover for those interested. Sound Quality: 8.9/10 Build Quality: 8.8/10 Value for money: 8.8/10 Overall: 8.83/10 Price at time of review: £2500 Pros: High quality low colouration design Good value Extended and well controlled bass Cons: I like the looks but it may polarise views. Heavy design, so solid floors recommended to get the best out of them. Ian Ringstead Technical Spec’ 2 way floorstanding loudspeaker using a ported enclosure tuned to 38 Hz Height 950 mm Width 198 mm Depth 360 mm Weight 28.5 Kg each HF driver is a SEAS 27mm Sonolex precoated fabric dome from the Prestige series. LF driver is a SEAS 6,5 inch coated paper cone from the Prestige series. Crossover filter is 1st order on both HF and LF circuits. Bi – amping is supported. Inductor is Jantzen air core, Capacitor is 1% Clarity Cap. Crossover point 2.6 KHz Speaker terminals support bi-wire and bi-amping using bare wire, spade or 4mm plugs In-room response typically 35Hz to 20 KHz Recommended amplifier power 30 W – 150 W DESIGNER’S COMMENTS As hifi users it has been a long standing complaint of ours that most equipment comes with an inadequate spike adjustment system. It is either poorly designed or badly executed or in many cases both. We were determined to get this right. Before we had designed the Translator speaker we had designed the spike system it incorporates. This consists of a large M10 threaded stainless steel bolt fixed to a 10mm steel plate with an aluminium coned foot of our own design mounted to it. The coned foot has a small hole through it which, with the use of the supplied allen key, makes micro adjustment easy. Due to the mass of the plate, the quality and size of the threaded parts, there is no need for a locking nut thus removing the wobble and difficulty of adjustment associated with M6 and M8 spikes. We have also taken the opportunity to install a fifth stud on the speakers to allow the purist to stand them on only 3 spikes. We have found, however, that with our system on 4 spikes micro rocking, so common in some spike systems, is all but eliminated. We have a passion for Baltic birch plywood. For the uninitiated this is not the sort of plywood you buy from your local DIY store or builders merchants. This is a very high quality material supplied only by specialist suppliers. Baltic birch plywood is made from veneers of very slow grown birch, no other species unlike ordinary plywood, grown in the cold Baltic regions of Finland and the once Baltic states of Russia. As it is slow grown it is a very dense timber which when veneered together, grain at right angles in alternate layers approximately 1mm thick, forms an incredibly rigid and consistent material from which we can build our products. Baltic birch is an attractive light coloured wood which has varying grain patterns on it. We use the plywood in sheet form but also by laminating it together to form the striped pattern you see on top of The Translator. We have perfected this technique over some time to form an attractive but very strong timber. Finally we use oil and wax based finish which we have developed over a few years to provide a smooth gloss finish which is hardwearing and will not chip like a lacquer or paint.
"It was illuminating, a revelation."
Judith Weir, Master of The Queen's Music
"Recommended without reservation."
Federation of Recorded Music Societies, Technical Officer Philip Ashton
"you come across a product every now and again, that indeed deserves praise."
Having been in this crazy hobby of Hi Fi for the last 20 years or so you come across a product every now and again, that indeed deserves praise. I received a message from Stuart via Facebook asking me if I would have a listen to his speakers, I always love listening to new gear and arranged to have a pair of their Translators dropped off at my house for an extended listening session. My first impression was how well the cabinets are made, from the Baltic Birch plywood, and wife friendly too boot. I gave them a couple of days to settle into there new environment. Stuart explained to me that he had developed a first order crossover for this model, I hooked them up to my Vitus amplifier and off we went through my known collection and favourite tracks, I suppose when we get anything new, we try and trip it up and pick holes in it, ( well I do anyway ) and I can safely say I struggled to trip them up. I mainly listen to 80/90 and chill music ( no heavy rock here ) and was pleasantly surprised, they are warm and inviting and not fatiguing to listen to at all. I have had plenty of sets of speakers through my door and at this price point I am struggling to think of any that I have heard that are better ( to my ears anyway) as we all know music is very subjective, and what one person likes from a speaker, another may not. So all in all we need to stop being brand snobs and just listen to the music, which the Translator does very well. Well done Stuart and the team.
"a wide and deep sound stage, extending well beyond the speakers."
Peter Colin Kendall
This floor standing speaker is relatively conventional in looks, a two way rear ported bass reflex design, using a 1st order crossover. The finish and sleek styling is exemplary, the artful use of the Baltic Birch ply laminations is also visually very appealing. That said my wife commented on the bass driver impinging on the laminations on the edge of the front face, though this didn't bother me particularly. As a floor stander they are rather deep, but this allows a narrower frontal cross section. The drivers are both from the SEAS prestige range ..of which I know nothing. The tweeter appears to be a fabric dome and the bass unit appears as you would expect, [as I write this I realise there's no grill or fixings, or even mention of one. Which maybe something that needs to be addressed, fortunately there are no little curious fingers in my household ]. The bass port is situated at the lower rear and set on the same plate as the crossover and binding posts. The crossover is a 1st order design using high quality components and wired with the same multi strand that's used for the jumpers. Hooking them up to my system was easy enough. They come fitted for biwiring and jumpers are provided to facilitate a single wire option, as used in my system. As to feet I set them up in 3 spike mode, but if the mood takes you they can be set up in 4 spike or even 5 spike configurations. To help in the set-up process a large bubble level is provided which was useful. Each cabinet is a significant weight which means its best to get the move right the first time ! The cabinets give a reassuringly inert sound when Knuckle wrapped too..... The dimensions of each speaker are considerably shorter than my Martin Logan Aerius i's [This will become important later], but the foot print however, is much the same so it was easy to slot them straight into the same position. So now to power up the amps and play some music, its immediately apparent that these speaker are doing something very interesting. The initial impression is of fast clean deep rich beguiling sound, very promising so far. My ML's are 89db and these speakers need a tad bit more volume to get the same perceived level, so my guess is there about 87-88db efficiency. Bass is prodigious, compared with the ML's at any rate and more than myself or next door are used to ! I have to say I've never been a fan of bass ports having lived and suffered through the 70's and 80's with various honkers and chuffers. That said there were only a few occasions when I thought the reflex port had stepped out of line and even then it was fairly benign. The mid range and treble behaved impeccably[ in respect to music used] . Its clear that the first order crossover is having an effect, this revealed itself as if your listening with a slight bass and treble boost. In reality it means the mid range is slightly reduced, if I've got my head round it correctly. This is very exciting to begin with, but I found it became rather relentless and even dropping the volume oddly only reduced the sound level ! This really manifests itself listening certain artists like Joanne Newsome [the mad harp woman as my wife calls her], playing the Milk eyed Mender, her voice which is at best eclectic ! started to get uncomfortable but not totally unlistenable but we were getting fairly close . I'm a big fan of imaging and I expect my system's tuned to get the best it can from the stereo illusion. These speakers didn't disappoint in this respect providing a wide and deep sound stage, extending well beyond the speakers. Though this did throw up some quirks, the mid level height of the image positioned its self about half as high again as I'm used too ...to study this I set the tv up using the Quad PA1 to decode the optical signal from our wall mounted 55" 4k tv feeding the preamp ...normally[with the ML's] the mid height of the image coincides with the tv . This time however the sound was perceived to be coming from the top edge of the tv . This produced a rather strange disconnect, almost like when speech is out of sync on a badly dubbed film. Further listening confirmed that the vocal imaging wasmuch higher than expected , of course this is not an issue unless your trying to coincide the sound image with the visual ! Another observation especially with the male spoken word was a slight burr or blur. I've had this similar effect before and is in my experience associated with large strand counts in cables ie single solid cores don't do it and high numbers of strands do, hay ho !Don't get me wrong these speakers are without doubt very good indeed, very enjoyable to listen to, though they may not for the faint hearted!I'm certain my system, set up and room have made a contribution to the slightly anomalous effects heard.Would I buy these?Yes without reservation and happily overlook the idiosyncrasies. [assuming I did not have the ML's]Would I swap my ML's for them ..?now that's a much harder question that will have to wait till I've good long listen the ML's again.Have they sown a seed of doubt ?definitely !the listening was carried out using the following equipment.....Sony HAP Z1ESBeard ca506 in active mode, with psvane valvesopera consonance cyber800 with electro harmonix power valvesQuad PA1 acting as a dac taking the tv's optical signal then feeding the Beard
"well worth any audition."
Hon. Secretary Jim Bostwick, Federation of Recorded Music Societies
"3 square audio" brought their Translator loudspeakers - a two drive unit - to our recent recorded music weekend in Daventry. Whilst designed clearly for the domestic market in both size and finish, the listening room at the hotel is large by comparison. They performed very well indeed even though they were being driven hard to fill the space. They also performed very favourably in comparison to our usual loudspeakers, some three times their cost. This Derby manufactured product is well worth any audition. Jim Bostwick, Federation of Recorded Music Societies Hon. Secretary and music weekend DJ
"3 Square Audio had their Translator loudspeaker on dem. I sat a good while with Robert Kelly of German Physik fame in this room and we both commented on how unforced and natural sounding the speakers were. Our man Ian Ringstead reviewed them recently for Hifi Pig and thoroughly enjoyed them too. Proof I suppose that you don’t have to spend a King’s ransom to achieve great results in the audio world."
Hi Fi Pig editor Stuart Smith
(from the final report of The North West Audio Show 26th June 2016)