Product: Diapason Prelude VS bookshelf loudspeaker
Manufacturer: Diapason - Italy
Approx. price: 1600 US$/1400 Eur (ask your dealer for details)
Reviewer: Mimmo Cacciapaglia - TNT Italy
Reviewed: September, 1999
This test has been written down after a sooo loooong period of extensive listenings at home. In the meanwhile I've changed something into my reference system: for example a brand new DNM Reson Reca cartridge has replaced a good old Stanton WOS Signature while our popular FFRC speakers cable has replaced some other well-known commercial product.
I must confess I was curious to test the Prelude, after the rave review of the Diapason Micra II CE done by our editor, Lucio Cadeddu.
Since I know him to be an audiophile very hard to please and given the very positive review he wrote about the smaller Micra, the test of the bigger Prelude was going to be more than a reality check.
First things first: what does the VS suffix stand for? It means Video Series as this Prelude, though still using the same drivers of the Classic Prelude, can be used into a Home Theater system, near a TV screen.
You can be pretty sure its drivers will not cause that annoying color-shift on the images of your TV screen.
Then, Diapason claims the Prelude is a loudspeaker well suited even for multimedia applications (such as PC sound etc.)...and this is a clear example of understatement: the Prelude is a true audiophile product...don't believe the hype! :-)
The Video Series is also different because of the finish of the cabinet: instead of wood the new Diapason's come in fresh new colors as you can see in the picture below. This way the new loudspeakers become easier to match even with the most modern furniture.
The pair of Prelude's I had under test had a shiny red-scarlet finish and, matched with the black Diapason stands, they successfully passed the wife-acceptance test in a snap!
The Video series includes the Micra and a center channel for Home Theater as well as a wall-mounting stand for using the Micra (or the Prelude) as hi-quality surround speaker.
The Diapason Prelude's claim to have a good efficiency (89 dB/W/m) so that they become an easy load for any decent amplifier (the minimum of the impedance is attained at 200 Hz, 3.6 ohm).
For this test I've used the Diapason stand, a neat and well-designed object (see the picture above), then I've connected them via a Dali Cobra LS cable (monowiring) or TNT-FFRC speakers cable (biwiring) to a Copland CTA-401 tube amplifier.
As for the tweeter: there's nothing to say or complain about it...refined and detailed but still never harsh or "tizzy". Maybe, with a good solid state amp, the performance would have been even more balanced, vivid and intriguing.
Actually, besides the smooth Copaland tube amp, even my analogue front-end sounds pretty smooth and sweet (Thorens 316 + Mission Cyrus Arm + DNM Reson Reca).
The power handling is really good and you really need to exceed with the volume knob to make the Prelude cry. I'm sure nobody will use the Prelude VS for a party :-)
Let's talk about the soundstage: always behind the loudspeakers, always deep and wide. With the Dali cable (monowiring) the height of the scene was just fair but it has improved as soon as I hooked up our TNT-FFRC cable (biwiring)...Warning! To connect our TNT-FFRC to the Neutrik Speakon connector I've struggled for a while :-(
Finally, the position of the players inside the soundstage is faithful without trying to be hyper-realistic.
Placing into the listening room: just put them far from the near walls (rear and side), slightly toed-in, so that the axes from the tweeters cross together in front of the listener. 2 meters between the speakers is normally enough, tough it depends mainly by the size of the listening room.
If you're going to buy the Prelude, please consider to buy the dedicated Diapason stands: they're nice, well-made and good-sounding. They give their best when the central column is filled with sand or lead balls.
In my opinion the Diapason Prelude VS deserve to be put into the short list of HiFi components that allow you to re-discover the pleasure of pure Music listening, without the hassles caused by the audiophila nervosa that forces us to "upgrade" our system every now and then...
Not exactly the kind of speakers meant to impress your friends, these are loudspeakers for the serious audiophile, for anyone who judges HiFi components for their sound and not for their "brand" or price tag.
A big thank you to Alessandro Schiavi of Diapason for having sent us this louspeakers for this premiere test. I'm sure I'll miss them...
© Copyright 1999 Mimmo Cacciapaglia - www.tnt-audio.com