Products: Pylon Audio Opal 20 - floorstanding loudspeakers
Manufacturer: Pylon Audio - Poland
Test sample kindly supplied by MGP Audio (Italian distributor)
Approx. price: around 725€/pair
Reviewer: Lucio Cadeddu - TNT Italy
Reviewed: June, 2020
Who is Pylon? Pylon SA was established in May 2011 in Warsaw, Poland. They make both loudspeakers and drivers, as well. Their catalogue consists of seven lines of loudspeakers, for a whopping total of 29 different models. We decided to test a small floorstander from the Opal series, the 20. The line consists of six different models, from bottom to top: Sat, Center, Monitor, 20, 23 and 30. The Opal 20 is, consequently, the smallest floorstander of the series. It can be considered a “budget-class” floorstander, costing just 700-750€/pair.
The test samples have been supplied by the extremely kind Italian distributor, MGP Audio. They are available almost worldwide through a list of selected distributors.
The Opal 20 is a small footprint tower, measuring 190 x 900 x 280 mm [W x H x D] with a gross weight of 14 kgs each. It is a two way design based on the Pylon Audio PSW 18.8 CS woofer and on the Pylon Audio PST T-50/8 tweeter (actually, it turned out to be a Monacor DT25-N, see pic). The woofer is a 18 cm unit while the neodymium tweeter has a 1" silk dome. They are “inverted”: the tweeter is placed below the woofer. The cabinet is extremely well made for the price (MDF walls of variable thickness, from 18 to 22 mm) and has a rear firing reflex port. A countless number of different finishes is available. Threaded spikes can be fitted, but the speakers come with easily adjustable and effective steel feet.
A lot of acoustic filling can be found at the inside of the cabinet, while the crossover network is a very simple one, just a cap, a coil and a resistor. No biwiring possible. The speakers come with a reassuring 4 years full warranty.
You wouldn't expect much from a 700€/pair floorstander, right? Or, perhaps, you'd expect a smart sound, that one made to impress untrained listeners, with excessive brilliance in the highs and that kind of boomy bass that is quite standard on budget towers. Wrong. These speakers make nothing to impress the listener, they just SOUND as enjoyable as you would never imagine. Or, if you prefer, they do impress, because it is hard to find such a mature, correct, well balanced sound in such an inexpensive loudspeaker.
What do they sound like? First of all, balanced. The frequency response appears to be linear, with no portion of the frequency range emphasized with respect to others. The general character is smooth and tendentially warm, inoffensive, but not muffled. I say warm, not muffled nor unoffensive! The mid-high range is clear, undistorted and easy on the ears, though preserving a level of detail retrieval that is rare in this price range. Voices are natural, the male ones, just a bit light, if I am being picky. Harmonic richness in the mid and high range is very good, and certainly a nice surprise.
Then you have the bass: full, powerful, deep, punchy and controlled. The 18 cm woofer gets its job done, almost effortlessly, even at high listening levels. Of course, being forced to act as midrange as well, it shows its limits when pushed hard: from time to time there's a trace of slowness that is quite obvious. Indeed, either you decide to follow the powerful bass lines or you reproduce the tiny details in the midrange (voices, strings etc.). Tertium non datur. In any case, it is not a fault, just an almost unavoidable shortcoming of such two-way designs which employ a quite big woofer. The claimed frequency response in the bass is 38 Hz (at -6 dB, perhaps) and I'd say this datum is quite realistic. Not many records will require a deeper frequency response, actually, and not many rooms can handle such deep bass without trouble.
The behavior in the bass range can be found in the dynamics department: all goes incredibly well (for the price and beyond) but that slight trace of relaxed presentation pops up from time to time, especially when highly dynamic tracks are played at insanely high listening levels (those you aren' allowed to reach if you live in a flat). That said, these speakers are dynamically and emotionally involving, so much that it's difficult to understand why their price tag is so low.
Even more surprising is the performance in terms of 3D soundstage: these outstanding speakers can create a large, wide and deep stage, with instruments and singers “in focus” like you wouldn't ever expect. This wide and sculpted stage make the musical performance even more realistic and involving.
Summarizing, when I finish listening to a loudspeaker under test I always ask myself this key question: could you happily live with these speakers? The answer is not always obvious. In this case it is YES, definitely. The Opal 20 let the music flow, in a very enjoyable way. I could listen to them for hours and hours, without developing listening fatigue. Quite the contrary, as hours go by, I felt myself compelled to crank the volume up and up. When a loudspeaker is fatiguing, the opposite happens!
These Opal 20 are far from being perfect, of course, but at this price range they can rival the best competitors, probably winning the contest if musicality and listening pleasure are the most desired parameters. No, they are not extremely transparent and detailed in the highs, the do not act as a magnifying glass but, hey, they communicate music in a way that is almost impossible to find in this price range.
Place them parallel to each other, there's no need for toe-in, in my opinion. Use a good amplifier, because these speakers deserve it and won't mask the virtues of good ancillaries. The sensitivity is 86dB, a bit lowish, so you might need at least a good 30 watt amplifier to get high listening levels in a mid-sized room. For a properly deep soundstage, keep them far from the rear wall (at least 50 cm).
Manufacturing & finish.
The cabinet is extremely well made, Poland's workers are known to be extremely skilled in crafting loudspeakers cabinets. Many European HiFi Companies have their cabinets made in Poland, indeed. Really, nothing to complain here. Not at this price. Just one strange mistake: the label in the rear of the cabinet was wrong, being that of the Opal Monitor model.
Solid, mature, coherent, full bodied and enjoyable. Some trace of slowness in the bass and in the mid bass, from time to time. Upper highs a bit rounded off.
I'm amazed. These speakers are a pure bargain! Nicely crafted, a competent performance and cool looks at an unbelievably low price. As a matter of fact, these Opal 20 have a stellar quality/price ratio, especially if you consider they're not “made in China”. Their performance can easily embarrass speakers which are much, much more expensive. If you're in the market for a sub-1500€ floorstander, do everything you can to audition these Pylon Opal 20. You wouldn't regret it!
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