It’s true in life and the adage finds veracity in audio: Never judge a book by its cover. If ever there was a component that exemplifies that statement, it’s the Ray-S speaker from Davone Audio. Most audiophiles would dismiss this speaker on first look, assuming that its primary design goal was simply an alluring Danish modern form factor, with sound quality an afterthought. And they would be wrong. Dead wrong.
You can count me among the doubters as I too prejudged the product. I had a firm “sound picture” in my mind as to what these speakers would be like and eschewed them as merely a lifestyle product which looked kinda’ cool, but must surely lack substance. Just a few seconds into the first cut I knew there was something quite special here, something far more than just a pretty face, the Ray-S is the real deal.
The Ray-S is quite something. There is an easeful, relaxed quality that is immediately enticing. There’s no obvious coloration, no clearly definable character that we could pin on them, just a genuine recreation that is both informative and very entertaining.
Yes, there are speakers that do some things better than the Ray-S. There are uber-resolved designs which certainly dig a bit deeper, there are speakers that will go lower and those that will play louder, but none of those singular aspects of performance can we say are weaknesses in the Ray-S. And, I would argue, none of those speakers which top the Ray-S in any one area of performance are as satisfying on as wide a range of material as the Ray-S.
I suppose some might term their presentation “polite.” I’m not sure I’d go that far – the term seems to suggest a truncated HF frequency response, and I don't think they are bandwidth limited. Regardless of how one might describe their overall tonal balance, the top-end of the Ray-S is never steely, hard-edged, or analytical. Others might use the term “musical,” but I think that connotation can have a fairly broad meaning. I just call them entertaining.
Another salient quality that many will find a true blessing, is the relatively unfussy nature of the Ray-S with regards to placement. Of course, like with any transducer, finding that ideal location in any space will pay dividends, but unlike many other speakers I’ve worked with (that must be really dialed-in to be listenable), the Ray-S will reward you with satisfying performance without being coddled to the nth degree.
Indeed, our first pair was plopped down in the general area that most speakers find a home in that room and connected for break-in before any serious listening. With nothing more than a cursory adjustment (rough toe-in and equal distance to the listening position), they were singing sweetly. We just turned them on and enjoyed music rather than scurrying for the laser pointer, level, and tape measures.
It’s an interesting accomplishment, this ease of placement; I’ve found just a few speakers over the years that were this way, and darned if I can figure out what it is that makes them this way. But hey, who’s complaining? The only downside I see to this characteristic is that it may lull some purchasers into never going further toward optimizing the Ray-S. Oh well, at least I know they’ll be enjoying the music, and that's what it's all about. Right?
Next Page: Design
The fluid cabinet shape has not just been an esthetic choice. The unique baffle shape, combined with the close proximity and off-center mounting of the tweeter and mid driver, gives a more balanced in-room response than the popular tower shaped speaker. Practically this means that great results can be obtained without modifications to the acoustics of your listening room.
Though Ray-s is a compact design, it features a first-class 8” woofer, hand-assembled in Denmark. The very rigid hard paper cone operates as a piston over the working frequency range. In combination with the low-loss linear suspension and a symmetrical magnet system, the distortion is very low and transient reproduction is fast and accurate.
The Ray is elevated to the correct listening position and angle by a dedicated stand, shaped by laser and water cutters using substantial 25mm thick solid steel. Though sleek and sculptural in the design, the stand is non-resonant and extremely rigid. The small footprint also de-couples the Ray cabinet from the floor insuring excellent dynamics and tight, clean bass.
Next Page: Construction
Next Page: Specifications
Of rare quality and refinement, Davone has become synonymous with elegance and simple luxury. Drawn from the best of Danish traditions, Davone currently features 7 unique loudspeaker models, all evolved from the same philosophy. With full production and development based in Denmark, a country renowned for its design and acoustics, Davone has produced loudspeakers since 2007. With their unique combination of sound and design, Davone is a pioneer in high-end audio. Davone is the brain-child of MSc Paul Schenkel, an aeronautical engineer with a master's degree in physics, a professional background in acoustics, and a deep passion for mid-century design and architecture.
"We are continuously working on improving the sound quality, the design, and the combination of these two. These famous words from Massimo Vignelli really resonated with me: "the life of a designer is a life of fight: a fight against the ugliness". Sure, a tad dramatic. But still, Davone is my breath of fresh air in the monochromatic square reality of today.” - Paul Schenkel, Designer
“Davone loudspeakers are all about sound quality. Many days are spent in the listening room to further refine the sound. "We can not let go until we have fully exhausted a new idea.” - Paul Schenkel, Designer
Frequency response - 37-30.000Hz
Impedance - 4 ohm, 4.0 ohm minimum at 37Hz
Sensitivity - 89dB/2,83V/m
Max power - 170 W measured according to IEC 17.1
Woofer - 8” hard paper cone, Xmax 28mm peak-peak, Patented Symmetrical Drive Motor Design
Mid - 4", Proprietary cone material with the optimal balance of stiffness, damping, and density, strengthened with Egyptian papyrus fibers. Foam surround (made from polyether foam, not the usual polyester foam which is infamous for it's short lifetime) for maximum transparency and midrange resolution.
Tweeter - 1" , wide surround silk dome diaphragm
Crossover - 400 Hz, 3kHz
System - Ported
Cabinet - 16 layer, 20mm thick beech wood form-pressed veneer with multiple internal stiffeners. Driver placement in left and right cabinet is mirror-imaged
Weight - 27 kg per piece including stand
Finish - Walnut