Audio Physic Tempo plus Loudspeaker

The Audio Physic Tempo plus loudspeaker is a German made, precision product, thoughtfully engineered and manufactured to a very high level of fit and finish. For a floor stander, the Tempo plus has a compact footprint and will not overwhelm smaller rooms. My pair came in a fabulous piano black finish. Wood finishes are available but I'd opt for the gloss black every time. 

The Tempo plus is the latest in the Tempo family and has been designed by Audio Physic from the ground up, incorporating many of the features of the much more expensive models. 

Tweeter and midrange are both proprietary to Audio Physic. The website describes them as made with 'hybrid cone construction (HHC technology), combining the dampening characteristics of modern polymers with the stability and torsional stiffness of metal.' And the bass drivers as 'two high-performance bass drivers, equipped with stiff aluminium membranes, are located precisely across from one another in the sides of the TEMPO plus. The location and switching of the chassis and the so-called “push-push technology” create a symmetrical distribution of force on the loudspeaker cabinet when the loudspeaker is in use.' Audio Physic's superior crossover voicing makes the musical connections seamless between octaves. 

The gentle slope of the loudspeaker is said to help eliminate unwanted cabinet oscillation further reduced by the use of a stiff ceramic foam on the inside of each speaker.  

The Tempo plus is single wired and uses high quality terminals. On the rear, you'll find a bass port and the 'Vibration Control Terminal'.  I wondered what that was.

Audio Physic describes it: 'a negative impact from unwanted resonances on the transmission of signals can be detected at each point of the reproduction chain. The use of high-quality and stable rack systems as well as special stands, feet or bases may often yield astonishing results. However, no attention was paid to another important path of mechanical mischief-makers. Cables – necessary to transmit the signal – not only carry electrical signals, unfortunately they also carry mechanical energy which moves at its strongest in the opposite direction to the signal. Therefore, vibrations picked up and measured on a loudspeaker cabinet can be followed back to the source of the signal. Audio Physic has developed the Vibration Control Terminal in order to eliminate such unwanted vibrations. The massive aluminium construction is additionally damped and fitted with a neoprene gasket for elastic suspension ensuring that the binding posts are effectively decoupled from the cabinet.' Audio Physic's attention to detail, from burning in drivers at the factory, to ceramic foam to beefing up the terminal base with aluminum construction, is very impressive. And very effective. 

Setup

Even though the speakers are modest in size, they are shipped and boxed as only a German pedant would. Have a friend with you to uncrate. They are slippery, too. Audio Physic's well documented booklet goes through setup carefully. The suggestion of slightly toed in placement worked perfectly in my room. Audio Physic says that the drivers will open up even more after a few hours. They were spot on. The speakers sounded splendid out of the box, but a couple of hours of Strauss' Ein Heldenleben and they developed as advertised. To superb effect.

Listening

I've been a fan of Audio Physic products for a long time. I've always admired their aesthetic -- slender, sexy, sloping loudspeakers, with superb German engineering and workmanship. Little did I know they are built a few miles from my German 'hometown' of Paderborn (I lived there for six years in the 60s). 

I have only heard the speakers at shows, and while always sounding good, it's not a good thing to judge only from shows and their funky conditions. So, I was very happy to hear from the Canadian agent about reviewing a pair. 

In cherry finish. With attached 'Magnetic Sound Optimizers'. 

In cherry finish. With attached 'Magnetic Sound Optimizers'. 

From web research, it seems as if Audio Physic is striving constantly for excellence, and continue to improve and modify its speaker line. At USD $5995/pair, the Tempo Plus is smack dab in the middle of their speaker lineup. And at sub 6 grand, I'd say just on looks, they are a steal. 

It was a very happy moment when listening to the reissue of Sir Thomas Beecham's Ein Heldenleben and realizing the drivers were broken in. I have three other speakers in the review queue and each need almost 200 hours to break in the drivers. Not happy! I was smiling along with the Royal Philharmonic's fantastic rendering of Strauss' tone poem and paean to the composer (in English, A Hero's Life. And Strauss is the hero!).

After a few hours on the drivers, I began serious listening. Right out of the box, the tessituras had a seamless quality, a homogenous sound that drew me emotionally to the music. So many times, a reviewer is expecting tweeter heavy sounds out of the box. What a delightful surprise. And the Tempo's drivers did improve slightly over a few hours, especially bass integration. 

What was discovered after the entry level time, was a speaker with a beautifully refined 'voice', capable of a wide range of dynamics with a penchant for producing smooth yet detailed sound.

You won't get more of a workout dynamically than the aforementioned Heldenleben. From the deep bass opening (basses, cellos, horns as the hero) to the critics chattering at Strauss played by staccato woodwind, macro and micro dynamics help make this piece one of the most admired orchestral showpieces. The LP reissue is wondrous -- I was surprised at the fabulous execution as I didn't think Strauss was Beecham's forte --  and the Tempo's replication of the very wide and deep soundstage was superb. Imaging was excellent, too. 

Amplified popular music sounded brilliant. During the review period, I received the Steely Dan Aja reissue. What a tremendous album. Every song a gem. The title track makes great use of Steely Dan's unique chord, the so called 'Mu Major'. Sounding much like a suspension in the real world, it no doubt adds tension and weight to what would otherwise be standard cadences. The magical harmonies and melodies coupled with Donald Fagen's nasal baritone sounded fantastic on the Tempos. Imaging, such as it is on a studio album, was ear opening -- Pete Christlieb's tenor solo on Deacon Blues never sounded so 'live', so present. Lots of previous LP pressings on lesser speakers have Christlieb sounding 'canned'. I think you'll enjoy the lifelike sound of the instruments. Bernard Purdie's musical drums, too.

The Tempo plus has no distinct frequency favourites. Nothing shouts out at you, even on french horn or operatic soprano recordings (conical bore french horn and soprano chest tones are among the most challenging sounds to record and regularly trip up a speaker's performance). I heard no 'chuffung' from the rear port. Each octave balanced perfectly with each other. Bass is fulsome and goes down to 32Hz, plenty for most civilians. 

If you have a small to medium room, I think the Tempos may well be the perfect floor stander. Certainly, for the relatively modest price. For that price, you get the support of a venerable audio company, a superbly finished, great looking loudspeaker that plays all genres of music extremely well. You could spend a hell of a lot more on a speaker for your modest music room and not beat the Audio Physic's performance. If you are in the market for a floor standing loudspeaker for less than 6K, treat yourself to a listen. You will not be disappointed. Very highly recommended. 

Specifications

Height: 1000 mm / 39.4"

Width: 187 mm / 7.4"

Depth: 320 mm / 12.6"

Weight: 20 kg

Recommended amplifier power: 20-150 W

Impedance: 4 Ohm

Frequency range: 32 Hz - 40 kHz

Sensitivity: 89 dB

Further information: Audio Physic

North American Distributor

Canadian Agent