When they got over the relaxation phase, settled in and actually looked about, what they saw was a pair of beautifully finished, white-lacquered cabinets with slim proportions and compact dimensions – and nothing else: no source, no amp, nothing, either visible or tucked away… Just two speakers producing simple, straightforward, uncluttered, uncoloured music: This is the Mozart Infinity and it is, in many ways, the most interesting product I saw at the show.
Companies have been trying to do the two-box, all-singing, all-dancing speaker system for a while, but so far each and every effort has been let down by the quality of the electronics or the quality of the acoustic design. Perhaps the nearest thing to success is Kef’s active LS50, but that’s too small for general usage. So what sets the Mozart Infinity apart? Well, the first thing is that it comes from Vienna Acoustics, the second that it’s called the Mozart. Anybody familiar with VA and its products will know that the company pays an obsessive degree of attention to not only the design of its speakers, but their fit and finish to. They build their own drivers and, the latest generation ‘composite’ drive unit, with their mixed material, flat cones are genuinely exceptional performers. To find such innovative thinking, flawless finish and to enjoy the considerable musical benefits that result in speakers at distinctly mid-market prices is beyond unusual. The current Beethoven models have long been personal benchmarks, but it is the company’s smallest floorstander, the various Mozart models, that has long been the foundation of its success, a success built on natural tonality and musical coherence, rather than flashy, sonic fireworks.
That VA are prepared to use the Mozart name on this new model speaks volumes about their confidence in its performance – performance that was convincingly demonstrated in Munich. But what’s in the boxes? On the outside, this is pure VA and pure Mozart. A two-and-a-half way design, it pairs composite cone, flat diaphragm bass/mid drivers with the company’s preferred, large-diameter, ScanSpeak sourced, coated silk dome tweeter. On the inside it’s a different story entirely. The electronics are the result of an all-European engineering programme, stretching back over four years of close cooperation. One speaker contains an electronics package, consisting of the Stream Unlimited wireless /streaming solution paired with a 125 w/ch Hypex amplifier. This electronics module offers both analogue (XLR and RCA) and digital inputs, including HDMI. Bass extends down to 30Hz – with a little help from some light touch DSP – and the streamer accepts data rates up to 384kHz/24bit. But where things get interesting is when the signal leaves the amp. This is not an active speaker solution. Both speakers employ passive crossovers, which helps explain the seamless, musical coherence. After all – VA have been building a better crossover for decades now! The powered speaker simply drives its passive companion over a length of (supplied) speaker cable. Basic control is via three soft-touch buttons on the top of the Master unit, but the assumption is that users will control everything via VA’s iOS/Android App. The units in Munich were late prototypes, so the rear panel is not reresentative and will be prettier/tidier in production.