Claro 6.1 Review by Andreas Günther: South Africa. Very few High-fi fans consider this country on their world maps. Nonetheless, a manufacturer of consequence manufactures from here – Sonar Audio. We have already sung the praises of their middle of the range Claro 6.2 in AUDIO 7/18. We were fascinated by the workmanship, the efficiency, and the listening pleasure. The Claro 6.2 is a classical D’Appolito arrangement with a ring radiator tweeter in the Centre.
Now for review, its a smaller sister, the Claro 6.1. One mid-bass driver has been omitted. What we see now is a classical two-way arrangement. However, in the format of a floor standing loudspeaker with not one but, significantly, two bass reflex ports in the front baffle.
Sonar Audio are targeting this loudspeaker configuration for the buyer that listens in an average sized room but still longs for the bass punch from a full floor standing loudspeaker. Still the smaller Claro 6.1 tips the scales at 34 kg each. This could be described as a full-grown loudspeaker.
A18cm mid-bass driver functions from its lowest tuned frequency up to 2.7khZ. At which point the 38mm ring radiator tweeter takes over. The tweeter is horn-loaded.
Sonar Confirms that the horn follows the Tractrix formulae for its profile. The brain behind the design is the company CEO Roy Witelson. The company was established in 1988 so it recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. The design model for this speaker was firstly theoretical conceptualization (with the aid of CAD simulation) and then finally the Cabinet is built to form and function. The drivers are supplied by the distinguished & exclusive supplier; Scan-Speak in Denmark. This is not a disadvantage. On the contrary, it’s the only way a small company can benefit from their advanced technology and survive in this contested market. What is of greater importance is the knowledge and implementation of the design. The minimalist design, the near-spartan implementation is what makes this speaker so interesting. We don’t find half a dozen drivers pushed together in an enclosure, instead functional discipline is practiced.
The sound is superb. It quickly became apparent that we were in the presence of a refined and technically advanced loudspeaker. We, therefore, plunged into one of the finest recordings that have been created in classical music, the concerto for orchestra by Béla Bartók.
His work is available on SACD, performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Fritz Reiner. Anyone who listens to it will be astounded. The Hungarian Reiner has a direct link to the Hungarian Bartók. We hear magnificence, space, and perfect orchestral balance.
However, surprisingly, this recording is one of the oldest on the market. It came into being only one day in December 1958, a miracle and a fixation of the recording industry. Its manifestation is almost threatening; add to this an orchestra that does more than justice to the score’s demands, every position in the orchestra is extravagantly occupied.
The Claro 6.1 reveals all. An enormous expansive sound picture arises which extends beyond the physical presence of the loudspeaker. The contrast in orchestral variations was amazingly fluid, the dimensions of the recording space were apparent, and in addition, the separation of strings and woodwinds was clearly apparent. One feels that one could reach into the sound.
The power in the lower octave is astounding; The Sonor’s could really show off the depth and furthermore was powerful in the bass detail.
Someone, without a doubt, spent many hours in a sound room fine tuning this by ear. Next we listened to something completely different – Frank Sinatra. Now this may not be everyones first choice, while others will find it awe inspiring. Qobuz offers a large collection of Hi-Res downloads. The superstar was courted by the best orchestras and sound technicians.
His interpretation of ‘Yesterday’ is highly debatable but ‘My Way’ is really a worthwhile experience The Studio version seems surprisingly polished. A piano and percussion builds up to a grand finale. Then a harp and a string player add complexity. It’s super how Sonor portrays the old world; a secret vortex suddenly becomes a reality. Everything is rich and ordered but never bloated. Added to this again, is the perfect position of the instruments. His singing voice is clearly in front of the percussion with the brass well behind. This speaker really demonstrates fine dynamic dimensions. Perhaps we do not listen enough to Sinatra? There are truly wonderful things to be discovered.
The Sonor Claro 6.1 motivates that exact sensation.