The German Physiks PQS-302 is a destination speaker for the vast majority of fairly affluent music lovers enabling them to enjoy all music genres in medium and large rooms. It is an exceptional loudspeaker, producing realistic and detailed three-dimensional stereo imaging, excellent dynamics and of course our standard fast, deep and well-controlled bass. Naturally it also offers the finesse and transparency that all German Physiks loudspeakers are famous for. It combines these attributes with the ability to produce sound levels up to 112dB.
The PQS-302 uses two DDD drivers and two 8-inch long-throw woofers to provide the exceptional dynamics that enhance the sense of listening to a real performance.
The PQS-302 uses two DDD drivers to provide a very wide dynamic range, while retaining their excellent transparency and resolution. The DDD drivers cover the range from 170Hz to 24kHz, eliminating the mid-band crossover point found in conventional designs. Combined with a new bass system design, this gives clarity, revealing more of the music‘s subtle nuances. It goes without saying that the PQS-302 also offers the finesse that all German Physiks loudspeakers are famous for. Even more impressive is that it combines these attributes with an ability to produce output levels up to 112dB for a more realistic recreation of live-music like dynamics. This is why the leading German high-end audio magazine Stereoplay has been using the PQS-302 as its reference loudspeakers since 2010.
Sample Tracks on the PQS-302
Fast and Extended Bass
The PQS-302 bass system encompasses two bass cabinets which are mounted one on top of the other and stand between a top and a bottom plate. None of these components is attached to the other using screws or any form of hard connection. Instead they are held together by a system of interlocking collars. This combined with the fact that the two cabinets have different weights, as do the top and bottom plates, means that resonances are reduced to negligible levels when compared to a solid structure.
In order to achieve a bass response with the required speed and extension, we did not take the easy way out by simply scaling down down our larger designs; instead, we have employed a totally different approach. Each cabinet houses a single 8-inch woofer mounted on one of the forward faces, with a reflex port on the other. This provides bass with the high speed necessary to match the DDD driver, whilst also producing a well controlled and balanced response down to 26Hz.
Low Resonance Cabinet Design Enhances Transparency
The high sound level capability of the PQS-302 meant that extra care had to be taken with the cabinet design to minimize resonances. This is because the resulting colouration would otherwise degrade the loudspeaker’s ability to resolve the fine detail that is essential in order to produce a sense of realism and hence convey the emotion that is the essence of a musical performance.
The PQS-302’s DDD drivers use very small enclosures, minimizing the area of any potential vibrating surface. By being cylindrical, they eliminate the resonances that can arise with a conventional rectangular or square section cabinet. Because they are made from aluminium, a comparatively soft metal, residual vibration of the enclosure is minimized. The DDD driver enclosure end-caps are made from non-resonant MDF and the enclosure is packed with damping material to dissipate any standing waves. The result is that the German Physiks PQS-302 has the clarity that we normally associate with electrostatic loudspeakers and for the same reason: the DDD drivers essentially have no enclosure to colour the sound.
The bass system covers the range from 170Hz downwards. The system is divided into two independent cabinets, so the panels are smaller and therefore stiffer and more vibration-resistant than if a single large enclosure had been used. All the cabinet vertical surfaces are non-parallel to prevent the formation of standing waves between them. Internal bracing increases rigidity to suppress resonances. Residual vibration is minimized by applying a special damping material called Hawaphon®, to the inside surface of each panel.
Hawaphon® consists of a polymer sheet containing a matrix of small cells filled with fine steel shot. It adds mass to the panels to reduce the resonant frequency and the ability of the balls in each cell to move against each other provides a very effective way of converting vibration energy into heat. Originally developed as an anti-surveillance measure for use in military and government buildings, Hawaphon® achieves broadband attenuation of structure-borne sound of more than 50dB, which is an exceptionally high figure.
To damp resonances of the air within the cabinet, the whole of the interior is lined with a 1cm thick layer of high-density felt. This is achieved by fitting pieces of felt that are precisely cut to fit each panel, rather than just inserting a roll of felt into the cabinet. This is a time consuming process, but we believe produces a superior result and is typical of the attention to detail that we lavish on all of our products.
Adjustable High and Low Frequency Levels
The crossover provides a wide range of adjustment to allow the PQS-302 to be optimally set up to suit the user’s listening room. The high frequency level may be adjusted over the range -2dB to +4dB in 4 steps. The low frequency level may be adjusted over the range +10dB to 0dB in 3 steps. Both controls are facilitated by jumpers located on the loudspeaker’s rear panel and may be quickly and easily adjusted.
Additional Flexibility in Room Positioning
Because the bass cabinets are located close behind the DDD drivers, their angled front surfaces act as diffusers for the rearward radiated energy from the DDD drivers, so the PQS-302 can if needed, be positioned close to the wall. This is common positioning when used for the main channels in home theatre systems.
Occasionally, … we move the speakers
The PQS-302, and its larger siblings, may be ordered with optional recessed casters fitted into the bass plate. These are invisible when the loudspeaker is standing and will allow even the 700 kg Gaudi to be moved relatively easily when assembled – unless it is on a thick carpet. The picture above shows the base plate castors for a PQS-302.
Bi-wire or Bi-amp
Two sets of high quality WBT nextgen™ loudspeaker terminals are fitted allowing the PQS-302 to be bi-wired or bi-amped. High quality jumpers are supplied to enable the loudspeaker to be used with just one set of loudspeaker cables.
The Emperor Extreme Crossover active option provides flexibility and, with well chosen electronics, a significant performance upgrade
The PQS-302 may be ordered in an active version, where the internal passive crossover is omitted and the woofer and DDD driver sections of the loudspeaker are driven directly by two separate power amplifiers. This allows much better damping and control of the drivers and provides a noticeable improvement in transparency.
The table below shows the minimum recommended amplifier rating for each section of the loudspeaker:
|DDD drivers||140W/4 ohms|
The active version of the PQS-302 is supplied with the Emperor Extreme DSP based digital crossover. The crossover is preconfigured at the factory allowing the customer to use it straight away without needing to make any further adjustments. The owners can manually adjust the settings as they wish. The system allows a number of crossover settings to be stored and quickly recalled. This makes it easy to experiment with new settings, safe in the knowledge that the original settings can be easily restored.
Designed for a Lifetime of Listening Pleasure
As you would expect from a German product, the quality of construction and reliability are first class. We use the same quality of parts in the PQS-302 as in our reference products, where we design for a minimum life expectancy of 25 years. For this reason we have selected highly corrosion resistant V4 grade stainless steel for the DDD driver support pillars, terminal mounting plates and all the screws.
To ensure the long term stability of the bass cabinets, a veneer layer is applied to the inside surfaces. This equalises any stress that might be generated by the outer veneer due to changes in humidity and which could otherwise cause panels to warp.
Meticulous care and attention is paid during the manufacture of the PQS-302. Prior to assembly all components and materials are subject to a rigorous inspection. We also carry out detailed inspections at each stage of the manufacturing process. We can afford to do this as we build our products by hand in small batches. After assembly, the performance of each loudspeaker is measured. Then it is burnt in for at least 12 hours and measured again. Once the burn process is complete each loudspeaker is given a final detailed physical inspection before being packed.
Specifications and Price
26 – 24,000Hz
Short term 700W
Passive operation Minimum 150W/4 ohms
With active crossover 2 power amplifiers per channel
DDD section minimum power 140W/4ohms
Woofer section minimum power 140W/4 ohms
DDD section 12dB/octave electronic & 21dB/octave acoustic
Woofer section 18dB/octave electronic & 24dB/octave acoustic
High frequency adjustment
-2dB, flat, +2dB and +4dB centred at 8,000Hz
Low frequency adjustment
Flat, +10dB, +5db and +4dB centred at 58Hz
87.7 dB for 1W at 1m
Maximum output level
2-way loudspeaker with 360° surround radiation
using the German Physiks DDD driver
2 sets of WBT nextgen™ binding posts
2 x carbon fibre DDD drivers
2 x 8-inch woofers
Recommended room size
25 – 100 square metres
264 – 1,267 square feet
Satin or high polish veneer
High polish polyester black or white
Satin or high polish paint
530mm W x 1,400mm H x 730mm D
20.9″ W x 55.1″ H x 28.7″ D
115kg / 253lbs