unicorn_3THE UNICORN MK II

The Unicorn, like the Gaudi, is another German Physiks design that was originally made to prove a point and then became a product because so many people liked what they heard and wanted to place orders. The point in question was to make a full range loudspeaker using a single DDD driver. This was achieved by exploiting two modes of operation of the DDD driver; firstly as a bending wave radiator, its usual mode, and secondly as a piston driver.

In the Unicorn the DDD driver operates in its bending wave mode from approximately 180Hz upwards and radiates the sound directly as it does in all other German Physiks designs. From approximately 180Hz downwards the DDD driver’s motion becomes pistonic and energy from this mode is coupled to a horn system that takes over down to 55Hz for the titanium DDD version and down to 40Hz for the carbon fibre DDD version. The result is a loudspeaker with the exceptional resolution, speed and 3 dimensional stereo imaging we have come to expect from all German Physiks designs, plus an exceptionally clean and dynamic bass from the horn system. Bass wind and string instruments are reproduced with a degree of fidelity rarely heard outside of the concert hall. If you are a horn loudspeaker aficionado this could very well be the loudspeaker that you have been waiting for.


Ultra Fast Low Distortion Bass

Considerable work went into designing the Unicorn’s horn system. The final design comprises a high gain horn coupled with a tuned bass trap. The bass trap serves two functions. It keeps mid frequency energy out of the horn. This would otherwise lead to smearing due to time differences between the DDD driver and the horn, as well as cause a bump in the mid frequency response. It also provides a smooth transition between the DDD driver’s bending wave mode where it radiates energy directly and its pistonic mode where the energy is radiated via the horn. To achieve a completely even frequency response in the transition region, a small amount of equalisation is applied to the input signal by a network which is housed in a separate case. The excellent qualities the DDD driver shows in its normal mode of operation are exhibited in the bass produced by the horn. It is fast, agile and extremely clean. There is no hint of bloat or overhang and distortion is impressively low.


The DDD Driver

The DDD driver is used on all German Physiks loudspeakers and the same quality of driver is used on all models from our entry level product, to the top of the range Gaudi. This revolutionary driver gives the same very important advantages to all German Physiks designs and is what sets them apart from our competitors. 
 
Its very low moving mass enables it to operate linearly over an extremely wide frequency range. The titanium DDD driver used on the standard Unicorn covers the entire range from approximately 180Hz to 21,500Hz when operating in its bending wave mode. In a conventional design, this range would be covered by two or even three different types of driver and most importantly there would be a cross over point in the mid range, the area where our hearing is most sensitive. The DDD driver’s wide operating range allows this vital region to be kept free from the level and phase anomalies that multiple drivers and a necessarily more complex crossover would create. This enables the Unicorn, like all German Physiks loudspeakers, to produce very accurate and realistic stereo images.

unicorn_2

Another key advantage of the DDD driver is that it is omni directional, so these excellent stereo images can be enjoyed from a wide range of listening positions, unlike conventional designs which have much smaller “sweet spots” due to the tendency of their drivers to beam the sound. This also prevents the fatigue that can occur after a long listening session with a loudspeaker with a small “sweet spot”.

The DDD driver’s omni directionality also makes the Unicorn less sensitive to room position than conventional designs.

The DDD driver’s very low moving mass provides the further benefit of exceptional impulse and phase response characteristics and allows it to reproduce both the attack of the music and resolve low level detail very accurately. This is essential in order to faithfully reproduce the delicate nuances and timbral characteristics of a performance and make it sound like music, rather than just good hi-fi. The driver’s excellent impulse response also ensures that the stereo image remains focussed and stable, even when the loudspeaker is reproducing complex passages at high levels.

More information on the DDD driver, its development and advantages may be found on the Technology page of this web site.

unicorn_1External Equalisation Network

Two important benefits arise from housing the equalisation network externally. Firstly it allows for a simpler design of loudspeaker cabinet and secondly, microphonic effects that might degrade the network’s performance are avoided. Jumpers on the network top panel allow the high frequency output level to be adjusted in 4 steps: -2dB, flat, +2dB and +4dB. This allows the user to easily compensate for the variations in the absorption of high frequencies that occur due to different types of furnishings and room construction. The low frequency level adjustment is also provided.


Hand Finished Cabinets

The Unicorn is available in the customer’s choice of hand matched, hard wood veneers. Cabinets supplied in our High Gloss option are coated with several layers of lacquer and then hand polished to a deep lustrous finish. This can be re-polished in the event of it receiving minor damage. Please see the Finishes page for more details.


Special Order Version

A special order version of the Unicorn is available fitted with a carbon fibre DDD driver which provides an extended upper and lower frequency response, greater low level detail resolution and improved dynamics. The cabinet’s heavy MDF panels are reinforced with multiple layers of bi-directional, resin impregnated carbon fibre, applied using techniques originally developed for the aircraft industry. This produces a cabinet that is immensely rigid and strong, as well as being practically free from resonances within the audio frequency band. It also reduces the radiation of sound through the cabinet’s panels which further improves the Unicorn’s resolution. The cabinet is coated with a multi-layer lacquer and then hand finished to a high polish.


The Unicorn MK II Specifications

  With Titanium DDD Driver With Carbon DDD Driver
     

Impedance

4 ohms 4 ohms
     

Frequency response

55 - 21,500Hz 40 - 24,000Hz
     
Power handling    
   Nominal
   Short term
80W
100W
100W
140W
   
Amplification required Minimum 60W/ 4 ohms
   
High frequency adjustment -2dB, flat, +2dB and +4dB centred at 8,000Hz
   
Low frequency adjustment Flat, +1.0dB, +2.0db and +3.0dB
centred at 60Hz
Flat, +1.0dB, +2.0db and +3.5dB
centred at 60Hz
     
  Crossover Nextel Crossover Carbon
     
Sensitivity 87.7dB for 1W at 1m 88.0dB for 1W at 1m
   
Operating principle 1 way full range loudspeaker with 360° surround radiation using the DDD Bending Wave Converter
   
Input connectors 1 set of binding posts
     
Drivers 1 x Titanium DDD driver 1 x Carbon DDD driver
   
Dimensions  
   Speaker 550mm W x 1,241mm H x 460mm D
21.7" W x 48.9" H x 18.1" D
   Crossover 270mm W x 173mm H x 230mm D
10.6" W x 6.8" H x 9.1" D
   
Weight  
   Speaker Approx 56.0kg
Approx 123.2lbs
   Crossover
4.4kg
9.7lbs
   
Warranty 5 years
 
As part of our process of continually improving our products, we reserve the right to change specifications without notice.
   

Test reports

Download LP test report in German. October 2011 (PDF)
  Download HiFi Vision test report in English. March 2012. (PDF, English)
 
  Download The Unicorn MK II test report. September 2013 (PDF, German).
 

Download Information

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Awards

HiFi review - Product of the year 2009
     
 

THE UNICORN MK II

HiFi review

"Product of the year 2009"