The Borderland Mk IV loudspeaker

 
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Originally introduced in 1992, the Borderland was our first flagship model and has since provided the inspiration for the current Unlimited and HRS-130 models. Now in its MK IV form, the Borderland remains our most popular loudspeaker. It combines our unique carbon fibre DDD driver with a downward firing 12–inch woofer and a sophisticated new crossover network. Housed in an extremely rigid octagonal cabinet, it sets impressively high standards for stereo imaging, transparency and musicality.

Award Winning Loudspeaker

 

 

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The Borderland MK IV loudspeaker uses a single carbon fibre German Physiks DDD driver mounted on top of a slim, octagonal, floor standing cabinet, with a downward firing 12-inch woofer set in its base

 

Improved Bass, Resolution and Dynamics

The Borderland MK IV has always been an exceptional performer. The latest version has a new crossover design that provides significantly better bass, with improved integration with the DDD driver, resulting in exceptional top to bottom coherence. The resolution and dynamics have also been noticeably improved, removing another veil between the listener and the music.  All these improvements come together to produce a sound that is truly effortless.

Extended Bass with Low Distortion

The Borderland Mk IV uses a single 12-inch woofer of the same type used in our prestige Loreley model. This provides the Borderland Mk IV with a degree of bass extension normally associated with high quality component sub-woofers. Most impressive is that this is achieved with a cabinet of relatively modest dimensions, making this a loudspeaker that is easy to live with.

The bass driver is located at the bottom of the cabinet and works in a “sealed” enclosure. This enclosure is linked via a small opening to a smaller cavity located at the top of the cabinet. This cavity acts as a Helmholtz Resonator and is tuned to the resonant frequency of the main bass enclosure and ensures a smoother bass response.

 

 

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The heart of all German Physiks loudspeakers is the unique omnidirectional DDD driver

 

The German Physiks DDD driver uses a cone made of extremely thin (0.15mm) carbon fibre. This is very light, but also very rigid. Each driver is hand-built by a skilled technician in our factory in Germany. This is a painstaking process that takes 6 hours. After assembly, each driver undergoes a series of rigorous tests. It is then subject to a 96 hour pre-aging process, playing specially selected music at high level. Finally, it is retested and put together with another driver to form a matched pair.

The DDD driver has two key distinguishing features

1. It is omnidirectional, meaning that it radiates the sound evenly around it.
2. It has an exceptionally wide operating range. In the Borderland MK IV it covers the range from 190Hz up to 24kHz – almost 7 octaves.

This extremely wide range is achieved by the use of 3 modes of radiation

Pistonic radiation
Bending wave radiation
Modal radiation

By comparison, most loudspeakers use drivers that only use pistonic radiation. These have a much narrower operating range and as the frequency rises, they tend to concentrate their energy into a progressively narrowing beam. This is explained in more detail here.  

 
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The DDD driver’s omnidirectional radiation characteristic and its very wide operating range, together with several other key features give the following important advantages to all German Physiks designs and is what sets them apart.

1. Exceptionally coherent and natural sound

This is due to the DDD driver’s 7 octave plus operating range. This is very difficult to achieve when such a wide range is split over two or more different types of driver, which are in different positions on the loudspeaker’s cabinet.

This wide operating range also eliminates the crossover point in the mid-range that loudspeakers using pistonic drivers must have. This is where our hearing is most sensitive, so removing anything that might cause level or phase errors from here will improve transparency.

2. Realistic stereo images more like those you experience in the concert hall

This is because the DDD driver's omnidirectional radiation characteristic creates an enveloping sound field like that in the hall, rather than beaming the sound at you as conventional drivers do. This way the Borderland MK IV is able to recreate a more natural rendition of the original stereo image. This has excellent depth and focus, but without the overly sharp image definition that some hi-fi loudspeakers produce and which you will rarely if ever hear at a live performance.

3. Stereo imaging enjoyable in almost all positions in the room

This is achieved whilst also maintaining an even tonal balance, much like at a live performance: again due to the DDD driver’s omnidirectional radiation pattern. This gives more flexibility in where you sit and allows several people to enjoy a good sound together. This is useful in home theatre systems.

As you are not restricted to a small “sweet-spot” in order to hear the best sound, the Borderland MK IV provides a more relaxed listening experience. This is especially noticeable when you listen for long periods.

4. Exceptional dynamics

The DDD driver’s very low moving mass, less than 3 grams, allows German Physiks loudspeakers to recreate both the attack of the music and resolve low level detail very accurately. This is essential in order to faithfully reproduce the delicate nuances of a performance and make it sound like music, rather than just good hi-fi. The resultant transparency is maintained even on complex high-level passages.

5. Accurate portrayal of musical instruments’ tonal characteristics

This is because the DDD driver is phase linear across its operating range. This together with the excellent dynamic response, enables the Borderland MK IV to reproduce percussion with startling reality. Voices have a clarity and purity that can be breath taking, with all the elements of the vocal sound correctly located in space and with no undue emphasis. The hardness you often hear with conventional tweeters is eliminated and you get a greater sense of hearing a live musician.

6. Quick and easy to set up

As they are omnidirectional, German Physiks loudspeakers are less sensitive to room position than conventional designs and there is no toe-in adjustment to worry about.

7. The DDD driver is less likely to excite cabinet vibrations

Due to its very low moving mass and the way that it is mounted, the DDD driver puts less energy into the cabinet than an equivalent conventional driver. This reduces cabinet resonances and improves transparency.

8. Physically extremely rugged

The DDD driver can withstand abuse that will destroy most other drivers. This is illustrated in the video below. We don’t advise our customers to try this, just in case they are having an unlucky day.

For a more detailed explanation of these points, please follow this link.

More information on the DDD driver, its development and advantages, please follow this link.

 
 

“The Borderland has all those properties we’ve come to expect from German Physiks loudspeakers, but more so. There’s that outstanding imagery, which is not limited to one place in the room. There’s also that fine top-to-bottom coherence of sound, the extension and grace without an overtly ‘audiophile’ faux sound, and so on. But with the Borderland, this all comes together in the shape of a larger, more physically ‘in the room’ presentation that is as potent as it is beguiling”

hifi plus, issue 141 | view/download pdf (1mb)

 
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Quick and Easy to Set Up

The DDD driver’s omnidirectional radiation pattern and wide operating frequency range make the Borderland MK IV less critical of positioning in the room than conventional loudspeakers, so they are usually very quick and easy to set up. In addition, because the Borderland MK IV is omnidirectional, there is no toe-in adjustment to worry about, which is one less variable to deal with on set-up.

The Borderland MK IV will drive rooms up to 90 square metres  (950 sq ft)in size, yet the footprint is a modest 404mm x 404mm (15.9” x 15.9”). It can also work well in smaller rooms. We have successfully used them at shows in rooms as small as 285 sq ft (27 square metres), but as with any loudspeaker, we always recommend a home demonstration before you make a final choice.


High Quality Input Terminals

Two sets of high quality WBT nextgen™ loudspeaker terminals are fitted allowing the Borderland MK IV 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.

Adjustable High Frequency Output

Jumpers on the rear 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 constructions.


Low Resonance Cabinet Design Enhances Transparency

The Borderland MK IV uses an octagonal cross-section cabinet constructed from heavy panels of MDF, with re-enforcements fitted to critical points within the structure. The use of an octagonal cross-section allows the individual panels to be made smaller and therefore stiffer than they would be if a conventional square or rectangular cross-section were used. This construction minimises the colouration caused by cabinet resonances, which would otherwise degrade the loudspeaker’s ability to resolve fine detail and so reduce its ability to produce a sense of realism.

Residual resonances are minimised by applying a special damping material called Hawaphon® to the inside of each panel. 

Hawaphon® is a polymer sheet containing a matrix of small cells filled with very fine steel shot and was originally developed as an anti-surveillance measure for use in military and government buildings. It adds mass to the panel to reduce the resonant frequency and the ability of the shot in each cell to move against each other provides a very effective way of converting vibration energy into heat. Hawaphon® achieves a broadband attenuation of structure-borne sound of more than 50dB, which is a remarkably high figure. 

Finally, to damp resonances of the air within the cabinet, the whole of the inside of the cabinet is lined with a thick layer of high-density felt.

 
 

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 Borderland MK IV 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.

Meticulous care and attention is paid during the manufacture of the Borderland MK IV. 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.

 
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Product Finishes

The standard finish for the Borderland MK IV loudspeaker is high-polish polyester in black or white. Other finishes are available to special order. These include satin and high-polish veneers and satin and high-polish paint finishes. A version of the Borderland Mk IV design finished in carbon fibre is also available and this is marketed as our Carbon Mk IV model.

Finish Options
- High Polish Only*
- Satin Only**
- Satin or High Polish***

Hand Finished For Ultimate Quality

Because the look of our products is as important as the sound, all cabinets are hand built and finished in Germany by skilled cabinet makers for the best possible furniture grade finish.

They are built in small batches, so that they can maintain a consistently high level of quality. Nothing is rushed.

Click on an image below to see a finish in more detail.

 
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Product Specifications

Impedance
4 ohms

Frequency Response
28 – 24,000Hz

Power Handling
Nominal
300W
Short term 600W

Amplification required
Minimum 160W/4 ohms

Crossover frequency
190Hz

Crossover slopes
DDD section
12dB/octave electronic & 18dB/octave acoustic
Woofer section 2dB/octave electronic & 18dB/octave acoustic

High frequency adjustment
-2dB, flat, +2dB and +4dB starting at 8,000Hz

Sensitivity
86.1dB for 1W at 1

Operating principle
2-way loudspeaker with 360° surround radiation
using the German Physiks DDD driver

Input connectors
2 sets of WBT nextgen™ binding posts

Drivers
1 x carbon fibre DDD driver
1 x 12-inch woofer

Recommended room size
15 - 90 square metres
160 – 950 square feet

Finish
Standard:
High polish polyester black or white, carbon fibre
Special order:
Satin or high polish veneer
Satin or high polish paint

Dimensions
404mm W x 1,229mm H x 404mm D
15.9" W x 48.4" H x 15.9" D

Weight
54kg / 119lbs

Warranty
5 years

As part of our process of continually improving our products, we reserve the right to change specifications without notice.

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“The Borderland too did not disappoint me. What struck me first was the picture-book bass: cleanly transparent and immense-ly powerful. To quote Müller: “Closed box designs are simply superior.” I have no reason here to contradict him.”

audiophile, march 2011 | view/download pdf (0.6mb)

 
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Product Reviews


2016

Publication: HiFi Plus
Date: November 2016
Country: UK
Language: English
Product: Borderland MK IV
view/download pdf (1MB)

2011

Publication: Dagogo
Date: August 2011
Country:
Language: English
Product: Borderland MK IV
web link

2011

Publication: AUDIOphile
Date: March 2011
Country: Germany
Language: English
Product: Borderland MK IV
view/download pdf (0.6MB)


2008

Publication: AUDIOreview
Date: November 2008
Country: Italy
Language: Italian
Product: Borderland MK IV
view/download pdf (0.7MB)

2008

Publication: Fedeltà del Suono
Date: April 2008
Country: Italy
Language: Italian
Product: Borderland MK IV
view/download pdf (0.5MB)

 
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German Physiks Omnidirectional Loudspeaker Range

(click on a product image below to find out more)