The Unicorn Mk II loudspeaker

 
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The Unicorn, as its name suggests is a very rare animal: a single driver loudspeaker that covers the full audio range. It uses a single carbon fibre DDD driver to cover the full range from 24kHz all the way down to 40Hz. The bass has a speed and smoothness of integration with the rest of the audio range that we have yet to hear bettered. The overall clarity, coherence and finesse the Unicorn provides make it a dream for lovers of vocal, jazz and classical music. It is also capable of surprising rock music fans.

Award Winning Loudspeaker

 

 

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The unusual look of the German Physiks Unicorn MK II is dictated by the way it works

 

Form Follows Function

The Unicorn’s single DDD driver sits on top of a cabinet that houses a sophisticated horn system. Above about 200Hz the DDD driver radiates the sound directly, as it does on all other German Physiks loudspeakers. Below this, low frequency energy radiated from below the DDD driver is coupled to the horn system. This allows the low frequency response to be extended down to below 40Hz, however the speed and clarity of the bass gives the impression of even greater extension.

Using just one driver, 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 outstandingly 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 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 keeps mid-frequency energy out of the horn. This would otherwise lead to smearing due to time differences between the DDD driver’s direct radiation and the horn, as well as cause a bump in the mid frequency response. 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.

 

 

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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 Unicorn MK II it covers the range from 40Hz up to 24kHz – over 9 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 Unicorn MK II 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 Unicorn MK II 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 Unicorn MK II 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. Thisis 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.

 
 

“With the Unicorn, music can really be enjoyed in an incredibly relaxed manner. They manage to involve the listener and to put him or her in the middle of the action. This is what almost no other loudspeakers, apart from other German Physiks models, manage to do. However, compared to the other models, the Unicorn offers an unrivalled purity and spatial precision that makes me thankful for the fact that they made it to the market.”

hifi vision, 2012 | view/download pdf (2mb)

 
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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 Carbon 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 Carbon 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 Unicorn MK II loudspeaker is available in black or white high-polish polyester; a wide range of high quality veneers in both satin and high gloss lacquer; satin and high gloss automotive paint finishes and carbon fibre. Some finishes, such as carbon fibre, are only available on the side panels. Please consult with your dealer to discuss the options available.

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
40 – 24,000Hz

Power Handling
Nominal 
100W
Short term 140W

Amplification required
Minimum 60W/4 ohms

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

Low frequency adjustment
Flat, +1.0dB, +2.0db and +3.5dB centred at 60Hz

Sensitivity
88.0 dB for 1W at 1m

Operating principle
Full range loudspeaker with 360° surround radiation
using the German Physiks DDD driver

Input connectors
1 set of WBT nextgen™ binding post

Drivers
1 x carbon fibre DDD drive

Recommended room size
8 - 46 square metres
84 – 486 square feet

Finish options
Satin or high polish veneer
High polish polyester black or white
Satin or high polish paint
Carbon fibre
Please see Finishes page for more information

Dimensions
Loudspeaker

550mm W x 1,241mm H x 460mm D
21.7" W x 48.9" H x 18.1" D
Network housing
270mm W x 173mm H x 230mm D
10.6" W x 6.8" H x 9.1" D

Weight
Loudspeaker 
56.0kg / 123.2lbs
Network housing 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.

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“The low-frequency range of the Unicorn MkII is stunning too. Its character matches the unobtrusive, smooth nature of the midrange and treble reproduction. The DDD doesn’t produce an ascetic pseudo-bass, but a real, rich and powerful low-frequency range, that is even able to fulfill party and “level-orgy” needs. The only broadband loudspeaker without compromise and the best full-range design in the world? Yes, Mr. Mueller!”

hifi vision, 2012 | view/download pdf (2mb)

 
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Product Reviews


2013

Publication: HiFi Statement
Date: 2013
Country: Germany
Language: German
Product: Unicorn MK II
view/download pdf (2MB)

2012

Publication: HiFi Vision
Date: 2012
Country: Germany
Language: English
Product: Unicorn MK II
view/download pdf (2MB)

2012

Publication: LP
Date: 2012
Country: Germany
Language: German
Product: Unicorn MK II
view/download pdf (1MB)

 
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German Physiks Omnidirectional Loudspeaker Range

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