A mere glance at the Platinum M4 is sufficient to identify it as a Quadral, the bass drivers recessed behind aluminium slats being a clear visual cue, whether the speaker carries the Quadral name or that of its prestige Aurum brand. It isn’t just a cosmetic feature but a part of Quadral’s enhanced form of reflex loading – there’s a large port at the rear of the cabinet – which really does perform differently if the relatively flat impedance curve is anything to judge by.
A four-driver three-way, the Platinum M4 matches its twin metal-coned bass drivers to a similar metal-coned midrange unit, above which is not the ‘ribbon’ (actually leaf) tweeter we’re used to seeing in Aurum models but Quadral’s RiCom-M ring tweeter, which is unusual for its annular diaphragm being of titanium. Quadral claims that it produces character-free treble output with broad dispersion.
As supplied, the Platinum M4 follows established Quadral practice by having a detachable plinth without tappings on the underside for the fitment of spikes. But the threads in the underside of the cabinet itself will accept optional M6 spikes.
In my review of the Aurum Orkan VIII [HFN July ’11] I said it was ‘tonally neutral, has tuneful, well-controlled bass and… an unusually clean and clear treble’ but that it didn’t quite meld these attributes into a satisfying whole. Guess what: I’m going to say broadly similar things about the Platinum M4 – but with one important exception.
The Platinum M4’s commendably flat frequency response favours no part of the frequency spectrum, the extreme treble lift easily countered by listening a little off-axis. And the bass, though extended, is just like the Orkan VIII’s: notably well controlled, hangover free and tuneful. What’s different this time is that I have no reservations about the overall sound quality being less than the sum of its parts. On the contrary, despite being far from the most expensive speaker here the M4 is unquestionably the best.
And this can be summed up in one word: clarity. Whatever you play, the M4 delivers insight, and with that insight comes deeper musical satisfaction. All five test pieces sounded better on the M4 than via any of the others in this group. ‘Honky Tonk Women’ had unmatched brio; the many strands of ‘Well Well Well’ were meticulously unpicked but its rhythm was never more infectious; the Ravel sparkled; Scheherazade was spacious yet focused and hit like a sledgehammer; and the understated ‘Poetspeak’ simply enchanted.
Originally published in the December 2011 issue
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