MONTANA KAS: Med en shipping-vekt på cirka 400 kilo paret, en klart følbar bassrespons ned til 16 Hz og en følsomhet på 93,5 dB, er det liten tvil om at MONTANA KAS dreier seg om tung amerikansk high-end. Så kan man jo spørre hva MONTANA KAS byr på annet enn en voldsom fysisk størrelse og imponerende spesifikasjoner? MONTANA KAS er i hvert fall plassert på det amerikanske audiomagasinet Bound For Sound (BFS) sin liste over Components of Merit i februar 2005. Dette er BFS sin ranking av de absolutt beste produktene audioindustrien har greid å produsere over de siste 7 - 8 årene, uansett pris, men likevel ut fra hovedkriteriet "value for money".

MONTANA distribueres av HighEnd

Hva er "Components of Merits"?

BFS har per februar 2005 følgende definisjon:

"It's been seven years since our last Components of Merit Issue (CoMi)- my how time flies. Our purpose is to recognize the best the industry has to offer - regardless of cost. Concider the CoMi to be a short list of those products that are unusual in their conciderable merit, and for that reason, stand out from the rest. This a VALUE RELATED listing."

Hvorfor ble MONTANA KAS klassifisert blant BFS' Components of Merit februar 2005? Her er BFS sin forklaring:

"PBN Montana KAS seven driver 4-way floorstanding dynamic: $27,500 + sales tax

A power speaker capable of delivering the total listening experience - and I mean the total experience. From the 16Hz tones of Shinjuku Thief, through the grinding guitars of Dream Theater, to the sky high treble of "Sir John Alot", the KAS spanned the full range of the musical experience in all dimensions.

In a subjective sense this is the "best" sounding speaker that I know of, and the finest overall speaker in this listing. Hey, this has to be a great speaker to make it this far (Components of Merit) while costing as much as it does. If they only cost a little less..."

Fra testen i BFS som kvalifiserte MONTANA KAS til Components of Merit:

"Two wooden crates sat in the garage, over 400 lbs. Then it hit me like a bomb with my name on it...there were two crates to transport, over 800 lbs. of loudspeaker. The 1" Revelator tweeter is centered on the 3" thick stepped fromt baffle. Above and below it are two ScanSpeak Kevlar cones, which are in turn flanked by two 7", paper carbon, ScanSpeak mid-bass drivers. Lastly, the top and bottom of each cabinet is a 12" custom made bass driver. Seven drivers per side.

For the purpose of auditioning the KAS, Peter sent two Sierra Everest mono amplifiers (1200 watts per channel 8 ohms, two 2200 VA powersupplies in EACH AMP! 8800 total VA). Other amplifiers used to audition the KAS included the Monarchy SE-160, the McCormack DNA 225, the ME Sound 550 and the "m" mono amps from Andy Bartha.

First of all, the woofers were tighter than a pair of shoes right out of the box. Actually, the bass from the multiple 12" paper contoured drivers was precise and quick, keeping overhang and artificial bloom to a minimum, my mind went to the superb bass reposnse from powered 15" aluminum woofers of the APM-1 from Genesis. I soon realized that the bass from these speakers was quite exceptional in their tone and integration to the mid/bass, even better than that of the Genesis. The bass was well damped, not over damped, thight and visceral is more like it...these drivers could indeed shake the listener. I haven't had bass this good ever in the Big Rig.

But at this price, I expect the best.

The lower midrange and upper bass broke-in quickly. The 7" ScanSpeak driver meshed so well with the 12" woofers that is was impossible to audibly tell where the one stopped and the other started, cello, piano and trombone spilled into the room. A pair of these 7" driver per side can readily move copious amounts of air in the lower mids and upper bass, the result being a tangible feeling of power and foundation when called upon. A foundation that few speakers at any price can compete with.

As time went on, the 4" kevlar drivers mellowed, taking on some of the warmth and dynamic capabilities of the two 7" drivers.

I liked what the KAS did in the highs. Dynamic action was crisp when it should have been, and yet subtle aspects of the performance were never exaggerated. Good balance there.

With this design, Peter has obviously set his sights on something more ambitious than merely a "big" loudspeaker. Yes, this design does what large beasts as the Pipedreams and Wisdom do - it moves air. But more importantly, to these ears, he's crafted a speaker that plays to the music. But unlike some of the large speakers to come in the recent years, this one really can get small and intimate. Oftentimes large speakers mess up this by being intimate and by being BIG at the same time. The trick is to be up close and personal without being huge. And with the KAS the perspective was very good. All was there, nice and intimate, and properly scaled. Couldn't have been better with a mini monitor.

Another important aspect of sound reproduction is imaging. Be it natural or artificially induced, recordings have a soundstage. The KAS is extremely vivid at the fromt of the stage, and with some power amplifiers the extraordinary 3D, cut in space, stage effects found with the giant Pipedreams were here too.

Like all PBN Montana loudspeakers, clean dynamics were a part of the KAS experience. So easily does this speaker adapt to the music being played through it, bach and Biaz have equal footing on its list of preferences. Nothing confounded it, nothing gave it a pause. The middle ground is where it lives when it comes to balancing dynamic impacts, with tonal balance, with a 3D soundspace.

Did I hate to see these speakers leave the Big Rig? If this is any indication, I did talk to Laura about the possibility of trying to work out a purchase of a pair. Yes, I decided against it, the asking price of over USD 27000, less the industry accomodation, still being more than I wanted to spend on a pair of speakers. But it made me think, "What if?" And so it was with some sadness that the KAS left my home, but hey, Peter has even bigger speakers than this to audition."

Nordic Distributor of