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Clarion Z3, Z7, Z25W Component Digital Speakers


“LOVE SEX INTELLIGENCE”, sang those folks known as The Shamen. These Clarion speakers come with their own highly sophisticated Digital Signal Processor and what that can do, via their app, with said new Z series Clarion full digital speakers, is breath taking. The company have been making very good transducers for a long time (1930’s!) and now they have had their OWN LSI (Large-Scale Integrated) microchip created, with firmware from an outfit called Dnote, that can do stuff you won’t believe until you hear it. This product is genuinely new in concept and design and modus operandi. Speakers with their own amps in, that are digital all the way to the voice coils.


Manufacturer: Clarion
Web page: http://www.clarion.com/gb/en/products-personal/fds-system/z3/index.html
Prices: Start at around £1,500 plus installation.
NB I was compelled to change the normal speaker review parameters as power handling and efficiency are a different class of product. So I used accessory ratings of Ease of Use and Features.



In a Nutshell
Digital all the way to a tiny chip amp actually mounted within the speakers’ chassis, these are fed only digits and have all-new especially developed Large Scale Integrated chips that run Dnote software. These chips split the midrange feed into six different small voice coil drives to run them. The speakers themselves are very highly developed and the DSP is bang up to date, resulting in a system of astonishing clarity, dynamics and detail that seems to get its drive from nowhere, yet is going to re-write the ‘easy speaker upgrade’ from a passive process to an active one. Simply put, this is a whole game-changing system pretending to be just speakers. It is literally awe-inspiring to listen to and so brilliantly adjustable, that you can hear the chap who set it has golden ears. Easy to set well but also able to inspire musicians if set by a sound engineer.

Click here to see a slideshow of the demo car. https://www.talkstuff.net/ipb/index.php/gallery/slideshow/album-526/



EISA already handed the system an award…





Here’s what you start with…






Overall 9.8
Sound Quality 9
Build Quality 10
Ease Of Install 10
Features 10
Value For Money 10



REFERENCE STATUS



STATE OF THE ART



Description
Starting with a small controller box and commander unit, two tweeters are driven by a tiny chip amp from your signal, be it digital or analogue from just about any method of input from Toslink to USB. The commander is a digital device with a powerful DSP, run by an application with glorious, detailed graphics. The midranges that complement the tweeters are also told what to do by the commander and yet only need a single paired wire, like a normal speaker. These three sets comprise a startlingly potently controllable component speaker upgrade that draws very little power and needs no clumsy analogue amplifier. The subwoofer takes just ten amperes to run and can be mounted infinite baffle, although will sound best when enclosed. Two can be used. The demo system I heard, had stock rear speakers and was fully front faded, so the result was JUST five transducers. Astonishing. It is all low in mass and looks like quality product. It works absurdly well, to the point of ‘game changing’. It gave me goose bumps.






Editor Review : Clarion Z3, Z7, Z25W Component Digital Speakers

This may be best expressed in the form of video - it’s what I formed my opinions from…

The video made with Alan Smith of Clarion, who is my go-to video executive for them. When we made the clip, I was not too clear as to where the actual power for the speakers was coming from. Fact is, it is about the power coming from so very close by, that only the voice coil itself is the bit with actual watts flowing. No losses, no interferences. The midrange has six coils, each getting a little bit of drive power from the LSI.





I was blown away by the quality.. just listen to the fat bloke rave.


Exploded view of a Z7 mid. That magnet is a Strontium type.. very powerful.






And now, the video from Clarion as to HOW it does its thing..






Specifications: Z3 Sound Processor £650

Analogue output 4Vrms (VOL 0db)
S/N 110dB (A filter)
Harmonic Distortion 0.01%
Analogue input RCA input, Speaker level input
Input sensitivity Low: RCA-in=4Vrms/power-in=8Vrms
Mid: RCA-in=2Vrms/power-in=4Vrms
High: RCA-in=1Vrms/power-in=2Vrms
Digital coaxial input 0.5Vp-p/75Ω, Up to 96kHz/24Bit/PCM
Digital optical input Up to 96kHz/24Bit/PCM
Power Supply 10.8 to 15.6V DC, Negative ground
Current Consumption Maximum 15A
Weight 660g
Dimensions 180(W)×37(H)×116(D) mm






Commander (Supplied with Z3)
Weight 385g
Dimensions 100(W)×27(H)×46(D)mm
Tweeter (Supplied with Z3)

Driving section
Maximum output 9W (4.5W × 2 Driver)× 2ch
Rated output 6W(3W × 2 Driver)× 2ch at 1% THD+N
Speaker section
Impedance 6Ω × 2ch
Frequency response 1.5kHz to 40kHz
Weight (One speaker) 77g
Dimensions 40(W)×40(H)×21.5(D)mm



Z7 Midrange £450

Driving section
Maximum output 24W (4W × 6 Driver)
Rated output 18W (3W × 6 Driver) at 1% THD+N
S/N 89dB at 1W
Dynamic range 102dB
Frequency response 10Hz to 48kHz ± 2dB




Speaker section
Impedance 4Ω × 6ch
Frequency response 28Hz to 15kHz
Fs 60Hz
Qts 0.85
Vas 11.4 Litres
Weight (One speaker) 970g
Dimensions 158(W)×158(H)×76(D)mm



Z25W Subwoofer System £400

Driving section
Maximum output 24W (4W × 6 Driver)
Rated output 18W (3W × 6 Driver) at 1% THD+N
S/N 90dB at 1W
Dynamic range 103dB
Frequency characteristic 10Hz to 48kHz ± 2dB




Speaker section
Impedance 4Ω × 6ch
Frequency response 20Hz to 200Hz
Fs 38Hz
Vas 50.3 Litres
Mms 74.4g
Qes 0.74
Qms 4.75
Qts 0.64
Xmax.Lin. 11.4mm
Weight 3,820g
Dimensions 296(W)×296(H)×98.5(D)mm
Recommended box volume
Sealed box: 25 Litres to 45 Litres
Ported box: 85 Litres to 95 Litres


3 Comments

So is this the end of car audio as we know it??

My word - this is impressive, and for once not overly expensive.

 

I say that as it is all relative. The DSP/Amp combo I have in my car retails at near enough £1000 on its own, so with speakers it is very close to the cost of this Clarion unit.

 

However Clarion are to be massively applauded for doing something different and actually thinking about what is best suited to todays market.

 

The smart phone control is nearly worth the asking price alone, as I get fed up buggering about with a laptop every time I want to make a tweak.

 

Thanks for the great write up Adam, and I hope this is a product line that does well and inspires others.

So is this the end of car audio as we know it??

No, that was some years back, sweetie....