Bogdan Audio Creations Art Deco Loudspeaker Review 
Home Theater Loudspeakers Floorstanding Loudspeakers
Written by Andre Marc   
Friday, 12 July 2013

Bogdan Audio Creations was a totally new name to me before Adrian of True Harmonix , distributor and importer for some prestigious brands, asked me if I would like to review one of Bogdan's speakers. Specifically, he wanted me to hear the Art Deco model, newly revised for 2013. I agreed because Adrian has exceptionally good taste, and an ear for good products. He imports the Densen line from Denmark, which is top shelf.

Bodgan Petrescu, a gentleman who has been designing speakers for twenty-five years, runs Bogdan. He hand builds his speakers in Findlay, OH.  He decided his hobby had advanced enough that his creations, so to speak, competed with the very best commercially available loudspeakers. In 2009, he decided to make a concerted effort to start a speaker company. This was no longer a hobby. He had well-received showings at numerous audio shows, and now has several published professional reviews. I should also note that Mr. Petrescu is a tube aficionado, and builds a line of classic tube amps I hope to review at one point as well.

The Art Deco is small floorstander, measuring approximately 34-inches high, with a triangle-like shape, but it is actually four sided. The back panel is very narrow, and houses high quality binding posts and a brass plate attached via screws indicating the speaker was “handcrafted in the USA”.  It also notes the 88 db sensitivity and 8 Ohm impedance. An easy electrical load for any reasonable amplifier.  

The Art Deco is based on a single 7-inch coaxial driver. Now here is a disclaimer. I do have an affinity for speakers with coaxial drivers. My reference Thiel CS2.4 speaker uses a proprietary coaxial driver, augmented by woofer and a passive radiator. One of the speakers I heard recently at T.H.E. Show Newport was the KEF LS50, also built around a proprietary coax driver. There seems to be an inherent coherence and seamlessness to these types of drivers.

Below is some information designer Bodgan Petrescu sent me via email, slightly paraphrased, about the other important element of this speaker, which is the cabinet. Also there is some information about the driver:
There is an inside cabinet made of 3/4 MDF then the solid Cherry is applied to it. The cabinet density varies throughout. No cheap plastic tubing, no ringing noise, and no port vibrations. You can turn the speaker upside down and note the bottom port.

Coaxial driver Information:

Bass and midrange frequencies are carried by a clear polypropylene-type cone ideally matched to a special adaptive rubber surround. This results in a very smooth frequency response from the mid woofer.

The coaxially-arranged pre-coated fabric dome tweeter has a low resonance frequency, and integrates with the cone driver to a point source.

The cone of the woofer acts as a horn loading for the tweeter, and the chassis of the dome unit represents the throat of this horn. The tweeter is located where you would expect to see the dust cap on a traditional driver. The woofer cone moves independently around the tweeter.


 

Set Up & Listening

As soon as I unpacked the Art Decos, I realized Mr. Petrescu is very serious about this cabinet. These speakers were solid. The gorgeous cherry wood was well finished, and the attention to detail was well above average. The speaker binding posts were also high quality and easily accessible.  I did note the rear port Mr. Petrescu mentioned, and the spikes attached to the three feet that support the speakers.

I set up the Art Deco initially in system two, driven by the McIntosh MA6600. I gave it a week of non-critical listening, but found it difficult to not pay attention to the music. It became obvious that this was going to be a pleasant assignment. Trying to casually listen was tough. So I moved the speakers into the main room driven initially by a Carver Black Magic 20 wpc tube amp, then by an Audio Research VS55 50 wpc amp. Speaker cables were Transparent.  

Once I got down to business with some extended listening sessions, it was pretty clear that Mr. Petrescu knows a thing or two about speaker design.  I found myself enjoying a high fidelity, coherent, and engaging speaker. Album after album floated by, locking me into the flow of the music. There was absolutely no spotlighting of any area of the audioband, no bloated bass, and a neutral, seductive midrange. It was all about balance.

Bogdan Audio Creations Art Deco

There was no wanting for resolution. I heard all details in familiar reference recordings, and there was that classic “clear window” into the performance.  This leads us to another interesting aspect of the Art Deco’s performance -- it produces a much wider soundstage that its modest size would indicate. I found the width and depth quite surprising.  The music seemed to extend well beyond the boundaries of the cabinet.

The sadly overlooked, but terrific, album from Shannon McNally, Small Town Talk, is full of nimble, syncopated arrangements. It is an album celebrating the songs of Bobby Charles, another unsung songwriter. New Orleans legend Dr. John is a contributing force, and the music is bluesy, funky, folky, and classic sounding.  The opening track, "Street People", features her band spread across a wide mix, with her supple, easy going vocal riding on top. The Art Decos got down and boogied, really knocking me out with ability to propel the music forward. The term relaxed precision came to mind.

British alternative icon Richard Ashcroft’s Key To The World has been in heavy rotation, and through the Art Decos it sounded epic. Ashcroft’s passionate vocals floated on a cloud of pulsing bass lines, guitar hooks, and soaring melodies. The title track is especially dramatic and I found it amazing that a marriage of big music and a relatively small speaker could be so satisfying. Scott Weiland, formerly of Stone Temple Pilots, put out a fantastic solo album back in 1998 called 12 Bar Blues, and it also strives to create music on a cinematic scale, with Beatles-esque melodies and trippy arrangements. The Art Decos revealed the nuances of this album beautifully, and tracks like "Divider" and "Mockingbird Girl" sounded vibrant, despite having been played quite a bit over the years.



Doing a quick comparison to the two-and-a-half times as expensive Thiel CS2.4 was interesting. The Thiels do go a lower in the bass, but both were cut from the same sonic cloth. Maybe not a big surprise, as the Thiels use what they call a coincident driver, and excellent cabinet design. The Thiels offered a bit more of forward presentation, but the overall differences were slight. Pretty impressive on the part of the Art Deco to match up with a speaker that has been in continuous production for ten years, like the CS2.4.

Conclusion

Bogdan Audio Creations was created to fulfill a passion. Bogdan Petrescu had been designing speakers for years until he turned it in a running concern several years ago. I am very glad he did. The Art Deco is a fabulous speaker. Excelling in every performance parameter that mattered to this listener. Mind you, the speaker works best in medium to small rooms. You cannot fool the laws of physics.  This speaker will appeal to the astute and knowledgeable audiophile, who will know how to match rooms and speakers.

In the categories of coherence, balance, soundstaging, and build, the Art Deco is an outright bargain at its $2600 price. To be honest, I am going to be sad to send them back. If I was shopping for a new speaker, they would be among a small handful of products on my shortlist. The Art Deco’s coaxial driver is a wonder, as noted; my ears are tuned to these types of drivers for their seamlessness. Of course, the whole package must be well engineered and it is all about implementation.

Match the Art Deco with the appropriate room size, good quality speaker cable, and a commensurate amplifier, and you will have a system that will give you many years of enjoyment, that will get you off the merry go round. Hats off to Bogdan Audio Creations. They have produced one of the best floorstanders I have heard at this price point.  Without a doubt, an in home audition is recommended.




Specifications


Bogdan Audio Creations Art Deco: $2600

Frequency response: 46 - 25,000 Hz
Impedance: 8 ohms
Sensitivity: 88 db

www.bogdanaudiocreations.com
www.trueharmonix.com

Review System 1


CD Transport: Musical Fidelity M1 CDT
Server: Squeezebox Touch w/ CIA VDC-SB power supply
via Ethernet to MAC Mini w/ Western Digital & Seagate
external drives.
DAC: Bryston BDA-1
Headphone Amp: Pro-Ject Head Box II
Headphones: Grado SR60
Preamp: Audio Research SP16
Amplifier: Audio Research VS55, Bob Carver Black Magic
Speaker: Thiel CS2.4, Bogdan Audio Creations Art Deco
Cables:  Stager Silver Solids,  Darwin Ascension (IC), Transparent  MM2 Super (IC), Transparent Plus (Speaker) Acoustic Zen Tsunami II (AC),Transparent (AC).Shunyata Venom (AC) Element Cable Red Storm (Digital AC), DH Labs TosLink, DH Labs AES/EBU, Audioquest, Forest, WireWorld Ultraviolet, DH Labs USB(USB) DH Labs (USB)
Accessories: Symposium Rollerblocks, Shakti Stone, Audience Adept Response aR6 power conditioner,Salamander rack

Review System 2


CD Player: Onkyo C7000R
Music Server: Squeezebox Touch via Ethernet to
MAC Mini w/ Western Digital & Seagate external drives.
DAC: Musical Fidelity V-DAC II, MyTek Stereo 192 DAC
Integrated Amplifier: McIntosh  MA6600
Tape Deck: Revox A77
Speaker: Harbeth Compact 7ES3, MAD 1920S
Cables: Darwin Cables Silver IC, Kimber Hero HB,  DH Labs White Lightning (IC),QED Transparent MusicWave (Speaker),PS Audio (AC), Mojo Audio (AC), DH Labs TosLink, Audioquest Forest USB, Wireworld Ultraviolet USB
Accessories:Cable Pro Noisetrapper, Sound Anchors Stands, Wiremold, KECES XPS






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