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The Lenard Opal was designed as a benchmark system for studio mastering, providing seamless integration and transparency across all music platforms including home, commercial, cinema and concert PA. Opals are designed to the boundary to what is technically achievable. Our performance driven approach forms the basis of the Lenard Audio Application Standards© and all other Lenard Audio designs.

 

The key attributes for these standards are:

 

Intelligibility

Spectral energy balance

Harmonic detail

Bass discernment

Directivity control

 

As a mastering reference system, the Opal enables the highest discernment of fidelity and transparency at the time of the recording; to maintain complete realism from the original musical performance to the reproduction medium.  This requires the system to be designed in scale to the natural size of symphonic musical instruments.

 

The integration of fully 4-way active amplification and internal active crossovers results in full 3D transparency; as though the musicians are actually present. Complete integrity of fidelity at the time of the recording is vital to ensure the reproduced musical experience is as the artists intended.

 

Digital recording and storage technology allows for virtually unlimited dynamic range and bandwidth in reference to human hearing.

 

The Opal class mastering systems can replicate this full dynamic range without limitation.  Film directors, composers, orchestra conductors and musicians aim for the recorded music to be fully transparent, including full dynamic range and bandwidth.

 

At Lenard Audio, we work to ensure this goal is realised.

 

Prices start from AUD50,000 (USD40,000).

The way we hear sound in the natural world

Opals are built in scale to the natural size and structure of symphonic musical instruments.

This enables the music to be reproduced with full transparency, as though the instruments are actually present.

 

They deliver the highest fidelity and transparency that can be technically achieved in sound system design.

The Opal spectral energy can replicate the power of real orchestral instruments; providing complete clarity and detailed separation, as though the musicians are actually present.     The effect is a virtual 3D experience.

All Opal systems are fully 4-way active.

Fully 4-way active

4-way active is the application of dividing the music spectrum into 4 registers:   bass;   lower voice;   upper voice   and   harmonics.

 

Fully 4-way active is when the music signal is divided by an internal electronic cross-over prior to it being sent to the dedicated amplifiers and speakers.

 

This allows for an experience as we hear sound in the natural world.

Standard Opal

Opal  cabinet  structures  can  be  arranged  to  suit  various applications & environments. These variations do not influence the neutrality/transparency of music reproduction.

Standard Opal systems can be made from any durable cabinet material.

 

The "White Opal" system pictured to the left was constructed with high density MDF cabinets and painted in piano white gloss.

 

The Classic Black Opal system cabinets (pictured above) are crafted from the finest Australian hardwoods.  The exponential horns are CNC machined from solid 100 year old redgum.

This system comes equipped with solid state amplifiers.

Valve amplifier towers can be added on request

Specifications

All Lenard Opal sound systems are fully 4-way active and provided with in-built solid-state integrated amplification and 4-way active crossovers.  Electronic crossovers are described as Linkwitz-Riley, 4th order.  The details below are per speaker stack.

Electronics

• 4 x 100 Watt class AB amplifiers

• 4-way electronic crossover Linkwitz-Riley 4th order

 

 

Inputs

• RCA x 2 for slaving

• XLR male balanced - XLR female balanced

• Signal from CD payers, Computers, iPhones, Pre-amps, Mixing consuls.

 

 

Speakers

• Harmonics 6kHz - 20kHz+ (Ribbon or compression tweeters for harmonics).

• Upper voice 800Hz - 6kHz (2in compression driver and horn)

• Lower voice 100Hz - 800Hz (12in flared cabinet or front loaded 15in)

• Bass 20Hz - 100Hz (2 x 15in or 2 x 18in or 1 x 21in bass speakers)

 

 

Dimensions - Standard Opal cabinet

• From 1640 to 1800mm (64in to 71in)

• From 600mm to 630mm (24in to 25in) width and depth

• Mass approx 100kg (220lb) per stack

• Dimensions vary depending on cabinet arrangement

Controls

The controls for the system are easily accessible on the solid state amplifier block.   Levels are independently controlled for each active speaker.  Calibration of the system allows you to set the levels for the acoustic environment and your enjoyment of the music. This is personal and simple to perform.

Custom Opals

Lenard  Custom  Opal  systems     are created to achieve the limits of what is  ultimately   possible    in    sound reproduction    for   specialised domestic,  home theatre and studio environments.

 

The system shown in this  section  is an   example   of   a   commissioned audiophile Opal system with 27 inch bass speakers.  Yes, you read it correctly, 27 inch bass speakers!

With a passion for music with deep sub-harmonic bass, our client was aiming to re-live a childhood experience and to bring back fond memories and feelings from a special time in his life.  The challenge was great; not only for us to find a way to provide this experience but also for our client who wanted to exceed the limits of his imagination and and work with us to make this happen.

 

Sub-harmonics can reach below 16.4Hz so finding a way to faithfully reproduce the depths of notes created on these wave lengths was our first challenge.  Our second challenge was to keep the cabinet design within the limits of the space available.

 

The resolution was to use specially sourced 27" bass speakers and a cabinet structure design to fit within the room corners, limiting the consumption of living space.  The system height is designed to fit floor to ceiling 2.5m or 8ft.

 

Each speaker structure is made up of 3 cabinets. Two bass cabinets, one inverted on top of the other and a 3-way centre cabinet that fits within the two bass cabinets. The centre cabinet can be rotated 180dgs, allowing the mid horn to be adjusted to the correct listening height for the environment.

 

These particular custom cabinets were painted with Mercedes metallic-grey auto duco to meet the clients specifications.  However, custom systems can be designed in a range of materials and/or finishes to meet the clients' desires.

 

Lenard Custom Opal systems can be made in a range of sizes and finishes and to suit any environment, application and architectural design.

 

This particular system was reviewed by Stephen Dawson from Australian Hi Fi Magazine in the March/April 2007 edition.

Valve amplifier overview

Lenard Valve Towers are a perfect addition to any Lenard Opal or Custom Opal system,   for those wanting a sweeter, warmer experience.  Valve Towers can also be applied to conventional audiophile system set ups.

Opal

The music, the whole music and nothing but the music...

Remember the first time you heard a live band or concert?

Remember the way the music made you feel?

You can now bring the concert into your living room,  filling your home with music, as if the musicians were there with you.

Each amplifier cabinet consists of 5 x 100 Watt ultra-linear valve amplifiers. The amplifiers are mounted vertically. There is a separate amplifier for each speaker.    The two lower amplifiers drive the bass speakers and   top amplifiers drive the higher frequency speakers; following a logical order.

 

The amplifiers for the cone speakers (bass and lower voice) are in class AB which enables 100 Watts of power to be achieved.  However , the amplifiers for the upper voice 2in compression driver and tweeter are in class A which limits power to 40 Watts.

The efficiency of the compression driver and tweeter is approx 100 times greater than the lower frequency cone speakers and only requires 1/100 the power to achieve the same level.    The high frequency drivers are very sensitive to detail and it is essential for the amplifiers to be as close to class A  as  possible to achieve the lowest distortion

figurers.

 

The  4-way active crossover is at the top of the cabinet and the controls are easily accessible.  The crossover frequencies are calibrated to achieve the best performance from the speakers.

 

The level controls of the crossover are calibrated for free field which means zero room reverberation.  The controls can be easily re-adjusted to give the best performance to suit the room environment and music.    The crossover is Linkwitz-Riley 4th order time aligned

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Volume

Contour

Sparkle

Presence

Warmth

Depth

master gain control

high frequency enhence control compensates for large rooms, air attenuation and cinema screens. Flar anticlockwise and clockwise to enhence

40 Watt class A amp for the tweeter ( harmonics )

40 Watt class A amp for  the tweeter ( harmonics )

40 Watt class A amp for com  compression (lower voice)

2 x 100 Watt class A amp for compression driver

( lower voice )

Each amplifier cabinet consists of 5 x 100 Watt ultra-linear valve amplifiers. The amplifiers are mounted vertically. There is a separate amplifier for each speaker.    The two lower amplifiers drive the bass speakers and   top amplifiers drive the higher frequency speakers; following a logical order.

The amplifiers for the cone speakers (bass and lower voice) are in class AB which enables 100 Watts of power to be achieved.  However , the amplifiers for the upper voice 2in compression driver and tweeter are in class A which limits power to 40 Watts.

The efficiency of the compression driver and tweeter is approx 100 times greater than the lower frequency cone speakers and only requires 1/100 the power to achieve the same level.    The high frequency drivers are very sensitive to detail and it is essential for the amplifiers to be as close to class A  as  possible to achieve the lowest distortion figurers.

The  4-way active crossover is at the top of the cabinet and the controls are easily accessible.  The crossover frequencies are calibrated to achieve the best performance from the speakers.

 

The level controls of the crossover are calibrated for free field which means zero room reverberation.  The controls can be easily re-adjusted to give the best performance to suit the room environment and music.    The crossover is Linkwitz-Riley 4th order time aligned

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Valves

Each 100 Watt amplifier is a separate module and can be changed easily if required.   Each valve bias (temperature) can be easily externally adjusted. New valves take approx 2 two weeks to stabilise.

 

The 2 red LEDs (light emitting diodes) in front of each valve in this picture are a comparator.   When both LEDs are at the same light level the valve bias is correct.   The amp modules are vertically aligned in the cabinet and therefore the LEDs are in the vertical position as in the picture on the right.

 

The middle LEDs in-between the valves indicate by flashing if a valve has failed and needs to be replaced.   Replacement valves are readily available and each system is provided with spare valves.

 

The driver circuitry is solid-state which is absolutely silent and non-microphonic. This is essential for very efficient active speaker systems that use compression drivers.  The microphonic and thermolic noise (hiss) generated by small driver valves would be audible and intolerable. The unique sound quality of valve amplifiers is created by the output stage (power valves and output transformer). This unique quality is not created by using small pre-amp valves

Power Supply

The power supply is mounted on the right side of the chassis.

 

The small top toroid power transformer ( +-20V and +-100V) is for the electronic crossover and drive circuits of KT88 output valves.

 

The two medium toroid for the 12.6V DC valve heater supply of 8 Amperes.  The DC heater polarity + - is reversed each time the amplifier is turned on.  This insures valve filaments and cables are free from electrolytic deterioration.

 

The large toroid transformer creates the 600V HT supply.  The HT supply is constructed from 3 x 200V supplies in series.   This enables a 400V supply for the 2 high frequency amplifiers in class A push pull.

 

The power turn on management system is at the bottom of the chassis. All power transformers are toroid to insure zero magnetic interference and are also electrostatic shielded.

Output Transformers

The output transformers and electronic crossover are mounted on the left side of the chassis. All output transformers are toroid and are of greater frequency range than required for each define bandwidth.

 

All output transformers are also frequency specified flat at 200W full power.

Amplifier Class

Questions are often asked about valve amplifier class Push pull Single ended A AB B.

 

Single ended refers to the 1 single output valve in small cheap radios and radiograms that were made before 1960. A single output valve is only capable of small power and produces a non-synchronous second harmonic distortion. Some audiophiles claim this distortion has spiritual qualities similar to magical crystals and crop circles.

 

Class A single ended refers to the 1 output valve needing to be at maximum quiescent temperature to obtain the small power available. This is similar to a one legged person riding a one pedal push bike. As it is not possible to pull up  and  push  down  on  the  pedal  with  identical  energy,  the  output  is non-synchronous.

 

Push-pull refers to 2 output valves, similar to a 2 cylinder auto engine, or a push bike with 2 pedals. Push-pull produces 4 times the power than single ended and has minimal distortion, due to being fully synchronous balanced. The correct way to make valve amplifiers, and push bikes.

 

Push-pull 2 output valves is naturally efficient with minimum distortion. There is no scientific evidence that push-pull achieves lower distortion by running the output valves at the maximum allowable temperature. However greater academic linearity is achieved by running the valves, with lower voltage and higher current, resulting in less power, insuring zero distortion. Sometimes referred to as class A push-pull.

 

Class AB refers to push-pull for audio application. The valves are run at medium temperature insuring there is an overlap where one valve takes over from the other for each half of the wave form. Increasing the temperature increases the overlap, referred to as Class AB1 and AB2. The latter has the least overlap.

 

Class B refers to push-pull but not for audio application. In radio transmitters the valves are run at the minimum quiescent temperature (zero overlap) to obtain maximum power . If class B were used for audio there would be a gap between the top and bottom half of the music signal, which would be clearly audible as 3rd harmonic distortion.

 

Many of todays audiophile valve amplifiers are constructed similarly to the original designs that were made in the 1950s and 1960s. This is done for romantic nostalgia similar to grandfather clocks. However advances in modern technology and transformer design (toroid) has since enabled valve amplifiers to be vastly improved as in the Lenard designs.

The music, the whole music and nothing but the music...
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Each speaker structure is made up of 3 cabinets. Two bass cabinets, one inverted on top of the other and a 3-way centre cabinet that fits within the two bass cabinets.  The centre cabinet can be rotated 180dgs, allowing the mid horn to be adjusted to the correct listening height for the environment.

 

These particular custom cabinets were painted with Mercedes metallic-grey auto duco to meet the clients specifications.  However, custom systems can be designed in a range of materials and/or

finishes to meet the clients' desires.

Lenard Custom Opal systems can be made in a range of sizes and finishes and to suit any environment, application and architectural design.

 

This particular system was reviewed by Stephen Dawson from Australian Hi Fi Magazine in

the March/April 2007 edition.

The power supply is mounted on the right side of the chassis. The small top toroid power transformer ( +-20V and +-100V) is for the electronic crossover and drive circuits of KT88 output valves. The two medium toroid for the 12.6V DC valve heater supply of 8 Amperes. The DC heater polarity + - is reversed each time the amplifier is turned on. This insures valve filaments and cables are free from electrolytic deterioration. The large toroid transformer creates the 600V HT supply. The HT supply is constructed from 3 x 200V supplies in series. This enables a 400V supply for the 2 high frequency amplifiers in class A push pull. The power turn on management system is at the bottom of the chassis. All power transformers are toroid to insure zero magnetic interference and are also electrostatic shielded.