The revised Klasik from Polish company APS offers exceptional performance at a remarkably low price.
With four monitors previously reviewed within these pages, Polish monitor manufacturers APS are no strangers to Sound On Sound. The last APS review, of the Germano Aeon 2 model, was in fact by yours truly and I found that an informative and eminently capable, if slightly quirky, monitor. For this review we’re heading down the APS product range to its entry‑level monitor, the two‑way, active, Klasik 2020; a revised version of the original Klasik that was reviewed in the magazine back in 2016.
‘Re‑engineered’ might be a more appropriate term, however, because really quite a lot appears to have changed. The cabinet, for a start, is significantly larger, with around 28 percent more internal volume, which will mean the Klasik 2020’s low‑frequency characteristic will likely be fundamentally different. And both the bass/mid and tweeter amplifier power ratings have increased from 75 to 100 Watts. Another significant change is that the Klasik 2020 has moved from its predecessor’s conventional, rear‑ported reflex loading to a more sophisticated arrangement with somewhat mysterious‑looking vent slots engineered into the rear amplifier and connection panel.
In contrast to the numerous DSP‑equipped monitors available in these enlightened, hi‑tech days, the Klasik 2020 is entirely analogue in its signal path. Even the amplification, rather than employing the increasingly popular Class‑D switching technology, is of a traditional Class‑A/B configuration. APS employ an amplifier technology based on field effect transistors that they claim offer particularly low noise and distortion.
Being analogue throughout, the Klasik 2020 offers only balanced XLR and unbalanced phono inputs. The inputs are accompanied by a stepped sensitivity control offering ‑10 to 0 dB adjustment. That’s a usefully wide range and I can’t imagine there’ll be too many monitoring installations in which the appropriate input sensitivity isn’t available. Three small slide switches are also present on the Klasik 2020 rear panel. The first offers +1.5dB, 0dB and ‑1.5dB of tweeter level adjustment, the second offers three options of low‑frequency bandwidth extension, and the last offers a ground‑lift option. I’m always a little suspicious of using ground‑lift options. It seems to me that having to engage the ground lift is life’s way of telling you that you really ought to fix whatever is responsible for the ground loop.
As with the amplification, so with the cabinet. The Klasik 2020 cabinet is completely conventional, plain even, in appearance and sports a ‘black ash’ plastic laminate look that could easily have been designed 40 or more years ago. If contemporary industrial design sparkle floats your boat then the Klasik 2020 is probably going to leave you beached. It may not be a ‘looker’, but the Klasik 2020 enclosure feels solid and its side panels respond with a reassuringly non‑resonant thud to the knuckle‑rap test.
Perhaps the most immediately interesting feature of the Klasik 2020 enclosure is the rear‑panel reflex port vents I mentioned earlier. I’ve used ‘vents’ in the plural because two appear to be fitted. A closer look, however, reveals that there is just one; a bridge piece comprising part of the connection panel appears to divide a single vent in two. As to where the vent (or vents)...