Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH 2020 – The second generation

Every loudspeaker manufacturer has a model that proves to be particularly successful, no matter how broadly the company is positioned. At the loudspeaker forge Trenner & Friedl GmbH, the Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH must be mentioned in this context, which is now available in its second generation.

Trenner & Friedl Pharao, this loudspeaker system can justifiably be called one of the most successful of the Austrian loudspeaker forge Trenner & Friedl GmbH. This is now celebrating its 10th anniversary, if you want to put it that way.

The Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH has been part of the Styrian company’s broad product range for ten years now. Even in the loudspeaker segment, which still has quite long product cycles compared to other areas of consumer electronics, this is a remarkable period of time.

The customer thus receives a loudspeaker system that will be a cutting-edge solution for many, many years, thus retaining its value and being a good investment.

After ten years, time for a generational change

Nevertheless, after ten years one may consider designing a successor, and this is exactly what Andreas Friedl and Peter Trenner have done with the Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH.

But especially with such a successful loudspeaker system, the developers are always faced with a great challenge when it comes to designing a successor. The existing virtues that have made the system so successful must be retained for the new model as far as possible, but at the same time optimisations and improvements must be made that really justify the change of generation.

Twelve months of development

That is why Peter Trenner and Andreas Friedl did not take the task of designing the new Trenner & Friedl Pharao lightly. After all, they spent twelve months meticulously developing the new Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH 2020 with great attention to detail, although this can hardly be defined in such a way, as the experience and technologies of other models developed over the years are always incorporated.

Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH Classic and Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH 2020

The generational change has resulted in Trenner & Friedl GmbH christening the previous model internally as Trenner & Friedl Classic, the new Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH 2020. Officially, of course, the new model is now available to all, so that the name Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH is retained in the proven manner.

Even more discreet in appearance

Loudspeaker systems from Trenner & Friedl are all distinguished by the fact that they combine the art of engineering and the finest craftsmanship in a particularly impressive way. Moreover, they are designed in such a way that they are true gems.

Above all, developer and designer Andreas Friedl has developed an unmistakable feeling for how to implement outstanding design in the form of unique loudspeaker systems. Whoever speaks of plain “boxes” here cannot have a sense for aesthetics.

The question of whether these loudspeaker systems fit into the living environment never even arises, because they always fit perfectly. Only the respective design variant may be up for discussion…

Not designed for listening rooms, but for the living room

It is expressly pointed out that in Styria, loudspeaker systems are developed for the living room and not for the listening room.

This was already true for the first generation of the Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH, and it is even more true for the new second generation, because one of the most important innovations concerns the design concept.

The new Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH is almost the same size as its predecessor, but because it is now slightly inclined, it looks a little more delicate, and the chamfered edges of the cabinet support this impression.

The fact that this comparatively discreet appearance has been achieved is all the more remarkable when one takes a sober look at the figures in the data sheet. The Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH is not really “small”, measuring 970 mm in height, but above all 470 mm in width and 360 mm in depth.

Of course, this special design is not without reason, but rather supports the approach of developing loudspeaker systems for the living room rather than the listening room.

A baffle that is as wide as possible and at the same time comparatively shallow is exactly the opposite of what is often found in modern loudspeaker systems. However, according to Trenner & Friedl GmbH, this concept promises a significantly higher direct sound delivered to the listening position than is the case with narrow loudspeaker systems.

In addition, this design or the concept chosen by the developers of the Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH supports a particularly flexible placement. Even positioning very close to the wall is possible, as they explicitly point out. No more than ten centimetres are required as distance to the wall.

It should not go unmentioned that the Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH is based on a concept that has proven to be a kind of “natural constant” for years, namely that of the golden ratio. This can be found in countless places in nature, and it has always proved to be the best way in art and design….

Less is more…

Trenner & Friedl GmbH has been working according to this motto since the very beginning, and this is understood in several respects. This begins with the design concept, which has just been described in detail, because it focuses on what is really essential. You simply won’t find any dazzling work here that neither serves the actual purpose of the product nor is intended to serve as a particularly striking eye-catcher. You can’t design a loudspeaker system any simpler, but that’s exactly what makes it so appealing.

The principle “less is more” also applies to the design principle of the Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH, because it is ultimately a two-way system in the form of a coaxial driver, woofer and tweeter thus form a unit, exaggeratedly formulated, which should come particularly close to the ideal of a point source.

Thus, the Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH is designed in a completely different way than many current loudspeaker systems, which are equipped with more and more drivers and correspond to a column of sound, and where design-related problems such as a harmonic transition as well as time-of-flight errors have to be compensated for in order to achieve the best possible reproduction.

Long search for the right drivers

However, the aforementioned principle of “less is more” became somewhat unfaithful when it came to selecting the “right” drivers. Countless tests were necessary to find the right solutions.

“We tested and modified almost every promising driver on the market. Almost all of them were not able to achieve our goals. We can say it was a rocky road to bring the advantages of a point source into the qualities of the PHAROAH Classic!”

Andreas Friedl, Trenner & Friedl GmbH

In the end, the decision was made for the latest generation of the Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH to use a 10-inch woofer driver that relies on a membrane made of paper. This in turn is meticulously hand-finished with seven layers of Italian violin varnish to achieve exactly those characteristics regarding elasticity, response and dispersion that the developers desired.

This woofer is combined with a coaxially mounted 1 inch compression driver. This driver uses a titanium cone that is, as the manufacturer himself puts it, almost as light as a feather, but nevertheless very strong.

Trenner & Friedl GmbH describes the woofer as extremely powerful and very fast in reaction, so that every impulse can be reproduced with emphasis and precision, always free of resonance.

The tweeter delivers crystal-clear, detailed highs, free from distortion, and harmonises perfectly with the woofer for a seamless, break-free transition.

Perfectly tuned crossover

This is not only due to the coaxial driver design, but also to a crossover that is perfectly matched to the drivers. The crossover follows the principle “less is more” and is equipped with first-class components from the specialist Mundorf EB GmbH in Cologne.

The internal wiring comes from another specialist in the field, Cardas Audio.

And if you still have any doubts as to whether Trenner & Friedl really pay full attention to even the most inconspicuous detail to create a perfect whole, just take a look at the connection panel of the new Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH, for example, because not even the screw terminals are mass-produced “off the peg”…

In fact, the finest, generously dimensioned terminals from Cardas Audio are used here, made of rhodium-plated pure copper.

Attention to detail down to the last screw…

No, this is actually not right, you can’t leave it like that. Screws are not visible here, only three struts at the back, which give the cabinet even more rigidity and robustness. Nevertheless, the cabinet of the Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH presents itself almost flawlessly, handcrafted in a Styrian carpenter’s workshop.

A highly stable construction of birch plywood is used here, whereby the cabinet actually consists of two chambers to avoid standing waves and has extensive stiffeners at exactly the right points.

The weight of the Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH cabinet, which is listed in the data sheet at 36.5 kg, shows just how elaborate its construction is.

This construction is finished with handpicked veneers in the truest sense of the word, whereby the customer can choose from two standard versions – Iced Oak and Walnut – but also from countless other variants.

In view of the variety available – Walnut Nature, Walnut Amaranth, Iced Oak, Vintage Grey, Night Black, Snow White, Zebra Wood Eco and Rosewood Eco – one cannot speak of “standard versions” anyway, especially since the manufacturer states that in addition to these eight versions, tens of other options would of course be available on request. These are, among other things, the advantages that only a committed, small loudspeaker manufacturer can offer together with equally committed partners with individual production.

Sustainability – local partners

By the way, this is a very important aspect for Trenner & Friedl GmbH, and has always been: local partners. For example, the aforementioned joinery is only a few kilometres away from the company’s headquarters near Graz. This makes it possible to react quickly to customer wishes.

The company is also keen to use “local” suppliers for as many other components as possible, at least whenever and wherever possible.

It is essential, however, that the materials used are sustainably produced, especially the wood for the housing. Therefore, the company expressly refrains from using any exotic woods.

Finally, technical details…

An outstanding feature of the Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH is its enormous sensitivity of 94 dB. In combination with a simple frequency response, this makes it suitable for almost any amplifier, explicitly also for very low-power tube amplifiers.

The nominal impedance is given as 8 ohms, the minimum impedance as 6 ohms at 150 Hz. The frequency response is 35 Hz up to 20 kHz.

The new Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH is available immediately from the distributor RB Audio Vertrieb Barisic & Partner KG in Innsbruck.

Getting to the point

Loudspeaker systems from Trenner & Friedl have always been prime examples of timeless works of art in loudspeaker development, and this also applies to the Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH, one of the Styrian company’s most successful solutions. Nevertheless, after ten years, Andreas Friedl and Peter Trenner felt it was time to design a new generation that, while continuing the basic concept, would be significantly refined and improved at crucial points. The result of these twelve months of intensive development work is now available in the form of the new Trenner & Friedl PHAROAH 2020.

Manufacturer:Trenner & Friedl GmbH
Distribution:Barisic & Partner KG
Price:from € 9.990,-
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Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and sempre-audio.at, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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