26/01/2021

JERN 12XF loudspeaker review

12XF

Art+Sound® review process

We have a standardised set of test gear that we use to ensure consistency in our reviews and review process. The only change we make is in the power amplification (both the Lyngdorf SDA-2400 and Pass Labs XA25 are used to represent amplification technologies that are completely different to one another). The digital source, DAC and cables always are kept the same.

List of gear:

Power amplifiers: Pass Labs XA25, Lyngdorf SDA-2400

  • DAC: Matrix Audio X Sabre Pro (preamp mode)
  • Digital source: 432 Evo Standard, running as Roon Core with Qobuz
  • Power cables: Stock
  • Speaker cables: 12AWG pure OFC, banana plug terminated
  • Interconnects: Amazon Basics RCAs (for DAC to Pass Labs) and VanDamme Starquad XLR (for DAC to Lyngdorf). Stock USB cable to connect streamer to DAC

We use a selection of 5 albums that we are totally familiar with

  • Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
  • Hedflux & Alex Delfont - Kin
  • Molly Johnson - Meaning To Tell Ya
  • Jason Mraz - Look For The Good
  • Can - Future Days (remastered)

Each album is listened to at varying volumes, firstly using the Lyngdorf SDA-2400 amplifier, and then the Pass Labs XA25. Only once our complete listening is done over a number of days, do we draw our conclusions.

A (very) brief history of JERN

Behind JERN is Dansk Skalform (a casting company). Traditionally, they have always made an unlimited number of differing components to predominantly the car and machine business sectors. The company was founded in 1975 by Holger Dissing and today it is run by the descendants Søren Dissing and Peter Dissing.

The actual making of the loudspeaker at a casting company has added a brand new raw factor and authenticity to the world of sound.

Some might ask themselves – What should a moulding company know about sound, and why would I choose them and not some company that solely deals in sound? Well, to those in doubt they can only listen to our collection. It speaks for itself.

Jern 12XF specification

  • Weight: 12.2kg (each speaker)
  • Dimensions: 30x21x19.5cm (HxWxD)
  • Mid-bass drive: Wavecor 5 and 3/4 inch, optimised glass fibre cone design
  • Tweeter: 9mm SEAS dome tweeter, wide dispersion, textile membrane
  • Crossover: Mundorf polypropylene capacitor and an air core coil.
  • Frequency response: 45 – 20,000 Hz in room, -6dB at 65 Hz in anechoic chamber
  • Sensitivity (2.83V/1m): 86 dB
  • Impedance:
  • Power handling: upto 150W

Packaging

97%
Double boxed, perfectly packaged.

2 boxes, each of around 40x40x35cm arrived in perfect condition all the way from Denmark. These are relatively small boxes… however it is when you lift them that one realises that it is a very solid piece of equipment. The packaged weight of 14kg for each box immediately gives a sense of the density of the speaker.

Each speaker is double boxed, ensuring safe transport, with excellent internal dense foam packaging (to the shape of the speaker) that hold the JERNs perfectly in place. The magnetic grilles come attached, although they had moved slightly during shipping.

There was also a rubber ring in the box for the speaker to sit on and be positioned on easily – however, these are optional extras. The speaker has a flat bottom, so the use of the rubber rings is not mandatory.

It would have been nice to see the speakers wrapped in some plastic/film as this would protect them further, and ensure than the grilles say in play during shipping.

Design and form

95%
The design of the JERN 12XF is wonderful… with its easy placement and diminutive size, this speaker will be suitable for a wide range of rooms.

One can get mistaken that these little speakers somewhat resemble Russian Dolls. This is no bad thing - the design is very slick (and dare we say, rather cute!), and the shape offers a low centre of gravity, resulting in superb stability. There is no chance of toppling these over.

The cast iron material is solid. A tap on the cabinet and one realises that there is simply zero cabinet vibration or resonance - and this playing a pivotal part in their sound quality (as described later). The finish we have on review is in the ‘Casting Grey’ finish. This is a very modern colour, with a textured finish - there is no doubt this is very hard-wearing and will stand the test of time.

The binding posts are of high quality and can accept bare wire, banana plugs and spades.

The optional rubber ring, though not mandatory, is a worthy upgrade as it creates a good base for isolation and also protects the stands/desk the speakers will sit on. The speakers have flat bottoms, so can be used without the rubber rings.

One small niggle: the grilles are slightly hard to align to their magnetic points. In addition, the strength of the magnets holding the grilles on could have been a tiny bit stronger. These are not major issues, and besides, we think they look better without the grilles.

Conclusion

96%
An absolute winner from JERN, and a true high end bargain, well deserving of our 5 Star Best Buy Award.

Positives:

  • Superb build quality
  • Beautiful styling
  • Great size and easy placement
  • Hugh soundstage and spatial resolution
  • Power handling capability
  • Great packaging

Negatives:

  • Grille magnets can be slightly stronger (very minor point)