This week we reviewed the Davis Acoustics Courbet N°3 compact speaker, a premium model in the French brand’s range. Assembled in France, the Courbet N°3 is an impressive speaker featuring very high quality drivers designed and produced in Troyes. These features justify the rather high price point of €1,800 for a pair of Davis Acoustics Courbet N°3 speakers.
Founded by Michel Visan in 1986, the French brand Davis Acoustics specializes in designing drivers. The company was one of the first to use Kevlar, carbon and fiberglass to create their drivers. Davis Acoustics now offers a wide range of floorstanding, compact, center and in-wall speakers. The business also creates drivers for other brands and has a vast range of models, from coaxial drivers to tweeters, with magnets in ferrite and even Alnico.
Davis Acoustics Courbet N°3: French speaker drivers
As is the case with all of the brand’s speakers, the Courbet N°3 is entirely assembled in France. It is part of the Courbet range, which also includes the Davis Courbet N°5 floorstander that shares the same Kevlar driver and tweeter. The N°3’s design is exceptionally well thought, with a sleek chassis that features a solid cabinet to eliminate unwanted vibrations. With its eye-catching slanted design, the Courbet N°3 is very elegant and leaves behind the classic loudspeaker shape in favor of a more contemporary silhouette.
The front of the Courbet N°3 features an elegant grille covered in black acoustic fabric. It is attached to the speaker using a magnetic system, which results in an indentation-free, visually pleasing front panel. Consequently, the speaker looks better without its grille.
Davis Acoustics Courbet N°3: drivers and figures
The Davis Acoustics Courbet N°3 is a 2-way speaker that boasts a 5” mid-bass driver. Made with woven Kevlar fiber, it sports a metal phase plug mounted onto the motor, which reduces instability and distortion. The cone is manufactured in Troyes, at the brand’s factory.
This driver is loaded in a large volume of air, which is facilitated by the use of a circular back-firing bass-reflex port. Davis Acoustics advertises a frequency response from 55 Hz to 25 kHz, with a sensitivity rating of 90dB, a power handling of 80 Watts and 120 Watts in peaks. These specs allow the Courbet N°3 to be paired with most hi-fi amplifiers with a minimum power rating of 20 Watts.
Highs are restituted by a new 1” soft dome tweeter present on all of the speakers in the Courbet range. This tweeter is also manufactured in Troyes.
The Davis Acoustics Courbet N°3 speakers are available with an optional stand designed so that the speakers are level with the listeners ears when they are sitting. These stands have a robust structure in cast aluminum and are weighted to provide a completely stable base for the speakers. Each stand features adjustable decoupling spikes to compensate for uneven floors and to ensure that vibrations are evacuated as effectively as possible.
Davis Acoustics Courbet N°3: listening impressions
For this test, we placed the Davis Acoustics Courbet N°3 compact speakers on the Davis Acoustics Stand and initially connected them to the Cayin CS-55A KT88 tube amplifier using Viard Audio Silver HD12 HP cables. Our source was the D-Stream WR100-D audio streamer which we used to stream music from Spotify Connect. The Davis Acoustics Courbet N°3 speaker proved to be very pleasant with every genre of music (jazz, rock, electro, etc.). Its sound signature is characterized by perfect handling of different frequency ranges, with intense lows, which is a pleasant surprise for a speaker this size. The mids are wide and effervescent, while the highs are richly detailed. From the very first notes, the Courbet N°3 creates a real sense of pleasure for the listener, who is immediately captivated by the precision and performance that this speaker has to offer despite its size.
Its sound signature is characterized by perfect handling of different frequency ranges, with intense lows.
We then tested the Davis Acoustics Courbet N°3 speakers with the Denon DRA-100 transistor amplifier using Audioquest StarQuad Type 4 speaker wires. Our source was still the D-Stream WR100-D audio streamer, but this time we connected it to the amplifier using the NorStone Arran Optic optical cable. The soundstage did lose the proverbial “tube-warmth”, but the restitution as a whole remained perfectly detailed and melodic. Everything was smooth and natural, with an impeccably layered soundstage. With Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Child, which is particularly difficult to reproduce, the Courbet N°3 didn’t falter and proved to be very dynamic. Right from the intro, guitar notes were perfectly placed and rose in a crescendo, without ever flattening the vocals at the center of the stage. The balance was extremely sophisticated.
Everything was smooth and natural, with an impeccably layered soundstage.
Davis Acoustics Courbet N°3: compared to…
Jean-Marie Reynaud Folia Jubilee: the soundstage is consistent with that of the Courbet N°3, with more reserved lows.
Klipsch Heresy III: the two models aren’t really in the same category, but the Klipsch have an advantage as they can be paired with very low power amps (2 x 10 W for example).
Davis Acoustics Courbet N°3: conclusion
The Courbet N°3 proved to be melodic and smooth, but can also be authoritative when necessary, especially in the lows. Whether you listen to jazz, rock, or classical music, the Courbet N°3 invites you to turn up the volume and get lost in a vast soundscape for hours on end. The Courbet N°3 is perfect linear, which means it can be easily associated with a wide range of amplifiers, from tube amps such as the Cayin CS-55A KT88 to solid-state models like the Denon DRA-100. The number of possible combinations is infinite, as a mere 20 Watts are enough to make the Courbet N°3s sing.
What we liked:
- The tonal accuracy
- The exemplary musicality
- The excellent restitution of the lows
- The clarity and smoothness of the restitution
- The dynamic balance
- The design and finishes
What we would have liked:
- Nothing else