DAVIS ▻ Courbet 4

Davis’ Courbet range, which went directly from the Courbet 3 to the Courbet 5, therefore included an absence. With the arrival of the Courbet 4, it is now complete.

Why did the Courbet range have a «hole»? In fact, on closer examination, it is probably because Davis wanted to offer an alternative solution to conventional speaker formats. A missing link in the range, the Courbet 4 is innovative in its dimensions. Indeed, the Courbet 3 is equipped with a library format while the 5 is a rather conventional column. Courbet 4 therefore offers an intermediate format, halfway between these configurations, and is therefore presented as a «mini-column». It thus has a space requirement that is particularly well suited to small volumes while offering services comparable to those of a conventional column speaker.

However, reducing the size of a speaker while preserving its acoustic qualities is not as simple as it may seem. Davis has therefore redesigned each element of the Courbet 4 to ensure that its behaviour meets the brand’s requirements. Overall, this speaker is based on a fairly conventional architecture. It operates a two-way structure combined with a bass reflex acoustic load. This occupies most of the interior volume of the speaker. A large cylindrical vent, located near the base of the front panel of the cabinet, decompresses it. Its large diameter eliminates any risk of air noise when restoring the deepest bass. Moreover, Davis’ choice to have it housed on the facade is judicious. Indeed, although it is recommended to place the Courbet 4s at least thirty centimetres from the walls, this venting arrangement limits the impact of the proximity of a wall on the restitution of the bass. Nevertheless, the volume of this acoustic charge is relatively small, about 25 litres. This volume reduction requires a specific woofer to preserve the depth and good bass performance. Davis has therefore redesigned its design to ensure that its behaviour is in line with that of the small bass reflex load. Davis has thus offered the Courbet 4 a woofer derived from the medium that equips its big sister, the Courbet 5.

This woofer benefits, among other things, from an elongated voice coil compared to conventional column speakers. This feature allows it to benefit from a very high displacement while preserving an excellent linearity of the force applied to the membrane. Its control is thus permanent, even during the most intense excursions required by the restitution of a deep bass. In addition, the traditional central warhead is replaced by an inert core cover. In addition to ensuring good decompression of the small volume behind it, it allows good ventilation of the woofer motor, which optimizes its cooling. As a result of these modifications, the woofer adopts an ultra-ventilated loudspeaker behaviour, capable of going very low into the bass while significantly reducing its distortion, even when loaded by a small volume. Finally, the choice of a braided Kevlar fibre cone gives the membrane an excellent weight/rigidity ratio. Able to withstand high accelerations without deformation or surface ripples, this cone guarantees the woofer a high speed without distortion.

To relay the woofer in the treble, Davis opted for a 28mm diameter soft dome tweeter. This is the famous TW28LD model, the brand, already present on the Courbet 5. It is the result of extensive research, particularly in the field of internal acoustic charges. It has double decompression. One, located behind the dome, is similar to a small closed charge that is tuned and damped. The second one takes place at the level of the dome suspension, on the periphery of the magnetic circuit. This set of acoustic charges guarantees the tweeter an excellent linearity in the treble and eliminates any risk of coloration or aggressiveness of the reproduction. In addition, the dome itself has been the subject of many attempts with regard to the material it is made of. For a very soft treble, Davis has chosen a silk weft coated with a polymer compound. It offers excellent mechanical resistance and avoids any risk of splitting the vibratory state of the dome surface up to 26 kHz.

Impedance versus frequency curve.
Impedance curve of a two-way loudspeaker with a low-damped bass-reflex load.
Load tuned around 60 Hz, represented by the two consecutive lobes below 100 Hz.
The rise above 1 kHz results from the filtering elements, frequencies and slopes retained. Impedance of 4-8, resul-ting from the combination of a low/midrange
of 4 and a tweeter of 8. Minimum of 3.9 at 200 Hz which will not pose a particular problem for most amplifiers on the market.
Axis directivity curves, 15°, 30°.
The response curves in the axis and at 15 degrees are almost superimposed. Attenuation beyond 15 kHz is common on large dome tweeters.

However, if the transducers and loads of a speaker are the key elements, filtering is also of paramount importance. Davis therefore attached great importance to the Courbet 4 filter. It is an «in the air» wiring that has been selected. It therefore does not use any printed circuit board. The connection between the different components is thus direct to avoid any loss or degradation of the signal at the interconnections. It should be noted that Davis has also selected each filter element with great care to avoid any loss of dynamics and to scrupulously respect the temperament of each loudspeaker.

Davis opted for a single-wiring connection for the Courbet 4. Their rear face therefore only has a single pair of screw terminals capable of receiving banana plugs as well. Of high quality and very large dimensions, they can easily accept cables with a large cross-section. A choice that is justified in the sense that, on the one hand, the Courbet 4s are docile and easy to manage speakers and that, on the other hand, a single but high-quality cable often gives better results on this type of speaker than a bi-cabling system made with cables of lower quality.

The fact that the Courbet 4 has only one set of terminals greatly simplifies installation. Indeed, there is no need to wonder about the possible agreement between the type of cable dedicated to the bass and then to the treble and even less to consider a bi amplification. A single pair of good quality cables is therefore sufficient. It should also be noted that Davis provides decoupling tips with the Courbet 4. Adjustable, they guarantee a perfect calibration of the speakers and modify their operation in terms of bass. It is therefore advisable to try the Courbet 4 with or without spikes to evaluate the operation that best corresponds to the acoustics of the listening room, or even the taste of each user. Once correctly positioned, we have placed them about forty centimetres from one of the walls of our room, the listening can begin.

Easy to manage, the Courbet 4 accepts a very wide range of amplifiers, both analog and digital. From the very first moments, these speakers surprise by the depth and control of the bass that they are able to reproduce. Listening to Grieg’s «In The Hall Of Mountain King» confirmed this point. We were able to note that, during the first measurements, the timpani had a remarkable depth. Despite their small diameter, the small woofers of these speakers fully play their role and Davis’ efforts to serve this register are therefore bearing fruit. Similarly, when it comes on stage, each new group of instruments naturally finds its place in a sound space of remarkable precision without the sound image becoming «blocked» or losing its finesse. Here, it is the symbiosis that Davis has created between his tweeter and the low section that this behaviour highlights. The tonal balance is always impeccable and, even in the flames of the orchestra’s flights, the restitution never turns aggressive even if the treble benefits from a lot of clarity and finesse. Finally, on this extract, we were able to observe that the Courbet 4s benefited from a dynamic that their small size did not give hope for.
The respect for the tones was also very clear to us when we listened to the most bare orchestrations. Listening to Zaz’s «Dans ma Rue» is an illustration of this. In this recording, whose simplicity we appreciate, only a piano accompanies the singer. Les Courbet 4 know how to offer a very beautiful presence to his voice, associating a chiseled phrasing with a great respect for its timbre while letting the piano dress this emotionally charged atmosphere. Similarly, Elvis Presley’s «Fever» traps were thwarted by the Courbet 4s with disconcerting ease. Here it is all the roundness of the double bass playing associated with the warmth of the singer’s voice punctuated by the snap of their fingers that they have been able to reproduce with great naturalness.
Finally, the most current musical styles do not discourage the Courbet 4 either. Listening to reggae tracks, such as «Dis-Le» by Baz Baz or «Rafales» by Bernard Lavilliers, has also shown us that they also know how to «break the bass» when the work requires it. Similarly, he has benevolently complied with the requirements of electro restitution. A musical style that does not hesitate to explore the extremes of the audible spectrum. A test where many systems, although adapted to the restitution of jazz or symphonic orchestras, are marking the step.

With the Courbet 4, Davis offers «miniature» speakers that sound like columns with a much larger footprint. Let’s bet that they will not fail to seduce the most demanding amateurs facing congestion requirements. Small volumes are therefore the preferred terrain for Courbet 4s. They will be able to offer them a service worthy of much larger spaces and deserve to be associated with quality electronics.


€ 2.000 (per pair)
25 x 160 x 220 mm
12 kg
2-way column speaker 
Reflex bass reflex with circular vent
1 x 28 mm soft dome tweeter, 
1 x 130 mm Kevlar fiber cone woofer
90 dB
51 Hz to 25 kHz
4 kHz
4/8 Ohms
90 W
130 W