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Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
27" iMac (3.4GHz quad-core IntelCore i7, 16GB 1.333MHz RAM, 2TB hard disc, 256GB SSD drive, ADM Radeon HD 6970M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory); PureMusic 1.87; Amarra 2.3; Audirvana Plus 1.3.5; April Music Eximus DP1; Esoteric/APL Hifi UX1/NWO-M; Audiophilleo 2
Preamp/Integrated: ModWright LS-100 with Psvane CV-181T tubes, Esoteric C-03, Bent Audio Tap-X
: First Watt SIT1 monos, ModWright KWA 100SE, Colotube 300B monos [on loan]
Speakers: Aries Cerat Gladius, Boenicke B10
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Audio Event, Entreq & Ocellia & Telos & Vue USB cables, Stereo
lab Tombo Trøn BNC/BNC coax
Stands: 2 x ASI HeartSong 3-tier, 2 x ASI HeartSong amp stand
Powerline conditioning: 1 x GigaWatt PF2, 1 x Furutech RTP-6, Telos Audio Design TD-04R [on review]
Sundry accessories: Extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters
Room size: 5m x 11.5m W x D, 2.6m ceiling with exposed wooden cross beams every 60cm, plaster over brick walls, suspended wood floor with Tatami-type throw rugs. The listening space opens into the second storey via a staircase and the kitchen/dining room are behind the main listening chair. The latter is thus positioned in the middle of this open floor plan without the usual nearby back wall.
Review Component Retail: CHF 45.000/pr

W20 with laptop, CH Precision transport, M2Tech Young DAC, Colotube 300B monos, Absolue Créations cables, SLS, B8

Did he have a particular driver in mind? It wasn't about a chauffeur for his Bentley. As he delivered my cheery all-Cherry B10s, Sven Boenicke and I were talking shop. At the preceding Swiss HighEnd show I'd suggested that he and landsman Gino Colombo get acquainted. Pronto. I'd sensed some potential helvetic collaboration in the wings. When the affable Swiss showed up in Villeneuve afterwards that deal had already been inked. Colotube and Audio Manufacture Boenicke would jointly exhibit at the upcoming Munich show. I felt like a hit man. Hit-it-off maker I meant.

5U4G rectifier, 300B output, 20A driver, all current production. Quality attenuator can—and did—eliminate preamp.

Enter the not-chauffeur. For Gino's 10-watt 300B monos and their sizable exhibit space, sensitivity for the commissioned speaker was paramount. My earlier question about a suitable driver had netted an immediate and excited response. AER. Sven seemed curious to explore that unit. This possibility was immediately followed by a proviso. Unlike my petite but mighty and thus power-hungry B10 model, a 300B-optimized speaker would have to be big. A lowly loudspeaker obeying the laws of Physics couldn't be small and efficient. And Sven doesn't do voodoo speakers. Big it would be then. His SLS and B8 are veritable stick insects by comparison.

With non-refundable bookings for Munich in my pocket I'd not kept tabs on these developments. I'd learn of the outcome soon enough. Then a domestic cat emergency jinxed my show attendance at the very last impossible moment. To do some remote viewing I scanned various real-time show reports. To no avail. The Boenicke/Colotube display didn't factor. More catastrophes? Leo Yeh's mY-hiend to the rescue. It would be a massive drive-by photo shooting without commentaries but he'd not miss a beat. And there it was. On page 9. Except... what was that? A fancy trash bin with Sven Boenicke written all over its intricate carvings?

I couldn't be sure but location monitor was more like it. I'd have to reconnoitre with Sven post show. Then I spotted a URL on the display. And Björn. A name just as Scandinavian as Sven. Aha. But also ahlm audio manufacture. A new brand? "The cylindrical enclosure is a lightweight yet rigid 4-layer sandwich construction made from natural materials. Its ability to suppress interference artifacts is state of the art and results in total freedom from coloration and a supremely box-free sound."

Contact name frederik(at) Had Sven a grown-up speaker-designing son? Meanwhile their blog showed an Irina Ahlm. An industrial designer with some Boenicke assist? The TangBand flat-cone tweeter, composite concept and sidefiring 8" mid/woofers distinctly said so. More mysteries. Ahlm. Alms. Give Björn a home. Without paying? Clever. Humorous too. A good combo. Never a dull moment with Boenicke.

The W20s in the flesh—I'd gotten a very prelim teaser from Pia Colombo a day before the show to know at least the model number—were a bit more self-explanatory. Three-way. Beefy widebander with woodie phase plug and pleated cloth surround. Driver angled up by 40° on the sloping baffle. Sophisticated decoupling scheme from the enclosure Pia had written. That had to be the aluminum ring with 32 screws. There also were 15 kilos of invisible lead. And 45 kilos Swiss to line the wallets of any desirous buyers. I wasn't sure whether the golden tweeter dome was petite enough to be muRata's fabulous piezo unit. One of my favorites. Probably not though. The widebander seemed too big to reach high enough. That low-hanging woofer fruit clearly played on floor coupling for some boundary augmentation. Very sensible with single-ended no-feedback 300Bs. Was that another tweeter for added ambiance on the back? I guessed at about 95dB honest system sensitivity. How had all this worked out under show conditions where seating distances are often greater than at home? 10 watts only go so far.

Pia Colombo: "Colotube has become a Swiss dealer for Sven's speakers and we do have a W-20 in our showroom now. The combination with our amps is simply wonderful and the visitor feedback at the show was great. Should you like to review this new speaker with our amps—and of course any other brand you like—we could bring the pair we used in Munich for a very quick turnaround." Now I had my own chaffeuse. The Bentley would come in another life. But perhaps sooner for Boenicke?