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Reviewer: Joël Chevassus
Financial Interests: click here
Source: Esoteric K-03, Esoteric G-02 (on loan), Lumin, Ayon S5 (on loan), Apple Imac Lion OSX /Audirvana, Squeezebox Touch + Welborne Labs PSU, Audio GD Ref 5, Trends UD-10.1, MacBook Lion OSX with HiFace USB to S/PDIF interface
Amp/Preamp: Rogue Audio Hera II, SPL Volume2, Orpheus Lab Three M, Trends TA-10.2
Speakers: Vivid Audio K1
Cables: Skywire Audio 2020 digital cable, Naturelle Audio interconnects Live 8 MK2, Grimm Audio TPM interconnects, JPS Labs Superconductor 3 interconnects & speaker cables, Audioquest K2 speaker cables
Power Cords: Audio Art Power 1 SE, Furutech
Stands & room: DIY stuff, Vicoustic panels
Review Components Retail: € 32.000/pr

Onda Ligera from Latvia undoubtedly distills an Eastern Baltic flavor. I met this company’s representatives during the last Munich High End 2012 show entirely by chance. They were almost unknown then and had just participated in their very first show in Moscow before. Considering the surprising name and very typical Eastern style, I did not expect any overwhelming sonic results when I was invited to listen to their flagship speaker in one of the smallest rooms of the exhibition. Furthermore this rapidly growing 2.000.000 strong country had no formally recognized experience in audio manufacturing despite its rich musical traditions.

Latvia's capital of Riga in the winter

It then was a real surprise when I entered their modest room and experienced the kind of big demo you sometimes experience in far more prestigious company. In terms of sound quality few others demos last year provided me with anything approaching high-level listening pleasure. Sad but true.

Only the performance of Onda Ligera’s flagship became a distinct surprise well beyond being a simply pleasing session in a sea of mediocrity. I of course wondered how these folks had managed such a sound within such a poor demonstration environment. I was flabbergasted. Onda Ligera had seemingly pulled off the impossible.

Their booth was located in a small corner of circa 15 square meters between the two big halls of the conference center's ground floor and so understated that I think probably very few people only noticed these newcomers from Riga. It all started with me seated on a sofa near their space to change my contact lenses. A typical Eastern girl in an old-fashioned Chanel-styled skirt suit approached to propose that I attend the demo of their speakers and electronics in a very small room. I felt like in an old spy movie. This was my first day in Munich. What did I have to lose? Get solicited as a secret agent?

Fortunately the evil Doctor No was nowhere in sight behind the partition. There were a few seats and those two massive speakers. Suddenly I had the foreboding sensation that my time would be utterly wasted. Yet the complete opposite happened. I heard a lot of demos during those three days in Munich. Believe me when I say that none duplicated the wow factor of that first Baltic surprise.

One or two weeks later an email from Onda Ligera’s Bond girl arrived. Ursula’s name was in fact Elizabeth. And we went over the idea to review their speakers which had so impressed me. As is true for all newcomers to the audio industry, it's no easy thing to ship out for a few months such big expensive speakers for review. They were thus obliged to postpone the project. I then lost touch with Elizabeth. But a few months later Martien Klingens, another impressed Munich visitor, contacted me. He'd become Onda Ligera's new Benelux distributor. He asked whether I was still interested. He explained that Elizabeth had to resign due to urgent family matters and that contact at Onda Ligera now was one Oleg Solovjov.

Roland Yanevich (left) & Oleg Solovjov (right)

Designer Roland Yanevich had worked as sound engineer with many artists since the early 80s. He was involved in many acoustic projects at the recording studios of Radiotechnika RRR and TV. But Roland’s ongoing focus was to recreate the entire sound spectrum of a musical instrument from a loudspeaker. He worked hard to acquire and develop a better understanding of short wave resonances (¼th wavelengths and shorter) and their impact on the harmonics of acoustic instruments. That research birthed his first resonance-based speaker systems which later were revisited in the formal production Onda Ligera models.