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Marja & Henk
Financial Interests: click here
Sources: PS Audio PWT; Dr. Feickert Blackbird/DFA 1o5/Zu DL-103; Phasure XX-PC and NOS1 DAC
Streaming sources: XXHighEnd; iTunes; Devialet AIR; La Rosita Beta [in for review]
Preamp/integrated/power: Audio Note Meishu with WE 300B (or AVVT, JJ, KR Audio 300B output tubes); dual Devialet D-Premier; Hypex Ncore 1200 based monoblocks;; Trafomatic Reference One; Trafomatic Reference Phono One; Trafomatic Kaivalya
Speakers: Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega; Arcadian Audio Pnoe; Podium Sound One; Pancin Art Technology VZ1 [in for review]
Cables: full loom of ASI LiveLine cables; full loom of Crystal Cable cables; Grimm TPM; Nanotec Golden Strada #79 nano 3, Special and SR; Nanotec Golden Strada #79; Nanotec Golden Strada #201; Nanotec Golden Strada #207; Nanotec Power Strada #306; Element47 Black Master [in for review]
Power line conditioning: PS Audio Powerplant Premier; PS Audio Humbuster III
Equipment racks: ASI amplifier and TT shelf
Sundry accessories: Furutech DeMag; ClearAudio Double Matrix; Nanotec Nespa #1; Exact Audio Copy software; iPod; wood, brass, ceramic and aluminum cones and pyramids; Shakti Stones; Manley Skipjack
Music purveyors:,,
Room treatment: Acoustic System International resonators, sugar cubes, diffusers
Room size: ca. 14.50 x 7.50m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls, wooden flooring upstairs, ca 7 x 5m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls and concrete floor downstairs.
Price of review item: €80.000/pr inclusive of setup.

Our adventure with Pancin Art Technology started at the Polish Audio Show 2012 in Warsaw. In a huge ball room of the Golden Tulip hotel, its front wall lined with plenty of black acoustic panels, we stood eye to eye with the Pancin VZ1 loudspeakers for the very first time. On active display was a black pair, on the side a looker pair in white pearl. At the other side of the room was a display of various parts which the speakers are assembled from. Over and over again our attention was quite involuntary drawn to roam over the absolutely stunning industrial design of the VZ1. Its massive mirror-polished aluminum footer elegantly sculpted and bowed to vaguely suggest a tribal tattoo carries four jet-engine shaped speaker enclosure pods. The two lower ones are similar in size and shape. Each has a mirror-polished aluminum trim ring around its Scanspeak Illuminator woofer and an equally shiny polished pointed tip at the other end.

Roughly at three quarters of their lengths both ultra-smooth pods have a port vent protrude as a gleaming pipe. Because the design is a 4-driver 3-way, the midrange driver also from the Scanspeak Illuminator series is housed in the pod above. Sitting a few centimeters offset relative to the bass drivers to time-align its output, the midrange Illuminator's polished aluminum ring is flush-mounted with its driver mounting. The smallest top pod houses Scanspeak's grill-protected Beryllium tweeter. Relative to the midrange, the tweeter is further recessed to complete the physical time alignment scheme. Its polished ring flows smoothly into the tweeter’s face plate. Whilst on smooth, each and every transition from part to part—be it driver trim or pod shape or pointed tail—is absolutely flawless. So is the stacking of the four turbines. It looks as though the entire speaker were cast from a single mold. Yet cast of what?

Much to our initial surprise these wind-tunnel inspired enclosures are made of wooden matter, SMDF to be precise. There are very few competing speaker designs which likewise have reached for the jet-engine look. With their towering line arrays Scaena is one where each pod is not only of the same size, there is a little space between the pods. Sinan Wasif of SWSpeakers also uses turbine shapes for inspiration. In his Magic Flute flagship he mounts each driver in a differently sized pod with fairly large spaces between each. Though there's some overlap between Magic Flute and VZ1, the biggest difference is their build material. SWSpeakers use glass fiber and woven carbon, Pancin wood.

Literally next to the 117cm high, 119cm deep but merely 33cm wide VZ1 loudspeaker sits its external crossover module. At 45cm wide, 35cm deep and 22cm high it's not an item easily overlooked. One side of the crossover sports three paired inputs, the other three matching outputs. A single 70cm long umbilical connects speaker to crossover. The internal Nordost filament wiring is protected outside by a silky sheath fitted with a zipper. At the end sits a machined aluminum clamp with the VZ1 logo. From that clamp three pairs of Nordost ribbon tails allow connection to the designated terminals of the crossover’s low, medium and high filter outputs. The crossover inputs can receive input from three, two or one power amplifier as the user pleases. A heavy-duty two-part jumper bracket allows for mono, dual or tri-amp cable harnesses. All input terminals are WBT-0705 AG, the outputs WBT-0705 AG for the bass terminal, WBT-0710 AG for the mid and treble connections.

Once we absorbed enough of the looks at the Warsaw show, we concluded that the exhibit's sound matched the looks. The Pancin VZ1 was in our opinion not merely a terrifically styled statement or successful proof of concept. The Pancin VZ1 was—and is—much more. It is a really excellent-sounding musical loudspeaker. When we were asked to review it, that was a no-brainer. Little did we know what we signed up for.

To start at the beginning, Pancin Art Technology fronts a team of longtime friends led by Marcin Stelmach. As with many Polish hifi companies little is known about them outside their own country. Here was a good opportunity to fill in the gaps on the designers, builders, ideas and specifics behind the product. Marcin’s run-in with audio began like so many others when he was still little, about nine years old. His father bought him and his brother a then state-of-the-art domestically made audio system of impressive Altus 110 loudspeakers bundled with Unitra electronics.

Some time later Marcin took to driver repairs because he had to. His tweeters fried all the time to require frequent replacement. This led to the next step of loudspeaker modifications like swapping drivers, experimenting with cables, all of the usual DIY stuff. Alas most his changes did not improve things and young Marcin had no clue as to why. He realized then that his knowledge on these matters lacked any serious substance. At that time the Internet didn't exist yet and the few technical books on the subject hid in libraries and at the backs of second-hand bookshops.

Marcin thus attended Secondary Technical School of Mechanical Engineering and for specialization chose machine shop courses. Meanwhile he started to build his own loudspeakers. He didn't have the money to buy his dream speakers but wanted the best sound. Obviously this pursuit would consume 90% of Marcin’s humble budget and time though he eventually succeeded. Finally his speakers had become of such quality that friends would congregate at his place for a listen. With them they'd bring various speakers in tow which Marcin was meant to improve. For 1/3rd the going street price he now built speakers which exceeded many top Polish columns in sound quality. That's when Marcin saw his dream clearly. This is what he really wanted to do with his future. After finishing technical school he attended many other extramural colleges on all manner of subjects including marketing and management as well as language school.

In his own words Marcin was always the individualist involved in all sorts of entrepreneurial endeavors including furniture production and motorcycle importation to name just a few. “Generally my life was connected to art, music, motorcycles and girls. After music, motorcycles were my greatest passion, unfortunately also one with a shadow. I had two accidents in which I seriously broke my legs. In July 2007 I had a third accident from which I barely survived. I spent a few months in intensive care and in critical condition. After awaking from a coma it turned out that my spinal cord was broken in two places. Now I am paralyzed from the chest down.

"After the accident I spent a lot of time at home listening to music. Of course with the help of friends I was still tweaking my speakers. I had plenty of time to think and wonder about my future. Finally I woke up one day and decided to produce the best loudspeakers in the world!" Marcin had had financial success during his pre-accident carrier and some savings in the bank to pursue this new ambition. “Of course I am still driven by an unrestrained creative urge and also wish to show everybody, especially disabled people, that we can follow our muse! It is worth to have dreams, follow them and never give up. I didn’t have to look far for a team to create wonderful things because during my life I met a few very talented people.” Marcin proudly introduced us to his long-term friends and fellow PAT team members. As close friends do all over the world, the Polish team uses nicknames.

Lukasz 'Thomas' Tomczyk earned his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from the Warsaw University of Technology and became an engineer in computer-aided process planning (CAPP). Thomas is Marcin’s right-hand man with whose help Marcin transforms concepts and drafts using CAPP computer programs into complete production processes resulting in real product. Jacek 'Leetvoos' Litwinczuk is the irreplaceable wonder worker and assembly specialist. The entire VZ1 is assembled under his hand. He is also a spiritual support who always contributes to a positive atmosphere.