AD? It took no attention deficit to decide between class A and D. Whilst the Pass Labs XA30.8 delivered the more refined treble, the Wyred4Sound SX-1000R had even better control over the woofers, hence the more open lower midband. Being rather more critical than the nth shade of upper harmonic effulgence, the 1000-watt class D monos became the designated drivers at the end of a fully balanced signal path which started with the discrete R2R flagship converter by Aqua Hifi. With the central woofer tab, I naturally didn't have quite the same infrasonic grunt as the 12" woofer of the Submission delivers. The +2dB option simply overcooked the lower midrange which got too thick and opaque as a result. I opted for a little less bass power and superior ±300Hz linearity instead. Which setting is best will be set by your room and whether its dimensional boundary gain occurs in the low, mid or upper bass. The W11 woofers are different from 4th-order subwoofers snuck in at 40Hz. With their 1st-order low-pass, the Boenickes reach far higher. That influences wildly more of the presentation than just the bass. It's thus more critical. Just one tab over can be decisive about the perception of overall speed and openness.


Even so, the Boenicke sound aesthetic will never be the popular trade-show pairing of Soulution with Magico. Though the design differences are manifold including steeper filters, opting for wood over aluminium cabinetry is clearly a major divergence. Consider the general offset between electric versus acoustic bass. One is more highly damped and dry. That gives it the greater slap, snarl, slam and wiriness. The other is woody, rotund, redolent and as such, wetter and warmer. Here the W11 represents the acoustic upright. Because of that widely dispersive tweeter with its larger surface and dynamics, this speaker not only ladles on the warm sauce. Where demanded by the recording, it also seasons with frisky chili flakes to keep percussive transients peeled out and distinct. Just so, the base of it all—the tenor or key note—is warm rich tone. The refractive sharp elements of peppery leading edges occur on top of it, hence feel modulated by the warmer core flavour beneath. That's back at organic like the actual Maple cab.


Because of its unusually big tweeter, even piano tinkles—briskly hammered far-right keys that usually get very metallic and near glassy—maintained a heavier copper than bright platinum tinge. That went to the heart of the W11's tuning: tonal weightiness. That's not about speed-freak antics or ultimate separation. It's about rendering a grand piano believably physical, as a constantly oscillating massive soundboard activated by hammers on strings. Many speakers tend to focus more on the latter. The Boenickes shift the focus on the sounding board, with their enclosures operating a bit similar. That revisits the prior acoustic bass example. An upright's vibratory mass far exceeds that of an electric bass guitar body. Conveying such vibratory mass is what the W11 was very good at.


Package that very consistent quality with cloudless blue-sky soundstaging of epic proportions and fully grounded powerful bass. Voilà, the perfect wanted ad for Boenicke's W11. Perhaps neatest of all is how it came about from a box which hit my booted 6'1" frame straight at the belt; was exactly two hands deep; and less than one hand wide. To obtain such dynamic bandwidth and tonal mass from that compact a speaker should delight ambitious hifi households. Unless your décor were loft-style leather, chrome, glass and stone, these real wood cosmetics in three available species merely add to the furniture aspect of loudspeaker ownership in a normal living room.


So... organic hi-rez then? Spot on. It's a perfect takeaway to remember this Boenicke by when it's time to sort out one's final speaker options. Now one wants to identify each with a catch phrase to whittle things down to the last speaker standing. If very big performance plus small stature and very narrow profile are important, that could well be the little big W11.


It takes up no more room than a very compact mini monitor atop a ubiquitous (ugly?) metal stand. Yet by virtue of its very capable woofers, it goes to sonic places that remain out of reach to mini monitors. Now the W11 becomes ideal stand-in for otherwise frustrated would-be monitor buyers who bemoan lack of bandwidth and its loss of true scale and profundity; or have integration and visual issues with subwoofers. To further sweeten his deal and unlike most all passive boxes, Sven Boenicke then offers 5-stage adjustable woofer output not via a cheap potentiometer but by exotic transformer tabs. That makes real-world integration, of this very extended speaker with various rooms, a simple matter of changing one external jumper. Fine Swiss audio engineering done up in wood? Spot on!
 

Boenicke Audio website