Moving right along, the cabinets are internally carved out heavily to eliminate pockets where potential standing waves could happen. Every surface is nicely rounded via CNC machining. Let's shift our attention now towards the transducers. The biggest one is Tang Band's long-throw 6.5" woofer. It's tuned to 28Hz, runs without crossover and mounts on one side. This has some interesting consequences we'll get into. The 4" lower midrange sports a paper membrane, Apple tree phase plug and a wood cone mounted to its magnet. This transducer is by Tang Band as well and subject only to a 1st-order low pass. Fountek's F85 3" widebander with aluminium membrane is filtered with a 1st-order high pass and loaded with a unique electromechanical parallel resonator. The perhaps most interesting is Monacor's ambient tweeter fitted to the rear baffle. The internal wiring is directionally optimized, silk-wrapped high-frequency stranded Litz. It's also worth knowing that the 4" and 3" drivers work in their own bullet-shaped chambers to be isolated from the rest of the enclosure. So, Boenicke's W8 is a very well-considered product. It's not only about marvelous casework but each small detail if one makes the effort to take a closer look.

The product arrives without grills yet each driver's basket rim is covered by a nice Neoprene ring for a very appealing look. The horizontal edges of the box are rounded, the vertical ones are sharp. This makes sense to me from a visual standpoint. Such a design along with its slight tilt makes the W8 appear to be quite on the move rather than a staid monolithic boring piece of audio furniture. Usher associations, anyone? Further goodies are seen on the rear. The most obvious is the lack of typical bass-reflex pipe. What we have instead is a short transmission-line solution which ends in a wide rectangular mouth. A bit lower there's a stainless steel nameplate with a pair of WBT-0703 Cu NextGen speaker terminals. Here one also sees the serial number, version (standard, SE or SE+) and a very jolly Swiss Happiness in a Box line.

The W8 arrives with two T-shaped steel pieces, one for each speaker. Each part fits nicely into a recess below the nameplate. The standard W8 comes equipped with rather the usual footer suspects, namely six screws with felt feet where each box sits on three of these. But if one wishes, Sven's proprietary solution known as SwingBase (CHF 1'434) can be added. It fits all of his floorstanders [and can be adapted for non-Boenicke speakers as well – Ed.]. This SwingBase consists of four short aluminium columns with suspension wires inside and two separate roller blocks (bronze plate + steel ball). This is enough to have each speaker float. Once pushed, it'll swing for a short while, hence the name SwingBase. It's Sven's solution to fight vibrations and very good at that. Bass is significantly better with it than without. Lastly, the W8 is available in three different versions. 

My loaner was the standard version though additionally equipped with the optional SwingBase. Moving upwards, the SE has its lower midrange loaded with a parallel resonator, Bybee Quantum Purifiers and a proprietary phase linearization network. The most costly SE+ model adds Stage II parallel resonators to each driver plus Steinmusic's Speaker Match Signature. The widebanders get Harmonix Tuning Bases and the crossover's standard Obbligato Premium capacitors are replaced by Mundorf silver/gold/oil equivalents. Quite a few upgrades, this. Alas, the price difference is staggering. For the Standard, SE and SE+ versions, one dishes out CHF 6'880, CHF 10'018 and CHF 16'336 respectively. Ouch. The last scenario implies that the cost of all the upgrades is in fact higher than a pair of standard W8 all by themselves!

I can't say whether the additional tweaks of the Steinmusic/Harmonix sort are worth their asking price. I'm simply confident that Sven knows what he's doing. We're past doubt in that regard. Hence if one can afford a leap of faith and snatch up an SE+ version, that might be beneficial. Lastly, an observation regarding Boenicke's bigger W11 model whose SE variant costs CHF 13'018. That makes it more affordable than a W8 SE+. The takeaway is that the upper echelon SE version can be had for less than the SE+ model from the shelf below. This status quo is intriguing. Again, I can't say whether these are comparable. It's best to ask Sven or a customer who made a transition of this sort. But the gist is that our designer is exceptionally focused on tweaky upgrades so he must be strongly convinced of their efficacy.

My Boenicke Audio W8 assignment wasn't the regular kind; far from it in fact. This product had already been purchased more than a year ago during which time it played with a number of cables, sources and amplifiers. My W8 fought several battles against widebanders, open baffles, monitors and regular vented three-ways since late 2015. Most of these adventures happened in the same room. My best hardware combination for Sven's smallest floorstanders is the Polish LampizatOr Golden Gate converter with Psvane WE101D-L + KR Audio 5U4G plus Nic Poulson's Trilogy 925 integrated amplifier. This combo is your hifiknight's main reference and all signs indicate that it won't change anytime soon. Since the Boenicke W8 are unusual in general, exactly this kind of exploratory approach is needed to make them work optimally. This isn't an easy-going speaker. By that one should simply understand that rather demanding space requirements must be met, otherwise the outcome will be heavily bottlenecked. To paint that in hard numbers, a 50-centimetre distance to the front and side walls won't do. Here the W8's appetite is virtually limitless. In my listening room of 24m², the W8 sits almost in the middle. Nearly one and three meters of space are provided for each side and behind the boxes respectively.