Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: 27" iMac with 5K Retina display, 4GHz quad-core engine with 4.4GHz turbo boost, 3TB Fusion Drive, 16GB SDRAM, OSX Yosemite, PureMusic 3.01, Tidal & Qobuz lossless streaming, COS Engineering D1 & H1, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi Formula, Fore Audio DAISy 1, Apple iPod Classic 160GB (AIFF), Astell& Kern AK100 modified by Red Wine Audio, Cambridge Audio iD100, Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital, Pure i20, Questyle QP1R; Bakoon DAC-21 [on review]
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Wyred4Sound STP-SE MkII, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVC module), COS Engineering D1
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1, F5, F6, F7; Bakoon AMP-12R; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics One SE Up NC500MB; Linnenberg Audio Allegro monos
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink;Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo; Titan Audio Eros power cords
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all components, 5m cords to amp/s + sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands [on loan]
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Review component retail: TBA

After Rainer Weber had sent me an impromptu teaser for his new personal reference DAC
—a short video of its LessLoss tankwood enclosure with dual-mono insides being engraved—I'd asked whether Kaiser Acoustics had anything new I might review. The surprise answer was "yes. By special request of a French dealer and others in Europe, I'm developing a new more affordable line of Kaiser speakers. This Furioso range will consist of three models: a big stand mount, a smaller stand mount and a floorstander. The approximate target pricing is around €30'000 for the biggest model, €18'000 for the middle one and ~€10K for the smallest. We are already manufacturing the big one for a first public unveiling at a November dealer event. So what are the features of the new models? First, no rear-firing drivers. The two bigger models will have SB Acoustics' Beryllium tweeter accompanied by a custom version of their Satori midrange; plus two 10" ScanSpeak Discovery aluminium woofers in a closed box for the top model whose ~136-litre cab will have more volume than the Kawero Classic. The enclosure will sandwich HDF, CDF and Birch Ply with tankwood for just the baffle. The prototype really sounds amazing. There's obvious reason which Wilson Audio switched to SB Acoustics. Those are very good drivers. The middle unit will use two 19cm SB Satori woofers in a 2.5-way array, the small monitor a single Satori 19 with a more affordable tweeter. We're also building a subwoofer with dual 42 SB Acoustics woofers in an opposing force-cancelling array in a sealed box with a big class D amp." Contemplating the top model and concluding that its bass weaponry was too potent for our room, I waited.

By March 10th, I knew precisely why patience is a virtue. "This weekend at the Prague and Mumbai audio shows, with Thrax electronics in Czechia, AMR/Octave in India, we unveil the Furioso Mini. Its front panel is Panzerholz, the rest Beech ply with an additional damping sheet of Kawero Classic liner also used on old Mercedes cars. We have our own matching stand but won't include it for those who prefer 3rd-party stands they already own. The drivers are a Russian Viawave ribbon tweeter, an SB Acoustics Satori papyrus-reinforced mid/woofer and two horizontally opposed ScanSpeak Illuminator aluminium passive radiators, one per cheek. The crossover uses 12-gauge Jantzen wax coils and a Jantzen Alumen cap on the tweeter. There's also a Mundorf Mresist Supreme resistor on the tweeter and a Duelund silver-cast carbon resistor on the midrange. The idea was to build a Chiara on steroids, then bring it in at a lower price. I built in more headroom by moving from the Chiara's 5" Illuminator mid/woofer to the 7.5" Satori. That required more surface area for the auxiliary radiators. Now we have two in a force-cancelling array. For the tweeter we wanted higher resolution like we already have in the Classic's Raal ribbon. This meant a transition from the Chiara's Mundorf AMT to the Viawave ribbon. Nominal impedance is 8Ω which never dips below 7.3Ω. Sensitivity is 89dB, bandwidth 37Hz-30kHz."

One country and two homes earlier, in November 2014, I had reviewed the €12'600/pr-and-up Chiara and loved everything about it. The prospect of an even superior example of the über monitor art for somewhat less coin rang all of my bells. I said so to Rainer who laconically replied, "alright, we'll prepare one for you. You get the world premiere." Readers unfamiliar with passive radiators can revisit the Chiara review for the necessary background. That equal yet opposite forces cancel out won't be news to anyone who even most casually brushed up against Newton in school. In speakers, we've seen examples as far back as the original Audio Physic with its V-twin woofers. Such layouts pursue quieter cabinets with lower internal resonance. That quiet cabs are a core Kaiser concern won't be lost on anyone who eyes the Mini's angled form factor with its minimized parallel walls and high-density building materials.

Tankwood aka Panzerholz is resin-impregnated Plywood compressed under intense pressure to 60% of its original thickness. It creates density, hardness and strength which render the resultant composite bullet proof to be used in armoured cars. It also means extreme wear on saw blades and router bits to be very time-consuming and expensive to machine. Enter Kaiser's hi-tech furniture manufacture. They're specialized in such applications and executing the most complex compound-angle geometries. All of that takes place on in-house machinery rather than being outsourced for additional expense like most competing speaker houses would have to. With Rainer as their long-term acoustical contract engineer, Kaiser supply mechanical engineering, manufacture, assembly and sales & marketing. It's an ideal cooperation between highly specialized competencies; and all under the made in Germany flag except for the providence of the drivers (Russia, Indonesia, Denmark) and filter parts (Denmark and Germany).

Viawave ribbon tweeter.

For the Furioso Mini, it means load behaviour ideal for tube amplification, perhaps no coincidence when Kaiser have teamed up at various trade shows with Japanese Kondo electronics.

And with its now side-firing auxiliary bass radiators, one should hear less of the front wall as that typical effect of waves crashing against a mooring whereby rear ports so often remind us of our own rather than the recorded acoustic. That should mean less critical placement in various rooms, including working closer to a front wall where that's mandatory for decor or space reasons. Finally, the move to a 7.5" mid/woofer promises a weightier vocal band and mirrors the widespread conclusion amongst wideband driver makers that 8 inches are the most ideal mid/woofer diameter and create the best tone. Or as Pat McGinty of the reborn Meadowlark Audio put it, "that Satori mid/bass has taken the place of the ScanSpeak Revelator as my idea vocal range transducer."
Satori MW19P-8 mid/woofer.

Amongst its specs are a free air resonance of 32.5Hz, BL factor of 7.8Tm, magnetic flux density of 1.1T and a 39mm voice coil of 19.4mm height in a 6mm air gap. The aerodynamically vented basket is cast aluminium, the proprietary cone material is infused with Egyptian papyrus fibres. The motor system uses neodymium magnets and there is an extended copper pole piece for lower inductance. The lead wires are silver and the pole piece is vented for reduced compression.