Crossover components are silver-in-oil Mundorf caps, Mundorf foil coils, MOX resistors and Cardas hookup wiring. Claimed response is 35Hz (-6dB) to 35kHz (-3dB) with a sensitivity of 92dB/2.83V/1m. Weight is 30kg and standard finishes are various takes on Walnut (natural, mocca, amaranth), with others by request. Just don't ask for endangered rain forest species. With our environmentally conscious gents, those are komplett verboten.

Isis at Warsaw 2014 with Reimyo electronics.


Now, before you giggle uncontrollably over that 'impregnated by balsamic oil lacquer' bit whilst perhaps thinking that the Bio people or their Birkenstock brethren took over or a salad dressing turned into an eventful sex lesson, Kaiser Acoustics do something similar with a substance sourced from Stein Music. The famous Ennemoser C37 violin lacquer appears on drivers by Bastanis, Boenicke and others. Meanwhile the crew at Zu use nano particles and hi-tech glues to treat their paper-based drivers. All of these makers feel that the structural behaviour of cellulose drive units can be improved by strategic paint applications to their cones. Here 'paint' is code for organic or nano compounds of mostly undisclosed makeup. Those diaphragms can be made stiffer or softer and not in toto but specific sections. One thinks of breakup modes and how those might be upshifted or minimized to control response, increase dynamics or enhance bandwidth. The Austrians however don't claim any specific scientific advances, only that their treatment makes the drivers sound mo betta.

Pharoah at Warsaw 2014 with Trilogy amp.
The photos thus far might have suggested a sealed enclosure since the recess 'round back is a terminal plate. Not. There are two downfiring rectangular mouths to terminate what likely is a rear horn slash transmission line with some bass reflex overlap. Since overall width makes that circular grill rather wider than the Seas 8-inch mid/woofer we know to hide behind it, it's also not a coaxial driver array like a big Tannoy or stacked Swissonor. As readers of Samu Saurama's review would know from his photo at right, it's a conventional vertical array. The Neodymium-powered Titanium tweeter inside its solid aluminium Tractrix horn sits in tight proximity above the mid/woofer. Both cross via 24dB/octave 4th-order Linkwitz/Riley slopes. So it's a 2-way floorstander part horn, frontally only over a limited treble bandwidth but rearwards also for the rest if in some hybrid fashion. Whilst the Isis and Ra siblings suggest an Egyptian lineage, the spelling Pharoah in fact connects to sax man Sanders. It's neither the first nor last nod at how this box wouldn't be our arch-conventional floorstander. Due to the floor-fire exits, the integral side rails and final height of the footers determine the ports' radiation resistance, hence the loading and tuning of the Norwegian main driver. Finally, the quality single-wire Cardas terminal blocks don't eat bananas but only spades.

With this avantgarde a namesake, would the boxes follow suit? Reader Kai was hopeful. "Been to Audiosphere Zürich today to listen to the Pharoah. Amazing speaker I'd say! Unfortunately 8-12 weeks delivery time upon 50% upfront payment. Difficult decision since I'm also considering something which is available rapidly. Talked to Enzo Nolli about your forthcoming review. He told me that the ones I was listening to were going to you. We live in a small world. I wish I had more time with them to decide, stayed 3 hours with Enzo which was very kind of him. All the best and happy reviewing the beautiful Pharoah." Kai's finding about wait times suggested that neither Trenner & Friedl's Swiss retailer nor the maker themselves stocked any inventory to instead build to order. In today's instant gratification society, that too was a throwback to slower gentler times. Ditto for the company's follow-up communications about an assignment solicited by them. After a few months passed, I finally did hear about a proposed visit and drop-off. By then I had quite a backlog to clear through first. The date was thus set for late July. Enzo would drive Andreas Friedl and his store pair of fully broken-in Pharoah the 2.5 hours stretch from Zürich to Chardonne for what likely would turn into an informal Q&A with the designer. This being my first encounter with the brand, there were plenty of things I didn't know about it.