Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 12.2), PureMusic 3.02, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, Fore Audio DAISy1, COS Engineering D1, Aqua Hifi La Scala MkII, Metrum Hex, AURALiC Vega,
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Esoteric C-03, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVC module)
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1, F5, F6, F7; S.A.Lab Blackbird SE; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; Gato Audio DIA-250; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; AURALiC Merak [on loan]
Loudspeakers: Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; soundkaos Wave 40; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio 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; Arkana Research XLR/RCA and speaker cables [on loan]; Sablon Audio Petit Corona power cords [on loan], Black Cat Cable Lupo
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: 5.5 x 15 metre rectangular space with double-high vaulted ceiling and stone-over-concrete flooring
Review component retail in Europe: €13'990 - €19'990 depending on trim

Kicking off the annual hifi show circuit in Europe, there was the 2016 February event in Germany's Schleswig-Holstein region of Hamburg. It saw the premiere of Voxativ's new 'budget' speaker, the Zoile. Priced at €8'900/pr, "it has a new driver with higher QTS for more bass, a ferrite magnet system and paper cone. It will be available in April and in six colors and six veneers. Bass response is huge due to further developments of our Acoustic Stealth Technology. It has a horn facing down and the design is more modern than our existing systems. T-211 production is sold out so I'll send you one from the next batch." That was Holger Adler from Berlin. He responded to my query when a loaner integrated might drop. It was the assignment we'd shook hands on after he'd picked up the Voxativ 9.87 review system in our digs. His show setup above shows that integrated top left, the Voxativ preamp next to it, Voxativ monos on the floor and a two-piece TotalDAC discrete ladder converter as Holger's preferred front end. Even the cables were Voxativ's own.

Naturally, whenever the subject of 211-based integrateds arises, the coppery spectre of Kondo's legendary Ongaku pops up like a genie from a bottle. Whilst Voxativ do play it upscale, their electronics at least don't breach the heart-stopping Ongaku realm. Their Oshima output iron is Japanese though. As Hørning Hybrid, Ocellia and Rethm have seen fit too, Voxativ mint their own valve gear to accompany their crossover-less widebanders. If you suspect that those ingredients must join hands like peanut butter and jelly or ham with baked beans, you'd be spot on. Solid-state amps may find themselves invited to the hi-eff widebander dance—FirstWatt have some excellent options—but most makers of such speakers particularly in the 100dB-up camp really do prefer tubes. Lesser SET are often noisy and far from the last word in high definition and top resolution. It's logical then that folks like Holger Adler who have brought the requisite engineering talent in house will sooner or later opt to offer their own bottled options. It's not about power or necessarily even exotica status. It's primarily about performance which matches their speakers' ambitions and potential to create guaranteed results. After all, if you're going after Voxativ's €100'000+ Dué flagship, you're likely not keen on playing the costly SET lottery until something deigns to dovetail; eventually. You want your money's worth from day one. Plus, Holger himself needs solid assurances. At both the dealer/distributor and end user level, his speakers must strut their stuff to the max, not limp because some other amp was poorly picked but his speakers blamed. After all, nothing is as powerful a sales prevention agent as bad demos which are based on unfortuitous gear matching. This doesn't imply that Voxativ's integrated will only suit Voxativ speakers. Far from it. It simply promises top sonics and self noise low enough to not be audible even over 106dB microscopes.
Because Voxativ drive is on the menu as well, there's a buffered pre-out for the 9.87 system's active bass input; or any other subwoofer. S/NR lists as 100dB, input sensitivity as a high 520mV, output power as 14wpc. Being class A, power draw is a constant 200W regardless of volume. Dimensions are 47 x 25 x 43cm. Since the black-anodized housing is milled from solid—it starts out at well more than twice that—the 211 still weighs in at a substantial 48kg after its guts are routed out. With its oversized volume and input selector knobs, it perhaps suggests a sports car with enormous tyres. Knowing of Holger's past employ at Daimler/Mercedes Benz where he wrote numerous patents for Diesel combustion engines, big wheels seem fitting. Regardless, all of it spells the business; and most serious business at that. How gewaltig on the old portemonnaie? €13'900 for the base version, €16'900 with upgraded Oshima output transformers, €19'990 with silver-wired OPT. The preamp/driver tubes are 6SN7 and 6SL7 respectively. In the base version, those are sourced from Shuguang. The higher versions get gold-pin Voxativ tubes which are made by a smaller custom supplier in the Far East. The circuit is a mix of point-to-point (power supply and main signal path) and PCB (pre-out buffer and remote).

Screen capture of Holger's computer monitor with a 3D CAD drawing of the T-211 and its actual chassis inserted.

"The signal path is free from chokes but the power supply has two 10H inductors and a dedicated transformer for the tube heaters. My engineer Stefan in Fulda did a lot of work on the power supply to fine-tune sonics. The standard unit runs an Alps pot, the upgraded versions use a motor-driven 48-step attenuator instead. The six large storage capacitors are in the power supply. The rectifier is solid-state because tube rectifiers smoothed the sound too much for my liking."