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To say that the W5 blew our minds would be putting it criminally mild. Proper sonic descriptions of course remain reserved for their formal review to report on performance in a more normal setting relative to standard living rooms. Let's at this juncture simply say that equating the W5 with mere desktop duties would be seriously missing the point. I thus duly grabbed a pair of their deliberately low-mass stands to accompany my review loaners back to Villeneuve.

One show'n'tell interlude dealt with Holger Stein's luxury Zobel filter here hanging off the W5's posts sealed in an Ebony tube.

A pair of B8 whilst Sven looks on from his work computer copying music files I brought to hear.

The asymmetrical clamshell halves of the W10's innards exposed, with half an SLS looking on at the far right. One clever caption to which Sven already beat us to the punch reads pertly "Our Idea of Interior Design".

Here we see a nude W5 corpus in Ash as the densest and thus heaviest specimen of the four available wood species. The crossover board with Mundorf parts is suitably compact to fit the onboard app.

If Sven were to still go Duelund nuts and throw the kitchen sink of Stein Music and Bybee tweaks at the W5 as he was contemplating to do, this playing card crossover board would explode to kitchen cutting block dimensions. And his raw parts cost for filter and tweak bits alone would consume far more than the entire speaker sells for now. Ouch!

That this might actually be sensible—on paper it seems unadulterated madness—was brought home by how lucidly the W5 performed driven from a battery-powered M2Tech DAC and p/p Cary Audio KT88 integrated. Comparing this to the W10 next to it benefiting from all of Sven's customary tweaks actually had me and Ivette prefer the W5 augmented by the sub 50:50 (sub heard with both a 35Hz and 46Hz 2nd-order low-pass setting). The W5 had the better faster more open top end. This portrayed more tone modulation and ambient decay halos. Sven agreed. Then he explained. On advice of a trusted friend he'd taken out his Duelund caps on the Raal ribbons. Jupiter caps had replaced 'em. This clearly was a big mistake which he was most eager to rectify. With the Duelunds the Raals would clearly win. With the Jupiters however the W5's stunning 600-20'000Hz widebander had more light, air and focus*. Though soundstaging in this setup—speakers and couch all deep inside the room to cast off the usual shackles—was off the charts, the tykes actually out-spectacularized the W10. If that's even a word.

* This is a reminder to armchair engineers shopping on raw paper specs. It really depends on application how a part will react. Something that works brilliantly in one circuit or crossover filter won't be as brilliant in another. Sven was quick to not paint the Jupiter capacitor with bad press, simply that on his Raal ribbon the Duelund was the better choice.

On the flip side of the 50:50 equation, the W10 was the weightier, richer, denser and more succulent. But here's the kicker. When Sven injected his proprietary DC filter between the battery power output and DC input of his DAC, the sonic upgrade was dead obvious even on the W5. Let that sink in for a moment. A DC filter behind a battery feed made a very audible improvement. Sven's measurement on this power feed shows an S/N advantage of 45dB. Ditto for my music files streamed off either HHD or SSD. Or adding Holger Stein's Zobel filter. With the fully loaded W10 costing 10 x more than the 'normal' W5, the latter's theoretical 'super' version could come in at twice its current sticker and with subwoofer still demand just 1/3rd the tariff. For many homes in which the W10 is overkill on space requirements or visual stature, this wouldn't just financially be the preferable option. Again, don't let the W5's dimensions fool you into writing it off as just a luxo desktopper.

Do the different wood species for the W5 change its sound? "Everybody asks that. The answer is, not really."

"But the W5 does appreciate power. You might be surprised by what it does when fed by a solid 200 watts into 8 ohms."

Here now is a parting look at the very scene any visitor to Boenicke Audio would enjoy after sunset when a few interior spot lights cast the soundstage in a honey-colored hue which suitably emphasizes the solid wood tones whilst cloaking the rest of the space in shadows. I congratulated Sven Boenicke not just on a job well done on the W5. I was equally impressed with the conditions of his sonic lab. A speaker designer's work is most directly limited by his or her ability to perceive small changes. Observing a wider delta of difference when he added or removed certain tweaks than one would expect given such phenomena's usual scope proved it. This particular work space acts as quite the microscope on minutiae. You really hear small changes. It's why Sven embraces costly tweaks. He doesn't endorse their cost per se. Like anybody else he wishes they'd be far cheaper. On coin it's actually tiresome to keep justifying them to the usual set of doubters. He's simply well aware of their efficacy. And he uses his own recordings made on custom equipment as the yardstick to know what's what. Having owned and reviewed a number of Boenicke Audio speakers, our visit to Basel deepened my appreciation for what they're about and what went into their making. If this small report appended to my prior or future reviews enhances them for you in similar fashion, it'd be mission accomplished.
Boenicke Audio website