December
2019

Country of Origin

Lithuania

Linga

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 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, COS Engineering D1, Denafrips Terminator, Soundaware D300Ref, Jay's Audio DAC2-SE & CDP-2 MkII
Preamplifier: Vinnie Rossi Signature with ER50/300B Elrog or VT53/300B Western Electric; Nagra Classic, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage II, COS Engineering D1, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVT module)
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1 monos, SIT-3, F5, F6, F7; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund/Job 225; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics NC500 monos; LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos; SAG AIO
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Kroma Audio Mimí; Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V, VI & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence; Fram Midi 150; Acelec Model One
Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL 3000/5000; 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; Ocellia OCC Silver
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps/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 price: €25'000/pr

July 18th, 2019: "8mm audiolab are readying for the upcoming Warsaw hifi show. We'll bring something different, a new floorstander. Sneak peek for your eyes only. Prototypes are already tested and I'm satisfied with the outcome. This new range will come in two sizes. In November I will present the larger one in Warsaw, the smaller one hopefully still later this year. This time no solid oak for the cabinets but sound and design continue with our established philosophy. I want to book a review with you most likely right after the show." That was Donatas Tamosiunas from Lithuania's first speaker house in Kaunas.

The year prior, Polish contributor Dawid Grzyb had reviewed his 3-way monitor Piu Mini, I the larger down-ported 3-way Piu tower. The new one adds two drivers but remains a 3-way. For total recall of what came before, "Piu's frame skeleton is solid Lithuanian oak. 6-layer damped side walls and up to 10cm thick front panels keep vibrations to a minimum. The inlaid cheeks are finished in an ecological multi-layer composite which provides the highest scratch and heat resistance as well as highest gloss and reflection levels in the industry. The vertical wave guide carved deep into the oaken baffle broadens the ideal listening area with improved 3D imaging and clarity. Reduced horizontal coverage minimizes wall reflections." There were also custom silver banana-only terminals, custom copper inductors and a silver-traced PCB. Piu—Italian for more—was rated for 35Hz-20kHz bandwidth ±3dB, 92dB sensitivity, 150-watt long-term power handling and a minimum 5Ω impedance. Filter hinges sat at 250Hz and 2'000Hz. The drivers were a 1" Sica compression tweeter, 6.5" BMS mid and 12" sidefiring Beyma woofer. Dimensions were 130×53 x22cm HxDxW and weight is a hefty 75kg/ea."

My response to the secret sneak peek was intrigued. "Looks like this stacks two smaller modules?"

"Correct, two parts come together for a total height of 2 meters with twin woofers, twin mids and a horn tweeter with oval wave guide in the middle."

Clearly it would be a very narrow still taller affair with asymmetrical not force-canceling bass loading and what looked like two short outriggers to secure a wider floor stance. I expected sensitivity 3dB higher than Piu, lower excursions for equivalent SPL. Donatas confirmed "true 96dB/1m and very low distortion". What finish options would he offer and was this new range situated above or below Piu? "This series will have Piu sound features with a more cost-effective cabinet material. I've not finalized the finish options yet."

When his FaceBook page showed the photo at right with enigmatic sneak peek, new project caption, I wondered just what people made of it. Would they recognize a rear baffle for a tall narrow speaker? I spotted twin port holes plus a terminal hole. But I wasn't at all sure what the central section might signify. Decompression vents for the midranges? The Polish fall show in Warsaw would tell all.

By October 3rd, we had this: "The first 3D render shows the 200cm tall performer as our most ambitious complex project to date. The smaller model of this series will stand 110cm tall, smaller than the floorstanding Piu. The five drivers are the very best we could find for the task. More info on those and the filter will come at the show. Finish shall be super-gloss black on the cheeks and a finish never before seen applied in the loudspeaker industry for the remaining parts in one of three available colors."

Asked whether he had a name for it yet, Donatas very much had.

"It's Linga. That's Sanskrit for form or symbol."

As lingam, it's also Sanskrit for phallus.

Shiva lingams are thus elongated egg-shaped stones often collected from the West-Indian Narmada river. Planted inside a disk-shaped platform representing the yoni or female sex organ and womb, Hindus have long worshiped these potent symbols for representing cosmic vitality, Pranic energy and the Divine creative impulse.

Donatas surely had picked a name ripe with resonance and pregnant with potential. Nomen est omen? La lingua linga?

By October 28th, Donatas had his brochure with images for the full reveal. The woofers are "massive ultra low-distortion 12-inchers with FEA-optimized magnetic circuits and multiple shorting rings" followed by two 6.5" midranges and 1" compression tweeter with 180Hz and 3'000Hz filter hinges. The cabinet build uses "the finest wood board finished in FLCK coating for an astonishingly luxurious but minimalist appearance. 4-layer sandwich-damped sidewalls and up to 50mm front/back panels keep vibrations to a minimum. For the finest HF reproduction, we developed a minimal diffraction vertical OS wave guide which is machined deep into the wood board. It broadens the ideal listening area with improved 3D imaging and clarity. It too uses our unique FLCK coat to damp unwanted reflections. Ultra-rigid Mundorf MConnect terminals connect directly to the Mundorf crossover components via copper rods. Internal hookup wiring is by Mogami. 30mm thick steel-bar outriggers terminate in adjustable spikes."