Super unnecessary. The W8 is an object lesson in what we don't need. It's a foursquare anti foundation of size, weight, ugliness and subwoofer/s. It's common to get caught up in the opposing trend. There it all escalates into bigger, heavier and uglier. But if that produces more than we had before—more bass, power, scale, dynamics, tone, resolution—we naturally believe that it's necessary. We see it as the enabler of playing the big leagues like the lads from the strip. No replacement for displacement. It's rare that shoppers scale back not to downsize or simplify when after trials in excess now less is 'good enough'; but because they heard the very same performance plateau reached by a lot less. That has its own appeal, its own elegance. Ditto reduced visual dominance. Speakers in particular are furniture. Not everyone adores two refrigerators in the living room especially when they're not needed. That's the special W8 appeal. It does enormous, loud and full range from a shockingly small very handsome package. It's a speaker for the drag-strip boys which their better halves will actually allow them to bring home then keep. If hifi had a Good Housekeeping seal of approval, it'd adorn the W8's sleeve.
The ingredients of one W8 as reviewed.
To play ball, all I had to do was swap speakers to fire their woofers out. Now the first bass reflection occurred within ~1 meter. In less than 30 seconds, that abolished the unwelcome boomy bassiness of firing the woofers inward. I also didn't remember the last time when I toed in a floorstander with one hand on its top followed by a little wrist twist. As promised, the W8 extended solidly past 40Hz somewhere into the mid to low 30s. That decommissioned a subwoofer for more reach. Whatever eludes the non-attenuated grasp of this Boenicke lives on just a few musical scores. For our 4x6m upstairs room and the equivalent downstairs bay with vaulted high ceiling which then continues into an open kitchen and lounge, I'd not pursue the bigger W11. If I had the extra cash for an W11, I'd invest into a W8 SE or SE+ instead. No more is necessary to do a very proper job of it; and at a high level. So how does that level break down?
Probably the first thing one hears from the W8 especially when set up deep in the room is truly enormous staging. Mini monitors tend to ace that but in general lack the gravitas and solidity which demand big bass to come off. The W8 does mini-monitor soundstaging plus grown-up scale and conviction. Hand in hand goes a midrange that's decidedly not forward but rather slightly scooped. That reinforces the perception of unusual depth then adds presence-region friendliness. Next on the notice board of a well-prepared first date should be a sense of textural softness which differs for example from our Acelec Model One. Instead of solid wood, their cabinets use thick rubber-bonded aluminium like a Magico gone Dutch on origin/price. They're about timing precision and extreme focus from mechanical damping. By contrast, the W8's separation is of only medium-high resolution and its microdynamic expression is less aspirated. Its special discipline is the tonal richness one encounters midfield in a concert hall. That's not about any selective injection of 2nd-harmonic octave doubling from tubes because it's perfectly obvious in an all-transistor context.
Inside the Boenicke P1.
Slightly softer focus/edging creates bigger images which bloom a bit rather than lock down by laser. Some of that is probably enhanced by the sidefiring woofer's room interaction which extends higher up in frequency than standard 3-way woofers. Its power and reach defy expectations but keep with the general theme of more generous textures. Hence the feel of the low registers is acoustic not electric. Think elastic wooden upright so 'craig', not hyper-tensioned electric or synth bass for 'crack' even when fronted by eight high-current direct-coupled lateral Mosfets per side. Because this bass prioritizes size and scale over articulation, the perception of macrodynamic swings certainly exceeds realistic expectations relative to enclosure and woofer size. A lot of the latter is enhanced by the absorptive rim beyond the surround to look larger of diameter than it is. So it behaves closer to the optical illusion than actual inches across. The somewhat Napoleonic consequence is of a short extremely narrow speaker that goes all big and beefy when goosed accordingly. Let's take a gander at that goose then with 200-watt, 250-watt and 300wpc amps of the class AB and D persuasion, the latter Sven's own tweaked implementation above. Having already reviewed it, the W8's downstairs showing had me suspect that I'd favor the 2.5MHz DC-coupled Kinki monos for their greater speed and lucidity. To know for sure, I had to try. I bypassed the Vinnie Rossi L2's ER50 power triodes to operate it as an actively buffered passive linestage into either amp.
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