Country of Origin
Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (i5, 256GB SSD, 40GB RAM, Sonoma 14), 4TB external SSD with Thunderbolt 3, Audirvana Studio, Qobuz Sublime, Singxer SU-6 USB bridge, LHY Audio SW-8 & SW-6 switch, Cen.Grand DSDAC 1.0 Deluxe; Active filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos & EX-M7 on subwoofer; Headamp: Cen.Grand Silver Fox; Phones: HifiMan Susvara, Meze 109 Pro; Loudspeakers: Qualio IQ [on loan] Cables: Kinki Studio Earth, Furutech; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 6 x 8m with open door behind listening seat
2nd system: Source: FiiO R7 into Soundaware D300Ref SD transport to Sonnet Pasithea; Preamp/filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Amplifier: Crayon CFA-1.2; Loudspeakers: MonAcoustic SuperMon Mini or Acelec Model One + Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF, Akiko Audio Corelli; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~3.5 x 8m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win10/64; USB bridge: Singxer SU-2; DAC: iFi Pro iDSD Signature; Head/speaker amp: Enleum AMP-23R; Speakers: EnigmAcoustics Mythology M1; Headphones: Final D-8000 & Sonorous X, Audeze LCD-XC, Raal-Requisite SR1a
Upstairs headfi system: FiiO R7; Headphones: Meze 109 Pro
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe; Loudspeakers: Zu Soul VI; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail: €5'499
Munich HighEnd 2023 photos from Swiss retailer https://audioessence.ch.
Berlin. The fab city hosts the HQ of my colleagues from fairaudio and Darko.audio plus the hifi maisons of Adam Audio, Burmester Audiosysteme, Heinz Electrodynamic Designs, MBL Akustikgeräte, Raumfeld, Teufel and Voxativ. Camerton's Oleh Lizohub too stations there and my earlier reviews of his speakers and headphones told their stories. But for 2023 he revisited the Binom-ER planar earspeakers and was keen that I'd hear them. A booked assignment of Kallyste's Amethyste hybrid amplifier provided the impetus. It's one of Oleh's favourite headphone amps so what he demo'd with at the Munich HighEnd show and again at the UK's Ascot event. Having that combo on hand would guarantee that I'd hear what he hears; minus the grey stuff between our ears. Individual ear/brains with their acoustic training, neural wiring and developed preferences certainly aren't one-size-fits-all wetware microphones calibrated to one universal standard. Still, where hifi hardware is concerned, my Camerton sample would work under designer-curated conditions. And of course then I had my own amplifiers, be that Cen.Grand's Silver Fox, Enleum's AMP-23R, Vinnie Rossi's L2 Signature, iFi's Pro iDSD Signature or FiiO's R7. But first, what's changed in the 2023 Edition? Oleh is one very sharp cookie who never crumbles when asked why he made any engineering decision. Where others get vague or pull the proprietary card to go all schtum, our Ukrainian expat has always been most forthcoming. So I forwarded him this first paragraph with "now it's over to you for all the answers".
From Oleh's website we recall that his ultra-thin polyethylene terephthalate membrane always applies its aluminium voice coil not by spraying but by photo-etching a solid aluminium film that's been first bonded to the diaphragm into the required traces. "The electrical aluminium specially made for this followed by rolling creates far superior electrical properties than sprayed metal. I carefully calculated the motor system with the finite element method and execute it with high-power neodymium magnets. I replaced typical metal parts with carbon which in addition to a favourable sonic effect reduced driver weight by 25%." Performance specs are 8-20'000Hz bandwidth, 98dB sensitivity, ~40Ω impedance, 5W power handling. How about the 2023 adjustments over what I reviewed in June 2022? The photos show a new truncated oval profile on the driver's front that's clearly different.
Oleh at Munich HighEnd 2023.
"Let's start with the headband. All its elements succumbed to radical changes. The result is a reduction in rigidity and weight. The new band exploits the memory effect. It adapts to your ears. The more you wear it, the more comfortable it becomes. I also increased the length of the sliders by 12mm so my headphones now suit even very large heads. Of course the main changes affected the driver. The task was to correctly shape dispersion within the ear's microvolume and maintain greater sensitivity. For this I completely revised the method of diaphragm tensioning. This positions the diaphragm more precisely between the magnets so more accurately controls its stroke whilst avoiding magnet contact even at very large amplitudes. The resonant frequency of the diaphragm reduced to 80Hz. All this made it possible to place the magnets even closer to each other to increase magnetic induction in the gap which significantly increased the sensitivity spec. It was sufficient before but I wanted even more to transform the sound quality.
"This in turn enforced a radical change in driver design. Such close magnet spacing seriously upped their repulsive force. Physics tell us that when the distance between magnets decreases, the force of repulsion or attraction increases by a squared ratio. Since my driver modernization also aimed at minimizing signal losses as the membrane moves toward the eardrum, I removed all structural elements between diaphragm and ear. Now there are no more structural elements above the magnets. All this meant that even the previous ultra-high-strength carbon wouldn't withstand such colossal forces. After assembly this driver badly deformed. To solve this, I went from classic cross-woven carbon to unidirectional carbon for my structural elements since the latter fabric has significantly higher strength in the direction of its fibres. To make it equally strong in the other direction, I glue two sintered thin plates at 90°. To maintain a beautiful carbon appearance, the outer layer still uses cross-woven fabric. This sandwich then undergoes mechanical CNC processing. Now the entire driver structure consists of just three parts which ensure the necessary rigidity to maintain the driver's geometry after assembly.
"The new dispersion shaping also led to a revision of the geometry of the hole between diaphragm and outer environment. Now it has a complex shape and divides into two parts. This corrects signal phase and reduces interference. On the back side of the front plate under the magnets are inserts of damping material. Their task is to eliminate diaphragm chatter at mid frequencies and ensure the smoothest transition from lower to upper registers. Given these fundamental mods, we now have a completely new driver. In addition to various tests using measuring gear, each change was confirmed by ear. Despite the abundance of measuring kit in my lab, I'm no technocrat but use measurements to confirm what I hear. After all, shoppers don’t want kilohertz or decibels but perfect sound. And this is precisely at the heart of my R&D; to insure that everyone who listens to my Camerton Binom-ER sees that everything I stated above about the 2023 changes was clearly not in vain." Oleh promised still more on his cabling and accessories. By November 15th, "all is in progress but for the new styling of the Binom-ER not all materials have arrived yet. I cannot build the final version until they do. Apologies. Either way, stay tuned for more information." By December 11th, the Kallyste review had published, Amethyste reboxed for its return to France. C'est la vie.