July
2019

Country of Origin

Germany

Binom-1

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: 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
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; Gold Note A-6 Evo [on review]
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: €11'950/pr, deluxe stands in black or titanium €2'800/pr, standard stands as reviewed €400/pr

Funking hey. At 2019's alternate Munich show in the Marriott Hotel, Rocky Balbao lived again. Against most dubious odds, of tiny widebanders in compact cabs on a disproportionately huge Swiss-Aussie Holton amp of 50wpc/8Ω class A power and a mega stack of TotalDAC digital, the stumpy underdog Binom-1 from the German Camerton audio boutique won the fight in spectacular big symphonic fashion. It frankly bordered on the absurd. Hence my subsequent email to designer Herr Lizohub:

"Dear Oleh: It was a pleasure meeting you in Munich and hearing your speakers. Very impressive. Having owned widebanders from Voxativ, Rethm, Zu and sound|kaos whilst presently listening to the 10" Nenuphar by Cube Audio, I'm not exactly a stranger to the breed. So your demo with the big Holton amplifier was certainly most remarkable. Would you be interested in a review?"

Oleh was and a month later had a pair ready for dispatch. At 88dB and measuring just 20×38.5x30cm HxWxD, the claimed bandwidth of 35 to 28'000Hz looks criminally optimistic. Yet after the Munich demo, I knew otherwise if pathetically little else.

Sure, the prospectus did talk of a proprietary driver using a composite flat wood, aluminium and beryllium membrane whilst the merely 8kg rear-ported enclosure is built from curved Plywood under a piano-gloss black skin. Yet none of it explained its prowess with big orchestral music and heavy Hans Zimmer-style drums. None of it made complete sense. Well-earned cynicism, of having been there and done that for 20 years on the hifi show beat, found itself rattled. My powdered wig was in disarray.

To learn more including what the price of admission might be, a tête-à-tête was the only foregone solution. Thankfully Oleh was game. Ditto Theo Constada of Holton's Swiss operations in Basel. He sportingly agreed to send me their smaller 150/260wpc into 8/4Ω class A/B Anteos stereo amp. In Munich that had sat on static if red display. Its 22kg I'd manage fine. But I'd not get the hulking Inviso out of its crate by my lonesome. "A few minutes ago, DHL called to inform me that the parcel I sent to you 20 days ago got lost, probably as a consequence of one of their trucks being in an accident on a German highway. I still have 2 or 3 units in stock and would be able send one after some more burn-in. I'm sorry that Anteos didn't make the originally scheduled appointment with you." Despite Theo's shipping mishap, I'd still be able to revisit the Marriott demo with at least two of its brands reunited if I waited just a bit. For digital I could even do if not French then Chinese discrete R2R by way of the Denafrips Terminator DAC. Hifi deluxe?

"The company name Camerton comes from the Cyrillic word for tuning fork. I was born in what has become today's Ukraine. I started speaker development a long time ago and created my first driver when still in school. I founded the Camerton company in 1999 and did business in the Ukraine until September 2011 when I moved to Germany. In February 2019, I relaunched Camerton in Berlin. The EU retail is €11'950/pr. The original aluminum stands in anodized black or titanium are €2'800/pr. I'm now on vacation. Before I left, I didn't have time to check the upgraded stands which had just arrived from my supplier. So I decided to instead ship you the economical stands as you saw them at the show. They cost about €400/pr."

With such a serious sticker for the monitors, I was glad that the stands would require no explaining. As it turned out, the smaller top plate of our Track Audio stands fit just right so worked perfectly.