Country of Origin
Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac late 2020 with Ventura 13.4, 40GB RAM, Audirvana Origin, Qobuz Sublime, Singxer SU-6 USB bridge, LHY Audio SW-8 network switch, Sonnet Pasithea DAC; Active filter: icOn Gradient Box at 80Hz/4th-order hi/lo-pass; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos, Goldmund Job 225; Headamp: Cen.Grand Silver Fox; Phones: HifiMan Susvara; Loudspeakers: Qualio Audio IQ w. sound|kaos DSUB 15 on Carbide Audio footers, Audio Physic Codex, Cube Audio Nenuphar Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL; 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 Krion and glass 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: Shanling M3 Ultra, Soundaware D300Ref; DAC: Cen.Grand DSDAC 1.0 Deluxe; Preamp/filter: Vinnie Rossi Signature L2 + icOn 4Pro + 4th-order/40Hz hi-low pass; Amplifier: Enleum AMP-23R; Loudspeakers: MonAcoustic SuperMon Mini, 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; Headamp/DAC: iFi iDSD Pro Signature; Headphones: Final D-8000; Active speakers: DMAX SC5
Upstairs headfi/speaker system: Source: smsl Dp5 transport; DAC: Auralic Vega; Integrated amplifier: Schiit Jotunheim R; Phones: Raal-Requisite SR1a
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: €14'999/pr. incl. VAT
As announced in my Warsaw 2022 report, Silent Pound of Lithuania's Kaunas bowed the 88dB Challenger. Its partially open-backed 36x35x124cm WxDxH 60kg steel hull sports clever computer-modeled perf loading for the rear radiation of its twinned 6" midranges. It pulls onto the front an Amphion Krypton 3X's perforated sides. Those mids bracket a compression tweeter in a short horn for more controlled dispersion. Safety glass on the plinth allows a glance at the crossover. The rear grill can be removed to see the open-baffle magnets of two 12" woofers. Numerous finish options from the RAL palette allow customization options.
Thinking folks immediately saw the benefits of dipole bass extend into the vocal band due to strategic cardioid loading of the MTM drivers. This sound intensity drawing confirms it. Audrius Balciunas' solution—industrial design by Moses Kang—is a clever wrinkle on standard open baffles. It enforces controlled directivity across a broader bandwidth than just bass. I call that effective free room treatment. It's an expanded function of the 'figure 8' dispersion pattern of dipole bass whose long wavelengths wrap around a baffle or box to create lateral out-of-phase cancellation.
It's why my preferred bass system is a big 2×15" cardioid subwoofer aka Ripol by sound|kaos. It cancels the need for huge bass traps by reducing room resonances and their deleterious effects on the frequency and time response. Kii Audio, Dutch & Dutch, Buchardt and Treble Clef pursue the same benefits in different ways but all for the same reasons. Now Silent Pound propose an elegant floorstander to hit similar targets.
More classic open baffle also from Silent Pound with 2 x 12" woofers, 2 x 8" mids and 1" titanium tweeter with 2nd-order filters.
On paper the Challenger takes the generic OB concept which Silent Pound explored in their first Discovery model to the next level. Above the bass, it works in the opposite way. It reduces not intensifies front-wall even sidewall reflections. For hearing more direct less reflected sound, the Challenger should be better. But should, would and could are for speculators. To be certain—and know whether we prefer more directness to traditional box speakers which radiate ever more omni with descending frequencies—mandates hearing for ourselves. Since I didn't attend Warsaw's AVS show, I inquired about a review op instead. The company's Martynas Serksnys was happy to oblige. It's gratifying to see new hifi brands emerge from Lithuania which for speakers already hosts 8mmAudio Labs, Audio GE and Audio Solutions whilst LessLoss handle cables/power products, Reed tone arms and Vostok Europe sporty wrist watches.