December
2019

Country of Origin

Switzerland

Vox 3f & Vox 3a

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, Audirvana 3, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, COS Engineering D1, Denafrips Terminator, Soundaware D300Ref as USB bridge/SD transport, Jay's Audio CDT2 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, SIT3, F5, F6, F7; Goldmund/Job 225; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics NC500 monos; LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos; Bakoon AMP-13R; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Grandinote Shinai [on review]; Gold Note PA-1175 MkII x 2 [on review]
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Acelec Model One; Kroma Audio Mimí; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V, VI & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence; Fram Midi 150 & 120
Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL 3000 & 5000; Zu Event; KingRex uArt 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
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: Vox 3f €5'564/pr in solid oiled/waxed Walnut or Cherry, stands at €356/pr; Vox 3a €8'795/pr

This is an interwoven tale about two speakers in the same wood enclosure. To jump to where Vox 3a coverage begins which developed in the wake of the 3f, click here.

To these pages, Martin Gateley is no stranger. Having covered his Wave 40, SK16 and Libération models, our association dates back to my first sound|kaos review of February 2013. Actually, it goes back to 2012's HighEnd Swiss show. 6moons then was headquartered in Switzerland's Canton Vaud. It made coverage of a small Swiss show a matter of regional support. There in the Regensburg hotel close to Zürich, I'd first met this designer in a static exhibit of his signature egg-shaped tone wood speakers. Those debuted Armin Galm's Enviée widebander. The Wave 40 cleverly augmented it with a Raal ribbon. Fast forward seven years. Brexit was in the wind. Gateley—his London-based kaosevents firm specializing in multi-media trade show exhibits led to the 'kaos' part of his audio atelier—was about to relocate to his childhood home in Feutersoey. That's in Switzerland just outside Gstaad. By then, 6moons was in the second home on the Irish west coast around Co. Mayo's Westport.

Using shows in the UK and US to take first temps on his upcoming monitor, Martin had played early takes. First prototypes had the custom Raal ribbon turned sideways. That sat below a 4" TangBand widebander. Final production relocated the super tweeter to the top, turning your ceiling into 360° diffuser. Production would also work on an alternative to the Taiwanese driver with a custom Enviée whose engineer is under standing contract with Backes & Müller. His Enviée project of modern full-range drive units is a labour of love on the side. Martin's Wave 40 became the first commercial speaker to embrace his whizzer-fitted 8-incher. So the Martin/Armin collaboration goes back to the very beginning of Enviée's commercial adoption. It's by now carved in tone wood.

For his Vox 3a version, Martin approached his German driver expert for a small 100mm Alnico-powered wood-fibre membrane in a bronze basket. That first effort was shown above. Before that driver finalized, samples of the Vox 3f shown in the UK and Denver ran the TangBand as seen at left and below. For rear-ported bass augmentation, Martin adds two 130mm horizontally opposed sidefiring woofers. One understands that their magnets butt right up against each other to clear the narrow cabinet.

For assist in the brilliance region and to broaden dispersion, there's the upfiring super tweeter in a bronze face plate custom-commissioned from Serbia's Aleksandar Radisavljevic.

This four-square driver lot manages to cram into an 8.2kg solid-wood enclosure of just 16.8 x 27.5 x 34.5cm WxDxH. Yet sensitivity remains a standard 89dB. This recommends amps of the 25-150wpc persuasion. For Denver's premiere, the Vox 3f teamed up with Bakoon's brand-new 25wpc AMP-13R which, given the room's smaller size, also was preferred on the big open-baffle Libération siblings rather than Bakoon's 50-watt AMP-41.

If the Vox 3 doesn't use its miniature integrated support to sit on a desktop or credenza, the optional perch transforms it into a typical stand-mounted affair. Of course 'typical' and Vox 3 don't really meet. As a concept around a 10cm/4" widebander assisted by twinned 5-inch woofers and ribbon super tweeter, I'm aware of nothing like it. The closest would be the W5 of Martin's Swiss colleague Sven Boenicke. Both agree on solid wood construction in various species of the customer's choice plus a 4-inch widebander. Then the Boenicke diverges with only one sidefiring woofer and an auxiliary soft-dome not ribbon tweeter placed on the rear not top. On sheer driver count in such a small cab centred on a choice of two widebanders, the sound|kaos Vox 3 would seem to have no equal.