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Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
Source: Esoteric/APL Hifi UX-1/NWO 3.0GO
Preamp/Integrated: Esoteric C-03 (transistor), ModWright DM 36.5 (valves)
Amplifier: ModWright KWA-150, FirstWatt F5, Yamamoto A-09S, Ancient Audio Single Six
Speakers: ASI Tango R, DeVore Fidelity Nines, Zu Essence
Cables: Complete loom of ASI Liveline
Stands: Ikea Molger and butcher-block platforms with metal footers
Powerline conditioning: 2 x Walker Audio Velocitor S
Sundry accessories: Furutech RD-2 CD demagnetizer; Nanotech Nespa Pro; extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters
Room size: The sound platform is 3 x 4.5m with a 2-story slanted ceiling above; four steps below continue into an 8m long combined open kitchen, dining room and office, an area which widens to 5.2m with a 2.8m ceiling; the sound platform space is open to a 2nd story landing and, via spiral stair case, to a 3rd-floor studio; concrete floor, concrete and brick walls from a converted barn with no parallel walls nor perfect right angles; short-wall setup with speaker backs facing the 8-meter expanse and 2nd-story landing.
Review Component Retail: starting at €15.500/pr

Haven't heard of Blumenhofer Acoustics before? You probably have. Without knowing it. Thomas Blumenhofer was the designer and manufacturer of Willibald Bauer's FJ speaker line. This included the omnipolar model FJ Om. For us, John Potis reviewed it in November 2005, then reader Frederic Beudot purchased it and subsequently joined 6moons where he penned a Take 2 for his first contribution. Willi Bauer of course is the man behind dps. dps is short for der platten spieler. That's the record player to us englische menschen. Because of one-sided sales, a few years ago Blumenhofer pulled the plug on the collaboration. After all, dps was and is a turntable outfit first and foremost. Thomas resolutely decided to chart his own course. The Om remains current but now sells adorned by the formal Blumenhofer Acoustics decal. This segues directly into today's assignment. It's the introduction of a new but really quite old brand.

For some pictorial evidence of Blumenhofer Acoustics PA and club systems as well as current home models, proceed to this SideBar.

Blumenhofer and speaker design/manufacture go back 30 years. That's for how long Thomas has already serviced this sector, albeit in sound reinforcement to explain why hifi nutters haven't officially made his acquaintance. Thus Blumenhofer Acoustics is both old and new.

The old is highly relevant because in pro, custom solutions are the norm. One single installation might require 150 pairs of speakers variously adapted for the occasion. Keeping up any such one-upspeakership for a goodly period of time -- since 1979 certainly qualifies -- and that elusive thing experience quite massively compounds.

In short, live sound is Blumenhofer's reference, big hornspeakers are his obsession. Little surprise then that his emerging hifi brand includes mostly horns. At present those are tweeter horns married to ported bass in the Genuin Series (models 3 and 1 shown right above) and tweeter horns mated to floor-firing and folded back horns for the bass (the two Fun models on top of the page).

I first encountered Blumenhofer Acoustics at the 2008 fall TOP Audio show in Milan. They showed a big Genuin model with prototypes of their (still forthcoming) valve electronics. Marketing director Andrea Vitali later solicited me for a review. The timing of that solicitation a month prior to the HighEnd 2009 show in München meant that he already had the two new models available. And the Genuin 3. Which one did I want to test?

Since Thomas had bought a mondo van in January; and since he and Andrea had proposed a personal delivery; I inquired whether they could bring all three models. I'd pick one in situ to assure compatibility with my room and electronics, they'd take back the other two right after their visit. And that's what they did.

Starting at €5,000/pr, there was the new Fun 17 model. It combines a 35mm Mylar tweeter behind an oval MDF horn with a 6.5-inch mid-woofer via a 12dB electrical, 18dB acoustic network at 1.8kHz. F3 with steep rolloff below it is 40Hz, in-room sensitivity 92dB (anechoic 89dB) and approximate weight 25kg. Cabinet construction is 18mm Birch Ply, the geometry avoids parallel walls except for
the sides and the internals sport a compression chamber for the woofer. Behind that chamber's carefully calculated throat opening, the internal horn line doubles back up in a flare, then turns around and fires into the floor to create the desired radiation resistance for the driver (the tweeter's in-house crafted rear chamber is sealed). All cabinet walls are heavily lined to absorb midrange frequencies above 300Hz and horn gain below that is ca. 3dB. Standard finish is Birch, a €600 surcharge adds Walnut or Cherry and €6.500 total buys Olive veneer. As for the other two models, an impedance correction network linearizes the ohmic peak at the crossover point which for valve amps would be more challenging. This correction network can be disabled by pulling the jumper in the crossover cover of the horn mouth [above].