This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

The Ktêma presents those subtle differences very distinctly so you have no doubts which faults they are for each recording – recording, system or sound engineer. Speaking about vocals, the Italian speakers maintain proper scale of voices at least assuming their perspective was properly captured on the albums. There is always a perfect balance between voice and instruments. If the mastering engineer wanted a big voice for Vega fronting her band you get just that. If he planned to place the vocal far away from the listener somewhere between and behind the instruments as is usually the case for Depeche Mode, you get that. Key is that it’s always part of a bigger picture and not just about exposing  the midrange even though voices usually are treated somewhat privileged.

After I thought about this for a while I concluded that these were extremely transparent lucid speakers. It's why every vocal carried aloft on such clarity and resolution felt very natural and real. That's why it attracted more attention than it usually does. At the same time the Italian speakers were not ruthless. I’ve stated it many times before that the better a device—loudspeakers, cables, preamp—the less we are bothered by minor recorded flaws and the more we focus on the music itself. There is no dissonance. It's nothing but urban myth that ultra resolution answers everything. Certainly it is necessary but more as a scaffolding whereby to build up the sound. I hope you understand the distinction. Serblin's speakers clearly showed the difference between reproduced sound and creating sound. Of course they can only reproduce it but they do it such that you can't tell for sure. They actually become sound makers.

I hinted at earlier that certain aspects of this presentation can be bettered by other speakers around €25.000/pr. I believe for example that the Esotar tweeter in the Electa Amator is a better transducer than the one in the Ktêma but it doesn't make the latter less amazing. A metal SEAS driver as used in my older Dobermann offered similar performance. The Scan-Speak soft dome is very good but the Seas or ceramic unit in the Isophon were capable of more firmness.

Today’s review loaners tended to accentuate specific elements not via higher precision but rather slower decays. The second small nit was a subtle dryness in the midrange. I'm certain everybody can happily live with what the Ktêma delivers in this regard but I remember how the Hansen and Avalon  delivered it a bit more creamier without even the slightest veiling so I know there is a way to go even farther. That's exactly why the soundstage is not so as dense as delivered by Hansen. It is also the truth that the Prince v2 to date was the only loudspeaker that I know to be better in this particular regard.

Apart from these two mild qualifiers I don't see any flaws or issues. These are world-class hellaciously expensive speakers finished perfectly which deliver absolute top-shelf performance. They are also made by a legendary designer with limited availability to become the type of exclusive product certain watches are.

Description: The Ktêma is large and weighs over 50kg each though the triple arch-shaped structure makes it look less massive. It was one of the very few hifi designs all members of my family appreciated aesthetically. Everything about them seems well thought through and perfectly implemented and finished  even though personally I would favor another solution for the top and bottom as I'm not a fan of glossy chrome-type metal.

Serblin's newest speaker is a four-way five-drivers design with two 230mm modified Scan-Speak woofers. These hidden drivers fire against the rigid rear baffle and deflect their emissions through vertical slots. The cabinet otherwise is sealed and not ported. There are similar breathing slots close to the sides of the two 100mm coated paper mid/woofers  with metal phase plugs which release the internal air pressure. These paralleled mids loaded into a separate chamber  are equipped with rigid moulded baskets and large motors. The tweeter is a coated Scan-Speak D2905 silk dome which Serblin views as the best transducer Ragnar Lian has designed who counts as one of the most famous driver designers alive. This tweeter is equipped with a non-resonant rear chamber.


The enclosure is crafted of MDF panels strengthened with steel panels at the bottom and on top. The aluminum front  with black leather skin serves as rigid support for the drivers mounted to it. The speakers are equipped with four large spikes and Serblin’s signature string grill which should already be familiar to you from earlier Sonus Faber models (this can and should be taken off during listening sessions). At the back there are single WBT 0730 binding posts. The internal cabling was designed by Serblin's son-in-law Massimiliano Favella and is branded Yter. These cables are flat quite narrow ribbons made of a silver-palladium alloy. The sensitivity of the Ktêma is quite high at 92dB but impedance drops to 3.2Ω at 70Hz to demand a stout amplifier. The Ktêma is a limited edition release with Serblin's signature engraved in the top panel.

Technical data (according to manufacturer):
Frequency response: 26Hz - 33kHz in room
Nominal impedance: 4 ohm (minimum 3.2 ohm at 70Hz)
Sensitivity: 92dB/W/m
Minimum amplifier power: 20wpc
Dimensions: 42.5 x 46 x 111cm unpacked
Weight: 110kg/pair unpacked, 127kg/pair packed
Finish: High gloss piano black or satin Sycamore with hand-polished aluminum top and bottom.

opinia @

Franco Serblin website