Crazy? Perhaps. But the outcome is far better than anything else I've tried. If I had to sit one meter from the W8 to afford three times more space behind them, I'd gladly do it instead of the opposite. This is crucial and more so than with any other speakers I've had the pleasure to deal with. After a fair number of W8 auditions in several places, I tend to think that my own four walls are the absolute minimum. 50m² won't be any issue, that's a given. Come to think of it, under such conditions they would probably spread their wings much wider still. Therefore, the major rule of thumb for the W8 is this: the bigger the room, the better the sound. The second matter is woofer orientation. In or out? This slight change turns things upside down rapidly. Which is better? It depends. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. When these woofers look at themselves from too close a distance, their output overlaps and the outcome might be less controlled than it should. When they are very close to the side walls, the opposite happens. Bass is less meaty yet tighter in general. In my room, option one proved better. I preferred more meat on the bones even if slightly blurrier less contoured images were the payment. That aspect was elevated a bit by the Polish DAC already. It's safe to say that this scribe's favourite scenario was less clear and precise than the other option at the very beginning. Yet after extensive gear swaps, complementary electronics handled any somewhat underperforming traits properly and no major trade-offs were bought.


If a bigger room was available at twice the size of my cellar; and if two or three meters of space to the sidewalls were possible… I'd probably fire the woofer out not in. I acquired the W8 for two reasons; sheer joy and very good linearity throughout the audible bandwidth. As a reviewer, I have to hear every gear change and this speakers shows them off very nicely. It's safe to say that they afford me a generous insight into the music, hence very poor recordings are off the table. This W8 sings in a very clear and clean way of which grain plays no part. For instance, the pricier class D-loaded wonderful Æquo Audio Ensis weren't as detail oriented. Their focus was elsewhere. But to name Sven's model soulless, clinical, surgical or overly analytical would be a mistake. That's the beauty of his smallest floorstanders. Accuracy and clarity are merely two of the many things they are very good at. These qualities happen in addition to more emphasized things and as such don't command one's main attention. The W8 are neither thick nor thin. Neither is their bass boosted nor are the midrange or highs. Any sensation of the sound being built around a certain narrow spectrum simply isn't there. What is, then?



Coherence. These speakers sound very coherent. The usual suspects of upper bass/lower midrange aren't elevated at all. Hence the sound never becomes veiled or bloated. Given that minimal space requirements are met, such a congealed reaction is practically impossible. What the listener gets instead is aforementioned clarity. On saturation, Sven's smallest floorstanders are somewhere in the middle of the overall scale. This surely comes as part of the package and can be tweaked in any direction at the user's discretion. For instance, the Sanders Sound Systems Magtech Class AB power amp subtracts a bit of muscle tissue whereas the Trilogy 925 integrated hybrid does the exact opposite. Okay, to be perfectly fair, I have heard the W8 veiled just once, with the Amare Musica Diamond Entropy 25wpc DHT integrated. This kind of company isn't suitable because these boxes are power hungry. I met one exception, the FirstWatt F7. Up to a certain SPL level, this amplifier got along with the W8 just fine. Things started to get wobbly only during louder sessions. The point is that Nelson's F7 had decent control over this load; to a point but still. Usually with linear not very dense speakers, expecting their performance to be flat and dull is somewhat correct. This can happen at times. Yet again, with the W8 that's impossible once it's fed by a suitable amplifier and source. Past this, the Swiss speakers sport generous smoothness, complex texturing and a lifelike approach. Nothing about their sound is blunt. On the contrary, this is a very refined performer. Not only does it allow one to hear everything, each piece of music is shown wearing a human face. Nothing about the performance is artificial but generously vivid instead. Even the bass still impresses me after more than a year of constant duty. Not only is it properly controlled, it reaches deep enough to not even have me think about additional reach and power from a separate sub.


At the same time, the lowest bandwidth exhibits enough crack to shake the room in a properly taut way. Again, this outcome depends heavily on the amplifier. My Trilogy 925 softened the edges but dug deeper than the American Sanders Sound Systems combo. The latter painted a stiffer, punchier fitter picture. A somewhat similar story happened with the high end. This spectrum can be on the shorter and more energetic side with the American amplifier; or longer, more present, slightly withdrawn and more generously differentiated with the English integrated. Yet either way, the treble was never overly lit up or shiny. Both readings were equally tasty to be up to personal preference. From a purely journalistic perspective, to distinguish between them so easily is something to value highly.


Let me reiterate that Boenicke's W8 shows every system tweak very easily. By now we have arrived at a properly linear, detailed, resolving, well-textured, smooth and refined speaker; great performers in general. But what really makes it all click with a proper bang are their imaging capabilities. This aspect is out of this world. First off, they vanish from a room exceptionally readily. At times it's absurd. When sitting one meter in front of them, I'm not able to locate the sound source within my four walls. No chance. To spice things up, I aim the drivers not at my head but cross them far behind me. So yes, the front drivers don't look at me at all since there's no valid reason to place them so. These paint a very wide, deep and tall picture.  Many listeners who visited me were simply blown away by this kind of soundstage and rightfully so. No other floorstander or monitor known to me comes close. Given enough room, our Swiss fill the entire front wall. The very first row doesn't appear in front or between them but slightly behind. This gives the impression of being in a quite large hall most of the time rather than a small intimate room. The soundstage is very airy and quite light, elevating this experience even further. This is a very specific projection type, rarely heard and yet so enjoyable. Another quite amusing and surprising thing is that a listener can see through the product. Every inch of space in front and behind is perfectly clear. Again, the W8 aren't seen at all. Yet when the music is recorded to be well developed on the sides, the sound is shown there as well and can be served up in front of the boxes. So they provide a lot of insight about the mastering process itself. Out of dozens of visitors to my manly cave, not one complained about any artificially expansive overblown soundstage. The key is that these boxes show instruments not only very accurately but also properly dense and vivid. If a vocalist isn't recorded as a four-meter tall giant, the Swiss speakers won't show it such. They keep instrumental and throat sizing believable.