No part of the musical picture turns watery because of imaging size. Each participant is very real and present yet often a bit more so than usual. The so-called in-your-face thing happens very rarely even though when the music demands it, there is a generous level of intimacy. Blixa Bargeld's voice could sound horrifyingly intimate and up close in fact. It's up to the recording. To summarize this part, I must repeat that the Boenicke W8 is far better at imaging precision, soundstage complexity and scale than any similar product known to me. To hear what these are capable of is to become a believer. To be perfectly accurate, the W8 isn't as effortless a performer as Gradient's Revolution open baffle. The Swiss doesn't push as much air, hence its sound is still of smaller scale and has less presence, energy, forwardness and directness. This is easily heard in an A/B. But the best part was that—after a short accommodation—the W8 amazed me as per usual. Nothing changed. It easily withstands skirmishes against very serious competition. Subjectively speaking, thus far only Æquo's Ensis bested it in more than just one way. Still, once the Dutch marvels were sent back, everything returned to normal exceptionally fast. Hence I'm quite confident that Boenicke's W8 are a product to own and enjoy for many years. Personally I wouldn't be surprised if, after taking a look at a crystal ball, I'd see myself with these or other Boenickes several years from now.

Finally, back to amplification. Out of several reviewed with the W8, the Trilogy 925 was the subjectively best one. It provides density, phenomenal texturing and control at a small cost of speed since it simply isn't an exuberantly feisty deck. The Sanders Sound Systems Magtech preamplifier and power amp act like a liposuction treatment. They take away some textures yet are edgier, faster and more present at the very bottom. Cary Audio's SI.300-2D was somewhere in the middle. It took some of the former's density, speed from the latter and blended them quite nicely. While not as subtle and refined as the Trilogy 925, it handled the W8 very decently. Stepping several price levels down, Hegel's Rost worked rather well though it is a speed not density device. Again, the FirstWatt F7 did the job very well to a certain point, being a density and charm champ above all else though viable only during quiet sessions. One of the biggest surprises was the Job 225. This Swiss power amplifier drove the W8 like crazy. The sound was exceptionally agile, three-dimensional and very smooth. True, it was also a bit on the thinner side but for its asking price, one simply wouldn't go wrong. To conclude, each of these amps was W8 capable though there were qualitative differences, not to mention varying emphasis on different sonic aspects. But in general these amps will all work, contrary to low-power valve amplifiers which are simply out of the running.

Summary. Boenicke Audio's W8 are the best floorstanders in their class I've had the pleasure to listen to yet. Properly matched, this product provides a thoroughly enjoyable experience at a very high calibre. The most important part is that the W8 experience can't be replicated in many ways because this very unique product is loaded with unforgettable qualities. It can be seen and heard how this is no generic ordinary speaker. Sven likes to do things his way and this pays out. It has to. The man clearly knows his craft. The W5 model served as very solid proof already and now the W8 turns out to become another.

These petite floorstanders are exceptionally well-made and subjectively very pretty. Here that's not about shiny lacquers, ultra-rare parts or visual bling served up in obvious luxury fashion. On the contrary, it's about modesty and inconspicuousness seasoned with small yet tasty details which are easily noted if one cares enough to pay closer attention. The entire assembly is impeccable. I couldn't single out a single thing that could be improved. In short, this somewhat Scandinavian approach is very likeable and certainly most domestically friendly. I can't picture a room where a W8 wouldn't find a place.

So... these are truly grand performers. They provide an exceptionally open, huge, airy and very refined sound. The imaging capabilities are most shocking and once gotten used to, block any going back. It's so addictive. Yes, there are products with a lusher midrange, even punchier bass or more intimacy. But the upshot is that as a complete package, the W8 deliver on all counts. This is a truly complete product of exceptional quality or—to put it in simpler words—it is as enjoyable as it is refined. Yes, very. Once the 'Swiss made' sticker and Sven's personal input are added to the final tab, it isn't scary at all. If you ask me, his W8 floorstander deserves this kind of investment. If quality electronics and sufficient space are provided, not to have a blast with these charmers simply isn't an option. "Swiss Happiness in a Box"? Just so. Highly recommended!  
dawid @

Boenicke Audio website