Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: 27" iMac with 5K Retina display, 4GHz quad-core engine with 4.4GHz turbo boost, 3TB Fusion Drive, 16GB SDRAM, OSX Yosemite, PureMusic 2.04, Tidal & Qobuz lossless streaming, COS Engineering D1, Metrum Hex, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi La Scala MkII, SOtM dX-USB HD w. super-clock upgrade & mBPS-d2s, Apple iPod Classic 160GB (AIFF), Astell& Kern AK100 modified by Red Wine Audio, Cambridge Audio iD100, Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital, Pure i20, S.A. Lab Lilt DAC/preamp [on loan]
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Esoteric C-03, Bent Audio Tap-X, COS Engineering D1, S.A. Lab Lilt DAC/preamp [on loan]
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8, FirstWatt S1, F6; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; Gato Audio DIA-250; Aura Note Premier & Vita; Wyred4Sound mINT; April Music Stello S100MkII; AURALiC Merak [on loan],]
Loudspeakers: EnigmAcoustics M1; Albedo Audio Aptica; soundkaos Wave 40; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Submission; German Physiks HRS-120, Gallo Strada II w. TR-3D subwoofer
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Arkana Research XLR/RCA and speaker cables [on loan]
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all components
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc amp stand with Krion platform [on loan]
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: Irregularly shaped 9.5 x 10m open floor plan with additional 2nd-floor loft; wood-paneled sloping ceiling; parquet flooring; lots of non-parallel surfaces (pictorial tour here)
Review component retail: €2'250/pr in stealth black without stand; €2'400/pr in all other finishes

When Coin Audio's managing director Jerry Huang rang my inbox bell, his timing was impeccable. I'd just taken stock of pending assignments. I realized that I'd have to put my attention on filling upcoming vacancies again. But not just his timing was perfect. As he put it, "it was very nice meeting you at HighEnd Munich.  We were very proud to learn that our speakers caught your attention. Moreover, we are wondering if you might be interested in doing a formal review of our Mansion Compact loudspeakers, the bookshelf model you auditioned in our showroom in Munich. At Coin Audio, we strive to deliver audio products that are authentic, elegant and affordable to families. Bringing beautiful music to their lives is our ultimate goal."

Quite. I had indeed been seriously impressed by our Taiwanese newcomer's flawlessly executed industrial design with its Scandinavian timelessness; and the very clever built-in plinths to conceal and properly load their downfiring ports. And, I'd thought their tag line living a beautiful life with music was perhaps the best I'd ever seen in our sector. With poignant brevity, it expresses so many things in one phrase: that the enjoyment of music is merely one part of a well-lived life; that it has the power to make it more beautiful; and by extension, that the physical objects of playback themselves ought to be beautiful, too. Even the sentence structure put living first, music second. Brilliant. That, the industrial design plus promising sonics all suggested an unusually mature launch. As though born fully grown up. I suspected that the folks behind the brand were far from new at their craft. As it turns out, that impression was borne of fact. It only took a subsequent perusal of their website to connect these dots. Clever.

Speaking of clever, one glance at the below cutaway tells some of the tale. The mid/woofer's loading is in fact a short thrice-folded line. It terminates in a small flare which disburses fore and aft into a space defined by the round-cornered rectangular aluminium tube to become the plinth opening. That also conceals the WBT-0780 binding posts on its rear ceiling and engraved logo on the front floor.

The industrial design is by the Danish DN Group whose projects for various clients are clearly winning awards. In hifi we'd recognize Dali and Dynaudio. The acoustic design is by audio engineer Steven Huang—his signature is Hch—who packs heat by way of four decades of speaker and driver design expertise and extensive OEM work. That makes Coin Audio a coming-out party to hoist his own banner.

The drivers of the monitor are an 34.2 x 26.3mm air-motion transformer tweeter set into a very shallow flare; and a 5.25" ceramic-doped mid/woofer with perfectly concave profile and no traditional dust cap or phase plug. Specs are ±3dB bandwidth of 60Hz-30kHz (the lower F3 isn't terribly ambitious but likely notches up sensitivity a tick); a standard 3kHz crossover point; 86dB sensitivity; 6Ω nominal impedance; dimensions of 177 x 320 x 349mm WxDxH; and weight of 12kg.

Available finishes are shown at left by using the matching Mansion Tower as example. This 5-driver floorstander's midrange is obviously dedicated and not a mid/woofer. It thus differs from the monitor by being an ATC-type dome. The four finishes are matte black, gloss white, Walnut Burl and American Walnut. For the latter three, the brushed 2-way aluminium baffle which very attractively hides the usual driver mount screws and basket rims is anodized clear. The black enclosure goes full-on stealth with its black-anodized baffle instead. The grills not shown attach magnetically.

All of this you could have learnt just as easily from their website. To further part these curtains would require a remote interview with the company principals. Given that this was to be their first review in our pages, a more comprehensive presentation really was called for. Exploiting the motto 'ask and ye shall receive', I fired off the usual questions to see what might return. Most OEM work is based on iron-clad non-disclosure of course. Steven Huang was likely forbidden to share much if anything about his prior ghost-writing successes. But I'd still ask.

The perfect prelude in fact still came straight off their website: "The first thought behind taking my daughter to piano lessons was not to turn her into a musician one day. It was simply to open for her a door into music on the hopes that she will have a wonderful life with it. Looking at myself and friends, many of us have almost forgotten how music can always bring relief from pressure or distress. It's always good company no matter what. I started to let the radio play and pulled out old CDs. And my life changed dramatically. It lets my daughter wake up to Classical music. My family dines to 60s-70s love songs. We sing Pops in the shower. In absolutely no time, I found myself surrounded by more smiles and laughter. Suddenly I realized: happiness is this easily attained." So plain, so simple yet so true and very relevant. All the audiophile rest of it is just a lot of noise signifying precious little indeed. Just so, that's us so we soldier on.