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Common sense and business focus. CEO Michel Reverchon welcomed me in the conference room of his company which faces the posh Maserati dealership of Geneva's Z.I. aka zone industriel or world-famous business park. Entering this region which hugs the French border, I passed Piaget. Further down the road I would have hit Rolex. The security measures to enter their iconic black building far exceed those of Goldmund. But even with the very low-key Goldmund crew, in a building sans big company sign or any other indication as to who its occupants might be, one still is faced by locked doors. Announce yourself by Intercom to get buzzed in.
Piaget Plan les Ouates/Geneva
Rolex Plan les Ouates/Geneva
As Michel explained, he situated Goldmund in Geneva precisely because it's the well-oiled center of the Swiss watch industry. It's packed with hi-tech subcontractors of top quality from whom Goldmund procure their thousands of custom parts and sub assemblies. Whilst they're huge in Asia and arguably #1 of all the high-end hifi brands there—that market accounts for 83% of their annual gross to also mean they're still very much below the radar elsewhere—the firm is actually small when one counts its 15 employees. But that doesn't tell the whole story. At the time of my visit, their resident four full-time engineers were augmented by experts in three major Swiss technical universities whom Michel had contracted with to work on exclusive Goldmund research projects.

Reverchon very strategically launches limited-edition extreme projects like 5000-watt amplifiers (the $189'600 Telos 5000 in 20 units for example) or ultra-expensive fully active statement speakers not just because Asia's elite clamour for them. He does because such projects fund Goldmund's ongoing research into quantifying hifi-related phenomena. He insists on exploiting only fully predictable designs. He shakes his head at the artisanal hit'n'miss approach which can net only partial results because it lacks a proper understanding of how and why things work. Be it sponsorships of technical university students to perhaps write a master's thesis on a subject Goldmund are interested in; or refine specialized tech during their tenure; or project-specific hires of post graduates who conduct off-site tech investigations in fully equipped scientific labs which may or may not be successful (but the only way to know is doing it and paying for it)... it's such ongoing investment in advancing the company's IP which is the focus of Goldmund. They're actually a hi-tech lab who build product only to fund their ongoing research. One current project expected to lead to actual product by the end of 2015 is active real-time room correction below 120Hz by using counter-phase subwoofers with embedded microphones. Spatial's Black Hole was a very primitive version of this technology first proposed by Nelson Pass decades ago.

Job Pre2 active linestage with 3/1 i/o on RCA with simple remote

As reader and Job 225 owner Kurt quipped upon learning of my visit and the new Job Pre2, "at the incredibly welcome 'blue collar' prices Goldmund/Job are asking for their offerings, they should receive some sort of humanitarian award." That's of course enthusiasm pure but there's some truth to it. Reverchon's engineering background found itself heavily augmented by marketing when IBM hired him in the latter capacity before he acquired Goldmund. He thus positioned the company early on to very unapologetically pursue the luxury sector. 1989's Goldcube power amp machined from solid brass with 10-micron gold plate serves as example.

Luxury of course links to stability. It's the fat-cat mantra. No matter what, the rich always have discretionary funds to pursue their desires. Where causal observers lose this plot is to assume bling without substance. By implication they believe that those well off enough to purchase a Goldmund Apologue speaker well in excess of a super-expensive luxury car are blind to true quality. For the have-nots it's the convenient judgment to make. Those successful in any upscale market would simply tell us that it's not true. Besides certain necessary trophy and exclusivity aspects, quality is actually paramount. After 30 years, Goldmund should know.

first Job Pre2 production being readied to commence sales

And here it's exactly the same tech which informs the lowliest model—in this case the Job kit—and the most extreme implementation. It's a very egalitarian and utterly no-nonsense code. It speaks to snob appeal only if that's how you choose to view it. Goldmund as I began to understand quickly are about very practical solutions that work. They use a very specific aluminium alloy for all of their speakers for just two reasons: it's completely consistent from batch to batch to keep their mechanical resonance attenuation measures on precise target; and it doesn't age. Composite materials which would lend themselves to more curvaceous shapes lack this consistency. This builds in some variability from unit to unit which Reverchon called unacceptable if you mean to perform at the very top.

For an informal show of egalitarianism in action, Michel Reverchon, Rodolphe Boulanger and resident code-writing and acoustician expert Veronique Adam conducted for me a controlled three-part demo in their sound room. First off was the passive ProLogos 3-driver two-way on its basic stand driven from my familiar Job 225. This was fronted by the very first full production Job Pre2 and Goldmund's massive Blu-Ray deck based on an Oppo platform. Next up was replacing the Job with the 'two-up-from-there' Goldmund stereo amp - except that they'd sold through their inventory batch of that model to reach for a pair of 500-watt monos instead. Everything else remained unaltered. I'd asked for this because I wanted to hear how more power from the scaled-up Job circuit packaged in Goldmund's mechanical grounding enclosures would up the game.

Job Pre2 open

Finally my hosts set up the active ProLogos version instead. By request it was hooked up via digital coax cable to bypass wireless. For the occasion they also upgraded the conventional stand with the more robotic 'grounding-rod' stand.

Pre2 circuit

Ensconced inside each 50x29x39cm metal box—that's compact!—are three top-quality drivers from ScanSpeak and Audio Technology; two Telos class A/B amps; a D/A converter; and finally Goldmund's proprietary very advanced Leonardo2 DSP program "for complete correction of amplitude, phase and time". From what I saw, this active ProLogos is arguably the company's premier showcase today for all of their technology packed into the tightest of footprints. Because I signed up to review it, we'll leave details for later.

For today's intro purposes, the following shall suffice.