HIGH END 2023 Munich Show Coverage
Marking 22 years of Boenicke Audio's existence, the distinctive and very talented Swiss designer Sven Boenicke has unveiled his new top speaker, model W22. As stated in the description of the speaker, the W22 has been in development for the last three years, and the designer has invested in it all the knowledge at his disposal using mostly custom-made speaker units and components. Here are just a few items from the list:
"Accoya or Mahogany solid-wood enclosure with custom-made side panels on proprietary Swing Base flotation; custom AER tweeter of high 101dB/2.83V/m sensitivity with ultra-linear cone, powder-coated bell-bronze curved baffle, friction-free suspension, paper voice coil former, special aluminium-alloy voice coil wire, double C37 lacquered carbon membrane, bell-bronze phase plug, Harmonix RF 5700 on magnet; Audax rear tweeter; custom 28.5cm Overconductor mid/woofer with bell-bronze phase plug, C37 lacquered cellulose diaphragm, paper voice-coil former, aluminium voice coil both C37 lacquered; no electrical crossover on widebander; proprietary suspension mechanism for the mid / woofer and tweeter; proprietary linearization network for acoustical phase; 600W Class D module with programmable DSP for active bass amplification; twin 15-inch long-throw woofers in sealed enclosure delayed by extra samples to phase-correct minor DSP latency, Lessloss, Furutech, Deulund..."
That is not all, but it is enough to give you the impression of the complexity of the design, performance, and tuning of the components that were used for the ultimate sound of the speakers. So how does the W22 sound? In short, phenomenal! Detailed, throwing wide, deep, and high outlines of space, with a deep, articulated, and voluminous bass foundation. It is also transparent and defined in mid and high frequencies, a speaker that is extremely comfortable to listen to with such a natural timbre. It should be noted that complete Boenicke electronics were used, so the whole description of the sound is based on their pairing with the speaker, what sonic characteristics the W22 would provide with another manufacturer remains a question, but from what I heard at the presentation in Munich, it is worthy of my biggest recommendation.
I left the best for the last; the W22 model has no fixed price. The price is determined for each transaction based on customized finishing choices. Worldwide shipping and personal placement by Sven Boenicke are included.
Since its inception in 1986, the French manufacturer Davis Acoustics has been known for its in-house production of quality speaker drivers (e.g. the popular 13KVL5A bass/midrange with Kevlar membrane), started by Michel Visan (1938 to 2012). Continuing the family tradition, his son Olivier Visan has been growing into a very talented younger generation speaker designer, in recent years proving himself every year in Munich with his new creations.
Last year he confirmed this with his new top model Stellar (€35,000 /pair), while this year the model The Wall (€22,000 /pair) premiered. Conceptually and visually completely different products, but they have something in common, both use speaker units that are fully developed and made in their own factory.
The Wall was born on the idea of renewing their Heritage product line in which Davis intends to maintain a more "traditional" approach to high-end speaker design. This large rectangular parallelopiped (51" H x 28" W x 12" D), hides two woofers in push-pull operation, and a full-range bass/midrange driver with TiCoNAl magnets, and a distinctive conical tweeter, which is an integral part of the Stellar speaker, and located on the front panel.
The speaker is a bass reflex design with both ports located on the back, so it is necessary to make sure it is not positioned too close to the back wall. Support for the speakers came from Jadis Electronics, also a French company, marking its 40th anniversary this year. For this occasion, their new 85 W monoblock amplifier JA170 (€25,000) with KT170 tubes, JP80MC preamplifier (€23,500) and JS2 Mk IV DAC (€10,290) were used, while the sound source was Roon Nucleus and cables from Absolute Creation.
Davis Acoustics The Wall with Jadis Electronics excelled. Whether it played rock, jazz, or classical music, the sound was extremely relaxed, spacious, open, and defined. There was no sign of sharpness or coloration that would impair the sound image, despite the great dynamics and rapid transients at louder listening levels. Comparing The Wall to the sound of Stellar one could say that the latter is more suitable for audiophile audiences, for a user who enjoys constantly perfecting, changing, and pairing the speakers with the rest of the hi-fi system, while The Wall is more for users who want to adjust the hi-fi system once for all and concentrate on enjoying their music collection. Visually homage to the golden days of vintage hi-fi, The Wall offers a similar note in its sound, only this time it is richly supplemented with modern overtones and phenomenally balanced.
If we look at it in absolute high-end terms, with the introduction of the new model The Wall Olivier Visan created a speaker he can be very proud of. It is a speaker with a sound quality superlatively compared with products from much more famous manufacturers, and looking at its price / quality relationship, in my opinion, The Wall is the absolute Best Buy of this year's HIGH END 2023 show in Munich.