World Premiere Review!
For now, I am going to resist calling the Goldmund Logos Tower loudspeakers "lifestyle" products. Sure, there are some who will purchase the Goldmund Logos Tower speakers and their accompanying Mimesis 11 preamplifier / wireless hub who are not audiophiles, but simply wish to have the best wireless speaker system they can afford. But I'm going to resist calling it a lifestyle product because I'm just as sure there are going to be audiophiles who recognize the Goldmund name and consider purchasing this system. And why not? These wireless speakers are endowed with 350 Watts of power each, have an internal digital-to-analog converter (DAC), and as a bonus, look and sound incredible!
The speakers can be used with cables, as each speaker has a RCA coax S/PDIF digital input on its rear panel. Better yet, though, they can receive a wireless signal directly from one's computer/music server if one wishes, without using the Mimesis 11 hub. Although I can't imagine many purchasing the Logos Tower speakers and being able to resist also purchasing the Mimesis 11, because it is in fact a digital preamplifier, with a volume control, an analog input via a pair of RCAs in addition to its three digital inputs – S/PDIF RCA coax, optical TosLink, and a USB input that can send digital signals to the speakers including DSD.
For the few that have never heard of Goldmund, they are a nearly forty-year-old company based in Geneva Switzerland. Many have come to know them because of their extraordinary turntables, some of which have attained near mythical status. This includes their most acclaimed model, the appropriately named Reference. But also well-known are their extravagant Apologue wireless speakers and mighty Telos power amplifiers. These products do not only outperform others in their class, but are modern-art museum worthy. In Goldmund's own words, they manufacture "extreme" high-end, and "luxury" home-theater components. And indeed, they are.
One look at their upper-end products will likely elicit a "holy crap" from audiophiles and non-audiophiles alike. The Logos Tower and Mimesis 11 reviewed here are not top-of-the-line Goldmund's products, yet they are made with the same Swiss craftsmanship and made with the same advance technologies in the same Geneva factory. To make sure that their products receive the attention they deserve once they leave the factory, Goldmund has a training curriculum that their dealers must enroll in and complete that has three levels of certification. The first is a certification exam, the second a level of training that licenses them to sell, install, and service lifestyle products, and the third is a certification to sell and install their home-theater products. Recently, Goldmund opened their first retail store in the US, in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Positioning and setting up the speakers was easy since most of the configuring was done previous to me receiving the Goldmund equipment. Connecting the Mimesis 11 to the speakers and to the rest of my equipment also only took me a few minutes – I connected the Mimesis 11 to a wall outlet, connected the Mimesis 11's digital output cables to the speakers, and plugged the speakers into a wall outlet. I connected the USB output of my computer based music server to the Mimesis 11's USB input, and my phono preamplifier's output interconnects to the Mimesis 11's analog input. Although I initially connected the cables from the Mimesis 11 to the Logos Towers, most of the time I used the speakers wirelessly, both from the dongle attached to my computer's USB output, and wirelessly from the Mimesis 11.
The Logos Towers are 3.5 foot tall, narrow, two-way speakers with a 6.5" driver and a soft dome tweeter. The speaker's cabinet is made completely out of metal, which Goldmund says guarantees that the speaker's cabinet is vibration free. I believe them. When loud music was playing I put the palm of my hand on the speaker's side, and I could barely feel anything that would leave me to believe that the cabinet was reacting in any way to the program material. The Logos Towers have in each speaker not only two 175-Watt Goldmund Telos power amplifiers, one for each driver, and rather large port on the front panel of the speaker, but a DAC, so all the speakers need to be fed is a digital signal. Did I mention that these speakers look fantastic? They do. My pair was finished in white with gold top plate. The exquisite Goldmund logo made the speaker look luxurious. This is not a speaker that will struggle to fit in with the rest of a listening room's décor, it is a speaker that is likely to improve its decor.
As the speakers were already broken in, I started my serious listening immediately after setting everything up. My conclusion? These are extremely neutral sounding speakers. I had a tough time describing their character in my listening notes as I didn't have much to write. Yes, these speakers don't reach too far into the low frequencies since there is only one 6.5" woofer, so later in the review period I connected my subwoofer to add the frequencies that were below the mid 30Hz region. Setting up my subwoofer was a pain in the neck. I could only use the sub when I was using the Mimesis hub. I had to split its digital signal and send it to my reference system's DAC and then the DAC's analog signal to my subwoofer. This was hardly the best (and definitely not the easiest) way to set up a sub for use with the Logos Towers. I assume any customer who invests in a Goldmund Logos Tower/Mimesis 11 system and wants to use them with a subwoofer will invest in a Goldmund Logos subwoofer, which also has a digital input so it will match with the Logos Towers.
There will be some who use the Logos Towers as main speakers in a home theater set-up, so the subwoofer will be obviously included in that system, bit there will also be those who use the Goldmund Tower Logos/Mimesis 11 combination to listen to music who will forgo the subwoofer, mostly because some listeners will decide none is needed, because for some types of music the Logos Tower simply doesn't need a subwoofer. The bass that the Logos Towers reproduce is a bass that is an exceptionally tight, pitch specific low-end with absolutely no anomalies – no mid-bass hump, no "hang over" in its lowest frequencies, and the low-end driver sonically blends with the tweeter to form a seamless whole. In addition to the seamless presentation, and extremely neutral sound was a soundstage that seemed to stretch as wide as the dimensions of my room. With the right program material, the speakers' location was undetectable.
Speaking of program material, most know that I prefer analog to digital, so when I discovered that the Mimesis 11 digitizes the signal sent to its analog inputs I was skeptical. The resolution of the digital signal is certainly respectable, but still, it is a digital signal. To my surprise my LPs sounded fantastic through the Logos Towers/Mimesis combo. Just for fun I compared the SACD file of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here that was ripped from the Analogue Productions release, to the best copy of the LP in my collection, a 180-gram pressing with the lacquer cut by Doug Sax. I played the LP on my Basis Debut V turntable with the amazing Gold Note Tuscany phono cartridge mounted on a Tri-Planar 6 tonearm, with the turntable's interconnects plugged into a Pass Labs XP-15 phono preamp, and its interconnects connected to the Mimesis 11's analog input. The DSD digital file originated from my computer-based music server's USB output, and that connected to the USB input on the Mimesis 11 with a Furutech USB cable with an Audioquest Jitterbug USB data and power noise filter connected to each end. Was there a difference in the sound between the analog and digital sources? Absolutely. Which was better? Neither. They were just different, that's all. Other than the super-convenience of the having to press play on my computer to begin playing the DSD file, the difference is one that any audiophile would expect.
To the Logos Tower/Mimesis 11's credit, the Goldmund set-up was able to preserve the qualities of what I like best about analog playback. On the LP, the transients were sharpened just a bit more than I was accustomed to, but not to the point of being unnatural sounding, plus, I was more than satisfied that the dynamics were preserved. I could hear the small details just as well as I could when playing the LP on my system, such as on the into to "Wish You Were Here" before the lead vocals enter, where the rustling of the music stand, the intake of breath before singing, all that seemed to be brought to the foreground just a hair more than I was used to. But I was comparing the two formats on a system I wasn't that familiar with, and since there is no analog input on the back panel of the Logos Tower that goes directly to the amp with a volume control, the comparison wasn't that valid. What was valid was the experience of hearing the LP played back through the Logos Tower/Mimesis system, which was incredible. As was listening to the DSD file through my computer. And both I could enjoy wirelessly through the Logos Tower speakers. If this is the future of audio, bring it on.
For the rest of the review period, I didn't focus on how the Logos Tower/Mimesis system was different than what I was used to, but instead basked in the fact that I was listening to a Goldmund wireless system, with two gorgeous looking two-way floor-standing speakers, their music sourced from my computer using the dongle plugged into the USB input, or sometimes from the Mimesis 11. When listening to a good recording with my eyes closed, it was easy to convince myself that I was no longer in my listening room, but where the music was made. It hardly mattered if this music originated from a digital file or from an LP. I played Miles Davis' Nefertiti, and whether it was the DSD file or the when playing the LP, in my grandiloquent mind I would be taken to Columbia Records 57th Street studio, a fly on the wall, sometimes sitting with the band listening to the playback in the control room, and sometimes sitting in a comfy chair in the studio behind one of the room baffles while Wayne Shorter laid down a solo. At one point, I thought I might have detected the faint smell of cigarette smoke.
Hyperbole aside, the Logos Towers were a great way to get inside a recording, to dissect the goings on, but at the same time the speakers could make me relax all the muscles in my body, and sink into my listening seat and simply enjoy the music. No, these speakers couldn't plumb the depths of the low-end, nether were they as revealing nor as "big" sounding as my reference Sound Lab Majestic 545 full-range electrostatic speakers. But they were a portal into the meaning of the music because of their neutral sound, neutral in the way they didn't emphasize any of the frequencies of recording, neutral in the way they were able to reach as high as the treble frequency was on the recording without ever sounding unnatural, or annoying because I was listening to a digital signal. In fact, when enjoying an album, it very rarely occurred to me that I was listening to a digitized signal. The speakers simply sounded like the great music they were reproducing. Period.
That doesn't mean that audiophiles should not consider these Goldmund products. The audiophile is still going to need sources to feed these speakers and the Mimesis 11, and all that this may involve some very fine audiophile components. Or not involve, which is where the non-audiophile comes in. These speakers can be fed with any digital source (although the maxim "garbage in, garbage out is certainly true, and so these speakers definitely deserve good source material). The reward is some of the best sound I've ever heard from a pair of two-way floor standing speakers. Yes, their bass is limited, and one is going to have to purchase a Goldmund subwoofer (or at least one that can accept a digital signal) if one listens to music that requires deep-bass, or be used as part of a home-theater system.
It is because of their "lifestyle" design that I cannot give these Goldmund products a blanket recommendation to all readers of Enjoy the Music.com. But what I can do is state that these are magnificent products that are worthy of the Goldmund name. And for those non-audiophile readers that happen to be reading this, and to those audiophiles who know non-audiophiles who want the best wireless, lifestyle speaker system, I give them my highest recommendation. And for good reason.
Goldmund Mimesis 11 Digital Hub / Preamplifier
Voice: + 41 22 823 05 66