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-   -   A Boenicke day at Gent, May '19. (

bart 06-09-2019 09:09 AM

A Boenicke day at Gent, May '19.
A couple of weeks ago, I went to Gent (or Ghent, if you want), to see and hear the speakers of Sven Boenicke.
Lieu: Wide Screen Audio.

I had heard the little W5s last year, during the X-Fi show in the Netherlands, and Jacques and I walked away highly impressed. The soundstage and bass these gorgeous Lilliputians produced was amazing.

Another reason I specifically wanted to attend the Boenicke show was the presence of the Swiss creator himself.

So, on that Sunday morning I made sure I was on time, because I wanted to be one of the first visitors.
This would give me the opportunity to hear some of my favourite test tracks.

It worked out well, I arrived before any other attendees.
I talked a bit with Sven.
He started as a one man company, now there are three persons working at Boenicke Audio.
He is also a sound engineer, which of course helps him to voice his speakers.

There 4 models in the lineup: the W5, W8, W11 and W13. Each model has 3 levels: the basic version, the SE, and the SE+ version.
The owners of the shop said they were surprised that the better components used in the SE and SE+ versions upped the already good performance of the basic model in such a drastic way.

All 4 models were represented in the store.
3 were installed in a system.

We started with the W8 SE+.

As my wife Meta couldn't join me, you'll have to do without her photographical skills, and bear with my iPhone 7+ pics. :D

Source: a dCS Bartok:

Amplifier: a SPEC class D integrated amplifier:

You'll notice that you probably don't know the brand of cables.
You're right, more about that later.

The 2 youngsters who came also quite early proved to be real music lovers and connoisseurs!
Yippee, young blood in our hobby!


bart 06-09-2019 09:15 AM

Fit and finish of these rather small speakers is top notch.

The W8 is a 3-way speaker.
The woofer is side-firing.

The SE+ model offers a clever suspension system, called 'Swing Base', to isolate the speaker from the wooden surfaces of so many living rooms.
They isolate better than spikes.

'Swiss happiness in a box'...

The innards of the W8 & W5:

bart 06-09-2019 09:23 AM

You know my test tracks by now:

This wonderful mono recording, to test human voices:


For ambient sounds:


For textures of acoustic instruments:


And this well recorded harpsichord:


Higgens 06-09-2019 09:32 AM

Thanks, Bart. I like their marketing slogan “Swiss Happiness in a Box”. Sounds like something a Swiss chocolatier might say.

And the photography ain’t too shabby. You must have a good teacher.

bart 06-09-2019 09:45 AM

How did the Boenicke W8 fare so far?

Well, detail, mids and highs, and soundstage were pretty good.
Ella & Louis sounded very natural, Muddy Waters also.
But I was disappointed about the bass.
That became more apparent with the Bruno Cocset album.
A speaker that costs 16K per pair needs more grunt.

We continued with Madredeus' 'Ainda'.
Track 9 'Ainda' has a continuous bass foundation which was simply lacking here.


And then this album: the second piece 'Ciacona in D minor' from Pachelbel is a real torture track:

It is available on Qobuz (24/96) and Tidal.
Try it out!
Big fun.
It is magnificent and will pressurise your room in an impressive way.
Your furniture will rattle if you listen in your living room.
You will notice all things that are loose! :D

One condition: your speakers must be able to dive well under 30 Hz.
I severely missed this here.
Only the overtones of the organ were present.

I was unhappy, even to the point that I thought about not posting a review.
I don't do negative reviews.
Only when something in a hifi show is really bad, I'll report about it briefly, and move on to the good rooms.

But you are reading this, I did post this, so there must have been something pleasing to my ears that day.

Let us go to the W13 SE+...

bart 06-09-2019 09:55 AM

I had expressed my doubts about the bass on the W8 SE+, and had said I was not hearing what I usually hear at home when playing this track.
So we moved to the other room, where the W13 SE+ was ready to play the same track.

This speaker still isn't big, but it has 2 woofers of 13 inches, with their own amplification.

According to the room, you can even tune the bass:

It makes these speakers semi-active, and that gives you a wider choice of amplifiers able to drive them.

bart 06-09-2019 10:05 AM

So, what about the organ track now?!

Yes yes and yes!
Sven even wanted to tune the bass down, but I assured him it has to sound like this.
When you are in the church where it was recorded, you do feel the organ in your guts!
We were smiling, as the paintings on the wall were rattling indeed, and the deep, warm organ notes caressed our bellies... :D

Also the Madredeus track now fully bloomed.

As everybody knows, when the bass is right, also the mids and highs flourish more easily.
The soundstage opened up, we could hear more detail, everything became more transparent, lifelike, natural.

I congratulated Sven by saying: "This is a wonderful, full range speaker, with a very high WAF!!".

Pre amp: ARC Ref 6:

The juice was provided by the VTL S-200 power amp:

SCAudiophile 06-09-2019 10:06 AM

I heard the W13+ SE and W11 SE in Munich and was shocked by how good they were. Big room, somewhat small speakers and I kept looking around the room for surround speakers of some form, subs, etc...found none and simply sat back and enjoyed a huge surprise from this speaker. They had ample bass to spare...

bart 06-09-2019 10:12 AM

When you see the room, you will notice it is not well treated.
A choice of the shop owners.
It makes it all a bit too lively.
But you could easily appreciate the immense qualities of the Boenicke W13 SE+.
I'm 100% sure it can shine even more in a somewhat better damped room.

Wooden midrange!
It sent gorgeous sounds into the room...

Sven explaining.

He poked in the midrange driver in a way that made us hold our breath...

You wouldn't do that with aluminium drivers...


bart 06-09-2019 10:15 AM

Source here: dCS Rossini and Clock:

Notice the tweeter on the back of the speaker, that provides even more ambience:

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