Diversity rules this installment of the SoundStage! High End 2022 product coverage. With prices that range from $699 to over $500,000 (USD), it’s hard to believe that, at High End, there are customers for both of these price categories and everything in between. It serves to remind us that the hobby of high-end audio and listening to music in the home is an attractive proposition for a wide swath of us. Prices for the products below are in US dollars, euros, or Swiss francs (CHF).
Denmark’s Gryphon Audio Designs displayed a prototype floorstanding loudspeaker that replaces the standmounted Mojo S from years past. The angular Eos 2 is a two-way design that incorporates what Gryphon refers to as a Stealth cabinet design—said to avoid internal standing waves, also reducing the need for conventional damping. The Line Porting feature of the Eos 2 allows the owner to adjust the location—front or back—of the vent opening to aid in proper room placement. Tunnel Damping, according to Gryphon, more effectively routes the midrange-woofer driver’s rear sound waves toward the porting system.
The driver complement consists of a 34mm beryllium-dome tweeter with waveguide and a 7″ midrange-woofer that was developed in a collaboration with SB Acoustics and Techstream. The midrange-woofer features a 3D-printed ring attached to the spider that is said to strengthen the bond between the voice coil and the thin-ply membrane, making the action of the driver more pistonic (i.e., less prone to breaking up, causing resonances). The Eos 2 is priced at €19,500 per pair.
The SVS Prime Wireless Pro Powered Speaker Pair—yup, all of those words form the official name, with the final word to reinforce that you get two speakers—is a rethinking of the US company’s Prime Wireless speaker system. The improvements on the new model include a larger cabinet size, HDMI connectivity, and the inclusion of Chromecast and AirPlay 2 compatibility. The midrange-woofer is 5.25″ across—slightly larger than the original—and the tweeter has a 1″ aluminum dome, carried over from the prior model.
Each speaker is powered with 50W to each driver, so 200W total for the stereo pair. The Prime Wireless Pro Powered Speaker Pair will reportedly play louder and with deeper bass than the original Prime Wireless speaker system. The price for the Prime Wireless Pro Powered Speaker Pair is $699.
The Goldmund GAIA (508,000 CHF per pair) is the new flagship loudspeaker from Swiss manufacturer Goldmund—and boy is this thing BIG at 25.5″W, 82.6″H, and 33.5″D. The driver complement is equally immense: one dome supertweeter, one dome tweeter, two 4″ midrange drivers, two 6″ lower-midrange drivers, and a pair of 12″ woofers. The six-way design uses multiple cabinets and eight separate 300W amplifiers per channel—one amplifier per driver. Connectivity includes digital wired inputs and wireless connectivity. The GAIA’s frequency response is listed as 18.5Hz (-3dB) to 30kHz (-6dB). The GAIA weighs 838 pounds per side in the configuration shown here, with its designer, Dr. Veronique Adam (head of acoustics at Goldmund), shown between to illustrate the size of this loudspeaker design.
Aavik Acoustics, which is part of Audio Group Denmark, showed its new 880-series, which includes three models. Shown above is the C880 preamplifier, which is priced at $65,000. The C880 is said to have an extremely low noise floor, and the volume control is based on optical resistors controlled by a computer, which the company says results in much better performance than alternative methods. There’s also an I880 integrated amplifier (not shown), which is also priced at $65,000, and of course . . .
. . . to match the C880, the Aavik P880 ($65,000) class-A power amplifier. The P880 is said to have an extremely low noise floor as well—apparently the hallmark trait of the series. In fact, the entire 880 series of products all use what the company says are novel “noise suppression” systems. The P880 is rated to deliver 250Wpc in class A—a hard-to-believe figure given the size of the chassis, but that’s the claim. The design itself is a collaboration between Flemming Rasmussen—of Gryphon Audio Designs fame (he was the founder)—who did the industrial design, and Michael Borresen, who was responsible for the electronics. The chassis constructions of the 880 products are said to minimize the use of aluminum in order to avoid ringing (i.e., resonances).
The Karelia is the new flagship loudspeaker from Finnish company Penaudio. The Karelia is a three-way, seven-driver floorstander with—the main feature—a cardioid acoustic radiation pattern. To achieve this, the woofers are mounted in an open-baffle enclosure while the midrange . . .
. . . is vented to the sides and on the front baffle of the cabinet. The cardioid radiation pattern is said to control directivity, therefore making the Karelia easier to place in a real room. The company says this allows you “to hear the drivers and not the room.” The mids and woofers are custom designs from SEAS’s Excel line, while the crossover uses Mundorf components. The price is €99,900 per pair.
Canadian firm Verity Audio played the brand new Arindal loudspeaker, which is a three-way, three-driver floorstander that features a 6″ midrange and a dual-ring-radiator tweeter on the front of the upper cabinet and . . .
. . . a 9.5″ woofer on the rear of the lower cabinet. The Arindal is also fitted with the company’s Mechanical & Airborne Sound Isolation System (MASIS) base, which mass loads the speaker on the bottom for better bass response. The Arindal also has Furutech binding posts and a similar form factor to past Verity speakers. The price is €41,900 per pair.