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The W5 arrive in a cardboard box of the sort and size you'd depart a winery with, six bottles of prized grape juice in tow. The wood grain print of this box simply suggests no wine inside - unless perhaps a particularly woody varietal.

Protected in cloth liners, a grown man's hand easily spans the monitor's width to pull out each and then walk it about with just one hand. If you wish to use the optional CHF 340.- floor stands, flip the W5 and use the included hex bolts. The pre-mounted felt pads avoid wood-on-metal contact.

If a desktop, console or otherwise suitable piece of furniture becomes your favored W5 perch, the included spring footers mount into the recesses and threaded inserts instead and mimic the workings of Sven's SwingBase.

On the desktop I needed a bit more elevation. Because the Ardán stand proved cosmetically catastrophic—sexy runway model in short dress cemented down by clodhopping rubber boots—I shimmed up the frontal springs with rubber/cork squares. My monitor screen below shows Sven Boenicke's 140m² showroom. For a 2-page pictorial tour of it click here.

The next views show how the increased baffle rake aimed the widebanders straight at my ears. This screen capture is of the W5's filter network with Mundorf parts.

As mirror-imaged pairs you can obviously experiment with woofer orientation. Chances are the ticket is woofers facing in.

Running off Wyred4Sound's mINT preceded by an Asus Xonar Essence One Muses Edition DAC and digitally tapped iPod Classic 160GB, the W5 unceremoniously displaced my Gallo Strada2 as new king of the luxury desktop hill. It'd not remain on that hill for long of course. As my factory tour presaged as absolutely mandatory, the main floor was calling. The W5 is far too good to remain associated with the computer speaker epithet and be cursed by its automatically inherited faint praise. Whilst I do treat the desktop as a very serious music stage—I spend too much time here not to—common perception of it remains second-tier at best. How many treat this environment with the same care they heap on their big rig?

To hear the W5 at its very best or at least for proof that its intentions are far more ambitious than the shrunk scale of the desktop requires a big system. For just how counter-intuitively big that can get, please do reference my Basel tour piece. As it says there, I'd not fault you in the least if you were to say 'ridiculous', 'right' or something far more dismissive. My 5.5 x 12m room would be child's play compared to what we witnessed there. But first my aural report card from the work desk. Does the notion of bona fide soundstaging with the visual mind fuck of a big monitor screen in the way seem implausible? Like the CDTIII tweeter, the FE85 Fountek enjoys very broad off-axis response. Here it simply extends to below 600Hz unlike Gallo's far narrower band.

Does that matter? Based on results, I'd say affirmative. On the subject of depth I call it a draw but on width the W5 one-upped the Strada2. Considering what a demonic soundstager the Gallo is, this tells you something. That the ported Boenicke with its high-output Peerless woofer would reach lower than the sealed Strada wasn't surprising. On bandwidth the Swiss thus is the more complete speaker. For the desktop that's wasn't as critical yet. Where the W5 showed decisive advances already with as modest an amp as my $1.499 class D challenger was on tone. Where the Strada2 has many electrostatic qualities which move into the foreground speed and timing exactitude, the W5 felt timed nearly as adroitly but on timbre textures had far more tube-typical color saturation.

Here I'm not referencing 300B thickness with its diminished treble sheen and minor fuzz from high 2nd-order THD. I'm pointing at the minor bloom of richer decays which envelop the sound like a mild aroma. This wasn't warmth from sticky honey. This was the type of thing one observes between close-mic'd violins on one recording to another with more hall sound which doesn't strip the instruments of their interaction with the performance space. Since this was the core differentiator with the Gallos, walk away thinking of the Strada2 as equivalent to Goldmund's wide-bandwidth ultra-quick Job 225 amplifier. This would make the W5 into Trafomatic Audio Kaivalyas (interstage-transformer coupled EL84 p/p amps with single-ended driver stage).

The combination of solid-wood construction, chosen drivers and filter quality make the W5 a tone-centric performer. That's in keeping with how I read Sven's priorities and trigger points especially after experiencing his personal system. It's important though not to tie his concept of proper tone to any darkish voicing or response trickery. Expertly recorded cymbal work as you'd find it on most any Jacques Loussier release shows you just how good his Fountek is as a tweeter even if its diameter is twice as large as we've come to think proper. Sven's notion of tone is about removing reminders of artifice—grain, electronic haze, energetic constrictions—until the real thing emerges. Though the W5's sticker didn't leave room for his costly Bybee or Stein filters, there is a sort of resonator inside. It's a very fine silver wire trimmed to within 1/1'000th of a centimetre that sticks out freely behind the Fountek's hot connection. Sven explained how critical the perfect length of this metallic whisker is. I've not heard the W5 without it of course but given his demonstration of various other easily removable system tweaks with the W5 playing in Basel, I take his word for it. The whisker is critical.