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Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
27" iMac with 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, 16GB 1.333MHz RAM, 2TB hard disc, 256GB SSD drive, ADM Radeon HD 6970M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, OSX 10.8.2, PureMusic 1.89a in hybrid memory play with pre-allocated RAM and AIFF files up to 24/192; Audirvana 2.4 in direct/integer mode, Metrum Hex, SOtM dX-USB HD with Super-clock upgrade & mBPS-d2s
Preamp/Integrated: ModWright LS-100 with Psvane tubes, Esoteric C-03, Bent Audio Tap-X, TruLife Audio Athena, Bakoon AMP-11R, Black Pearls Birth 100 [on review], Yamamoto A-014 [on review]
: First Watt SIT1, FirstWatt SIT2, ModWright KWA100SE
Speakers: Aries Cerat Gladius, Boenicke Aud
io B10, Zu Audio Druid V, AudioSolutions Rhapsody 200
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Audio Event
Artesania Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with TT glass shelf, Rajasthani solid hardwood console for amps
Powerline conditioning: GigaWatt PF2
on amps,GigaWatt PC-3 SE Evo on front-end components

Sundry accessories: Extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters
Room size: 5m x 11.5m W x D, 2.6m ceiling with exposed wooden cross beams every 60cm, plaster over brick walls, suspended wood floor with Tatami-type throw rugs. The listening space opens into the second storey via a staircase and the kitchen/dining room are behind the main listening chair. The latter is thus positioned in the middle of this open floor plan without the usual nearby back wall.
Review component retail: CHF19.400/pr [€15.700, $21.350] with tripod or column stand

Close to here is the secret place where the tone wood for Stradivarius violin restorations is harvested - and that for the Wave 40.

Round up the usual suspects. When I visited the Swiss HighEnd show in its 4th installment last year—the event is organized by the same crack team that's responsible for the Munich show—it clearly had developed quite the loyal support. Most manufacturers or domestic dealers book the same room year after year to provide returning visitors with a familiar walk-thru. With a nod to Marc Mickelson's website, my own audio beat on this fourth occasion became one of crass novelty. If I'd seen or covered it before, I moved on. This swiftly led to today's discovery.

Round up the unusual suspects. Taking the place of Sven Boenicke of the eponymous Swiss speaker house who didn't attend for once, Martin Gateley's Wave 40 under the wicked soundkaos banner demonstrated that tone woods, minimized energy storage, verkackte pain-in-the-ass assembly and widebanders are venerated also on the Green Isle (Martin is a Swiss transplant to the UK who might be returning to the land of cheese, chocolate and watches soon).

His ovoid speaker centers around a widebander designed and built by Armin Galm, an in-demand transducer engineer who works a lot with Backes & Müller. How does a gifted contract designer of drivers spend his spare time? Dream up the ideal widebander without any commercial pressures of course.

The Enviee 8 is an Alnico-powered 8-incher with a 51.2Hz resonant frequency and 10.8g of moving mass. Flux density is 1.2T, sensitivity 95.2dB and power handling 50 watts. In Martin's speaker the driver is low-passed around 7kHz to hand over to a Serbian Raal ribbon. This eliminates the Enviee's 'hot zone' around 9kHz where to Martin's ears it gets just a bit fresh.

The enclosure is a clamshell of Maple sides with Alpine Spruce front and rear. The front sports concentric ripples machined into its surface but the handcrafter's nightmare doesn't stop there. The entire enclosure is mostly decoupled from the driver by hanging off a cylindrical cross member mounted to the stand. One single bolt connects the ovoid to the center of the stand's top. The enclosure's two halves are joined along a central longitudinal seam by four invisible bolts.

You can't do it with the optional tripod version where solicited feedback suggests particular popularity with the younger generation. But you can with the single stem version that had my attention. Do what? Rotate the entire cabinet freely around its stationary driver. I don't know why you would—the ribbon shouldn't go sideways—but you could. It's one unusual way to decouple a driver from its enclosure.


There's a very short curved hybrid rear-horn slash transmission line which terminates in a fist-sized opening to one side. A few final design decisions remained when I met Martin at the show. One of them was whether the whizzer would stay. With the Raal as dedicated tweeter the whizzer was technically no longer required. Even so Martin explained that the driver actually behaves more linear with it. Whilst the minimalist network designed by Christien Ellis of CE Electro-Acoustics was essentially sorted, some experiments on parts choices remained. And Martin still wanted to try shellacking his rippling baffle like a guitar to harden and thus protect its soft outer surface.

He had demo'd his nearly finalized prototype in an open booth with a stack of Bakoon gear for which he'd become the Swiss importer. Those who know of my fondness for this Korean gear—I'd acquired an AMP-11R for personal use after my review—will appreciate that Martin's choice of ancillaries had yet more of my attention. Hence right there on the spot in the Mövenpick hotel did I I sign up for a review pair once formal production had commenced.

prototypes in various states of being ripp(l)ed

In early February Martin who by then was back in Switzerland announced himself to deliver his 93dB efficient 34x80x28cm WxHxD Waves for some surfing fun in what promised to be snow. Whilst rumblings had it that his Armin Galm widebander had cropped up also on the radar of ex Audio Physic/Sonics boss Joachim Gerhard, at this juncture Martin's speaker appeared to be the only one to use it. Novel drivers in this genre are rare. This was a truly welcome opportunity to hear a new one [its Alnico motor parts show at right]. Built to order, lead time for a pair of Wave 40 is five weeks + shipping. Clear or black shellac—"a lovely finish which takes ages to dry by being de facto 10% application and 90% alcohol evaporation"—did become the standard finish. The external crossover with Mundorf parts applies a 2nd-order low-pass to the widebander and a 1st-order single-cap high-pass to the ribbon. Amplifier connection is via a single pair of universal binding posts to the external filter network whence a supplied flying lead with gold-plated 4-pin connector makes the final connection to the speaker. Similar to Zu's new Druid V, the handover between drivers is set at 6.8kHz well above the critical presence region. Nominal impedance is 8 ohms, measured response 55Hz-22kHz, power handling 15-100W. With both stands having gotten equal votes, they are available at the same price.