Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 12.2), PureMusic 2.04, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, COS Engineering D1, Metrum Hex, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi La Scala MkII, SOtM dX-USB HD w. super-clock upgrade & mBPS-d2s, Apple iPod Classic 160GB (AIFF), Astell& Kern AK100 modified by Red Wine Audio, Cambridge Audio iD100, Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital, Pure i20, S.A. Lab Lilt [on review]
Preamplifier: COS Engineering D1, Nagra Jazz, Esoteric C-03, Bent Audio Tap-X, Vinnie Rossi Lio (TVC)
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8, FirstWatt S1, F6; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; Gato Audio DIA-250; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; AURALiC Merak [on loan], SST Audio Son of Ampzilla II [on review]
Loudspeakers: Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Eversound Essence; ssoundkaos Wave 40; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Submission; German Physiks HRS-120, Gallo Strada II w. TR-3D subwoofer
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event MkI and MkII; KingRex uArt double-header USB; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Arkana Research XLR/RCA and speaker cables [on loan]
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all components, 5m cords to amp/s and subwoofer
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves and Krion or glass-based Exoteryc stand/s for amp/s
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: Irregularly shaped 9.5 x 10m open floor plan with additional 2nd-floor loft; wood-paneled sloping ceiling; parquet flooring; lots of non-parallel surfaces (pictorial tour here)
Review component retail: €8'000/pr in gloss white or BMW Sepang brown automotive lacquer

Clevery used as half the support for a table, at right we see the internals of a Sigma 2.

First there was Art Deco. This period of the decorative visual arts appeared in France after WWI before it flourished internationally until the 1940s. Post WWII, its style waned before it altogether disappeared again. Now there is sounddeco. That is a promising period of Polish speaker manufacture which just rose to penetrate global awareness. At Munich HighEnd 2015, the €1'000 surcharge gold appliqué under thick clear lacquer of their €11'000 flagship Sigma 4 probably turned a page. First shown in a gloss coffee at the Warsaw Show 2014, it seriously impressed this scribe with fully liberated dynamics. Its tall but concave line array with top Satori drivers by SB Acoustics cut a just as imposing if dapper profile.

Condemned to silence, sounddeco's display on the open ground floor of the MOC obeyed event regulations to remain passive (quite unlike a number of competitors who were blandly guilty of noise pollution without being shut down accordingly). Getting real, I had to admit that I'd never get those gleaming operators up our exterior flight of stairs by my lonesome. No chance of filling Munich's pregnant silence with actual sounds. Yet such exact schleppability has long since become firm promise to my lower back. With gluttony duly put back in its place, I would have to make do—sniff!—with the half-sized Sigma 2.

That 'baby' flagship drops the outer two mid/woofers bracketing the waveguided or short-horn tweeter. Otherwise it's the same game. I'd still unbolt the stylish if heavy steel plinth. I was told that it'd ship attached as one piece but was easily loosened with a few bolts. That would surely get the goods from their shipping crates next to the garage into our 3rd-floor flat. I felt down into my back which smiled reassuringly back at me. Deal! Because the gilded show demonstrators had really tweaked my optic nerves, I casually suggested to the Polish team that if they were up to it—dramatic pause for emphasis—I could deal with the same finish also on my smaller review loaner. But I'd prefer a Sepang brown front baffle and plinth. Hey, I was simply pressing my luck. In our digs, that combo would visually sing like the fat lady. Gluttony felt momentarily virtuous to say no more on the subject. Greed only gets you so far. At least pretend at nonchalance. None of which has yet gone into what makes sounddeco different from other apparent newcomers. For that we reach back to my Warsaw show report which already covered that background.

Its short form goes like this: "A spin-off of the very established Witowa furniture factory with their own massive wood shop and paint facility which manufactures doors, furniture and OEM speaker cabinets for Polish and foreign companies, they're also the domestic importer for SB Acoustics drivers which are designed by ex ScanSpeak personnel and manufactured—with pride as it says on the motors—in Indonesia and sold via their Audiowitowa online shop. And, sounddeco are a separate speaker brand of Witowa." Launching that was clearly predestined. In the next photo we see designer Grzegorz Matusiak at Warsaw's Sobieski hotel, between a pair of shiny white Sigma 2 speakers. For the slightly longer version of my presentation, see this page.

The upshot is plain. Whilst sounddeco may be a new name in the global speaker arena, they aren't newbies. Not by a long shot. And not in these pages. Marja & Henk already affixed an award to their Alpha F3 in August of last year which has since grown into the 'Plus' version. By now you and your own greed may wonder. What aren't you getting vis-à-vis the bigger Sigma 4? For one, the bigger hernia. Rather than 90kg each, it's down to 70kg - still a considerable heavy but a bit less so. Expectedly, you do give up efficiency. You're down to 88dB from 92dB. Claimed bandwidth losses are zilch. The -2.5dB point still is 39Hz. Power handling is half though still a potent 160 watts. Finally, physical dimensions of 1.66m height with a 28 x 63cm foot print are down to 1.06m, hence vertical shrinkage is 60 centimetres or a tick more than half a meter. That could be decisive for your domestic peace. The foot print however remains identical. So really, the 2 is half a 4 just like basic math, albeit with surprisingly little performance losses for normal apps where the extra loudness potential and dynamic shove of the big boy would be overkill, i.e. untapped. For final techno porn, there's a G-string of Egyptian papyrus - er, mid/woofer cone material; pure silver hookup wiring from Polish supplier Albedo; and a minimalist filter topology pimped for "natural timbre, time coherence and top driver control".

sigma 2 & 4 at Warsaw 2014 show.
Once again I'll spout my—informed but still just personal—opinion that a more compact 2-way good to 40Hz augmented by a true infrasonic subwoofer like our Zu Submission is preferable to a far larger bigger passive speaker. The latter's bass won't be adjustable nor will it go as low and loud unless one paid disproportionately more. In today's instance, a Sigma 2 + Zu Undertone would cost nearly the same as a Sigma 4, have less of a cosmetic impact but hit a well-damped 20Hz at +6dB if that's how you dial it in. There's no way the Sigma 4 can compete on that infrasonic count. And why tax your main amp in this primitive fashion? If you disagree with my civilized line of thinking, you can always insist that I'm merely sidestepping the sorry fact of no longer being able to manhandle 90 kilos of speaker up three flights of stairs. Busted! Here is Grzegorz's closing punch on the subject: "Regarding efficiency, we should mention anechoic (no room gain from reflections) and in-room half-space conditions which take into account the floor; plus impedance. Our published values factor in room conditions to be in line with how most manufacturers generate their sensitivity specs. Our published bandwidth is under anechoic conditions however, giving 32Hz at -6dB. In-room, there's lower bass. Relative to any Sigma 2 plus subwoofer advantages over the Sigma 4, the bigger model actually has two bass reflex ports, not one like the smaller model. Not only do those two ports excite more LF room energies, the mutual impedance of the four woofers is higher. That too radiates more bass. Finally, four woofers suffer less heat and voice-coil induced current issues than two woofers but, the idea of extending the Sigma 2 with an infrasonic subwoofer is really really tempting."