You own the car, you have the clothes, you own property in Southern California and Vail, Colo., so what’s next?
How about a killer audio system that’s highlighted by the ultimate set of audiophile speakers?
For many people, having a nice set of loudspeakers represents more than just another materialistic, status-symbol purchase.
It means they can enjoy their music and movies just the way Hollywood sound engineers and musicians had actually intended.
In the case of these six products from Wilson Audio, Sonus faber, Focal, Cabasse, PMC and YG Acoustics, these products incorporate the latest electrical and acoustical engineering, industrial design and overall combination of materials and technologies currently available to consumers.
Arguably the best part of these high-end stereo speakers is the fact that you don’t have to be an audiophile geek to enjoy the high levels of sound performance these products offer. The most important question is, what do you listen to first?
Focal Grande Utopia EM
Focal is one of France’s oldest and largest speaker manufacturers and it offers a diverse field of products that are headlined by its new Grand Utopia EM.
Distributed in the U.S. by Audio Plus Services, Focal is the company that innovated the use of the expensive material – Beryllium – in tweeters. Focal chose Beryllium because of its ability to maintain rigidity and its ability to quickly dissipate heat, which is important for any tweeter material.
The four-way Grande Utopia EM utilizes the company’s 16-inch Electro-magnetic woofer design, along with an 11-inch mid-bass woofer, two 61/2-inch woofers and the company’s top-of-the-line IAL2 pure Beryllium 1-inch inverted-dome tweeter.
Focal’s Grande Utopia EM is highlighted by its powered woofer section and its driver alignment system, which provides professional installers and enthusiasts the ability to manually align the upper driver array to ensure a wider and more focused sweet spot while eliminating any possible driver beaming.
Focal rates the speaker’s frequency response at 18Hz to 40kHz, which means if it’s used in a theater you won’t need a subwoofer. The amp friendly speaker is also rated at an 8-ohm impedance level and a 94dB sensitivity level.
Price: $180,000 per pair
Sonus Faber Stradivari
Distributed by the San Francisco-based company Sumiko, Sonus Faber and its Stradivari exude the sophistication and elegance that people expect from a company that shares its home with Ferrari and other fine European products.
The three-way Stradivari incorporates the company’s widely copied elliptical enclosure design that houses a 1.25-inch silk ring-radiator tweeter, a 6-inch midrange driver and dual 10-inch woofers that are controlled by a multi-crossover slope set at 300Hz and 4kHz.
Sonus says the speaker can handle up to 300 watts of power and it presents a 4-ohm impedance level to any connected amplifier. The speaker is also rated at a 92dB sensitivity level and it provides a frequency response of 22Hz to 40kHz.
Price: $45,000 per pair
If you have the resources and you want a real reference system that’s used by the top recording engineers than PMC’s BB5 XBD system is the product for you.
With a user list that reads like a who’s who of the music and movie community, the BB5 system is a massive collection of products with an equally massive ability to reproduce full-frequency, high sound-pressure levels of sound.
Using the company’s transmission-line cabinet and driver technologies, along with active electronics designed and engineered by Bryston, which is another highly respected company in the world of professional recording, the BB5-XBD-A system offers a frequency response of 17Hz to 25kHz. To help the speakers adapt to the world of home electronics, the company offers the speakers in a choice of several finishes that will complement most home decors.
Price: $32,000 per pair
Wilson: Alexandria X-2
For years, Wilson Audio’s products have been the apple of the audiophile community’s eye and with the release of the company’s newly revamped Alexandria X-2, the lust factor has been ratcheted up a notch higher.
The tall and uniquely styled speaker features a ported enclosure design with one 15-inch woofer, one 13-inch woofer, two 6 3/4-inch midrange drivers and a single inverted-dome tweeter.
Wilson says the 4-ohm speaker is 95dB sensitive and that it can produce the entire gamut of human hearing with its 19.5Hz to 22.5kHz frequency response capabilities.
Price: $158,000 per pair
YG Acoustics: Anat Reference II
YG Acoustics is new to the world of consumer audio, but lately the company has seen high praise from several respected members of the audiophile press. Its flagship Anat Reference II loudspeaker is designed in a modular fashion to conform to a diverse group of users and their needs.
In designing the speakers, YG Acoustics spared no expense in using the most advanced materials and engineering concepts that include milled aluminum cabinetry, the elimination of any acoustic dampening materials through the use of high levels of enclosure engineering, top-level crossover networks and the joint engineering of the drivers with the Danish company Scan-Speak.
The speaker measures at a 4-ohm impedance level and a 92dB sensitivity level. The subwoofer module is driven by either a 400-watt RMS or 800-watt RMS amplifier, and when run in tandem with the rest of the speaker’s passive modules, it can produce a frequency response below 20Hz and above 40kHz.
Price: $107,000 per pair
Joining Focal as one of France’s preeminent loudspeaker company’s is Cabasse. The flagship LaSphere is a distinctive looking speaker that incorporates digital signal processing, a four-way, coaxial driver array and a spherical enclosure that is said to nullify any cabinet diffraction problems.
Distributed in the U.S. by the St. John Group, the speaker features decades worth of cabinet developments in which Cabasse has been at the forefront of delivering to market.
A look inside the speaker reveals that 1,000-watt ICE Class D amplifiers power the speaker’s 1.1-inch tweeter, 8-inch tri-axial driver, 8-inch midrange driver and huge 22-inch woofer, and Cabasse’s digital signal processing (DSPs) handles crossover, phase and other electrical duties to produce a time-aligned, immersive listening experience for users.
Cabasse says the end result of all this technology is a speaker that produces a frequency response of 20Hz to 25kHz.
Price: $140,000 per pair