There was a lot less on that floor than met they eye. Actually that's usually the rule for the show's exhibits. Many of the rooms abound with amazing looking and amazingly priced audio gear that impresses the eye more than the ear. I find that I can move pretty quickly from one demo to the next. It only takes a few seconds of auditioning to know that further attention is pointless.
But I spent a lot of time in the SoulSonic room.
The sonic presentation of SoulSonic's Impulse was, to my ears, ideally musical and natural. I strolled around the room as I listened and no matter where I stood, the sense of reality was palpable. It just didn't matter whether I was in front, behind, beside, nearer one speaker or the other. The music was there. Any differences in perspective were similar to those that one would experience while listening to live music from different locations in a salon or hall. With most loudspeaker reproduction, those perspective differences are more like discontinuities in the sound field than changes in one's point of view.
The SoulSonic Speakers in the Mead 1 room at THE Show were visually and sonically stunning. They are open baffle glass with a ribbon and four 12” drivers. This is the Impulse speaker . One of their lesser model, the Wave, had survived shipping and was displayed. I was surprised to see these Slovenian speakers, but the sound was outstanding. With the open baffle perhaps they did not go down as deep as some but the presentation was very real and involving. Again this was a big room.
L’un des meilleurs son de mes 3 jours de show - one of the best sounds of T.H.E show.
The Impulse is certainly an impressively built and elegant dipolar loudspeaker designed in Slovenia by Miro Krajnc.
...Upon closer inspection revealed hi-end innards such as Duelund capacitors and specially soft-tempered silver wiring through and through told me a great deal about the quality of this transducer way before any listening began. As I was musing over the the Impulse's look Boston Audio Society founder Alvin Foster walked into the room (photo above left), took a seat and pulled out some of his very personally recorded own on-site classical recordings (specially designed microphones and all). The sound was really impressive and I had no idea what they were supposed to sound like. It appeared that Alvin thought so to as he looked extremely impressed by the synergy of this setup. As soon as he got up and looked around, I jumped into the sweet spot and listened to my own jazz samplers. I was very impressed with the absolute sense of openness these loudspeakers demonstrated with what seemed like the greatest of ease. They behaved as if they were not even trying. Extremely delicate with oodles of bloom, the Impulse loudspeaker turned out to be one of a personal highlight at this year's CES and a most auspicious debut for this new company.
Clement Perry, publisher of StereoTimes
In his conclusion Clement Perry, publisher of StereoTimes said:
As I had mentioned in my earlier posts, this year CES had some really great sounding setups. The Soulsonic speakers really got my interest zooming since they sounded so much like the Perfect 8s.
Whenever we see a glass speaker, we make easy jokes about "transparent" sound. There were in fact several glass speakers at the show, including these Soulsonics from Slovenia. There's another unusual aspect to them: the glass panels are open baffles. The woofers, with silver wiring, form a line source. The crossover networks are astonishingly large, and the result is relatively low sensitivity, in the order of 85 dB.
Designer Miro Krajnc had brought a smaller pair too, but one had been broken, apparently deliberately.
Oh, the sound? It was very good, with excellent transients and plenty of bottom end on percussion. That was despite the large and not very good room.
Soulsonic strikes me as a startup company getting its footing at the show. The system had a high degree of variance in components and this may have contributed to my sense that though the speakers sounded enormous and open, as expected, I desired some additional coherence between the array of bass drivers and ribbon driver. I think the speakers have a great degree of potential on reserve and with consistent amplification would acquit themselves better. I’ll give a break to Miro Krajnc, Designer and Director of Soulsonic, as he faced serious challenges prior to the show, among them the complete destruction of one of the Wave speakers literally hours before the show. With time and another go round this speaker system might jump substantially in terms of ‘wow factor’.
Miro Krajnc is a true artisan and, without a second thought, among the few people I respect highly; Robert Koda, Peter Brem, Tom Evans, Mr. Miyajima, Mr. Matusmoto, Kondo San etc. It's rare to see one's life long brainchild transforming into existence, but it's so much more joyful when this occurs. Shape and form might bend, but usually the wholeness of the idea stays intact. The rightness cannot be changed.
It takes years and endless hours of passion to get there. Like the famous quote about Michaelangelo`s work process: "How do you create such a wonderful statue?". Michaelangelo answered: "By simply removing the unwanted!". It is the same with the history of any ultra high-end audio designer taking a carving. Tons of defunct, media-core, dead -end products, vast funds, sleepless hours and the fight for existence while striving and believing in to one's idea and, consequently, a final product.
For those whom music and audio paths are enriched with the lucky recognition of true musical emotions in the absence of clinical (and cynical) emptiness, Miro Krajnc's Soul Speaker Company is a stand out venture and a highly refined ultra high-end craftsmanship workshop, that few of the Slovenian audiophiles and CES visitors managed to recognise as a remarkable achievement. Miro knows music by heart! Period!
Mono & Stereo, July 2011
So what's new at SoulSonic? Upcoming Impact speaker prototype was finally in working state; to be seen and heard! Both Wave and Impulse were quite a visual standouts, but nothing will prepare you for the aesthetic impact of new Impact speaker. This time Miro went all the way. I still remember about half a year ago, when he described in confidence of what become todays finalised Impact. I was not sure how bended plexi, ribbon and only two bass drivers would work. You can say I was a bit sceptic Friday proved me wrong! No need for scepticism.
All the important aspects of Wave were there, but much more happened with new Impact. Upper resolution on highs opened up drastically. I told Miro it now reminds me of top two systems from this years Munich high-end audio show; namely Sonus Faber Aida with Dan D'Agostino Momentum power amplifiers and MBL Audio reference system with MBL 101 X-treme. He Grinned of course :).
It's rare to hear the openness and articulation with such a fine reproduction. Feather like nuances flew in ether even at lower volume. Think MBL 101.E, but even more lifle-like and in absence of some omni-polar specific attributes.
I'm very hard judge when it comes to the real life dynamic and loud listening levels. Few speakers can manage to keep the pace of music and "rock on" at the higher dynamic levels. SoulSonic's Impact speakers haven't failed. With their new horn like plexi shaped see through ports, they gained some of the characteristics of great horn based speakers like Avantgarde. It seems that dispersion of mid, high and low works in conjunction into what it could be called balanced and articulated sound.
One of the hardest things for speaker to offer is a consistency across the genres. It's hard to find a speaker that behaves right for all kind of music. There are very few and those are sky high in needed funds. It seems and fells, that Miro Krajnc embodied one of such performers with Impact.
Mono & Stereo Ultra High-End audio magazine
Impacts work with music and, as such, can elevate the performance of a well planned system to a highly desired level. And, to go even further, the Robert Takumi K-10 preamplifier is without doubt among the five best preamplifiers on the earth; for some even a top three choice. There is a certain synergy among top breed audio components. Not the money connection... Yes, some might be priced really up there..., Sometimes high prices are a must, but it's not necessarily so. It's about performance and the energy that such ultra high-end devices can bring into the high-end audio reproduction. There is no doubt that Miro's Impacts belong in the ultra class. If you are not in need of a false prestige "performance" that some people buy to live with but not listen to, then here is your invitation to the upper echelon. And a sane one!
One of the hardest things for a speaker to offer is a consistency across the genres. It's hard to find a speaker that behaves right for all kinds of music. Period! There are very few and those are priced sky high. Talking about systems, it seems and feels that Miro Krajnc has embodied one of such performers with Impact. Why? How? Magic? Woo-do?
In the absence of idleness speakers are often tuned or voiced to a certain vision of the designer. It's not even funny to find a "genre" like speaker among audiophile high-end offerings and represent it as neutral. SoulSonic Impact drives away all the fear. As written, it's the completeness that radiates from Impact`s performance without ever being harsh as some of the top priced modern speakers are. Down to earth logic works for SoulSonic.
So far this is one of most ethereal, musical and intimate audio experiences in such speaker package. If you're senses are aligned to the design at least in some percentage, then the visual impact and aesthetics aura of the SoulSonic Impact will strike you.
Mono & Stereo Ultra High-End audio magazine
SoulSonic Impact LE loudspeakers can play all genres of music like no other speakers I've heard so far. Some speakers can really excel in certain parameter like for example MBL X-treme does with the classical un-amplified live music. But no loudspeakers so far managed to seamlessly close the gap in brining all music types under “one roof" so effectively and convincingly. Impact LE carries out such a highly demanding task in a highly effortless way. They will show their potential even with the entry level complementary electronics but when using the reference level electronics the real capabilities of Impact LE are taken much further. Yes indeed, the Impact LE loudspeakers are not affordable by any means, but they represent an interesting value among loudspeakers that not only cross the $100k price point, but go into the stratosphere of much higher pricing. These are the loudspeakers for the real connoisseur. They stand on their own with true authority and performance that is hard to match.