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Has Anyone Heard the Boenicke W5?


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I am shifting my desktop system to include and integrated amp and passive speakers and am considering the recently released Boenicke W5. There is only one review I'm aware of:

 

6moons audio reviews: Boenicke Audio W5

 

Yes, "the usual suspect" for some. I believe these did appear at a few shows as well. Has anyone heard them? I notice that Blake mentioned them in another thread and mayhem offered a response, but no other discussion here that I've seen. I'm restricted to a desktop system, essentially due to space, so that is a consideration. And yes, they are quite expensive. But Srajan's description of the sound and the claim that they are not terribly sensitive to placement (near a wall on a desktop, for example) sound very attractive to me.

 

Thanks.

1070957250_Imprimatur.NihilObstatSepia3Crop(2).jpg.2162a44365e84a5df7d456bf8026ed67.jpg

 

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Great timing- Member Oystein has them. He just posted a pic in this thread (post #516):

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f8-general-forum/show-us-your-equipment-kit-3220/index21.html

Speakers: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen/URendu | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus/Lampizator Golden Gate | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | Revel B112 subs  

Headphones: Lampizator Golden Atlantic/Holo Spring 3 KTE | Blue Circle Audio SBT pre|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE/Arya Stealth/Audeze LCD-4z

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By multiple request: :-)

 

I have the W5 speakers for 2 weeks now.

 

I will try to explain as extensive as I can what I have experienced so far so everybody can make their own conclusions.

 

I have read the 6moons review too which only made me conclude "very nice speakers" without any intention to buy them.

The week of Christmas my wife and I were discussing some details about our interior what to change etc. I know my wife doesn't care at all about the sounds quality so she rather sees it repaced by a simple and compact set but she knows it would be an issue for me so she allows me to have this hobby ;-) The biggest irritation for her (relatively speaking) is the big black speakers which I have. When we decided to live together 5+ years ago I already sold my Wharfedale E-90's ... if you don't know these google them ... than you will understand why I had to discard them for my wife's sake ;-) Discussing the speakers I told her that if she wants something smaller the only speaker I could think of to be happy with were the Boenicke W5 so I showed here the 6moons review.

Finally we decided to replace my speakers for W5 ... funny to see how things can go in life ... haha.

 

I contacted Sven Boenicke that I wanted to listen to the W5's at his place in Basel and bring home a pair. From my place to Basel is 700 km and leaving early at 5.00 AM should give sufficient time to go there and back home the same day.

We settled for Saturday 4th and I brought a good friend (Henk) with me so we could drive both for convenience. He is also more of an audiophile than I so a second opinion could be useful.

 

For my own reference I had my pre/power amplifiers with me so I had a known baseline to evaluate the speakers.

Sven has a PC fed by a big car battery (I guess approx. 55Ah) and a M2Tech Young DAC with dedicated power supply as source.

My power amp is an Odyssey Khartago Plus (the upgraded model with Gold WBT speaker terminals and 120.000 uF capacity) which always needs time to warm up again to sound it's best again. We only had 2-3 hour max in Basel to do our thing. In the beginning I was not impressed but I knew the Odyssey was probably to blame. At home it is always on so a day in a cold car with al the vibrations did not help either.

After almost 2 hours we noticed that the amplifier finally settled and we could enjoy some nice music.

Henk had the demo CD "Arabesque" from Crystal Cable to play some tracks which Sven had to rip first for playback with the PC. Henk knows this CD very well so for him this was a good reference. Henk has a Devialet D-Premier and the same speakers as me. Our speakers are a Dutch brand "Master - Model Three" produced by company Dynamic Solutions.

The Master Three are considered a one of the best monitor speakers for the price (3.500 EUR) and offer a big and impressive soundstage. But to achieve best results they need space and some distance from walls.

 

GroteFoto-NLJGQQFL.jpg

 

I my living room the space is actually too little for the Master's to really shine. This also helped making the decision to sell them again a little easier ;-) Because they were placed only 30-40 cm free from the back wall I had enough bass but lacked depth in the soundstage. The bass was good enough to avoid ever needing a sub.

 

... so we were listening in Basel to the W5 and my NAD C162 pre-amp was on top of the Odyssey becuase I brought my own interlinks which are only 50 cm. The set was placed on top of the massive wood "furniture" as can be seen in the picture. The picture is from 6moons but we had the same position of the equipment and listening position.

 

GroteFoto-NQVZVEQ4.jpg

 

Everything was there ... detail and resolution, enough bass, 3D soundtsage ... I was happy knowing these babies would come with me to The Netherlands.

Then Sven opted to use some of his isolators between the pre and power amp. I lifted the NAD so Sven could place the three isolator under it and I lowered the NAD again onto the isolators.

What happened was really asthonishing ... the whole sounstage expanded from the rack completely to the wall in the back.

I was sitting a little of-axis (Henk had the center seat) and the soundstage was completely free of the speakers. Looking at the W5 it was like your mind played a trick having the sound not coming from the W5 but from some other speakers further backwards.

I forgot the name of these isolators (Henk knows the name) and Sven told us these isolators are 1.200 USD .... damn ...

I could buy another Odyssey for that and go dual mono ;-)

 

According to Sven the W5 are very easy to setup and normally the side woofers should point inwards but when the speakers are placed at close distance from eachother (< 2 meter) you can experience some kind of acoustic obstipation when playing loud so changing the speakers to have the woofers pointing outwards could be preferred. At Boenicke I could play at max. volume (NAD was pointing 12 o'clock) without any issues.

 

At home I started with the woofers inwards, speakers parallel, then rotating the speakers to point to center spot and done the same also with the woofers on the outside. I have the best tonal balance with the woofers inwards and having the speakers pointing towards me.

At this moment as can be seen on the picture below I have them placed of the Atacama stands which I used with the Master speakers.

 

GroteFoto-6USXZ6YE.jpg

 

Somehow the thin stands from Boenicke were not visually appealing to me so I decided not to buy them.

I will need other (lower) stands than I have now so this will change soon. I will probably make some myself.

 

Conclusion:

After gone through my music collection I can really say most music had so much more information hidden that the Boenicke clearly played I can only say that it is worth every cent spent. The bass is less than with the Masters but you do not miss it unless you need a real kick-bass or disco. For home listening you do not need a sub.

The soundstage depth which I had at Boenicke can unfortunately never be achieved at home due to space restrictions.

The main impression from my other friends is that they are surprised these small speakers can do so much. Most of them do not care about quality audio but they are impressed anyway.

 

GroteFoto-VV7XNDJH.jpg

Rigelian iOS app -> BeagleBone Black with Botic driver + Linux MPD + XPEnology NAS -> Soekris dam1121 DAC I2S direct from BBB -> DH Labs Revelation -> NAD C162 -> DH Labs Revelation -> Odyssey Khartago Plus -> DH Labs Q10 -> Boenicke Audio W5

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Nice to hear my information was helpful :-)

 

I have read on other US fora that people are waiting for the Boenicke becuase they are back ordered or in transit to the US.

My serial nrs. are below 40 so he has only built few so far.

Mine were built only a couple of days before for my visit and my impression was that the market is really pulling to get every unit leaving assembly.

Rigelian iOS app -> BeagleBone Black with Botic driver + Linux MPD + XPEnology NAS -> Soekris dam1121 DAC I2S direct from BBB -> DH Labs Revelation -> NAD C162 -> DH Labs Revelation -> Odyssey Khartago Plus -> DH Labs Q10 -> Boenicke Audio W5

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Yes, thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts. I am jealous. :)

Speakers: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen/URendu | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus/Lampizator Golden Gate | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | Revel B112 subs  

Headphones: Lampizator Golden Atlantic/Holo Spring 3 KTE | Blue Circle Audio SBT pre|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE/Arya Stealth/Audeze LCD-4z

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If you have a notion for DIY, PM me.

 

Me ? ... or is this message for one of the other guys ?

Sending a PM yourself doesn't hurt either ;-)

Rigelian iOS app -> BeagleBone Black with Botic driver + Linux MPD + XPEnology NAS -> Soekris dam1121 DAC I2S direct from BBB -> DH Labs Revelation -> NAD C162 -> DH Labs Revelation -> Odyssey Khartago Plus -> DH Labs Q10 -> Boenicke Audio W5

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  • 4 weeks later...

Being kosher or not ... how are you going to reverse engineering a product without having the actual product at your disposal ?

 

And are you also going to CNC the cabinet from solid wood ?

 

Just a few thoughts ...

Rigelian iOS app -> BeagleBone Black with Botic driver + Linux MPD + XPEnology NAS -> Soekris dam1121 DAC I2S direct from BBB -> DH Labs Revelation -> NAD C162 -> DH Labs Revelation -> Odyssey Khartago Plus -> DH Labs Q10 -> Boenicke Audio W5

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Being kosher or not ... how are you going to reverse engineering a product without having the actual product at your disposal ?

 

And are you also going to CNC the cabinet from solid wood ?

 

Just a few thoughts ...

 

I had the same thoughts.

 

I have a component list, Cab dimensions, enough photos to verify internal layout and measure offsets. I have a picture of the crossover, just need to figure out the schematic. I figure for less than $250 - a set of $4k speakers - that what DIY is all about!

 

As for the cabinet, I think I can make something fairly attractive. I already have a cardboard mockup next to my current desktop set for comparison.

 

I've built some others that looked nice. Don't really dig the pine/doug fir butcher block endgrain in his anyway.

 

Im sure there are nuances that make his what they are (i.e. spring feet and silver whiskers), but i'm not looking to build and market a clone. Even the reviewer didn't get the same effect when he brought them to his listening room. Just would like to implement the driver combo in my desktop setup for the imaging and sans sub sound. And I'm a sucker for "bang for buck" in an interesting design.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been listening to the Boenicke W5s for the past few days and just wanted to offer some completely unscientific impressions.

 

My present system: Windows 8 64bit PC ---> via iUSB and KingRex USB UART cable ---> NA-11S1 Marantz Network Player ---> Audioquest Big Sur RCA ---> Luxman 505ux int. amp ---> Audioquest Type 4 ---> Boenicke W5, or Harbeth Monitor 30.1 on adjustable Sound Anchor stands.

 

I’ve tried the W5s both on the desktop, and behind it on stands dialed in for near field listening. The woofers are facing to the inside toward each other---have not yet tried reversing this. The speakers now have over a hundred hours of play time on them. This is the amount recommended by Sven Boenicke. My listening included a wide variety of music. Sources included streaming 320k MP3, Cd rips and high-res PCM files. The files are almost exclusively classical music. JRMC 19 used for files.

 

These are some strictly amateur, subjective perceptions:

 

The W5 is a very good speaker and is much more suitable to my space ergonomically. They are faster, more precise, and have more PRAT than the Harbeths. Solo acoustic guitar and lute sound especially good. The treble has more sparkle than the Harbeths and sometimes that is a very nice addition. Tone is very good overall.

 

However, sometimes they sound a little dry compared to the Harbeths. The W5 midrange sounds on the cool side to me. Sometimes the upper mid-range sounds a tad bright for my taste. The W5 can also sound just a bit etched to me at times as well. Overall, I find the Boenickes sound to be mildly fatiguing compared to the 30.1s. The overall sound is a little light compared to the Harbeths, which sound deeper, fuller, warmer, richer. I'm also inclined to want a subwoofer with the W5s. Even though The W5s are rated down to 40Hz, the 50Hz-rated Monitor 30.1s sound like they have deeper bass.

 

For me, right now, a perfect speaker would have the best of both. I do realize that what I'm hearing is system dependent. Different component choice could shift things. For example, I do wonder what the Luxman DA-06 dac would do for the W5s, as well as a very good tubed integrated like the Red Wine Signature 57 with tube option, or perhaps even a Luxman 550AX.

 

If I had to choose today, I'd stay with the Harbeths and return the W5s.

 

Any response is welcome.

1070957250_Imprimatur.NihilObstatSepia3Crop(2).jpg.2162a44365e84a5df7d456bf8026ed67.jpg

 

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Yesterday I had somebody pick up my old speakers (the black Master Three as in the picture above in my W5 review).

After I had my W5s I put the Masters up for sale.

 

The buyer was moving away from 5.1 surround to go back to stereo sound from scratch.

Before visiting me in the he had picked up a Musical Fidelity 308cr pre and power combo which he had with him to connect to the Masters.

First we listened to my equipment and after being completely happy he wanted to hear his amp set too so we switched gear and used all the same cables incuding the interlink betweens pre and power amp.

The difference in tone was so obvious (the MF set sounded much brigther) that he started doubting becuase he preferred the tone of my equipment. After half an hour when his equipent got warm the brightness eased a little but this shows there is no good or bad ... just different based on the combination of amp and speakers.

MF is not really known for being cool but in the mix the outcome can be unexpected.

I advised him to select speaker cables and interlinks on the darker side of the spectrum.

 

It might solve your problem looking at your cables because you have to find a new balance again.

Or sell your W5s ...

Rigelian iOS app -> BeagleBone Black with Botic driver + Linux MPD + XPEnology NAS -> Soekris dam1121 DAC I2S direct from BBB -> DH Labs Revelation -> NAD C162 -> DH Labs Revelation -> Odyssey Khartago Plus -> DH Labs Q10 -> Boenicke Audio W5

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Different component choice could shift things. For example, I do wonder what the Luxman DA-06 dac would do for the W5s, as well as a very good tubed integrated like the Red Wine Signature 57 with tube option, or perhaps even a Luxman 550AX.

 

If I had to choose today, I'd stay with the Harbeths and return the W5s.

 

Any response is welcome.

 

It sounds like the W5 is probably the so-called "better" speaker and maybe it showcases the differences between components more. I would be curious to hear what you think the differences between the two Luxman amps would be with the different speakers. My guess would be the W5 would change way more than the Harbeth.

 

Since you are already using an ifi iUSB Power, what about checking out the iTube at $300 and using it as a tube buffer? I know it would seem weird to use it in a brand new system, but if you like the basic sound and want to try just a little bit of tube sweetener maybe it would be worth a shot?

Roon ->UltraRendu + CI Audio 7v LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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Thanks, Kelly. I did try an iTube when it first came out. Not bad! But I returned it. I don't think I'll have the 2 Luxmans simultaneously for financial reasons, which is too bad. Comparing directly with both sets of speakers would be better. But that would be a lot of speaker cable swapping as well.

 

What I have done is picked up a second set of speaker cables and connected both sets for closer A/B comparing. Nothing scientific mind you. But I've been surprised to find that the differences between the sound quality are more subtle than I thought. Differences still fall along the same lines as mentioned above. But on some recordings I really can't tell them apart. It is really recording dependent.

 

If I knew what I know know, I would have probably saved some $ and space and just purchased the Boenickes. But I now own the Harbeths and the stands, so we'll see what a different amp does.

1070957250_Imprimatur.NihilObstatSepia3Crop(2).jpg.2162a44365e84a5df7d456bf8026ed67.jpg

 

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  • 2 years later...
Thanks, Kelly. I did try an iTube when it first came out. Not bad! But I returned it. I don't think I'll have the 2 Luxmans simultaneously for financial reasons, which is too bad. Comparing directly with both sets of speakers would be better. But that would be a lot of speaker cable swapping as well.

 

What I have done is picked up a second set of speaker cables and connected both sets for closer A/B comparing. Nothing scientific mind you. But I've been surprised to find that the differences between the sound quality are more subtle than I thought. Differences still fall along the same lines as mentioned above. But on some recordings I really can't tell them apart. It is really recording dependent.

 

If I knew what I know know, I would have probably saved some $ and space and just purchased the Boenickes. But I now own the Harbeths and the stands, so we'll see what a different amp does.

 

 

*********

 

Christopher, I have a pair of Boenicke W5se and I'm actually considering buying a Harbeth (still dont know the model) because I miss that warmth you described in your earlier posts.

 

After spending some more time with the W5, do you still think there is a significant difference in the mids between the W5 and the 30.1? Which one do you prefer?

 

Thanks

Lutry

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Hi Lutry. I'm working from old memories here, so take this with a giant grain of salt: if you can get heavy stands and have room to position the Harbeths far enough from the walls, and add appropriate room treatment, the Harbeth midrange has a slight edge in "magical" midrange warmth (depending on equivalent upstream gear). I haven't heard the SEs, but have read that they improve the bass response, probably enough to have better bass than the Harbeth 30.1.

1070957250_Imprimatur.NihilObstatSepia3Crop(2).jpg.2162a44365e84a5df7d456bf8026ed67.jpg

 

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IMO, these are two very different speakers. Boenicke is mainly about clarity, dynamics and speed towards a very exciting and engaging presentation that makes you sit up straight. Harbeth is all about balance and seamlessness towards a much more relaxing and laid-back presentation that draws you in. You could easily love both :)

 

/ Marcus

 

PERFECT SENSE

www.perfect-sense.se

 

Showroom in Stockholm, Sweden | [email protected] | 08 518 368 00 | Follow us on Facebook

 

 

 

 

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IMO, these are two very different speakers. Boenicke is mainly about clarity, dynamics and speed towards a very exciting and engaging presentation that makes you sit up straight. Harbeth is all about balance and seamlessness towards a much more relaxing and laid-back presentation that draws you in. You could easily love both :)

 

/ Marcus

 

 

Christopher - thank you for the useful insights.

 

Markus - what a proper description of the Boenickes', I subscribe to it completely. As I noticed that you have Hi-Fi store (a fine one both visualy and in terms of product range) I,d like to ask you your advise: what speaker cables would you recomend if I wanted to increase the mids tonality and soft the highs? Thank you!

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Christopher - thank you for the useful insights.

 

Markus - what a proper description of the Boenickes', I subscribe to it completely. As I noticed that you have Hi-Fi store (a fine one both visualy and in terms of product range) I,d like to ask you your advise: what speaker cables would you recomend if I wanted to increase the mids tonality and soft the highs? Thank you!

 

You could try using a pair of ICs with high capacitance (braided) but if you are not happy with the sound of your speakers then trying to EQ them with cables will not solve anything; it's a waste of money.

 

I suggest you try to listen to a pair of Harbeths and listen to the differences for yourself.

I am very partial to BBC-school speakers as they tend to have little "own" sound and a neutral tonal balance that sounds very natural with classical and other acoustic music, and whilst I have had no experience with the W5s the reports in this topic would have me anticipate an overly-bright and perhaps even brash, tiring sound.

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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