Wilson Benesch return to ‘Sound & Vision’ The Bristol Show with two new stunning loudspeaker designs in its Reference Line, Geometry Series.
And as usual we have brought together some of the finest designs from across the world of high end audio to join in on the launch of these two loudspeakers. Read on to find out a little more about the components that will be used in the ‘Wilson Benesch Glass House’ this year.
Discovery II Stand Mount Loudspeaker
A 2.5-way design constructed from carbon fibre composite and precision CNC-machined alloy. The new Discovery II features the company’s very latest Geometry Series drive unit technology, deployed in a unique, compact topology. The innovative clamshell Isobaric Drive System sits underside of the enclosure with a tweeter and dedicated midrange unit sitting directly above. The combination of Isobaric Drive and the proximity of all drive units, allows the Discovery II to deliver a sound like no other loudspeaker. The soundstage is fundamentally right; integrated with ease, punchy and dynamic in the delivery of the bass register and rich and detailed across the midrange to the high frequencies which float effortlessly from the crown jewel of the Geometry Series, the Semisphere Silk-Carbon Hybrid Dome Technology Tweeter.
The new Discovery II will perhaps be familiar to owners and long-term admirers of the brand, replacing as it does the award-winning Odyssey Series design that precedes it. The original design won ‘Reference Loudspeaker’ in What HiFi? Magazine over two consecutive years in 2004 and 2005, along with a clutch of other awards including the ‘Stereo Sound Japan – Component of the Year’.
A.C.T. One Evolution Floor Standing Loudspeaker
The name A.C.T. is an acronym for ‘Advanced Composite Technology’ – it is a reference to the carbon composite technologies upon which the Wilson Benesch brand was founded and subsequently became synonymous with. The A.C.T. acronym was used when naming the company’s first loudspeaker, the A.C.T. One, in 1991. The name was subsequently used for successive designs in the loudspeaker line; A.C.T. Two, A.C.T. and A.C.T. C60; along with the company’s range of tonearms which employ carbon fibre composite technologies.
Thus the A.C.T. One Evolution is a design born from impeccable heritage and the latest loudspeaker that has evolved from an iterative design process. The A.C.T. One Evolution features cutting edge Geometry Series drive technology, with the Troika System, first developed for the Cardinal flagship, reappearing in the latest floorstander in the series. The Troika sees an upper midrange and a lower midrange/bass drive unit delpyed either side of the Semisphere Tweeter. The drive units served have a stripped back crossover, reducing all components in the signal path to a minimum, with their output dictated by the optimised specification to which Wilson Benesch have built that drive unit. The combination of topology, highly refined build and proximity of all drive units results in something quite spectacular, with the A.C.T. One Evolution delivering a wide open, expansive and natural soundstage. The dynamic kick in the bass register is generated by the dedicated bass drive unit which has a capacious internal air volume to energise the driver.
the carbon fibre monocoque design found in the original A.C.T. One is still a vital part of the new loudspeaker’s development. It means that the loudspeaker can be completely unbraced internally, and yet retain the level of stiffness required of a loudspeaker at this level. And that means the internal air volume of the cabinet is far larger than most loudspeakers of the A.C.T. One Evolution’s footprint, which spells deceptive amounts of bass for the size of the speaker.
CH Precision P1 Phono Stage
Swiss high-end manufacturer CH Precision return again this year. As the exclusive UK importer, Wilson Benesch will showcase CH Precision electronics through the A.C.T. One Evolution loudspeakers. The incredible A1 Power Amplifier will be joined this year by a C1 D/A Controller providing digital streamed content, along with the very latest product in the Swiss marque, the P1 Phono Stage.
The P1 shares the high-tech design, fully balanced circuitry and multi-level menu-driven setup and control options of the CH Precision ‘Series-1’. In the rarefied environment that is high-end audio, the P1 sets itself apart from other designs with a number of innovative features. It has three dedicated inputs, which are all independently configurable and adjustable for gain. Two are current-driven MC inputs optimised for low-output cartridges, while the third is voltage-driven and switchable between MM and MC. The MC inputs use DSP circuitry and a supplied test disc to examine the profile of the incoming signal and then modify a fixed resistor to set the impedance for the flattest response, which can in turn be tweaked manually. Another stand out design feature is the ability to add an optional module, allowing you to switch between standard RIAA/extended RIAA EQ curves and those for EMI, Columbia, Decca and Teldec.
Audio Alchemy is a company reborn. The original Audio Alchemy pioneered affordable standalone digital-to-analog converters in the late 1980s. It sold more than 100,000 audio products, and the technologies it developed for jitter control, resolution enhancement and high-resolution analog filtering are still the solutions of choice in the audio industry.
The new Audio Alchemy, launched in 2014, is headed by original co-founder Peter Madnick and taps the talents of many of the original engineers responsible for the Audio Alchemy products of the 1980s and ’90s. The products are manufactured in the same Southern California facility with the same ethos: superior technology at reasonable prices.
Making its ‘Sound & Vision’ debut courtesy of UK importer Symmetry. Audio Alchemy will arrive with a magical system consisting of 4 x DPA-1M Monoblock hybrid digital power amplifiers running the Discovery II loudspeakers with a dedicated amplifier for each Isobaric Drive System and each midrange – tweeter pair. Up front will be the DDP-1 digital decoding preamp/DAC with a PS-5 power supply upgrade, along with the DMP-1 digital music streamer/DAC.
If Audio Alchemy’s design team was seeking that elusive ‘analogue feel’ for the sound of its DAC/preamp then it’s certainly hit the mark … tremendous value for listeners seeking fine audio on a sensible budget.
John Bamford, Hi-Fi News & Record Review, January 2016
DS Audio DS-W1 “Nightrider” Optical Cartridge
DS Audio’s DS-W1 “Nightrider” Optical Cartridge probably requires little in the way of an introduction. It has captured the imagination of the analogue fraternity for some time now and is one of those products which redefines a sector of the market and a whole new category in the process. And rightly so, the DS-Audio is the world’s first Optical Cartridge.
The design is based around a pure analogue contact system employing a conventional stylus and cantilever, but replacing the traditional electromagnetic coil and magnet system with an LED to detect the vibration in the stylus caused by the grooves in the record. It is a revolutionary system that completely eliminates the electromagnetic frictional force that is unavoidable in all MM and MC cartridge designs.
The DS-W1 “Nightrider” cartridge uses state-of-the-art technology developed by Japanese photo-optics specialist Digital Stream Corporation, the co-creators, along with Microsoft, of the optical mouse.
Wilson Benesch will partner the DS-W1 with our A.C.T. 25 Tonearm mounted on the Circle 25 Turntable. Given the absence of heavy magnets and coils behind the stylus/cantilever, the “Nightrider is a spectacularly lightweight system at 6.5g. Placed on the end of the carbon fibre composite A.C.T. 25 Tonearm, it is an elegant, high-technology system.
This is unquestionably on of the shows, “Not to be missed” demonstrations!!
Clearer Audio Cables
For almost a decade now, Clearer Audio and Wilson Benesch have partnered to great effect – two British companies coming together for a celebration of high end audio at the country’s premier HiFi Show. Clearer Audio will wire two independent systems, with the A.C.T. One Evolution – CH Precision system benefitting from Clearer Audio’s Silver-Line Optimus Reference cables.
Clearer Audio will present for the first time, the new updated versions of our multi award-winning Copper-line and Silver-line Power Cables which feature new Furutech connectors. This new upgrade provides existing customers with an optional upgrade path.
Clearer Audio will also unveil the new high-end Silver-line Optimus Reference 75 Digital Interconnect. Featuring larger 6N OCC silver conductors, our hybrid multi-layer copper/silver shielding system and pure silver digital RCA/BNC plugs, the new digital interconnect offers unrivalled world class performance, from a meticulously hand-built, in-house designed British cable. Company Director, Darren Smith will be on hand during the show and would be delighted to answer any cable questions or queries that visitors might have and offer advice in areas of cable selection, upgrades and system optimisation to name a few.
The Wilson Benesch ‘Glass House’
Widely regarded as the premier British High End Audio show and a firm favourite for all at the company, Wilson Benesch always look to do something with a difference in Bristol – to celebrate High End. This year we really have brought together some of the finest components from around the globe, deploying them in systems that will really bring the best of each product in the chain.
As normal we will be taking residence in the 1st Floor Conservatory, now affectionately known as the ‘Wilson Benesch Glass House’. More information about ‘Sound & Vision’ The Bristol Show can be found via the official show website.
We very much look forward to sharing the weekend with each of you.
See you in Bristol,
Wilson Benesch: The Future is Carbon