News

Bright Future for British Engineering

The Financial Times has concluded its report on the Advanced Manufacturing Park. Following our report entitled “Design & Manufacturing: A story of High Risk and Innovation” here is a short film that provides a little more information about the Advanced Manufacturing Park, some of the work our neighbors are doing and the Research & Development work that Wilson Benesch are carrying out within the Technology Center.

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Square One Loudspeaker at Bari High End, Italy

Wilson Benesch distributor Mad For Music SAS made an impressive demonstration of the Square Series II, Square One Loudspeakers and the Torus Infrasonic Generator at last weeks Bari High End Exhibition.

The presentation follows a series of demonstrations using the Wilson Benesch Square Series II and the Geometry Series with the Devialet 110, 170 and the 240 at the heart of a very streamline stylish high end audio solution. For users seeking a compact high end solution, the Devialet 170 driving a pair of standmounted speakers, such as the Vertex or Square One coupled with the Torus Infrasonic generator (plus associated amplifier) is an attractive package.

Here’s a collection of images from the demonstration.
Wilson Benesch Square One with the Devialet 170 at the Bari High End 2014

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Bristol Sound & Vision Show Report 2014

The Wilson Benesch square Five and Circle 25 Turntable on demonstration to a full crowd at the Bristol Sound & Vision 2014
The curtain has fallen and the dust has settled after another Bristol Sound & Vision Show

The 2014 Edition was a big year for Wilson Benesch; It was our 15th year in the conservatory or ‘Wilson Benesch Glass House’. Wilson Benesch was founded in 1989, so this years show would be the start of our 25th ‘Silver’ Anniversary celebrations. We had some big plans for marking the event and below is a little insight into what we did this time around.

The Square Five made is official UK Exhibition bow. Set against an all black, sound treated backdrop, the monolithic white gloss Square Fives imposed themselves on the bustling, busy glass house over the course of the weekend. Partnering the Square Fives was the all new Circle 25 Anniversary Turntable.

The Circle 25 Turntable proved to be hugely popular with both men and women alike, its striking white modern forms attracted a lot of camera lenses over the weekend. The vinyl cut of Jimi Hendrix – Band of Gypsys Live (pictured spinning below) was simply mesmerising and was a firm favorite over the three days.

Supporting the Square Five and Circle 25 was a full Audionet system, partnered with an all Clearer Audio Silver Line Optimus loom. The Audionet electronics amounted to the excellent AMP I V2 Power Amplifier, the Pre I G3, PAM G3 Phono Stage, EPS Power, VIP G2 CD and DNC Network Player and DAC. The system allowed for huge versatility within the setup catering for all format preferences. But the result was the same everytime; wide open and coherent soundstaging, the punchy dynamics associated with all WB loudspeakers and an ethereal midrange that sounded spookily life like and present.

In addition to the main presentation, on static display was the Geometry Series; including the Cardinal Flagship Loudspeaker which has informed so much about the Square Five design and the Vertex and Vector. We also wheeled out the A.C.T. Legacy Range, which featured every A.C.T. Loudspeaker Wilson Benesch has ever built, from A.C.T. One to the current A.C.T. C60.

We had some wonderful feedback over the weekend, about products past and present. The Bristol Show is always a real pleasure for all concerned at Wilson Benesch. Its an opportunity to give back a little to all of those out there who have invested in our designs and share our passion for high end audio reproduction.

We’d like to thank Tony Revelle, Jerry Lewin, Phil Patterson and all the team at Audio T who make the Bristol Sound & Vision possible. And finally to all of you who participated in the event and came to see us.

See you next time,

All the Team at Wilson Benesch!

Here’s our slideshow of images taken over the weekend, just click to open the window.
Wilson Benesch Circle 25 Turntable and Square Five Loudspeaker at the Bristol Sound & Vision 2014





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The Bristol Sound & Vision 2014

Wilson Benesch celebrate 25th Silver Anniversary at the Bristol Sound & Vision Show with the Circle 25 Turntable & Square Five Loudspeaker

With the Bristol Sound & Vision Show just 1-week away we thought we’d give you the inside line on our plans for the UK’s Premier High End Audio Show.

As many of you have probably already noted, 2014 is a very special year for Wilson Benesch as we celebrate our 25th Anniversary. The celebrations will continue throughout the year. However focusing directly on the UK’s biggest show Wilson Benesch have prepared the new Circle 25 Turntable which will see it’s Global Premier. With the exception of the carbon suspension and the Carbon Fibre shaft of the A.C.T.0.5 Tonearm, the Circle 25 is finished all in White and looks really quite stunning.

Square Five UK Premier
Wilson Benesch Square Five Loudspeaker taken from the Square Series II will be paired with the new Circle 25 Turntable, Audionet Electronics and Clearer Audio Cables
The main event this year though, will be the UK Exhibition Premier of the all new Square Five Loudspeaker. The new flagship of the Square Series II comes into the show hot of the back of two outstanding reviews in HIFI+ and TheAudiobeat.com. The Square Five benefits from Trickle down technology taken from the brand flagship, the Cardinal which will be on display at this years Sound & Vision. As Alan Sircom puts it:

“Genuine seekers of musical truth will look at the Square Five as an honest way of extracting £20,000 or even £25,000 loudspeaker performance without the five-figure price tag… Put simply, it’s the Cardinal for us mortals.” – Alan Sircom, HIFI+, 2014.

Limited Edition Square One Competition
We’ll be showing off a Limited Edition pair of White Gloss Square One’s finished with a special 25th Anniversary Serial Plate. You can post your entry to win the Square One’s in the Wilson Benesch room or on the HIFI+ stand, who are officially sponsoring the give away – you can also post your entry on our 25th-Anniversary webpage.

Audionet
Driving the Wilson Benesch system this year, we have an all Audionet system. Complete with the highly rated new DNC (Digital Network Client) and the AMP I V2 which was used in both Square Five reviews to great effect.

Clearer Audio
All speaker cables will be provided by British cable manufacturer Clearer Audio. Who will be supplying their reference level cabling throughout the system.

Join us in the Conservatory for a special Silver Anniversary celebration.

Date: Friday 21st – Sunday 23rd February 2014
Location: Bristol Marriott City Centre Hotel, Lower Castle Street, Bristol

System Setup
Wilson Benesch Square Five Loudspeakers
Wilson Benesch Circle 25 Turntable

Audionet AMP I V2
Audionet PRE I G2
Audionet DNC
Audionet PAM G3
Audionet VIP

Clearer Audio Silver Line Optimus Interconnects
Clearer Audio Silver Line Optimus Speaker Cables
Clearer Audio Silver Line Optimus Power Cables

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Win Limited Edition Square One Loudspeakers

WIN A Pair of Limited Edition Square One Loudspeakers from Wilson Benesch's Square Series II, in association with HIFI+To continue the celebration of Wilson Benesch’s 25th Anniversary, this week we launched a competition for a pair of Limited Edition Square One Loudspeakers taken from the Square Series II.

The competition is being run in association with HIFI+ and features of pair of Square One Loudspeakers finished in luxurious White Gloss. The pair will be truely one of a kind as they feature a special Limited Edition 25th Anniversary Serial Plate, finished in brushed aluminium to include the HIFI+ logo.

The Square One is a 2-way, stand mounted loudspeaker. It represents outstanding value for money and is the entry point into the Wilson Benesch High End product range. Featuring the same Tactic Drive Unit technology found in the Square Series II Flagship, the Square Five – the performance of the Square One is nothing short of remarkable.

The Square One Loudspeakers will be displayed at the forthcoming Bristol Sound & Vision Show – February 21st -23rd, alongside the new Square Five’s finished in the same White Gloss and the new Circle 25 Turntable.

To enter the competition simply register your interest at our special 25th Anniversary webpage: www.25th-wilson-benesch.com.

Click the image below for a gallery of images of the Limited Edition Square One Loudspeakers.

Wilson Benesch Square One, Square Series II Loudspeaker Competition, in association with HIFI+


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Design & Manufacturing; A story of High Risk and Innovation

Wilson Benesch Directors Christina and Craig Milnes with the Head Design Engineers, Alex and GordonFinancial Times report highlights the latest SMART Funding award that will bolster Wilson Benesch research and emphatically recognises the company’s single minded pursuit of perfection in audio reproduction through innovation an ethos that has been adhered to and which is to be celebrated by the company’s silver jubilee.

‘The tenacious mavericks who stick with their inventions’ the title says it all. After years of research Wilson Benesch released its first design in 1989 the ‘Wilson Benesch Turntable’. It was a product that countered the media frenzy about CD and “The perfect sound” of digital. In retrospect it is clear that the carbon fibre / nomex advanced composite sub chassis at the heart of this radical design was a statement of intent, that this company wanted to do things differently, to genuinely bring something new and highly innovative to the high end audio fraternity. It was also unashamedly in complete disagreement with the audio world about the future of analogue.

We have a clever team of people who do not want to do what has been done before. We want to provide better ways and more efficient ways of getting the perfect sound – Craig Milnes, Design Director, Financial Times, February 2014

Wilson Benesch - Turntable - A.C.T.One Tonearm - Strong Carbon Fibre - British Innovation - Engineering - Legacy - 2013 - Analogue CollectionWhilst the A.C.T One Tonearm may not have been the first carbon based tonearm (it was preceded by the black widow which was never commercialised), it was the world’s first arm to benefit from a hyperbolic curve. The helix of carbon that forms tonearm tube flows seamlessly into a four millimeter thick solid carbon headshell. Like the ACT sub chassis it was in ever way truly innovative, with exceptional performance to match. The design went on to become a classic and laid the foundations upon which Wilson Benesch could grow its manufacturing and design operation.

At the time when Wilson Benesch released the A.C.T. One Tonearm, Lotus Cars were the only other company in the UK manufacturing carbon composite components for use in commercial products using the same Resin Transfer Molding Technology (RTM). RTM allowed for complex, geometrically optimised shapes to be formed, which maximised the incredible strength and damping properties of this new space age technology which was itself a British invention.

The McLaren MP4-1 Carbon Fibre Tub used in the 1982 Formula 1 World Championship Winning Car. The same RTM Technology is used to mold the Wilson Benesch Carbon Fibre Monocoque

Years prior, McLaren raised the profile of carbon composites with the introduction of the MP4/1 Formula One racing car. The carbon fibre tub was manufactured using RTM. However, the first McLaren production car to see this kind of technology rolled out on mass wouldn’t be until 2009 when the MP4-12c was announced. Today McLaren can manufacture the tubs used in the MP4-12c in 4-hours, where the original MP4/1 tub required 4,000-hours.

There in lies the problem. Manufacturing carbon composites is expensive and incredibly difficult to perfect. For all the unique properties that carbon composites bring; stiffness, to resist deformation in the cabinet walls and therefore low frequency distortions or cabinet noise, low mass to give a very high cabinet first resonant frequency, high frequencies are much more easily damped by surrounding structures, and high energy absorption or damping properties to absorb and dissipate much of the cabinet born resonances aforementioned; it is still an expensive and high risk business.

Wilson Benesch apply a total system approach to design and manufacturing. We have complete control over every element of a product; from concept, through manufacturing and into production. The Wilson Benesch brand and product portfolio is totally unique. Manufacturing and producing a Wilson Benesch product is akin to building a luxury sports car such as a Ferrari or McLaren. We are talking about highly skilled craftsmen, hand built components and meticulous attention to detail. The fit and finish is always perfect – Christina Milnes, Managing Director, Wilson Benesch

To make matters more complex, the carbon fibre seen in a Wilson Benesch product is entirely absent from imperfections, a feat achieved by very, very few. Pioneering carbon fibre, ‘Advanced Composite Technologies (A.C.T.) in High End Audio design has been a long, hard and at times perilous pursuit, but 25-Years later, the Wilson Benesch product line bears testimony to the original ethos. As the FT asserts “the success of innovative technology often depends on persistence”.

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SMART Funding & The Advanced Manufacturing Park

Wilson Benesch win substantial Technology Strategy Board SMART Funding

The ‘step change’ in performance witnessed in the Cardinal was due entirely to decades of consistent re-investment in ambitious Research & Development programs that have always focused on the fundamentals. This commitment to innovation has been further supported by consistent ground level investment in our manufacturing suite and intellectual property.

With these unique strengths we have put in place the building blocks that enable a step change. The cabinet architecture, the Tactic Drive Unit technology, Isobaric systems, the Torus, the Semisphere each and every building block provides the grammar and syntax of a unique language that delivers distinctively different beautifully designed and quintessentially British designs.

As 2013 drew to a close, many will recall it as yet another year of instability and uncertainty in markets across the globe and yet the seeds of economic recovery appear to be rooting and from it there are signs of growth across the UK, Europe and USA. With the UK Manufacturing sector tipped to outgrow Europe and exceed the overall growth of the UK economy in 2014, Wilson Benesch are delighted to announce that the company has applied for and won further government ‘SMART’ funding to enable its high risk R&D program to continue.

Driving Innovation, a Technology Strategy Board Initiative

In winning SMART Funding in 2014, Wilson Benesch add a fourth such SMART project to the rich history of highly innovative projects led by the company, such as the Bishop project. A remarkable feat in itself, but one that proves without reservation, the unique position attained by the Wilson Benesch and it’s ability to satisfy the strict criteria for grant funding to be awarded.

With Four patents already in place and a further eight in progress, the TSB SMART funding is valued at approximately a quarter of a million pounds that is in part supported by the Technology Strategy Board and in part by Wilson Benesch.

Expansion: The Advanced Manufacturing Park
The new Research & Development Facility will allow Wilson Benesch to accelerate its product development and SMART Funded Research program

The huge success of Wilson Benesch’s many pioneering R&D programs has always been built upon collaboration with the greatest minds and organisation’s across the globe. In October 2013 Wilson Benesch opened a new R&D / Demonstration Facility on the UKs largest advanced manufacturing park, the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP).

From the Wilson Benesch window the logos of Rolls Royce and Boeing Aerospace The Nuclear Research facility and the Technology Transfer Centre and many more reside next to a broad range of the most pioneering high tech company’s in the world. A purpose built AMRC Training Centre opened on the 23rd January 2014. The new intake of 150 Engineering apprentices starts this January and will ensure a rich vein of quality trained people for the region and the UK as a whole. This will further bolster the already massive investments made by Sheffield’s two leading education institutions, the Sheffield University and the Sheffield Hallam University.

Having completed large parts of the Cardinal loudspeaker and Geometry Series developments with the Universities, the new Wilson Benesch Research Facility will provide a vital base from which these key partners can work collaboratively on the new technologies born from the SMART Project.

In 2014 Wilson Benesch celebrates it’s 25th Anniversary and begins what promises to be a rich period in the companies history. We look forward to sharing it with you. The Future is Carbon.

The new Research & Development Facility will allow Wilson Benesch to accelerate its loudspeaker and analogue replay system product development and SMART Funded Research program

Wilson Benesch: The Future is Carbon

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Square Series II, Square Five Review 2014

Wilson Benesch Square Five receives strong UK review in 2014

With 2014 just 10-days old, Wilson Benesch are delighted to be able to share with you the first product review of the year, in the shape of the new Square Series II flagship, the Square Five. The review is a tour de force and firmly stamps the authority of Wilson Benesch’s new design path, which has been led by the extensive research and development completed in the Cardinal project.

if the Square Five were developed from scratch, I hate to think how much it would have cost. But because it can piggyback on the development costs already invested in the Cardinal, the result is, in technological and material terms, really quite incredible. A true example of trickle-down technology, it’s way beyond a bargain; by any normal measure this is an absolute steal

Roy Gregory, The Audiobeat, January 2014

The Troika System seen in the Series II, Square Five loudspeaker

The Square Five is a four-way system acoustically, but presents itself electrically at the amplifier as a two-way system; a trick made possible by the complete autonomy and control the Wilson Benesch design team has over every element in loudspeaker design. Precisely it is the highly optimised and totally bespoke multi roll Tactic Drive Unit that allows Wilson Benesch to carefully tailor the Square Five so that subtractive crossover filters on three of the driver interfaces are entirely absent. Instead Wilson Benesch rolls off each driver mechanically with absolute precision.

the ability to shape each driver’s response with such precision, to fit it so precisely to purpose, that makes the Square Five possible. The result is not just tonally even and dynamically coherent; absent the discontinuities in harmonic color and musical energy that mar so many loudspeakers, the Square Fives achieve a level of musical expression and communication that belies their price… it brings a sophistication, nuance and substance to the musical event that make for both instant engagement and long-term satisfaction

Roy Gregory, The Audiobeat, January 2014

The Square Five was launched in August 2013 at the luxurious London Smart APP-artment, Cornflake. It will make its UK Exhibition debut at the Bristol Sound & Vision Show on 21st February 2014.

You can read the full unedited review of the Square Five here.

For more information about our Bristol Sound & Vision Exhibition please see here.

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The Vinyl Revival

Wilson Benesch celebrate Record Day UK 2013, Vinyl on the Full Circle Turntable
The figures are In
At the turn of the year the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) releases details of music sales performance for the previous year. The 2013 figures are in and they show a number of interesting changes in the the way that the public are consuming music.

Overall, music sales in all its various incarnations were in excess of £1bn – good news for the music industry as a whole. Physical sales of CDs remains the largest slice in this pie, representing a total of 64% of this figure in 2013. However this is not the whole story. The future of the CD medium might well be on shaky ground, as this market share is down 12.8% on the 2012 figure.

So what’s steadily replacing it you might ask. Well leading the way in terms of overall increases in market share is digital streaming. Until now streaming data had not been included in the BPI report for UK market figures, however the BPI has calculated that the value of subscription services such as Spotify and Deezer has now exceeded the £100 million mark for the first time and now accounts for 10% of the total market share. A 34% rise on the 2012 figure, when its share stood at 7%.

The way that music is discovered and enjoyed by fans continues to be shaped by the rapid evolution of digital technology, and 2013 arguably witnessed an even bigger shift in this dynamic as growing numbers took advantage of increased ownership of tablets and smartphones to either download or stream their favorite songs and albums ~ The British Phonographic Society, January 2014

Digital downloads show a 6.8% increase from the 2012 figures. 32.6 million albums were downloaded in 2013, but the really important figure here is that this represents a 100% growth on the level 5-years ago. Digital downloads therefore represent the most significant positive growth in any medium as far as actual consumer ownership is concerned.

The Vinyl Revival
Another striking figure from 2013 is the unbridled success of vinyl – dare we say it ‘the vinyl revival’. In 2013, 780,000 LPs were sold in the UK an astounding 101% increase on 2012′s figure and over 270% on five years ago. The total sales figures for vinyl have not been seen since 1997.

The vinyl format increasingly appeals to an engaged audience of younger artists and consumers alike, who appreciate its iconic heritage as part of Rock and Pop culture. The format’s profile and sales have also been driven by the success of annual events such as Record Store Day.

The first product that Wilson Benesch realised was the Wilson Benesch Turntable in 1989. For the High End Audio enthusiast, vinyl still represents to many the finest medium in which to replay your most cherished music. Wilson Benesch still believe the best way to enjoy music in high fidelity is on vinyl. It is why analogue still forms the backbone of all our High End Audio demonstrations globally. In 2014 Wilson Benesch continue to manufacture some of the finest analogue playback systems available. This year Wilson Benesch celebrate our heritage with the release of a special Anniversary Edition of the Full Circle, the Full Circle 25 to mark our 25th Anniversary and our continued commitment to the medium that is vinyl.
Wilson Benesch Celebrate Record Day 2013 with Vinyl on the Full Circle, A.C.T. 0.5 Tonearm, vinyl revival

Retail investment in the future of music reached an all-time high in 2013 as streaming services scaled up their offering. It means UK music fans now have an unprecedented choice of ways to enjoy the music they love – from traditional indie record shops to specialist High Street chains, supermarkets and a dizzying array of internet and digital services. As long as labels keep producing hits, our members will be there to deliver them to music fans ~ Kim Bayley, Director General of the Entertainment Retailers’ Association (ERA), 2014

The good news is, regardless of your choice, be it vinyl, CD, streaming online or via digital downloads we are all consuming and enjoying music more. Ultimately this is our shared passion – long may it live.

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Wilson Benesch Cardinal Prestige Award 2013 Super AV Magazine China

Wilson Benesch - Cardinal - Loudspeaker - Prestige - Award - Super AV Magazine - China - Forthwise - Hong Kong - Macau - Carbon Fiber Loudspeaker - High End SpeakerIn the ascendency in Asia
The groundbreaking Cardinal takes “Prestige Award for Best Floor Standing Loudspeaker” in Super AV Magazine China, 2013.

Marking what has been a vintage year in China and Asia, Wilson Benesch are thrilled to have been presented with this Award from Audio Visual Magazine. The ‘Prestige’ Award highlights the incredible amount of hard work and dedication in the persuit of the perfect sound that Wilson Benesch has embarked upon for its entire 25-year tenure in the High End Audio market. But further it underlines the excellent work and dedication to our brand and its products by our distribution partners, Forthwise. We would like to make a personal thanks to Robert Wan, Kim Siu and our good friends and colleagues in Hong Kong, China and Macau who have worked tirelessly to bring premium quality, British made products such as the Cardinal to the High End fraternity in these markets.

“In what is without doubt one of the most and if not the most important market in the world such an award comes as a wonderful end to an eventful and exciting year” – Christina Milnes, Managing Director.

The Cardinal is a remarkable and very worthy flagship that is setting the agenda in Asia in much the same way that it has in Europe. The first new product to see Cardinal technology is the Square Five which will make its UK debut at the Bristol Sound & Vision Show in the large prestigious venue of the Conservatory. We look forward to celebrating this award and the company’s 25th Anniversary Year with you.

A slideshow of the final show of 2013, the Guangzhou High End 2013 – featuring the Square Five and the Cardinal Loudspeakers.

Wilson Benesch - Guangzhou High End 2013 - Dartzeel - Cardinal - CH Precision-= Square Five - Geometry Series - Square Series II

Wilson Benesch: The Future is Carbon

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