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Floorstanding Speakers

T.H.E. Show 2022: Boenicke W8 & Alma Music & Audio

Never judge a loudspeaker by its size. The Boenicke W8 is not inexpensive at $8,500, but it’s quite the experience.

Boenicke W8 Loudspeaker in Walnut Finish at T.H.E. Show

Alma Music & Audio are based in San Diego and offer a wide range of electronics and loudspeakers from brands like MSB, Nagra, Innuos, and Boenicke. The Swiss manufacturer has offered its innovative and beautiful loudspeakers since 1999 — the Boenicke W8 on display at T.H.E. Show 2022 has been the talk of the show.

Standing only 30 inches tall, the W8 proves that one should never judge a book; or loudspeaker in this case by its size.

The Boenicke W8 starts at $8,500 USD (there are different SE versions available) and in a show filled with a lot of speakers in the $30,000 to $65,000 range — sound and feel like a bargain.

Driven by the Nagra Classic Power Amplifier and Classic Pre-amplifier, and a digital front-end from Innuos and MSB that will run you almost $85,000 USD — the Boenicke W8 are wickedly impressive.

The Skinny

Boenicke W8 Loudspeaker in Oak Finish
Boenicke W8 Loudspeaker in Oak Finish

Standard Version

  • 6.5″ long throw bass driver, tuned to 28 Hz, running without crossover
  • 4″ custom-made paper cone bass-midrange driver, 1st order low pass filter, no high pass filter, apple tree phase plug, maple wood cone mounted to magnet
  • 3″ widebander, 1st order high pass filter, unique 8-cm electromechanical parallel spiral resonator installed
  • Internal wiring orientation-optimised silk-wrapped high-frequency stranded litz
  • WBT NextGen binding posts
  • Rear ambient tweeter

The W8 have a sensitivity rating of 84 dB (4 ohms) and my experience suggests that they definitely like power.

A customer who owns a pair and runs them in a room larger than the hotel suite where they were on display told me that he uses an Audio Research VT100 Power Amplifier with them and that one should consider that the absolute minimum in terms of power.

The Nagra Classic delivers 100 watts/channel into 8 ohms; there was no information about what it outputs into 4 ohms.

Boenicke W8 Loudspeaker in Walnut Finish at T.H.E. Show

The dealer set them up quite far from the front wall and at least 8 to 9 feet apart in the hotel room; which made a huge difference in both the tonality and size of the soundstage.

With a listening seat that placed me really close to the loudspeakers that were aimed at the row of chairs behind me, I was not prepared for two aspects of the sound.

Never judge a loudspeaker by its size. Ever.

The W8 deliver a soundstage that extended well beyond the room itself; listening to Leonard Cohen revealed a rather generous sensation of depth, and width — and a somewhat exaggerated sense of height.

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Speed and presence are also superb through the W8; the human voice has an almost tactile feel to it that makes you want to reach out and pass the performer a drink.

Piano notes were not as organic or natural sounding as the DeVore O/baby, but I suspect very few people would take issue with the overall tonal balance. The bass is quick, detailed, and rather tight; the room was larger than my own listening space so I don’t know how it would change in a more intimate setting with more acoustic treatment.

Boenicke W8 Loudspeaker Side in Oak Finish
Side view of Boenicke W8 Loudspeaker

Electronic music had tremendous pace and mid bass energy; the treble never became hard or etched driven rather hard during my 45-minute listening session which was definitely one of the best rooms at the show on Friday.

The $85,000 worth of electronics made me wince and also wonder what the Boenicke W8 sound like with far more affordable electronics.

A loudspeaker well worth seeking out.

For more information: Boenicke W8 Loudspeakers

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. ORT

    June 12, 2022 at 2:07 pm

    These were quite impressive. My son and I kept looking for the subwoofer every time we returned to the listen to them reproduce music. Excellent and as you say, give the cost of many speakers there and already available in the outside world, these are quite the value and worthy of consideration.

    And I might add, they look totally bitchin’! There was one set of speakers that looked like all they had was a single medium sized driver centered (some what) in a tall cabinet. They too, were superb at reproducing music!

    “SIGH”…If only I were a TFT. Trust Fund Toad.

    ORT

    • Ian White

      June 12, 2022 at 5:49 pm

      ORT,

      My second favorite product at the entire show my friend. Wonderful to meet you and your son.

      Ian

  2. Tim

    June 12, 2022 at 5:37 pm

    I demo’d all the Boenicke models at Park Ave Audio in NYC a year or so back and the W8 were my favorite. Just remarkable, huge-yet-intimate sound. I only wince at the huge price differential for the upgraded model. Boenicke could do a better job justifying paying double, which is more than an ‘upgrade’ imo.

    • Ian White

      June 12, 2022 at 5:48 pm

      Tim,

      I was super impressed with the base model. They did have the upgraded base but I agree…$8,500 is already a lot of money.

      Now I want to hear them with other systems because the excellent one used was $85,000.

      Ian

      • Alex

        June 16, 2022 at 5:29 am

        Ian (and everybody else)

        You are invited to come and audition the W8 here in our showroom in San Diego! We have an assortment of products that we can use with them, like the new Technics SU-G700mk2 amps ($2,800) or the Audio Alto pre/power combo that we showed elsewhere at THE Show ($2,000 each).

        We took the opportunity at THE Show and used the outstanding Nagra electronics as we wanted to showcase them as well as the Boenickes. The fact that a $8,500 doesn’t embarrass itself in such lofty company is surely worth mentioning. Unfortunately, due to its prodigious bass, a bigger (and more $$$) Boenicke in that hotel room might’ve not had the same tight bass and impressive soundstaging.

        We brought 3 systems to THE Show, at 3 different price points. That particular room, Boenicke/Nagra, was to be our “higher end” system. Two rooms down, we had a system going for $13,000 (speakers + amp + preamp + source), with Audio Alto/Hi Fi Rose.

        Anyway, hope you had as much as fun at THE Show as we did, and hope to see you here in San Diego for a visit!

        Thanks,
        Alex & Fabio
        Alma Music and Audio

        • Ian White

          June 16, 2022 at 3:47 pm

          Alex,

          That might be something that we do indeed. We loved the rooms. The Boenicke W8 were one of our top 3 speakers at the show. It did so many things well.

          Kudos for setting up such great sounding rooms.

          Ian White

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