X-Fi 2019 - Best Sound of Show
Best Sound of Show by Hifi Advice
During the biggest audioshow in the Netherlands, many of the worlds' top high-end brands were represented, such as Wilson Audio, YG, and Gauder Akustik.
It is with great pride the staff of Aequo Audio received this awarded on such a large and well attended audioshow: first place. We thank Mr. Punter of Hifi Advice for this great honour.
Stilla review Mono & Stereo
The very unique, "mighty double-decker" from
Matej Isak: two awards at once!
It is with great pride that Aequo Audio announces not one, but two prestigious awards won simultaneously for the Stilla. Aequo Audio humbly accepts this very unique honour, which Mr Isak calls so beautifully: "the mighty double-decker". In his already very extensive review, he did not yet include the music references, so a second part is coming. Two awards, and two review parts. For the entire review, please click the link below the following summary.
"When the technology is properly implemented the speakers simply disappear. While this sounds pretty easy to achieve, in reality, the complete disappearing act is not that common. Certain speakers do push this agenda to the extremes, but so far none of the dynamic speakers managed to nail the "stealth technology" with the as the Aequo Audio Stillas can.
Then again... The complexity never ceases to enroll effortlessness into the high-end audio realms that easily. Some typical dynamic speakers might have quit high translucent potency, yet it gets complicated with the timbre, tone and color formation as well as with the pin-point precision of sonic cues.
Here is where the Aequo Audio Stillas is ahead by not a exactly a subtle advantage. Stilla speakers' laser-like precision is impressively blended with the splendid spatiality. There is no hint of the distortion entering in the domain of golden triangle (timbre, tone, color) and the sonic scape is not hampered at any point.
With all of these qualities, the Stilla speakers embrace a bit different aural experience than what's usual expected. Laboratory like precision allows the pure music's transition that is of heart-melting impact. This translates with the remarkable sonic purity no matter what music is being played.
I'm sure you've got quite a vivid projection of what the Aequo Audio Stilla speakers are capable of. These transducers are among one of the most transparent windows to an endless music universe regardless of type and genre being served to them.
During the evaluation period, I've most highly enjoyed the Aequo Audio Stillas and surely miss them. Their ability to orbit music so effortlessly and without self sonic imprint is hard to forget and the stirring experience still lingers on.
For what they represent technically and sonic wise I'm wholeheartedly (even in the first part) awarding the Aequo Audio Stilla speakers in a very special way. Stillas are more than worthy of highlighting with the combined Mono & Stereo Upper Echelon Award and Highly Recommended Product Award. Yes, the mighty double-decker!
As I was excited in my original Ensis review with the Aequo Audio next imprint I'm most excited to hand-on explore the next Aequo Audio adventures in the form of the passive Adamantis (€ 14.500) made out of the new material and the next in line D I L U V I U M."
“Yes, the high-end audio future is bright and thrilling with the brands like Aequo Audio!♫”
Matej Isak, Mono & Stereo
Stilla review 6moons
Blue Moon Award from Srajan Ebaen for Stilla
Aequo Audio is very proud to announce the first review of the new Stilla speaker by 6moons’ founder Srajan Ebean, resulting in an award right away. Not often it happened that a brand’s first, as well as its second speaker product, receive his prestigious Blue Moon Award. Nore is it common to find so many adjectives as “brilliant”, “stunning” and “spectacular” simultaneously in one of Mr. Ebean’s fair judgements…
In comparison to his large reference speakers - that more than double Stilla’s weight, and volume, and which are equipped with a full size 10 inch subwoofer - he states that these could not keep up with Stilla’s bass reach, control and evenness. For doing so with integrated active bass, including fully analog adjustability to room size and placement, he fully acknowledged how Stilla saves listeners big expense on amplifier choice and therefore total system budget.
The highs get just as much praise in comparison to recently reviewed top-shelf ribbons (by which he must mean those such as the new ones of Kaiser Acoustic that took the large room before Stilla could move in) as well as his Albedo’s ceramics by Accuton. In fact, Stilla proved to be super-coherent and highly resolving/articulated in all frequency bands and equally suitable for all music genres, whilst throwing a big “walkabout” and “wall-to-wall” soundstage.
For the above and more highlights you find below, and for being so close in performance to the more expensive and multi award winning Ensis, he concludes Stilla is a “real disruptor and hot buy” that performs on the highest “roofless, top level”, and even without competition/”neighbours”.
We thank Mr. Ebaen for his extensive and insightful review of both company and product, and we could not wish for a better assessment that fit’s so well the excitement and compliments we have been receiving from professional partners and consumers worldwide since the recent launch of Stilla.
“truly capacious walkabout soundstaging, wall to wall with very high sorting separation”
"Stilla's low registers bridge the worlds of small woofers for speed and control with that of mega woofers for raw extension.”
“Next level performance while saving money on system budget”
“Placed on the top level; without neighbors, Stilla is the real disruptor and hot buy”
“Stunning” “Spectacular” “Next Level” “Brilliant”
“When actually experienced, who could argue with Stilla's results?”
“Placed on the top level; without neighbors, Stilla is the real disruptor and hot buy”
Srajan Ebaen, Sixmoons.com
Ensis: Best sound of show
Best Sound of Show on High End Munich
Aequo Audio got awarded with a 'Best sound of show' award on one of the biggest and most important audio shows in the world: the High End show in Munich. The award was given by Mr Pacula of High Fidelity magazine. Given the fact that the Ensis was playing in a demo cabin in one of the halls instead of an atrium, this is quite an accomplishment...
Ensis review Mono & Stereo
Highly Recommended Product award for Ensis
With his 20 years of experience in high end audio, Matej Isak can be seen as a true connaisseur. His beautifully written reviews have inspired many audio enthusiasts over the last two decades and with his internationally well-known platform, it was a true honor that he would like to review the special copper edition of the Ensis. We feel his observations truly got the essence of how Aequo Audio connects listeners to the musical performance. We selected some highlights of his review that you can read below.
“Ensis have managed to elevate "Adaptaion Of The Bodo song" to the level of the scenic sense, that is usually reserved for a grander speakers.
The Ensis' lightning fast signal response, immersive sound stage, massive power of the subwoofers and lower order crossover have materialised a box-less sound with a captivating tensional integrity not often exhibited by any speakers regardless the price.
Aequo Audio's formulated technical endeavouring created a connecting bridge with the music without focusing on the mere mechanics of the acoustics. Ensis's rather focused on the music's inherited DNA.
Ensis have shown their multi-faceted nature, that could follow the music genres with a captivating pace and with the sonic magnetism, that can easily lockdown the listener into a prolonged and listening fatigue free aural enjoyment.
Music was easily detached from the speakers and the sonic rendering created the grander aural venue, with the sonic projection of impressive density.
Aequo Audio Ensis speakers's aesthetics and sound reflect the 21st century values and demands, that are highly coveted by both strident audiophiles and emotionally engaged music lovers. For the firstborns, these speakers strike with the surprisingly high exclamation mark.
Watch out for out for the Aequo Audio future imprint! ”
Ensis review Hifipig
Outstanding Product award for Ensis
The well-known HiFi couple Stuart en Linette Smith, famous for always being the first to bring news in HiFi-land, now used their skills and ears to get acquainted with the Ensis. Two representatives of Aequo Audio travelled to their lovely home in the French Gourin to visit them.
Some highlights of their review:
Stuart: “Real goosebumps time!” “These are as good a pair of loudspeakers that I have had the pleasure to have in our listening room”
Linette: “They do have to tick certain boxes in order for them to make it onto my ‘Would like to own’ list. Ensis really does tick them all.”
“At the bottom of the speakers is an enclosure that houses the ten inch aluminium subwoofer that is actively driven and is adjustable: This is a very useful and sensible feature that allows the Ensis loudspeakers to integrate brilliantly into any environment and room situation. The overall feel of the speaker is one of understated luxury with fit and finish being exemplary.
We used our Nord amp and Music First Audio preamplifier along with a Chord DAVE DAC, but also drove these 90db speakers with a little Clones Audio i25 (25W) and a Audio Hungary valve amp with no feeling that we needed to pump more power through them. Set up of the speakers was a doddle as being a closed design they just aren’t that fussy, though a small degree of toe-in was preferred and a bit of fiddling with the beautifully crafted bass controls was needed to match perfectly with the room.
It was possible to lose yourself in the depth of each sound, with the Ensis delivering loads of detail in the mids and tops to the extent that the make-up of each sound was easy to unravel and fall into. Crank the volume button up a few notches and you lose nothing of the detail…you just have more volume, and again this is a very good thing. Lesser loudspeakers can get all flappy and distressed with this kind of material at high volume, but not so the Ensis; they remained composed and unruffled at all times. Bass tones and that very recognisable bass kick had a depth and layering that again drew you into the individual sounds but without losing and overall cohesiveness. Bass is low, controlled and tight which is another must for me with a loudspeaker.
Speed is a key factor with any good loudspeaker and the Ensis are as nimble on their feet as I’ve heard. In some ways they have that immediacy and speed that great horns have and whilst one some systems this speed in the mid and tops can lead to a lack of cohesiveness with the bass, the Ensis’ solution of having a separate but fully integrated sub works an absolute treat. Timing is fabulous and you never feel that anything is remotely out of phase leading to a transparent and open sound with real coherence across the frequency spectrum.
On acoustic music there is a real feel for the instruments and their timbre with Baden Powell’s nylon strung guitar sounding as lifelike as I’ve heard. There is just so much detail evident in the music when listening with the Ensis loudspeaker, but this doesn’t come with an over analytical or fatiguing character; you could listen to these all day and not feel you were overloaded. Late night listening at low volumes is often a good test of a speaker’s capabilities, with lesser speakers not having the ability to convey the full range of the music, but with the Ensis, as when you turn them to high volume, you do get everything that is going on in the performance.
That three dimensional presentation; the Ensis do this trick brilliantly too and you feel that the musicians are laid out in front of you both left to right, front to back and up and down. Despite having to concentrate and listen critically to what is going on I often found myself just listening to tunes for long spells without taking notes and just enjoying the experience, which is a great sign the speakers were doing something right. Moving out of the sweet spot there is still a good sense of this image and the Ensis are a speaker that can be enjoyed with friends as well as for when you are feeling a little more isolationist.
Turning to Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah and it’s as good as I’ve heard in our room. There is a purity to his voice that conveys the emotion of this tune and this comes across beautifully with these speakers. Real goosebumps time! And this is another key characteristic of a loudspeaker for me; it should connect you with the music and the performance on an emotional level and given their low colouration and amounts of micro-detail the Ensis give you a direct connection.
I’m really struggling to find anything negative about these loudspeakers. They are detailed in the extreme but not fatiguing. They have a hugely three dimensional presentation that is highly addictive. They convey the emotional content of music brilliantly. They are controlled, uncoloured and transparent. They are elegant and clean in their appearance. There is the old adage that all loudspeakers compromise in some aspect of their presentation and of course this is true to an extent but I’m struggling to find a compromise in these speakers…perhaps the price is a little out of the reach for many.
These are as good a pair of loudspeakers that I have had the pleasure to have in our listening room (and I include our current reference Avantgarde Duo XD in this, though their presentation is obviously different). Presentation is clean, uncoloured and powerful when it needs to be – and likewise subtle when there is the call for it. Dynamically they are brilliant. They present every nuance of a performance or piece of music with dazzling detail and yet remain an easy listen.
Good source components are a must for these speakers given the level of detail they provide, but that needn’t mean spending a fortune and we got great results using a gainclone based amplifier costing less than £1000.
They look good and will appeal to those looking to have a modern looking, stylish loudspeaker in their home that really delivers on the sound front. For me their big selling point is that no matter what style of music you throw at them, be that Industrial Strength techno or something like Fleetwood Mac’s Songbird, they allow you an open view into the recording and the music. Yes you can get lost in analysing what you are listening to if you want to but for the most part you will find yourself just feeling connected directly to the music on a truly emotional level and to me that is what music is all about!
The professionalism of the business is carried on in the product. Ensis is an elegant looking speaker, made of high quality materials and with great attention to detail. Its actually a very compact speaker and the slender, gently tilted back design makes it the perfect fit for the home environment. The sound that comes from Ensis is also very refined, clear, precise, detailed and a surprisingly big soundstage makes for a very enjoyable listening experience. The precise nature of the speakers is never clinical and they are very easy to listen to, whether playing at low volume in the background or belting out techno they are the kind of speakers that you could just live with day in, day out. Their clever design also means you can put them more or less anywhere, another plus point for modern living.
Ensis is very much like her creators, a smart, slick and businesslike exterior wrapped around a love of music and a fun personality. I like a diverse range of speakers but they do have to tick certain boxes in order for them to make it onto my ‘Would like to own’ list. Ensis really does tick them all. Great looks, sound great with all types of music (not just ‘audiophile music’) a lively detailed sound which is never fatiguing and a very reasonable price. Definitely on the list, outstanding!”
Ensis review Hi-Fi Choice
5-star rating by Hi-Fi Choice for Ensis
Marek of Hifichoice gave the Ensis the maxium full 5 star rating and sent us a seven-point summary of his experiences during while reviewing.
“What do I think of them? Let’s see:
1. Maybe the most coherent sounding 3-way speakers I know.
2. Tonally accurate in every acoustic recording I tried.
3. Smooth, rich and musical.
4. Fantastic bass! Fast agile, taut, never slower than the rest of the range which happens quite often with semi-active designs.
5. Very good spacing and imaging.
6. Very, very natural sounding.
7. Great amp match even for a 10W push-pull tube amp.”
Ensis review Hifi Knights
Review Hifi Knights by Dawid Grzyb
After listening to the Ensis on the shows in Munich and Warsaw, Dawid became very interested in testing the Ensis for himself. Right after the show in Warsaw, Dawid had his moment.
Read full review on Hifi Knights >
Here are some highlights of his great review:
“Dutch speakers sing big, boldly, loudly and proudly, there’s nothing small or shy in their sound. The outcome is dense, marvelously textured, tonally rich and present throughout the whole audible FR. Ensis sports a phenomenal bass and low midrange. Add clarity and lack of any kind of veiling on top of that. This product performs with a very sensible punchness, authority and organic, lifelike saturation.
What’s striking is how coherent Ensis speakers are. During a number of days not even once I’ve encountered a situation where a specific FR part would stand out of the crowd. Not only these are perfectly glued together, everything is properly rhythmic. Picture a fabulously jumpy low end, which can change its pace in a jiffy; from exceptionally feisty to very subtle character on demand and without breaking a tiniest drop of sweat. But the rest is always up there in terms of temporary speed. At times it was a real treat to see the sheer force and punchness, just to be surprised by delicate and suave approach seconds later. And again, let’s add clarity and the sense of presence to the mix and there you have it, the exceptionally pleasant effect to drown in for long, long hours.
Ensis pictures a properly airy soundstage. Instead of being overly light or stuffy, subjectively it hits the right spot, which leads to highly coherent, very deep and threedimensional imaging. I tend to think that the golden middle between instruments’ body, their size, placement and space among them has been found. And this makes the music just right and highly entertaining at that.
What makes Ensis so good is their smoothness, organic approach, fineness and refinement. All of these features are heard easily. There’s no struggle, harshness or brute force in Ensis performance. And all it takes is a quick listen to i.e. their highs. Surprisingly dense, differentiated, clear, with proper decaying and fatigue free, never sharp. Similarly generous set of traits can be said about what’s below, but the gist is that Ensis isn’t an oddball not really sure about what it is exactly, but a refined and coherent performer surely worth a heavy bag full of money. It’s also worth to know that our Dutch floorstanders phenomenally show the scale in music, the amount of air these boxes pump so effortlessly make one helluva impression.
Aequo Audio Ensis floorstanders are a very positive surprise. Too many factors impressed me to a degree too great to conclude this Dutch adventure in any other way. Ensis is marvelously made, visually tasty. Ensis is a complete product and a spectacular performer. Ensis connects engineering know-how, very modern design and grand sound in a very swift fashion. In our Dutch case, these aspects beautifully click altogether. But the effect this coherent, pleasant, effortless and impressive overall can’t be done by an accident. It’s way too polished to be achieved by a coincidence, way too refined. Therefore Aequo Audio people know not only how to make a fancy box, but are also perfectly capable of making it to sound really good.”
Ensis review 6moons
Blue Moon Award from Srajan Ebaen for Ensis
Srajan Ebaen is the founder of the famous internet platform 6moons. He studied classical clarinet at the conservatories of Stuttgart and Hannover and played in the pricewinning orchestra led by Von Wangenheim. He later worked in the USA audio business for several respected companies and became a writer and journalist for magazines like SoundStage! and EnjoyTheMusic before starting 6moons in 2002. He awarded the Ensis with his important Blue Moon Award and called it “a perfect audiophile-approved lifestyle speaker”. Again an expert who is intrigued by the beautiful design of the Ensis, and stunned by the perfect audiophile sound it delivers.
We compiled some selected highlights as a summary:
“The choice of drivers—no metal diaphragms above 100Hz—predicts and delivers a softer sound whilst the super-rigid cab and controlled dispersion ratchet up focus sharpness. Extricate the essence of softer membranes plus precision focus. That's the gestalt. It's crystal clear because the cabinet doesn't talk; and because your room won't talk back as it usually does with descending freqs. Just so, it's not the crystallized sharpness of transient prickliness which hard drivers can create. It's gentler. Throw in rapid dynamic reflexes of unexpected scaling not dumbed down by lossy cabinetry or inferior drivers.
All of the above plus very potent yet unobtrusive low bass set the foundation for obsessing over soundstaging. Given locked focus and admirable reluctance to stir up the room's hornets-nest, layering, image specificity & Co. played at a high level whilst first-octave support added tacit scale. If you love big drums and synth trickery and how LF energies roll out into the room, the Ensis has your number.
Not only is the Ensis of high IQ on concept, it's the same on execution. Integration of passive and active sections is perfect and the critical handover/continuation of midband to bass seamless. Whatever adjustments the user makes to what happens below, it won't screw up that transition. That's key. It's the big advantage over trying to match the midrange's roll-off with an outboard subwoofer's own filter network. And it nets stereo not mono bass. Finally, the sealed passive section without wicked impedance plot of ports is tailor made for experiments with low-powered amps of various persuasions. It's not only an invite at getting esoteric but a potential cost saver because costly muscle amps aren't required. The yeoman work of the bass is already handled by the most advanced class D currently to market.
It incorporates advanced manufacturing skills, material sciences know-how and in-house fabrication of the stem and bin shells under a 20-ton press in custom moulds. The complex form factor and material mix materialized in lovely finishing with quite the option menu on trim choices. "Nothing new under the audio sun" is a mostly true mantra but the Æquo Audio Ensis manages to escape its usual confines. For that and what should be the future for 21st-century speaker design (more uncompromised full-range performance in smaller more attractive packages), it deserves an enthusiastic award.”
“The Ensis is a very clever design. - Not only is the Ensis of high IQ on concept, it's the same on execution. "Nothing new under the audio sun" is a mostly true mantra but the Æquo Audio Ensis manages to escape its usual confines. For that and what should be the future for 21st-century speaker design (more uncompromised full-range performance in smaller more attractive packages), it deserves an enthusiastic award."
Srajan Ebaen, 6moons.com
Follow up review 6moons by Marja & Henk
Dr. Marja Vanderloo and Dr. Henk Boot: the audio review couple seen at many international Shows and well known for their extensive journalistic contribution to 6moons since 2003. They have a special focus on how emotion can be transferred through music, which is exactly the goal of Aequo Audio’s efforts led by the Octogon philosophy. So after a positive first encounter with the Ensis on the Munich 2016 show, Aequo Audio was very happy to loan them a pair of speakers to add a second part to the review by 6moons founder Srajan Ebaen. Below you can read some of the highlights:
“By email link, Srajan had hipped us to the above Osama Abdulrasol Quintet's Jedid album. On his zither-like lap harp, the quintet's leader is unbelievable fast. Notes succeed each other with uncanny speed and Osama's fingers are in a blur when watching him play. But not only can a qanun be very quick, its timbre is equally special when high-pitched strings activate the body's cavity to add richness. Combine that with close-mic'd accordion and soprano voice and voilà, many a tweeter's worst nightmare. Think overtones galore and not merely benign harmonics. Kudos to the Ensis tweeters when we could fully follow the music without having to wonder once where or what exactly produced these sounds.
Lo and behold, now we'd hit our aural bliss button for the Æquo Ensis in our big space. Unrest gone? Check. Imaging outside the speakers? Check. Realistic depth behind them? Check. Coherence? Check. Dynamics and attack? Check. It took a bit of futzing but we finally had the speakers play our space to full satisfaction. The Ensis maintained full control without cone breakup or any other distortion.
Throughout, the Ensis proved to be a well-mannered companion. It was amazing to witness such large sound emitting from a 3-way that only put 25kg on the scale.
Any style of music got what it deserved. Small ensembles retained their intimacy, large symphonic forces feathered out and scaled up to appropriate size.”
Ensis review High Fidelity
Best Product 2016 award for Ensis
Dr. Wojciech Pacula is an internationally highly respected hi-fi journalist and former sound engineer at the prestigious Juliusz Slowacki Theatre. He is known for reviews in Audio and Video Magazine, Positive Feedback and 6moons, as the chief editor at High Fidelity Magazine and he has written an extensive article about the Ensis.
You can read some of the highlights of the artictle below.
“These loudspeakers, despite their delicate appearance, played a fragment with powerful guitars in a way large speakers would, without compression, without hesitation, without shyness. A delicate passages were deepened, delivered in a... well, delicate manner. They presented successive layers of the track with ease, freely, merging the big picture, so to speak, with details. It was really beautiful. Let it be a small clue as to their use.”
“I never felt there was any problem with coherence between bass and midrange, but also between midrange and treble drivers. It's a very successful simulation of a point sound source. Therefore, most likely, the soundstage is so incredible in its density and tangibility. One can not specify its beginning and the end, because it is very concise. Presentation of different types of reverb, natural acoustics captured during concerts is astounding. One immerses oneself in the sound completely, the bubble separating us from the music bursts easily.”
““I don't know any other case of such a “designer” product to deliver such a top-high-end performance. The Ensis are the first.”
Wojciech Pacula, High Fidelity