It’s relatively rare for me to encounter something truly new at an audio show. New products, sure, but these are new and improved versions and configurations of known quantities: a better cone-and-dome speaker, a new triode amp, a really stunning set of horns. Muraudio‘s Domain Omni ESL PX1 ($58,000), however, is something that I have never seen before: an omnidirectional electrostatic speaker.
The speakers utilize what Muraudio describes as High Output Continuous Curve ESL (and what I describe as “a sort of cylinder-ish thing of electrostatic panel stuff”) combined with three low-frequency aluminum drivers. The enclosure is cast aluminum. They’re 82dB sensitive, with a maximum SPL of 105 dB at 2 meters, and they’re bi-wireable and bi-amp capable. Muraudio also makes a powered version ($67,000), but in this case, the PX1s were powered by a pair of Bryston 7B-SST2 ($5,100 each). The rest of the gear in the rack was from EMM Labs: the PRE2 stereo pre-amp ($15,000), TSDX CD/SACD transport ($17,000), and DAC2X DAC ($15,500). Cables were by Nordost.
At my request, we listened to the track “Ghost Towns” from Swedish country duo First Aid Kit’s first studio album, The Big Black and the Blue. I’d just seen the sisters perform this song live and unamplified in Portland the week before, so their voices were very fresh in my mind, and I was eager to make comparisons.
I tried this track out in any number of rooms over the course of THE Show, and this was by far my favorite. Johanna and Klara’s voices sounded realistically textured and distinct, even during close harmonies that might blur on other systems. I actually found myself starting to tear up a bit at the emotional immediacy that the PX1s provided — much as I’d teared up standing in the Wonder Ballroom the weekend before. Getting up and walking around demonstrated that these speakers are truly omnidirectional: no need for a special sweet spot chair here. The bass drivers integrated very well with the panels, almost seamlessly. Time didn’t allow me to listen to something more dynamically challenging, so I can’t speak to how these speakers would handle big swings in dynamics, but their speed with transient details and their bass heft hints at good things.
The flexibility that omnidirectionality provides, the graceful good looks, and the stunning sound quality and detail make these an excellent choice for those with means. Spending time in this room was a pleasure.