I’m not sure how “soundbars” have impacted the evolution of high-end audio, but I’ve gotten (several) ear-fulls from audiophiles with rather … strong … opinions on the matter. Were it up to me, a full 5.1 or 11.2 home theater system would be far more compelling, but I fully understand that this isn’t always an option. In fact, it’s not even “usually” an option — it’s an argument, and that’s not a veiled jab at WAF conventions. Fitting eleven speakers into a room whose primary purpose isn’t dedicated listening is a struggle. A vain one, in most cases. Which is why we settle. And why there are soundbars in the first place.
So, given that they’re here, why do they have to look ugly?
I can imagine that this is the thought-process that went through heads of the designers over at Lyravox when they came up with the Stereomaster.
Lyravox is a German company that makes soundbars. And when I say that, I have to acknowledge that saying that is very similar to saying something like “Rolls Royce makes cars”, or that “Monet was a painter” or that “Mozart liked music”. True as they may be, each bald statement lacks a bit of the impact required to really express something rather important.
Anyway, the Stereomaster is to soundbars what Rolls is to cars. It’s way more than a soundbar. It’s not practical. It most ways, it doesn’t make sense. But … It’s art. It’s goregous. And by ‘gorgeous’, I mean, “Holy sh!tb*lls, are you insane? You cannot leave that on the wall! Someone might walk into the same room and breathe at it! Ahh! Ahhh!”
It’s also not cheap. The SM2-200, which features a pair of integrated, powered, subwoofers. Think: 12-cylinder engine on your Rolls. Yeah. That’s how they’re gonna roll.
Scanspeak Revelator drivers, Illuminator tweeters, an integrated CD-transport and DAC, and up to ten integrated amplifiers. Prices can reach up to €24k and beyond. I say “can reach” because this offering is more bespoke than it is standard — and yes, Michael Trei, I mean “bespoke” in the sense that just about every element of the final configuration and finish can be (and typically is) custom.
Unfortunately, I heard this in one of those amazingly terrible iso-box isolation “booth” rooms down on the Hall at Munich, so I can’t say with any degree of anything that the Stereomaster lives up to its fit and finish, but I can say that the fit and finish may well be the best I saw at High End this year, barring one or two €500k speakers. To say that it’s extraordinary doesn’t come close.
Honestly, I’m not the target market for this. Not sure too many audiophiles are either. But if you are into high-end audio, are absurdly well-heeled, and are forced to massively compromise on your plans for
world domination a multi-speaker multi-channel home theater system, or are perhaps looking for something for that display in your corporate/law-firm conference room or lobby or whatever, Lyravox is a laughably obvious choice.
Wow. Soooo pretty.