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AXPONA 2017: Goldmund and the Golden Age of Wireless

Goldmund had a very interesting and great sounding room at AXPONA using some new technology.  It had two pieces of gear and the Logos Sukha loudspeakers in typical “angled, stacked box” format that Goldmund designs are known for.  Sukha has an appropriate derivation, meaning “the wisdom that allows us to see the world as it is, without veils or distortions.”  In Pali, Sukha means happiness and ease, bliss or pleasure.  The sound fit the description and there was also an ease in equipment set up.

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Logos Sukha by Goldmund.

The Sukha is an active speaker with wireless capability.  The Sukha has a wireless dongle that you attach to your laptop and that’s really all you need for digital playback.  If you have a Goldmund Transmitter-equiped device then that works as well.  Inside the speakers is a wireless receiver, Leonardo 2 time-alignment correction software, digital crossovers and gain switches.  Frequency response if 26Hz to +25 KHz.  There are two 600 watt Telos amplifiers per side, two x 175 watt for midrange and tweeter, and one x 250 watt for the woofer.  Per side there is one soft dome tweeter, one 6.5 inch mid, and one 12 inch woofer.  It comes with a three year parts and labor warranty.

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Mimesis 11 pre-amp and Eidos Universal Player.

Goldmund also had their Mimesis 11 preamplifier and wireless hub which was connected to a Goldmund Eidos 17 Universal Player.  The Mimesis was used to send the wireless signal to the Sukha loudspeakers and can handle a wide variety of sources including analog (two RCA inputs), digital RCA SPDIF, digital Toslink, and USB. Bob Visintainer was playing some computer files and the music really got my toes tapping.  Like the Sukha, the Mimesis has a wireless antenna in the back but you can also output by four parallel digital RCA SPDIF two-channel outputs.  Two knobs on the front control source selection and volume.

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Look ma, no wires.

The Goldmund Eidos is actually based on the latest Oppo design but has been adapted to meet Goldmund specifications and has an entirely new mechanically grounded structure.  The range of formats is impressive: Blu-Ray, SACD, DVD-Audio, CD, HDCD, Kodak Picture CD and all sorts of read-write disc capability.  Signal to noise is greater than 115 db and THD+N is less than 0.006% (1 khz at 0dBFS, 20 khz LPF).  Home theater ready?  Oh heck yes.  HMDI audio and video outputs, Dolby True HD, DTS, DTS-HD High Resolution, DTS-HD Master Audio.  All the proper buzzwords are fully complied with.

But what caught my ear of course, was the sound.  There was an ease of presentation emanating from these boxy yet artsy looking speakers.  One could easily imagine these in a fine home in Los Angeles, or a loft in Soho.

I’ve always been suspicious of wireless because early wireless systems seemed to be a bit thin sounding, almost as though not all the sound waves arrived intact at the receiving end… or it seemed to sound that way.  This time was different.  I could not tell a difference as the sound seemed very coherent and on par with the better systems I heard at AXPONA.

How did this happen?  Why were things different now?  I turned to Bob Visintainer for comment.

Bob believes it simply boils down to implementation and the use of a refined DSP algorithm to get time and amplitude coherence.  It also involves quality send/receive components and high quality DACs.  Bob says that Tidal sounds terrific although CD is slightly better.

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Simplicity.

One more reason for the clarity is the construction quality of the cabinets which are made from aircraft-grade aluminum.  Goldmund was really the pioneer here having done these aluminum cabinets for over twenty years.  However, the real reason may be Goldmund’s mechanical grounding process which is designed to dissipate vibration down to the ground.  On each speaker cabinet side, there are internal rods that absorb vibration to a central point at the bottom of the “box” which then flows through a tall cylindrical spike that then touches the lower box which is also grounded in similar fashion and then that flows into a spike that reaches the floor.  It’s super solid and Bob believes this plays a large role in the clarity of the Goldmund speakers.  He feels the Goldmund sound has evolved a bit in the last few years to be more musical than the accuracy they were known for but still keeping a high level of resolution.  I can confirm that is what the Sukha sounded like at Axpona.  Very open, very detailed, but musical.  Few speakers pull this off well.

I asked Bob what he was seeing in the high-end marketplace and his response was encouraging.  These are expensive systems.  The Sukha is $95K per pair, the Mimesis preamp is $10K and the Eidos universal player is $10K.  Do keep in mind that for each speaker you are getting 3 drivers, 3 DACs, and 3 amps, all in “Swiss-watch quality” which Goldmund is known for.  But it’s a compact, super easy to use system that really integrates well with newer music libraries/streamers such as Tidal.  Bob is finding they are attracting a non-traditional audiophile market that is certainly still a luxury buyer but someone who is “into music” but is not “on the forums” and a typical obsessed audiophile poring over every latest tweak.  It’s a clientele of successful people, many company owners, who just want to enjoy the music.  It’s refreshing that we are seeing these simpler, “everything you need” systems that address a new market and are also done at a Goldmund-quality level.  Perhaps this is a new segment the high end community needs to think more about.

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Brace for impact.

Getting back to the sound, Bob played Mark Isham’s Blue Sun.  Great imaging on the piano, sublime trumpet work from Isham as expected but captured realistically.  Drums hovering clearly in the background.  Moving to Eric Alexander’s Second Impression, the rollicking piano by Harold Mabem and the horn ofAlexander is very dynamic.  I need to add more of his work to my library.  Thanks Bob for introducing me to this musician. Again, the sound was open, natural, dynamic.  It checked all my boxes.

Goldmund does not seem to get much press in the high end community, except for loyalists in the Asia-Pacific region.  That should change.  This system sounded excellent.  “But Lee, it’s wireless!” Yeah, well the latest wireless sounds great when implemented well.  Not everyone wants to see suspended garden hose snaking through the house.  These new “everything included” systems may just be what the industry needs: a new market of luxury buyers who just want simplicity and to immerse themselves into the music.

The latest from Part-Time Audiophile

About Lee Scoggins (39 Articles)
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Lee got interested in audio listening to his Dad’s system in the late 70s and he started making cassettes from LPs. By the early 80s he got swept up in the CD wave that was launching which led to a love of discs from Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs. Later while working on Wall Street in the 90s, Lee started working on blues, jazz and classical sessions for Chesky Records and learned record engineering by apprenticeship. Lee was involved in the first high resolution recordings which eventually became the DVD-Audio format. Lee now does recordings of small orchestras and string quartets in the Atlanta area. Lee is a serious music collector and his current system consists of Audio Research Reference electronics and Magnepan speakers.

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