High End 2017: Von Schweikert Audio goes ultra

I can tell when I get to speak to smart people and Damon Von Schweikert with Leif Swanson gave me that impression, of knowing what they are doing and better yet, knowing that brute force is not the answer to everything. But they brought in a humongous pair of speakers with a gazillion drivers you might say, and you would be right. Here’s the thing, they managed what Stenheim couldn’t do last year, make excellent sound in a room with remarkably bad  acoustic behavior.


Last year Mark Johansen of ZenSati cables set up a gargantuesque system comprising of Stenheim’s four column speaker system with close to 50.000 Watts of amplification and yes it was impressive but it was making the ceiling rattle, not to mention the bass was overwhelming. A bad system? definitely not, a dream system is more like it but not for that kind of space. To make that system work one needs a room the size of a football field or he must be smart enough as to set it up cleverly. Which is what Damon and Leif did, by installing a pair of Shockwave-V12 sub-woofers playing at 180 degrees out of phase thus cancelling some of the Ultra 11’s bass response and making it actually sing rather well even under the aforementioned show conditions.

Coverage of High End Society 2017 in Munich, Germany was brought to you by VPI.


The rest of the system had a bit of everything, and by everything I mean some of the best gear money can buy. Tube galore amplification by VAC, Kronos analog front end with ZYX 4D cartridge, exquisite APL digital front end and of-course cables by ZenSati for a total of 750.000 worth of components and another 750.000 whatevers worth of cables. As always, in circumstances as this one where the room’s retail goes beyond currencies it is of no importance whatsoever if the price is in US$, euros or GB pounds, if you can afford it currency wont be an issue and if your name doesn’t start with Bill and end with Gates you still shouldn’t care much about the exact currency, therefor the room’s retail was close to 1.5 million “whatevers”.

Here is the complete list of this tremendous sounding, exquisitely tuned system

  • Kronos Pro – Turntable – Kronos Audio – $38,000
  • SCPS-1 – Power Supply – Kronos Audio – $13,500
  • Black Beauty – Tonearm – Andre Theriault– $8,500
  • Ultimate 4D – Cartridge – ZYX Audio– $4,400
  • DNP-MR – Music Server – APL Hi-Fi – $10,000
  • DSD-MR – Digital Audio Converter – APL Hi-Fi – $40,000
  • DTR-MR – Digital Audio CD/SACD Transport – APL Hi-Fi – $20,000
  • PSD-10 Special Carbon – Reference Power Splitter – APL Hi-Fi – $13,000
  • Statement – Phono Stage – VAC – $80,000
  • Statement – Line Stage – VAC – $75,000
  • Statement 450 iQ – Monoblock Power Amplifiers – VAC – $120,000/pr.
  • ULTRA 11 – Loudspeaker – Von Schweikert Audio – $295,000/pr.
  • Shockwave V12 – Subwoofer – Von Schweikert Audio – $11,500/ea.  (used for active room correction)
  • Silenzio Line – Interconnects, Power Cords and Speaker Cables – Zensati Cables – $708,400
  • Exoteryc – 4-shelf Rack – Artesania Audio – $7,000
  • Exoteryc – 3+3 tandem Rack – Artesania Audio – $10,000
  • Exoteryc – Turntable Platform – Artesania Audio – $3,400
  • Aire Platform – Monoblock Platforms – Artesania Audio – $3,700/ea.

As always, the question remains, does a stockpile of moolah buy you good sound? Oh yes it does, if you have Damon and Leif pulling some smart moves.