Authentic High Fidelity in Waghäusel near Hockenheim
Lambda Labs develops for Euphonic Architect
On the outside it looks like any usual dwelling, that house there with the well-tended garden, the ample parking space and the brand new company plate there on Kirrlacherstraße in the midst of Waghäusel near Hockenheim. To the adjoining inhabitants it appears as though an architect has taken up residence, or it may be a display house to attract prospective builders or ‘Häuslebauer’ as they are called in Germany. This latter possibility might at least account for the lively coming and going and the ‘exotic’ license plates that have been seen in front of the new building of late. Today there are a Swiss and a Danish plate among them. Klaus Bensinger welcomes his guests, who hurriedly take a few more CDs and vinyls out of the trunk before entering the basement through the outside entrance.
“I’ve been a High-Fidelity enthusiast for over 30 years and a connoisseur of pretty much everything that the high-priced and the real High-End market have put forth in this area and during this time”, explains Klaus Bensinger, initiator and CEO of the newly founded enterprise Euphonic Architect and strikes out a little further: “Virtually all industrial nations cater to the high demand of HiFi speaker systems and the eternal quest for that ultimate performance within your own four walls or your home cinema. Leading the field are international brands from Japan, America and of course Germany, but for the past few years I’ve become increasingly bored with the range of products, and indeed from among that sector rumors of a stagnation in the field are growing louder. Today, everything you get is labelled ‘Super-HiFi’ and totally amazing. Different loudspeaker concepts are being rehashed and chewed again over and over. I miss the spirit of innovation and the consequence of being prepared to consider the mission ‘Perfect Sound’ as a whole, bringing about the absolute unity of loudspeaker and room while keeping everything smart and cozy at the same time. That being said, we don’t want to peddle trite marketing banalities, but rather let our installations speak, or rather sound for themselves.”
Between the two musical living rooms the wine bar provides a selected choice of drinks, and quickly conversation ensues. The scene recognizes its peers. Expectations are high. Suddenly there are no restraints, curiosity mounts too high. What title to play first? Who’ll be the first to sit in the Sweet Spot? The high quality players with the connected WLM converter, studio turntables like an EMT 950 or the Micro Seiki get equipped and even the legendary tape recorder Studer C37 of Beatles fame with original master tapes and first copies is given an opportunity, to feed the E80CC tubes of the EA 80, a symmetrical preamplifier custom made for Euphonic Architect, using a famous Neumann circuit . The listening starts in the ‘small’ living room. One ought to leave room for improvement.
“In the beginning of 2014 Jürgen Hoffmann invited us to Pliezhausen near Stuttgart, he having made an interesting acquaintance and wondering if we’d like to drop by for a demonstration and if we would bring a few titles along with us. At this point we had no idea that we would be welcomed by Lambda Labs and their range of professional speakers, since only one week earlier, we had been a correspondence with the company, however relating to the Wall of Bass”, Klaus Bensinger remembers with a smile.
“What we got demonstrated under rather unfavorable conditions was highly impressive. In fact so impressive, we thought that the time had finally come, along with the right partner, to have Euphonic Architect become a reality. Thereupon Lambda Labs had a smaller 15" plus 8/1" combination especially developed for us and a 4 way system with a hornloaded 18" low frequency driver, which is installed in Waghäusel and even surpassed my expectations. It gives me great pleasure to demonstrate how extensive you can listen to music here.”
In the small living room agreement reigns. Handshakes. Congratulations. Thoughts are given voice. Someone says: “I spent a lot of money last year and I was very satisfied. Now I have to question that. Klaus, you were too slow.” The bass trap lurking behind in fancy green fabric, is constantly inspected and get conceptionally integrated in everyones own living room, absolutley striking or totally inconspicuous. The speaker’s size coupled with its performance is also a recurring theme, while with attentive eyes, hands caress the extraordinary finish pretending a concrete structure in colour and texture.
“Basically we kept the smaller ‘Klangraum’ as we call it, very raw when it comes down to room acoustics. Not everyone wants to have the non plus ultra flagship as we have next room, where we have installed several approximately 20 cm bass traps along with a large diffusor that can be fully integrated into the ambience and further decorative absorbers/diffusors.” Klaus Bensinger continues explaining: “It is important for the living room to remain viable and cozy, and that acoustic arrangements are only deliberately perceived, if at all, like the green bass trap for instance or the discreet acoustic sail as an eye catcher purposely placed in the small room or as complete room integrating elements in the large demonstration room. It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea either to keep their speaker system neatly tucked away, but in reference room we decided to integrate the loudspeakers as to almost be invisible. There’s no intellectual limitation, we can grant any design imagination. Where technical measures are concerned, customers have free choice as to the grade of perfection. Everything however is build up on the installation’s core piece, a supreme sound reproduction.”
In the lager reference living room silence reigns. Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D” interpreted by organ legend Virgil Fox is played as an LP. It is a 1977 direct recording of the famous Fratelli Ruffatti pipe organ in the Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove California, which is based on the world renowned Aelion-Skinner organ of the New York Avery Fisher Hall and was elaborated by Virgil Fox and Frederick Swann. It comprises 270 registers and 16061 pipes and is capable of creating tones down to 16Hz. The volume control is wide open. The room is afloat in a bath of sound. For 8 minutes and 24 seconds not a word is spoken. Close to 9 minutes a professional bass player breaks the silence: “Mind-blowing dynamic. I have never experienced anything like that, except on live organ concert. You can totally feel the air vibrating and nothing sounds strained.” A percussion number by Charly Antolini is placed in the Studer 727 CD player. The volume goes up a notch even further while the first impact of the kickdrum knocks the listeners. The level of sound pressure is virtually unlimited. “The precision of the transient signals, the possible volume and the staggering tonal graduation are ingenious. It really feels like someone is playing the drums right in front of me. It’s as though the ear even influenced the eye. I’m catching myself all the time picturing the drumset in front of me. An amazing illusion of the senses.” The man’s statement meets with unanimous accord. “What should we listen to next?” This day’s session does not end before 1.30 a.m.. An extraordinary odd display house.
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