Coming very, very close to the original sound is not an illusion but an achievable goal
Boenicke Audio was founded in 1999 in Basel, Switzerland by Sven Boenicke. Sven is a Swiss recording engineer and is the founder, designer and owner of Boenicke Audio. Sven’s company manufacture a range of brilliant loudspeakers that are quite unique to say the least. There are 4 loudspeakers in the range plus 1 further rather special model.
Boenicke Audio first appeared on my radar at the Munich High End Show in 2019 when I went into their room to have a listen and it was a product I instantly liked and admired. Their visual appearance is quite striking and it doesn’t conform to any ‘traditional’ loudspeaker design, plus each model is incredibly compact (unless you’ve seen them in the flesh each model will be smaller than you think!) which is very useful for the typical UK living room where space is quite frequently at a premium.
Boenicke has grown slowly and organically over the past few years, not focussing on numbers sold (quite refreshing but this fits in perfectly with how I work and the other brands I represent), but instead focussing the quality and the relevancy of their products.
Boenicke Audio’s goal and vision has always been to be able to design and build products that deliver much more than initially meets the eye, beauty is much more than simply skin deep. There’s as much going on inside the cabinet on a Boenicke loudspeaker as there is going on externally.
Because Boenicke Audio is a small, high specialist company Sven calls all the shots essentially – the finance department will never veto the use of a high performing but expensive component or enclosures milled from huge sections of solid wood, there is no corporate red tape to duck under here!
What makes the Boenicke Audio speakers so unique and visually compelling is Sven’s vision, when you look at one of his speakers you are in a way looking at how Sven’s sees and hears music and how he relates to it. They are totally unconventional in many aspects, but they really do work incredibly well.
You’ll find no MDF, veneer or lacquer anywhere remotely close to a Boenicke loudspeaker – solid wood only thank you very much! The cabinets are actually incredibly complex and are CNC milled from 2 pieces of the wood. You can see the join, but you certainly can’t feel it. The internals of each speaker is truly a work of art (a really shame you can’t see it!) and are basically designed to minimise turbulence and standing waves. There is a cut out in the side of each model for the side firing bass driver as well. All speakers are vented at the rear with a thin letterbox style exhaust.
The cabinets/enclosures are not designed to act as resonating bodies, instead they try to make them as solid and as anti-resonant as possible. Everything resonants to some degree but they’ve found that solid wood resonates more naturally than MDF with veneer or a lacquered coating and that a wooden phase plug is less coloured than an aluminium one for example
Overall build quality is right from the top drawer. All of the horizontal edges are rounded and the vertical edges are sharp, the design is minimalist and dare I say quite Scandinavian in appearance, they really do look superb, certainly a case of less is more in my mind, none of the models are supplied with grilles. The rear of the cabinets are adorned with a pair of high quality WBT next-gen speaker terminals.
Across the whole range the side firing bass drivers are incredibly flexible, it keeps the cabinet width minimal and you can have them firing in or out depending on your room. There is no right or wrong way, it depends entirely on the size and layout of your room and of course how it sounds. In terms of set up and positioning they are quite different and you can’t simply put them down where your previous speakers were sited and expect perfect results. Tape measure and masking tape at the ready, but well worth the effort!
All of the models are relatively inefficient with sensitivity on the low to average side, they don’t need a lot of power to get going, but they certainly appreciate some quality amplification. A Vitus RI-101 with a pair of W5 SE is rather special as a pair of Gold Note PA-10 running in mono!
If you crave a natural presentation, with texture, the unravelling of layers with a huge immersive soundstage that is not over the top (a piano does not sound like it is 30ft high like some speakers can do!) the Boenicke are absolutely worth putting on your audition list.
As mentioned above there are 4 speakers within the range (W5, W8, W11 and W13) and each speaker is available in 3 different versions, so with the entry level option we have the standard W5 at £5145, then the W5 SE at £6540 and the W5 SE+ at £8534. It’s the same physical speaker but as you move from the standard W5 to the SE and onto the SE+ you get a lot more performance due to some rather significant changes they have made to the speaker. Each individual product page goes into more detail into the differences between the 3 versions, it’s not subtle when you hear them and this applies to the whole range