SoulSonic Impulse Supreme
Ever since I've heard about the SoulSonic speakers something was telling me they are worth investigating. So, there was no reservations to take the time and listen to their flagship model Impulse Supreme (silver wiring and Duelund capacitors) in the presence of its designer and company owner, Mr. Miro Krajnc.
The fair in Las Vegas was the world premiere for SoulSonic speakers. Reporters from number of audio magazines wrote about SoulSonic Impulse Supreme speakers as one of the best sounds at the show:
Tom Krehbiel of The SoundScape reported only about SoulSonic speakers, from the whole fair:
http://thesoundscape.net/component/cont ... -Show.html
It was nice to meet Mr.Krajnc and we exchanged some opinions, as through his own experience he became ribbon and planar speakers enthusiast. Everything was researched in detail and a series of prototypes gave him necessary answers that resulted in SoulSonic speakers.
For some reason, Open Baffle design speakers are still not quite popular among audiophiles. Reservations are most probably not eligible, except maybe from those audiophiles who have a lack of listening space. The OB speakers must stand free in the room or even better, to be placed near the longer side of room, one third of the length from the front wall, to show what they are capable of. Otherwise, the classic triangle layout is good too, but the truth is that every speaker needs a certain or particular space to sound best and also the OB design is not any exception.
I agree with Mr. Krajnc that compared to the live music, every speaker is too small.
In spite of the Impulse speakers dominance ( height over 2 meters ) these speakers definitely look great, like sculptures, they catch your eye when they stand there in silence, however when they start to play, then the pleasurable feeling reaches endless heights as the sound is so great that they somehow disappear during listening. Absolutely impressive and very nice.
SoulSonic ribbons look fantastic with 25 mm wide and 1850 mm high foil, attached at both ends of the dipole structure and with extraordinary linear stroke of +/- 5 mm. The essence of the Impulse speakers is noticed immediately. Mr. Krajnc`s ribbon is a speaker that needs to be addressed with capital letters, the sound itself exceeds audiophiles grades, simply it is a surplus, something more.
With the ribbon, the constructor found the golden, ultimate magic sound which is clear and transparent. This is extremely powerful and energetic sound that contains all mentioned: clear instruments form which is rarely heard and is partly associated with the speakers placement; stage; timber, all shades; ceasing of sound; transparency is so huge that reaches expressions of all details in the full color tone; sensibility; the dynamics are not in question as the sonic pressure is enormous. It cannot be the case that high frequencies become distorted because we can not hear them in the usual manner, all is coming into single harmony of music, the sound cannot be described as bright, dark, etc.
Bass; here we do not find the expected magnetostatic planar woofer which Mr. Krajnc also examined in detail and because of their weaknesses replaced them with dynamic units. Dynamic loudspeakers are carefully selected with paper membranes and foam suspension so that the sonic result is as close as possible to the magnetostats. Anyone who has ever listened to the magnetostatic speakers knows how the bass sounds, how much the sound is correct in the timber and detail, only here dynamics are the limiting element as they are not able to condense the bass in such a manner to be delivered into the space with its full power. Good amplifier helps here a lot to reduce errors due to softness of the foils. SoulSonic woofers work very well, not as single tone or load at very low frequencies are masked in the track, everything is reproduced from start to finish. Separation and timber in the low frequencies are just excellent.
The bass is the fundamental part of the sound on which music builds its content and is also the part where demand for dynamics is most required. SoulSonic bass units are of underhung principle of coil and magnet field (magnet is huge and one 12" bass unit of Impulse speaker weighs 10 kgs), which means that the coil is at any moment inside a homogeneous magnetic field. The result is a great ability to follow the signal and to get very low distortion and thus obtain much better performances in middle tones and better efficiency. The relation between dynamics and transparency is reached with crossover frequency set to 500 Hz, for example, where the orchestra has the greatest energy in the range of low bass up to 500 Hz. Crossover could be set even lower and transparency might increas but at the same time the dynamic behaviour would be limited.
Blend of both units is the speaker that produces the best pure music. E.g. Iztok Zupan`s recording of Zlatko Kavcic virtuoso playing on percussions is, yeah, jaw dropping, hitting the so-realistic instrument. Blend of ribbon and bass units seems to be without error, hence the dynamics, micro dynamics, timbre. The Impulse has a higher efficiency than most other planar speakers and 10 dB more efficiency than the world famous, German omnipolar speakers.
When describing the sound, I really like the term relief of sound. What would be the relief of sound? Once you hear it, you know it. Actually, instruments have their center and then the width, height and depth. The center is as dynamic as the speakers themself, because everything happens there, but the tonal expression of the sound is happening around the mids. Something like that. The sound spreads around the speakers as much as possible, the size of the instruments being very close to what we hear live. When the sound is being formed, we notice that the instruments become bigger and after each tone passes, the dynamic value is dropping. Dynamic dropping value is not the same with solo or orchestral experience as with orchestral it is significantly higher due to mixing of various instruments and sounds. Really, very nice, I would say - finally something realistic.
Any deviation from this is just a reflection of the room where the speakers are set and could possibly prevent them to develop what they are capable of. We are still talking about OB speakers, which breathe with the room.
Regarding controlling of the speakers and the power to drive them, I realized that when planar speakers are driven with additional power, then there are no uncontrolled movements of the membrane foil. Foil movements become precise, sound is transparent and much stronger. All this means increased dynamics. Of course, this does not go to the PA level of dynamics, but it is certainly on a high level for the magnetostatic speakers.
SoulSonic speakers can be used in active systems to and there sound benefits even further. Active system is the ultimate drive for any type of speakers due to missing passive elements in crossovers and their influence to the final sound. Dynamics and headroom are elements which are noticed at first but there is much more.
Thus, the Impulse Supreme found the way to my listening room where I was able to connect them into my system dedicated to planar speakers. Speaker positions remained the same as for the planars and the whole electronics as well. In the system dominate 4 x Spectron Musican III MkII, fully upgraded monoblocks and the active crossover Pass Labs XVR-1, in front of them is a pearl: Joule Electra JE-450ME preamp. When the crossover was set and gain adjusted, the sound was so dynamic that it could be easily compared to horns but without the presence of the typical horn colorations and the sound was really homogeneous. To satisfy constructors doubt regarding the necessity to use Spectron monoblocks with whopping 2 x cca 2kW of power to drive the ribbons, the system was switched to single Spectron in stereo mode with only 2 x 600W at 8 Ohms. Of course the sound was still excellent, but if I had not previously heard the first option, I wouldn`t know what I`m misssing, so I went back and re-connect the monoblocks. From the technical point of view nothing happened to the ribbons, they were working properly. However the sound changed significantly toward being more real as the dynamics increased, timbre was more real, headroom was improved, and in short this is the way to drive the Impulse Supreme in my system. Spectrons extruded from the Impulse Supreme that kind of bass which is rarely heard. Rhythm, attack, dynamics, precision / tension, depth, etc everything was on the incredible level, here, within this combination all designed capabilities of these power amplifiers are presented in a spectacular punch.
The designer told me that in the near future both speakers Impulse and Wave will also be offered in the active option to get the most from the speakers.
What impresses on the Impulse Supreme speakers, to repeat, is a powerful and energetic sound, the kind I think at home should be, or at least to strive for. In short, the experience is so powerful that it is really hard to find a similar one. Sound of Impulse Supreme speakers is at least as honest as its designer, Mr. Kranjc, or vice versa, read also here:
http://www.monoandstereo.com/2011/07/mi ... eaker.html
Sometimes we have to move beyond widespread beliefs and prejudices, and to recognize what is right and what is not. Even more importantly, when you are listening to the speakers such as SoulSonic, you are trying to understand their contribution, is their sound correct or not, is it close to reality or not, if we accept what they offer and what they are capable of, we may discover a whole new world.
SoulSonic speakers will certainly expand the views across the world about what is possible in terms of sound reproduction in a typical home environment. For some their price might be high, but compared to the competition it is very moderate.
Ever since I`ve heard SoulSonic Impulse Supreme speakers, my perception of reproduced sound and its possibilities radically changed. There is no cable, amplifier or any other component that could give me more than these speakers are able to give. I`m not saying that there are no other speakers that can do as much as the Impulses, but these ones are in front of me.
Grado The Statement
ESE Lab Nibiru phono
Custom turntable and arm (to be upgraded to ESE Lab DD turntable)
Joule Electra LA-450ME
4 x Spectron Musician III Mk II, fully upgraded monoblocks
SoulSonic Impulse Supreme
Pass Labs XVR-1, active crossover
Combak Remyo CDP-777
Elrod, 5 pcs old Statement, two Statement Gold and one Signature Gold power cables
Acoustic Zen Absolute PC, XLR IC
Spectron Remote Sense RS Signature Loudspeaker cables Quantum QX4 and QB8
PS Audio PS300
Yeil M&C, Magnetic levitation devices