SoulSonic Impact test review


Artisans and a mastery of a craft

Getting back to artisans and a mastery of a craft, Miro Krajnc's SoulSonic company is a unique venture. His mileage in building speakers is of a life-long constant quest and refinement. As I mentioned in my previous articles; we need more people like Miro. He's restless, passionate endeavours to pursue the best possible within his working domain are contagious in a great way. If more companies would invest so much time, passion and efforts high-end audio would be a much better place filled with extraordinary products.

Installation

Miro Krajnc came and installed the Impacts personally. You might get the wrong idea from the pictures as these are still not small speakers by any means. Still, when compared to the SoulSonic Wave or Impulse, Impacts are different, both by size and nature. This is the latest brain child of Miro and this time he left no stones unturned. It feels, it shows and it plays as such.

Design

As I already wrote in my preview:

"The Impact speaker prototype was finally in a working state; to be seen and heard! Both Wave and Impulse were quite visual standouts, but nothing will prepare you for the aesthetic impact of the new Impact speaker. This time Miro went all the way. I still remember about half a year ago, when he described in confidence what has become today the finalised Impact. I was not sure how bent plexi, ribbon and only two bass drivers would work. You could say I was a bit sceptical. Friday proved me wrong! No need for scepticism. They are marvellous"

Seamless integration of wood, plexi and metal shapeis the new timeless design of Impact. These are the speakers you won`t have problems placing in either the contemporary or classical home.They're as unique as it gets and with clear plexi they blend beautifully within the space. Impact is still quite massive, but see through; let it breathe with the listening environment with ease. They are aesthetically much more easy to breathe with the room than traditional boxed speakers. Miro is an "oval" guy :) when it comes to basic shapes. And for a reason!

Chrome

This is where the finishing of Impact brings speakers to a completely new level. Ribbon stands that used to be painted steel are now fully chrome. You'll have to see it live to appreciate it truly, but these give an instant proud ownership feeling as you'll get with a Burmester recognisable design. In combination of wood and plexi they in no way look mechanical or techno, but if you want such a look, then go for the full chrome version, you'll wet your pants by just seeing a computer rendering of it.



Stand still

"As passionate as Miro is about speakers and audio in general it's hard for him to keep still. Like Louis Motek of LessLoss and Boško of BFA, Robert Koda etc. Those guys never seem to stay idle. They're knowledgeable and their inner-clock seems to tick way over 24 hour intervals. It's great to see
people's passion materialised in more then just plain working products. Such results are musical machines that bring life back to music."


This paragraph always come in handy. I always love the analogy of fine sword making. The old masters worked their whole life on refining their precious lethal work of art. Even small nuances and changes brought great results and, within audio, things can also work in this way. It's the unabridged passion and restless (ordinary?) nature that keep pushing people of creation further on.

What's new?

As written in my listening notes, all the important aspects of SoulSonic Wave were there, but much more happened with the new Impact. 

"The uper resolution on highs is now opened up drastically. I told Miro it reminds me of the top two systems I heard at this year`s Munich High-End Audio Show; namely Sonus Faber Aida with Dan D'Agostino Momentum power amplifiers and MBL Audio reference system with MBL 101 X-treme. He grinned of course :). Who wouldn't?"



Now, hear hear. We all know how much those systems cost. Sky high! It's sad but true that for some level of performance you'll need almost vulgarly priced components to achieve the best of the best. Now this is where the culture of my-fi and DIY crosses with high-end. For some not everything is a matter of acquiring funds, and thank God for that. This is only what will keep up the sanity in high- end audio. Greed transferred to give. This is where I can see and understand the modern audio alchemy. In sharing the knowledge and know-how in a more open and fairly priced way. This cultural thing is more closed to the East, yet some have managed to grasp it and live it. Think Mr. Krajnc. Think Mr. Loesch!

So, there is a way of bringing the ultra-fi into realms of "affordable" only if so wanted and often if sold directly. I love where this wind of change goes and am hoping it will welcome more right people into the movement.

Room friendly

Again referring to my initial response:

"Impact is "room" friendly by nature, but we both didn't expect this to such a degree. Even when the speakers were moved back to the wall, there was no lack of focus and clarity. I'll elaborate along with my listening notes soon, but this dipole-ribbon combination is something completely different."

Even in the absence of SoulSonic Impact speakers it's hard to forget the nature and character of the speakers. I expected more complicated positioning in the room, but the only thing that mattered was a sweet spot positioning of the listening space. Impact's are nowhere as demanding as most dynamic speakers to get the right focus and sense of space, but they still need correct placement. Even Miro himself was surprised by the non-difficulty in the room. My guess is that it also has to do with the way the room is filled with objects. As my back wall is almost completely full of books, CD's and vinyl in this situation the Impacts show no problem when moving them close to or furtheraway from the wall.

Dispersion

As the new plexi side panels work differently from SoulSonic Impulse or Wave, they also bring new advantages. The basic principle is the same but they are curved to a certain degree, where previously the panels were flat. Jointly with room friendly nature the new curved panels work similar to horns in their dispersion. Miro went through many iterations to come to this exact curve and design. Somehow the whole presentation is now even more intimate and life-like. The whole concept goes even further in the 3D rendering of instruments, vocals and sense of space. And... intimacy is not lost a bit, but pronounced! Call this an achievement!

Quiet R(E)volution

What most of us aspire to is the wholeness of audio representation even at lower volume. By the nature of "boxed" speakers, this happens more often in the realms of horn based designs than in typical dynamic ones. Mr. Krajnc` unique design brings the potency of music down to the low volume. This is something to be appreciated highly as it brings the quality of listening to a much wider audience and not strictly audiophiles. And wait, it doesn't stop here:

"It's rare to hear the openness and articulation with such a fine reproduction. Feather like nuances flew in the ether even at lower volume. Think MBL 101.E, but even more life-like and in the absence of some omni-polar specific attributes."

Those were my first impressions. Yes. Rare and hard to forget. Lucid dreaming is the word here! 

Rock & Roll

In continuing my elaboration:

"I'm a very hard judge when it comes to the real life dynamic and loud listening levels. Few speakers can manage to keep the pace of music and "rock on" at the higher dynamic levels. SoulSonic's Impact speakers haven't failed. With their new horn-like plexi shaped see through ports, they gained some of the characteristics of great horn based speakers, such as Avantgarde. It seems that dispersion of mid, high and low works in conjunction into what could be called balanced and articulated sound."
Taking snare, rides, cymbals, hi-hats into equation, the n atural attack of those instruments is one of the hardest things to reproduce in any given system. Yes, not only the human vocals. This is where hi- fi and high-end split apart. It must be a great synergy of ribbon and open dipole as Impact attacks, even in crescendo, moves the air with such a pace that instantly recalls the "correctness" of both speed and natural timbre. Again, as rare as anything.

Mesmerising

We both shared an amazement when, after installation, we finally let some music through the system.

"In combination with a Robert Koda Takumi K-10 preamplifier, Sanders Magtech power amplifier, Skorgrand and Element Audio cables, the sound surprised even the designer himself. One thing that we both agreed on is the potent insertion of Robert Koda Takumi K-10. This preamplifier simply brings music in an unparalleled way. Mesmerising."



This is more than just a "people`s" speaker. Miro doesn't create for only an audiophile closed universe, but he created a working concept that I've already seen find a few happy homes of the non high-end marque.

Impacts work with music and, as such, can elevate the performance of a well planned system to a highly desired level. And, to go even further, the Robert Takumi K-10 preamplifier is without doubt among the five best preamplifiers on the earth; for some even a top three choice. There is a certain synergy among top breed audio components. Not the money connection... Yes, some might be priced really up there..., Sometimes high prices are a must, but it's not necessarily so. It's about performance and the energy that such ultra high-end devices can bring into the high-end audio reproduction. There is no doubt that Miro's Impacts belong in the ultra class. If you are not in need of a false prestige "performance" that some people buy to live with but not listen to, then here is your invitation to the upper echelon. And a sane one!

Consistency

One of the hardest things for a speaker to offer is a consistency across the genres. It's hard to find a speaker that behaves right for all kinds of music. Period! There are very few and those are priced sky high. Talking about systems, it seems and feels that Miro Krajnc has embodied one of such performers with Impact. Why? How? Magic? Woo-do?

In the absence of idleness speakers are often tuned or voiced to a certain vision of the designer. It's not even funny to find a "genre" like speaker among audiophile high-end offerings and represent it as neutral. SoulSonic Impact drives away all the fear. As written, it's the completeness that radiates from Impact`s performance without ever being harsh as some of the top priced modern speakers are. Down to earth logic works for SoulSonic.

Many ways

SoulSonic is a small venture and as such can offer a different approach to fine tuning, colour choice, cable and material selection. Everything can be customised, but what's most important is that you don't have to worry about Impact performance. This is the finalised product of the man`s life's work, but with the options open to desire. As system synergy is of top importance once in setting the state of the art system Miro can "tune" on the site speakers to perform in correct loading etc.

Hand made

As much, as SoulSonic uses the help of advanced CAD and CNC at the end, this is still a custom-made speaker. In his pursuit Miro spent months while getting the right combination of materials and windings for the ribbon transformer. As some things are a matter of trade secret I can only tell so much that Miro ended hand-winding his transformers. Here is where artisan work comes in and where the difference is recognised instantly.



Modular

The whole appearance of SoulSonic Impact sure looks as one and complex. But it's modular nature helps in dismantling and putting them back together easily. This eases up room movements and
transporting them to other places or rooms. Each part is easy to mount and, as such, if anything happens ... Read on.

Timeless?

How can something be timeless? Starting with the design, that can and will prevail through time. Checked! Chrome finishing? Checked! Open modular system that brings easy repair of everything. Checked! And ,nonetheless, ribbon and drivers replacement. Both ribbon and dynamic drivers are no brainer to mount and Impact is made in such a way as to be upgradable or ready to replace something on the owner level.

A bargain?

So far this is one of most ethereal, musical and intimate audio experiences in such speaker package. If you're senses are aligned to the design at least in some percentage, then the visual impact and aesthetics aura of the SoulSonic Impact will strike you.

In the world of high-end where everything is getting crazier with each new coming year SoulSonic Impact is not only priced fairly, but an actual true high-end bargain. With a great introductory price sold only directly, Impact is raising the bar of performance to a completely new level.

How can I conclude. This is the speaker to live with.

Highly recommended.

http://www.soulsonicspeakers.com

Matej Isak Mono and Stereo ultra high end audio magazine All rights reserved, 2012 www.monoandstereo.com Matej Isak Mono and Stereo ultra high end audio magazine All rights reserved, 2012 www.monoandstereo.com None of the original text, pictures, that were taken by me, links or my original files can be re-pritend or used in any way without prior permission!