To the most of the Mono and Stereo readers, Martin Gateley is no stranger and needs no special introduction. Martin's unique and intriguing loudspeakers' creations already carved their waves at the grand palette of high-end audio products. 

Most of you will instantly recognize distinctively shaped Soundkaos Wave speakers made entirely from solid and instrument quality tonewood.

Martin tends to do things differently and with perfectionist approach. So, let us dive into the Soundkaos universe... 


Before I even put pen to paper, I think a few decades ahead. Would people still love my pieces fifty years into the future? What materials would best suit the sound I want to achieve?  Will I be making speakers for a colony on Mars? Creating something new yet timeless is my mission. I give nods to more classic shapes and silhouettes, but apply a certain neo-futurist element to everything I touch. Above all, my art form is about music and the emotions it stirs. These are instruments for the sounds of yesteryear and tomorrow. I am a woodsman at heart, yes wood, cellulose and all its derivatives have become part of our DNA with millennials of being exposed to this phenomenal material it has shaped the way we hear things. No other material even comes close.


A designer by profession, Martin has Anglo-Swiss roots and is the creative lead and founder of the Soundkaos philosophy of building outstanding transducers and having fun whilst doing it. He has a passion for music and design and is a non-conformist who prefers to think outside the box. Lemming syndrome is not part of his vocabulary. Having searched a lifetime for the ultimate sound illusion - to come as close as possible to reality - led him to extreme solutions like solid wood and instrument tone-wood for enclosure construction. He discovered that even in today's technology-driven industry nature still has a few tricks up its sleeve. He is an avid listener of original sound creations which is essential to have as a reference when designing transducers.

Martin and yours truly at the Munich 2016 High-End Audio Show

Great sound comes from good design.


LIBéRATION's front and rear mesh covers are made from woven bronze wire to form a rigid aesthetic cover for drivers, crossover parts, and wiring. The opening of the mesh is 2.5 x 2.5 mm and gives a transparency of 70%. It does not influence sound quality so the covers can be left in place during critical listening.

The baffle is made from 40 mm solid spruce tonewood with an edge surround in solid walnut.

The back of the LIBéRATION speaker is as beautiful as the front. No unsightly drivers or cables exposed.


"Music does not have to live in a box. We call it liberated sound." - Martin 

And indeed, that's one of the biggest and best advantages of the Soundkaos LIBéRATION loudspeakers, that can be heard from the very first tone strike. 

There is a lot of "going" on under those beautiful bronze metallic meshes, that delivers the grand sense on non-compressed sound. 

Let me break down the driver selection:

-Beyma 18” 18LX60V2 bass driver
-RAAL dipole 14 cm ribbon super tweeter 
-8” Galm Audio Enviee drivers 

And the implementation:

The 18" woofer on 2nd order filter
2x unfiltered 21 cm
(8”) full range drivers, notch filter at 750Hz
RAAL ribbon dipole super tweeter with SILTECH solid silver wire wound transformer on 2nd order. 
Filter parts are high-quality Jantzen/Duelund and WBT NextGen BIWIRE terminals. 

Each speaker is supported by 3 proprietary SOUNDKAOS Seismic spring load solid wood feet, largely preventing vibration-borne resonance in either direction.

Paper cone drivers and a ribbon tweeter!? Oh yeah! This by default promises all the right ingredients for the sound orientation, that I'm cherishing dearly.  

The Raal ribbon kicks in at around 12 kHz and extends to the "heretic" 50 kHz. Let me try to contemplate about this a bit. The latest studies have shown how human hearing temporal resolution operates around 4.7µs and yes, there seems to be a life above 20kHz! As researchers have shown, the factual listening fails to recognize factual attributes as lower volume, but our mysterious ear mechanism can distinct the alteration and "phase when is present as a harmonic of an audible fundamental". link: 

This in a way corresponds to my and many audiophiles' intimate affection for the ribbon (super) tweeters, that are supposedly quasi-operating above 20 kHz by the usual "norms". 

With Enviées drivers acting almost as a fully broadbander, a slight taming of the 18" bass driver and the transparency of the RAAL tweeter Soundkaos LIBéRATION speakers manage to disappear in a completely different way than typical dynamic speakers. Boxed speakers' designs, consequently by default bring a different degree of an imprint and while high-end audio speakers' manufacturers are fighting this hubris with different solutions; from the curved enclosure, stiff/rigid materials, special damping materials etc., the end results are still farther from the complete absence of chassis signature. 

LIBéRATION's lack of traditional enclosure allows music to morph into the energy, that creates highly believable illusory aural experience.  

When driven properly LIBéRATION widely expands the soundstage, easily disappears, offers laser-like pinpoint localization, act fast with dynamic shifts, bring a hefty impact and moves from song to song with an open/transparency. 

While I only had a chance to hear Soundkaos Wave 40 at the audio shows, I would say that LIBéRATION speakers follows the brand's DNA, but shifts the experience profoundly different way. 


While dipole principle usually uses some sort of side panels, but exclude the back baffle, the open baffles are fully opened and without the usual dynamic speaker enclosure. Dipoles will still radiate with the traits of dynamic speakers behavior and in theory gain few dBs. On the other hand, open baffles are sort of solitude standing and are critically dependent on the proper speakers' driver selection. 

It was often argued, that when there is no loudspeaker enclosure the price should be heavily aligned to the mortal scope, but there can be more to it. In particular case with LIBéRATION speakers, Martin has chosen to combine the careful selection of the drivers with a unique shape and material choice, that as a whole operates a bit differently than expected. 

Again in theory, even from the point of pure open baffle principle, there should be no chassis interaction with the drivers, but there is more or less no escaping of mounting of the drivers to the same sort of baffle or as seen in some cases to the metal structure. 

With LIBéRATION speakers Martin returns to the solid spruce board for many of the reasons...
So why tone wood for loudspeakers? Here we need to get technical. But just a bit. A loudspeaker radiates sound in two directions –at the listener and into its box. Half goes out, half stays in. Since sound diminishes with distance (a marching band gets quieter as it moves away, for a given playback volume a small room sounds louder than a big one) the loudness inside a speaker’s enclosure is far higher than in your room. This pressure excites the walls of the enclosure. It bounces around like a bunch of billiard balls and attempts to escape through the thin driver diaphragms. All such secondary radiation is distortion by definition. Because it arrives at your ears delayed in time, it causes the equivalent of motion blur. That’s a slight audible smear and fuzziness often mistaken for warmth. When addressed, the result is more clarity.
The wood frame/baffle will mandatory interact with the drivers in the terms of micro vibrations and resonances. There is no such thing 100% free acoustical feedback. Well, perhaps some sort of a decoupled, hanging string system might bring more complete absence, but even with the open baffle, there will always be some energy spreading across the "baffle" and given enclosure,  where the drivers are mounted.

There's no doubt why Martin incorporated solid spruce tonewood for the baffle. Its often overlooked, but everything counts and matter when it comes to sound distribution and reproduction. Period!


Especially with SoundKaos LIBéRATION loudspeakers the timber, tone, time domain, absence of dynamic constraint and sense of space fused into the harmonic whole with the very important message.

Particularly with the open baffles the speakers' polar response and their correct placement in the listening space are most important. This will bring the music to the listener without too many obstacles and in the way it was intended. 

One particular memory from prolonged reviewing time still lingers on. Very good friend of mine - Miran brought along on one of the Saturdays some of his 1974 guitar recordings influenced by the early delta blues musicians. And, sort of "jumper" time travel experience happened and carved into the memory lasting impression, that still lingers with me. 

For this particular music, you couldn’t ask for a better partner as Soundkaos LIBéRATION speakers in the intimate golden triangle positioning. The stressless and box-less sound in the absence of usual unwanted attributes and pronounced speaker enclosure imprints let LIBéRATION bring two acoustical guitars to life in both mesmerizing and captivating way. For few golden moments and minutes, I’ve forgotten about the time and space and simply immersed into the mystical world of a music enriched by proper tone, timbre, and color... 

Every guitarist aficionado knows how important is to find own timing and tone and the same goes for nailing these particular aspects with any given speakers. 

Soundkaos LIBéRATION handled particularly well guitar music like mesmerizing Vlatko Stefanovski & Miroslav Tadić (Featuring Theodosii Spasov) - Treta Majka (Scardona ‎– CD 044, Avalon Produkcija ‎– Avalon 029).

Particularly this album calls and demands the incite delivery of the power. The sheer sense of music's flow must be presented in a direct and unaltered way, that can preserve the dynamic impact, overtone structure and the intimate energy, that makes the original music sounds the way it does.   

Soundkaos LIBéRATION loudspeakers have allowed both acoustical guitars to acted propulsive (as they were intended). Especially with the song Ne Si Go Prodavaj Koljo, the airiness of Kaval represents something special and without the prompt and potent transducer lifelike flow disappears, leaving this chromatic end-blown flute sounding inert and flat. 

On contrary, the LIBéRATION's let the air of the Kaval float with the feather-like lightness and with the recognizing "earthly" tone. 

Further exploration of the idea of perfect tandem called for something similar, but different. Hans-Martin Linde & Konrad Ragossnig: Musik für Flöte und Gitarre reveals beautiful Barok music. The classical guitar and flute lyrically overlap and follows each other's tails with the captivating tempi. 

Simplicity in its core can never be underestimated and Hans-Martin Linde & Konrad Ragossnig recording is a greater proof!

In the ultimate sense, we're and should be dealing with the reproduction of the live music. The real question should be, how lucid reflection of a real event can the particular high-end audio product deliver and reflect? With loudspeakers, such a critical evaluation falls into much easier category compared to the electronics and other high-end audio paraphernalia. Loudspeakers are the very first and very last part of the direct interaction with the listener. 

In a similar way as SoulSonic speakers dipole/ribbon combination, the Soundkaos LIBéRATION speakers have managed to portray the instruments with the unmatched sense of natural, box-less sound, that can most intimately reflect the timbre, tone and dynamic signature of the real world instruments. 

Almost instantly such sense of sonic accomplishment is evident with the metallic instruments, where each and every design failure result in fake and falsh timbre. 

Soundkaos LIBéRATION design and voicing acted exemplary and without hankering for something, that was not there... 


To be completely honest... SoundKaos LIBéRATION hit directly my soft spots for both open baffle design and art deco decor. As much some of the people try to find the juxtaposition with the usual way of designing speaker, this particular design principle brings some unforgettable moments of the most unaltered sound reproduction. 

However, we turn around and twist the subject, in high-end audio we're always dealing with an illusion. In order to properly induce highest level of such illusion, the absence of any distortion, resonances etc. is of utmost importance. 

In past two decades, we're witnessing a rapid use of different materials for the speaker's enclosures and implementations of complex calculations. These are closely connected with the way, that sound act/react in closed acoustical spaces, as well as how it interacts with particular chassis materials. 

The box-less speaker design do represent the exploration of "distortion free" acoustical environment, but it also comes with its own pre-conditions, that must be considered carefully and profoundly. 

LIBéRATION speakers have shown the life of its own and have breathed the refreshing and captivating air of aural serenity. As every loudspeaker out there, The atmospheric depth and the soundstage will always, as a rule, expand with the proper positioning in the room. Within few different installations during the review period, Soundkaos LIBéRATION's benefited from the placement at least 1 m away from the reflection walls. This allowed music to expand and extend beyond usual holographic limits. 

It might take a bit more open mind to appreciate Martin Gateley's unique creations as the usual sets of acoustical rules are a bit challenged with this design approach. LIBéRATION's act differently within the listening space, then traditional dynamic speakers. 

Instead of too often introduced over damping and absorption LIBéRATION's will benefit from more reflecting walls decor. With typical dynamic speakers, first reflections are de rigueur. Soundkaos LIBéRATION sound projection and polar response act a bit different and sound ray is much more direct. 

SoundKaos LIBéRATION looks like no other speaker on the market and for sure sounds like no other speaker. They were not designed to be every crowd pleaser, but I'm more than sure that they will and have already found their place with the right-minded and right-hearted audiophiles and music lovers. 

While LIBéRATION's 18" bass might seem like an overemphasized, the seasoned audiophiles and music lover knows better how there is no substitute for a large drive even if a wide array of smaller drivers are being used in larger quantities. Soundkaos LIBéRATION speakers deliver focused natural and plentiful bass. 

If at the end of the day something sounds right, while prolonged evaluation is needed, on contrary the never-ending, looped and critical contemplation or favorite audiophile dissection is far from being objective or following the real point of interest!

Famous Duke quotes sums it well... “If it sounds good, it IS good.” With SoundKaos LIBéRATION this might further translate to "If it sounds real, it IS real!"

SoundKaos LIBéRATION speakers represent sonically and aesthetically quite a bold and daring concept, that I'm wholeheartedly awarding with Mono and Stereo Highly Recommended award. Godspeed Martin!

Matej Isak


LIBÉRATION walnut-bronze CHF 16,000.00 without VAT


Bandwidth: (-6dB)  30Hz - 55kHz
Sensitivity: (2.83V/RMS) 94dBin room 96dB
Nominal Impedance: 4 Ohm
Recommended power: 25 - 100 W
Dimensions each: W 60 cm D 32 cm H 98 cm
Weight each: 42kg



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