Clarisys Minuet and Goldmund NextGen System Experience
Jay Garrett attends a private listening session at Robert Tuassig's Marylebone showroom to hear a rather special system.
There is even less free time at this end of the year. First, there's the crowded inbox of press releases, phone calls and emails, reviews to check over and publish and then the all-important Product of the Year discussions and reveal. That's all before you even mention Christmas shopping!
However, I managed to escape to London's Marylebone where, just off the famous Baker Street, you will find Robert Taussig's hi-fi showroom. The reason for me leaving my desk was an invitation to hear the Minuet speakers by Clarisys being powered by a set of NextGen Goldmund electronics linked by Ikigai cables.
The speakers were the brand new 121cm tall, 70cm wide and 9cm deep Minuet model from Clarisys Audio. These are a 2-way full-range ribbon design with a quoted frequency response of 28Hz to 25kHz, a sensitivity of 86dB and a nominal impedance of 3.5 ohms.
Where we have come to expect particular characteristics from panel speakers, namely speed and a wonderfully detailed midband, the frequency extremes at either end can be less impressive.
Here, Clarisys uses a multi-segmented, four-trace design for the tweeter that goes down to 500Hz. This is partnered with a unique double-sided bass panel which is said to increase the current flow through the panel. Everything is handed off by an internal passive crossover made from high-quality components such as custom-built inductors, custom-made resistors, multicap capacitors and pure copper foil wiring.
Electronics being used, aside from a Chord DAVE and M-Scaler sat on the Solidsteel Hyperspike stand crunching the numbers supplied by a Lumin P1 (A 2022 Product of the Year Award winner), was the NextGen range from Goldmund. This comprised a Mimesis 37S line-level analogue preamp with a separate PSU (£27,500) and the Telos 440 mono amps (£27,500 each) rated at 285 watts.
The cabling was by Ikigai Audio, made in the Netherlands using 5N silver and 24K gold conductors. Interestingly, I was informed that the designer worked for Philips Grass-Valley. Here he developed broadcast video camera systems and was responsible for interconnection systems requiring ultra-high speed, huge bandwidths, and extremely high levels of EMC/RFI interference rejection. So, there is some engineering at work here, I assume, not reptilian lube and unicorn's tears. The cables for this system were the Kangai range for power, analogue and digital interconnects, network and speaker cables, and bi-wire jumpers.
Once sat down in the hot seat, I was encouraged by Sonata Hi-Fi's Rob Wilson “don't just put on any of that plinky-plonky audiophile stuff - play what you actually listen to”. Sound advice for anyone auditioning hi-fi, to be honest.
I did start off with Wolf by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and the vocals, as expected, were crystal clear and filled with expressive detail. However, it was the breakdown where the main instrumentation makes way for a thick, unctuous bassline that I first thought these are so much more than an updated Apogee design.
It wasn't long before Nine Inch Nails was rocking the room with Hand That Feeds, and even nudging up the volume dial on the gutsy Goldmunds didn't seem to unsteady the Minuets.
Given their slender profile, there was plenty of depth as well as width to the soundstage. Playing Yes, Anastasia by Tori Amos demonstrated how well they portrayed piano as well as vocals. It was amazing what these were able to achieve in so little real estate and no toe-in. I was advised that they sound better with some space to the sides and back, but one owner simply puts them against the wall when not in use and pulls them out when listening. I hope they're on wheels, as these might look lightweight but tip the scales at around 80kg per side.
Dacoit Duel by AH Rahman, Matt Dunkley and the Czech Film Orchestra & Chorus really displayed the speed and dynamic handling that this system was capable of, not to mention the hearty punch of the lower frequencies, which are truly noteworthy for this design.
While this was undoubtedly a high-end system, the speakers alone find themselves in quite a competitive space priced at £30,000 per pair. Granted, they might not be in impulse-buying territory for most of us, but we are talking about hand-made speakers. Also, it was refreshing to hear that you can request any RAL colour you fancy at no extra cost. The set I listened to in the showroom was finished in a rather lovely shade of Aston Martin 50s Racing Green. I was also informed that the company has had the Clarisys Minuets partnered with less esoteric equipment, and although not as dynamic as with the Goldmund, they still performed really well.
I came away very impressed by what I heard. My session was supposed to be an hour or so, but I stayed for more than three hours. If you get the opportunity to hear the Clarisys Minuet, I very much recommend that you do.
StereoNET UK’s Editor, bass player, and resident rock star! Jay’s passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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