Perfect 8's The Force
What does $275,000 buy you these days besides a used Porsche Carrera GT with 20,000 miles on it? Yes, there is now a loudspeaker system with that asking price, which gets you 900 lbs of hardware, including two midrange—tweeter towers, two subwoofers, and two subwoofer amplifiers. Frequency response is rated from 8Hz to 50kHz, and the minimal load impedance is 3 ohms. Furthermore, the Force is made of glass.
I visited Perfect Eight Technology's suite to find out more. Jons Rantila, Chief Executive Officer, introduced me to his "music sculpture of glass and gold." Glass is used as an enclosure material. Rantila found that bonding together three sheets of thick glass with a special polymer bonding material produced a "super-silent laminate" that had no energy storage properties.
Perfect 8's name refers to the figure-eight dispersion pattern of a perfect dipole. The midrange and tweeter panels stand 79" tall. The tweeter is a proprietary 64" ribbon driver. The midrange frequencies are handled by seven, custom SEAS 7"-cone units. The passive crossovers is encased in matching boxes of semitransparent glass. Four 12" cone subwoofer are fed by a custom active filter and driven by amplifiers that use 9 Milrod 10µF capacitors per side, and contribute $2000 of the cost of the system.
All of this design would be of no important if the sound produced were deficient. I was prepared for, well, I don't know what. I was stunned to hear utterly transparent sound, with the clarity and lucidity of the original Quad's midrange. Selecting "The Mooche" from Stereophile's Editor's Choice CD, I heard the best sound I've heard from all the different loudspeakers on which I have auditioned this recording. Switching to my current "Record to Die For," the Stravinsky's Rite of Spring with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic (CD, DG 00289477 6198), this orchestral piece sound utterly clean, totally free from distortion, while exhibiting superb subtleties, particularly in the timbre of the woodwinds. The only criticism was that I heard compression on the bass drum beats.
While a $275,000 asking price is other-worldly, so was the sound.