Kirksaeter Silverline 60 loudspeaker

One of the nicest surprises at any audio show is encountering a new—to me, at least—manufacturer whose products seem to stand out from the competition. At the 2002 Consumer Electronics Show, one such standout was the Kirksaeter line of loudspeakers from Germany. I spent quite a few minutes listening to and enjoying the performance of these modestly sized and priced speakers, but since my writing assignment was electronics, I tucked the experience away in the back of my mind and moved on.

When Kirksaeter importer Ray Kingcaid called a few months later, however, it was a different story. Trish and I were in the middle of packing for our upcoming move, with rooms being disassembled and boxes piling up everywhere. Amid it all, we were trying to keep a system together—for enjoyment and sanity's sake as much as to support my reviewing—and a small, good-sounding speaker was exactly what I was looking for. After exchanging a few e-mails, Kingcaid and I settled on the $698/pair Silverline 60 minimonitors as best filling the bill.

There are two speakers in there?
After spending time with the Magnepan 3.6/Rs (Stereophile, August 2000) and, more recently, the Impact Airfoil 5.2 system (Stereophile, June 2002)—not to mention a variety of huge monoblock amplifiers and multi-chassis preamps—Trish was unprepared for the diminutive Silverline 60s. "There are two speakers in there?" she asked when UPS dropped off the tiny carton.

The Silverline 60 is indeed a tiny, shoebox-sized affair: 10.5" tall, 7.5" wide, 11.5" deep, and weighing only 11 lbs. The 60 is the smallest of Kirksaeter's premium Silverline series, which runs up to the Silverline 220, a three-way tower that sells for $1898/pair. Finished in black, lightly textured vinyl set off by two trim strips of solid mahogany that flank the grille, the little 60 is quite attractive.

The Silverline 60 uses a vertical array of two drivers: a 6" doped fiber-cone woofer/midrange and a 1" soft metal-dome tweeter, both made by Kirksaeter. The cabinets, of 20mm-thick MDF, are said to be cleverly braced, but they seem a little lighter than the high-end norm. A sharp knuckle rap resulted in a sharp crack, so I'm curious to see what John Atkinson's measurements say about resonances. All of the internal connections feature gold-plated terminals, and all internal wiring is multistrand solid-silver cable made in Switzerland. The rear panel houses the 45mm-diameter port and a set of heavy, gold-plated biwire binding posts.

System and Setup
The Silverline 60s' tenure spanned our move, so they ended up being used in two very different rooms in two different houses. At Trish's old place, my listening room was her 11' by 16', perfectly rectangular dining room. I set up the speakers about 30" in from the side walls, 48" in from the front wall, and toed-in slightly. My chair was also about 48" into the room, putting my listening position about 7' from the plane of the speakers.

In our new house, the room—and my setup—isn't nearly as simple. My listening space is one arm of an open area that combines a great room, foyer, and dining room, and flows on outward into the kitchen and the hallways to the master bedroom and kids' wing. The ceiling is high, about 20', but part of the foyer and hallway are covered by a loft that overlooks the sitting area.

My system was set up toward one end of the sitting area, in an alcove approximately 13' wide by 15' deep. The center of the wall behind the speakers is a large marble-and-glass fireplace that sits above and behind a matching marble seat running the alcove's full width. The fireplace is 6' wide and 3' tall, with a deep inset area above it that runs up another 5' or so. To the left of the fireplace is a floor-to-ceiling column of windows, to its right a "normal" wall.

COMPANY INFO
Kirksaeter
US distributor: Kingcaid Acoustics
1943 Linden Lane
Hatfield, PA 19440
(215) 361-1559
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