Scaena's Silver Ghost

I had been looking forward to auditioning the 10th Anniversary Edition of Scaena's Silver Ghost speakers at the 2013 CES, but as I reported, there was a curious lack of recorded ambience. The Silver Ghosts, which cost $153,000/system with two active subwoofers, sounded much better at AXPONA, driven by Audio Research amplification. The front end was the new dCS Vivaldi rig and cabling was all Silversmith Audio Palladium. A duet between a woman singer and a double bass on the old Gloria Gaynor hit "I Will Survive" was absolutely convincing in its tonality and musicality—with plenty of recorded ambience!

Scaena's picture


As manufacturers, we long for people to listen critically and consistently, and when the pitch throws us a beamer, we hope the listener is circumspect and demands a second opinion. Thank you sincerely, on all three counts. Furthermore, its a testament of one's sonic memory to remember that detail hundereds of rooms later.

The Scaena Team

MVBC's picture

Considering resonances induced by the shape of the enclosure, they still put the woofers in barrels..frown.

John Atkinson's picture

MVBC wrote:
Considering resonances induced by the shape of the enclosure, they still put the woofers in barrels.

Yes, the circular cross-section of the enclosure means that there will be a strong radial mode. But as the diameter of the enclosure is small, it is possible that this resonance will be too high in frequency - ie, well above the drive-unit's low-pass corner frequency - to be excited. Remember that we are talking about _sub_woofers. I certainly didn't hear any resonant problem with the Scaena subwoofers. DId you hear any problem when you auditioned them, MVBC?

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

Scaena's picture

John you are right that there is no deleterious resonance and it's absence is central to our design- if there were, the woofers would call attention to themselves and the soundstage or 'scaena' would be lost. While the unsurpassed structural strength is derived from the seamless cylindrical exterior, the driver does not ‘see’ a cylinder. However, we use another strategy to eliminate the sonic signature of a large driver, regardless of enclosure, and you very nearly let the cat out of the bag on that one.


I suspect that the reader’s query originates from a DIY perspective, as gargantuan cylinders are oft used in that segment, and commercially prohibitive. I can share some notes.

It is vital to never stop at a single seemingly insurmountable obstacle, because if we take a more holistic approach to design, that single compromise can easily be overcome with ancillary advantages. For instance; the world would say why bother trying to make an armored tank fast, its too heavy; why not make something lightweight fast and keep the heavy bulldozer slow. Indeed when an Englishman proposed a fast tank, he was laughed out of the army. The Germans jumped on it and purchased the design from the English soldier and damn near conquered the world with the Panzer tank. All that to say that thinking past a limitation is a very rare school of thought, but one necessary for breakthrough. The weight of a tank can be easily overcome with turbine engines, but one can never make a truck as strong as a tank. Resonance inside a seamless cylinder can very easily be dealt with, but the structural weakness of a rectangular box cannot.

I would like to point out to our learned colleague who took exception to our approach; that this cannot be just a vacant authoritarian conjecture, nor grandstanding with bass, we do have the slight advantage of laboriously proving our point at the races under scrutiny. Particularly in proving effortless, transparent, and complete bass. If what he was proposing were true, we would have precisely the inverse, in spades.