Malbork Audio with Moon Audio W-5 and Sonos Port (!)

From a new company came a new loudspeaker design that was four years in the making—thanks in part to the pandemic. But COVID downtime gave Malbork Audio founder and designer Daniel Fajkis (above) one advantage: more time to refine his inaugural Malbork Warsaw loudspeaker design through more math and engineering and simulations, Fajkis told me.

The Malbork Warsaw is an ambitious speaker. Named after a stately castle in Poland not far from Fajkis's hometown, the Malbork company is based in South Florida, where the speaker was built. With an enclosure made of machined aluminum, its unique futuristic aesthetic stands out. It's architectural—all smooth planes and precise angles—reminding me of some Zaha Hadid buildings. If you saw it at the show, chances are, you'd remember it. The 2.5-way's four individual enclosures (one open-baffle) are united by a single 0.5" vertical through-rod inside a self-contained frame. Made entirely of aluminum, this structure maintains alignment and rigidity. But they needed to manage aluminum's unwanted resonances. "We took [aluminum's] uniform density and machined the way around the problem," Fajkis said. The interior of each driver enclosure is a tapered cylinder to prevent standing waves and ringing.

The Warsaw is all passive. No DSP is used. (Apparently many people asked.) The input connections and crossovers are all contained within the woofer's housing. You can tri-amp the speakers, powering the individual driver enclosures—labeled Soprano, Alto, Tenor—separately. Or you can use included bridges that were machined in a similar design. Speaking of machining, the panels' forms look sleek and cool but they're also functional, serving to disperse the surrounding "wraparound" resonances. There are no visible screws; apart from those on the driver surrounds, they're all mounted inside.

The AMT tweeter's housing is an open-baffle design that looks like a (slightly) exploded drawing. Other drivers include two 5.5" midrange units and a long-throw woofer.

I only had time for a brief listen to the Malbork system; it was late on Sunday. Fajkis kept the demo system as streamlined as the Warsaw's smooth forms: Spotify tracks streamed from an iPad via Wi-Fi to a Sonos Port ($449), which includes an internal preamp and DAC, connected via RCA inputs to a Moon Audio W-5 power amplifier, a dual-mono design that delivers 380Wpc. The W-5 was tethered to the speakers (with the bridges in place) with cables of Malbork's own creation. The 87dB-sensitive speakers seemed to like power.

The sound was clean and crisp, mercifully not "metallic"—maybe the felted room treatments on the sidewalls also helped. Music, particularly percussion, seemed fast on the attacks on tracks like Thomas Newman's "Dead Already" from the American Beauty film soundtrack. O-Zone Percussion Group's "Jazz Variants" showed more texture and body on the various drums, along with clarity on tambourine, chimes, and cymbals.

The Malbork Warsaw is available now directly from the company for $65,000/pair. They're also talking with dealers, Fajkis said. The Malbork Warsaws are certainly conversation-starters.

georgehifi's picture

All else done right, these should be image and depth masters.

Cheers George

jamesgarvin's picture

I listened to these speakers for ten minutes or so, and I liked their presentation. But $65K? I was rather shocked when I heard the price. I understand that a retail price is, to a certain extent, based upon the materials, labor, overhead, R&D, etc. But I suspect too often manufacturers forget that it should also be based, to some extent, upon the price of competitive products. For example, the Vinbergs on the first floor are approximately $25k less, and sounded better. Or the Wilson Sashas. You get the point. Finally, are there audiophiles writing checks for $65k components from companies which are still wearing diapers?

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Schubert was "wearing diapers" when he wrote great songs at age 17. Mendelssohn was younger when he wrote his Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night's Dream. Let's talk about the debuts of such astounding soloists as Anne-Sophie Mutter, and the accomplishments of the young Mozart. Oh, then there's Michael Jackson and.....

I did not hear these speakers and cannot comment on their quality. All I know is that great accomplishment is possible at every age. Genius knows no bounds.

jamesgarvin's picture

but that was not my point. Did a music lover write Mendelssohn a big check immediately after he composed his first piece of music? Michael Jackson was a member of an established group and which showed him to be a bankable solo artist worthy of a record companies' investment. They weren't writing big checks to him upon emerging from the womb.

David Wilson was a new guy on the scene once upon a time. As I recall, he started his company with the WATT/Puppy rather than the WAMM. A not inexpensive speaker, but he began producing the real expensive stuff after he established his company in the marketplace.

Consequently, I was not commenting in a vacuum on the merits of the design or the brains behind the design of the Molbork. Ignoring the age of the company, and what appears to be a very new design, it is an impressive debut. He may very well develop and build the company into another Wilson.

My point was how many audiophiles will write a check for $65k to a brand new company without any track record, regardless of the genius behind the curtain, given all the young companies in this industry, which, likewise, had geniuses behind the curtain, and which failed. And also given all the competing products from established companies which, to my ears at least, provide better sounding speakers for appreciably less money. I'm also unclear how he can establish a retail price without, apparently, having any dealers. My guess is that they will want some say on the retail price - they presumably know their market.

As a part business owner, my sense is that too many young prodigies (he may very well be one, I don't know) formulate a price point based upon what they'd like it to be, or based upon the cost of the raw materials, rather than market forces. If he is going to price a speaker at $30k more than the Wilson's Sasha, then to survive he needs to deliver $30k in better sound quality (or even $10k better sound quality) than does Wilson, regardless of his costs.

So, yes, I agree with you that young folks have accomplished great things. But that was not subject of my comment.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

And, assuming that James Garvin is your real name, please accept my gratitude for not hiding behind a handle.

There's a lot of truth in your observations. I take no issue with anything above except the crack about diapers. I react strongly to ageism, regardless of whether it's aimed at the young or the old.

Two fact checks:
1. Dave Wilson decided to make his mark by starting with a big speaker, the WAMM, which had a high price for the time. The WAMM was released in 1981, five years before the first WATT and eight years before the first Puppy. In a subsequent show report, I'll share a photo of the very first WAMM, now restored, which was sounding quite wonderful at AXPONA. When you see the photo, you may find a distance resemblance to the speaker under discussion.

2. Mendelssohn came from a rich family that supported his musical education. I don't think a paycheck was at the forefront of his mind; he was perhaps far more concerned with the anti-semitism that led him to change his name and religion

Frankly, I thought you might take issue with my statement about genius. To correct myself, I have no idea if this speaker designer is a genius. What's clear, however, is that he has drive and gumption. Where that will get him remains to be seen.

jamesgarvin's picture

for correcting my statement regarding Wilson and the WAMM. I did a little more research on the subject, and I think Wilson's experience with the WAMM may be instructive for Molbork. From what I gather, Wilson did develop the WAMM first, but it apparently ultimately proved to be a commercial failure (at the time), and almost ruined his company. Apparently, Wilson could not sell enough of them at the time to generate enough revenue to ensure his new company would remain solvent. He then developed the WATT/Puppy, which proved far more commercially successful, infusing the company with much needed revenue, and which ensured he could turn the lights on the next day.

I don't like to see new companies fail, but I see history repeating itself when I saw a list price of $65k for what appears to be a competent design from a new company. My comment about diapers was directed to the age of the company, not the age of the individual who owns the company, and designed its first product. I apologize if I did not make that clear in my first post. I simply hope he knows as much about running a business as he does designing speakers, and if not, he is smart enough to bring in someone who does. I think experience is, sometimes, as important as genius.

And, yes, that is my real name, and not a handle.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

I love people who make cogent arguments and clearly articulate their position. Hopefully the designer will read your words. The rest is up to the Fates, and they do not always play by reason.


rt66indierock's picture

If I was interested in Malbork Warsaw speakers, I would take them to Redrock Acoustics and have them run a full test suite on them. Second, I would ask Kal to come visit with his reference music because he has used the same music as his reference for several decades. I added my last refence album to my list in 1982. Third, I would find someone I don’t know who has used the same music for twenty plus years as their reference to join us. Then we would sit down and listen. I’d have no trouble buying them if they passed my tests.

Jason is a little sensitive about real names because of a battle waged. On one side MQA Ltd, record labels and audio writers and on the other side a few innovators and early adopters of technology. Jason’s side is losing badly. Almost none of us on the winning side use our real names in high end audio.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

I don't have a side. I like the sound of MQA. It is those who wish to polarize who wage battles.

As for being sensitive, that's my nature. I'm sensitive about everything. I consider it a strength. Another is the fact that I don't hide who I am or what I enjoy.


rt66indierock's picture

You were right at the beginning of the press coverage of MQA. You chose a side whether you admit it or not. You enjoy MQA while can. The format doesn’t have much life left. In any case I intended to polarize the industry / hobby over MQA are you saying I have more work to do?

I want HiFi to mainstream again, whether you help the process or hurt it is an open question. The MQA format will never help me reach that goal.

Glotz's picture

on the first floor demo room near the seminar row.

It was pretty impressive for a speaker that is 40 years old! That said they are not going to compare to modern over $20K speakers, imo.

I wish I would've listened to this 'room'. AXPONA still needs to do a better job of curating new rooms / companies, and the 'ownership' of rooms throughout the Renaissance Schaumberg.

I didn't know SOTA had two rooms even after visiting both, well.. until I asked. I think a SOTA turntable review would be fun, especially given how long this company has been around and the comprehensive changes they've wrought in their whole lineup.

PS- Where does it suggest in the online sign-up process that it is recommended that users should use their owned, real name? Handles have been common usage on most websites for over a decade now. FTR, it's my nickname most of my life and thought it would be more fun than my given name.

jamesgarvin's picture

I don't think it is suggested that people use their real names, and, yes, it is common for posters to use acronyms. I have noticed that people who use acronyms are more likely to write something confrontational or incendiary knowing readers will not know who they are, and can get away with writing comments they would not otherwise make to someone's face. My personal preference is that if I write something on the internet, I think I should be held accountable for what I write, and so I use my real name.

Glotz's picture

Others on this and other sites engage in. It would seem a handle is almost mandatory, unless one directly works in the audio industry.

Speaking ones' mind in this current social climate is not always safe, especially in light of hackers and others.

Anton's picture

He's up in the pantheon with Cher, Shakira, Prince, Madonna, and M&M.

I think Glotz is the bomb, by the way.

rschryer's picture

Great show report, Julie.

Anton's picture

What's a U?


rschryer's picture

...receptacle for my J, of course.


Julie Mullins's picture

Great show report, Julie.

Thanks, Robert. I was very curious to learn more about this design and its sonic intentions. I'd like to have listened more, but the guys in the room had already kindly agreed to discuss the design more at the tail end of the show.

ken mac's picture

Robert said.

Anton's picture

Does Gallo get a royalty?

It looks a little like some one disassembled a pair of Scaena speakers and made six pairs of this baby.

My apologies, but I agree with the curmudgeons on the sticker price of this product.

It must be the bespoke drivers. ;-)

YNWaN's picture

First I must apologise as my user name is an acronym - however, it is easy to find my real name, though would mean no more to you than any other strangers name!

Personally, I think the suggestion of $65,000.00 for these speakers is extremely ambitious for a new company with no prior track record. It doesn’t help that it does look rather like a scale model for a much larger design. The report makes it clear that this speaker does not use any DSP and so, given the cabinet volumes available, bass extension is going to be severely limited for a $65K design.