Alma Music & Audio Showcases Boenicke with Nagra, Innuos, and More

Alma Music & Audio has recently gone bi-coastal, adding Alma East in Sterling, VA to its flagship Alma West store in San Diego. In one of their several rooms at the show, the dealership showcased Boenicke Audio's W8 SE loudspeaker in Walnut finish ($16,500/pair). I've always been intrigued by these unique solid-wood speakers, whose internal chambers are carved out by a CNC machine.

The W8 SE is equipped with a swing base (that intentionally allows the speaker to move) and includes a rear-firing tweeter that comes into play at 8kHz and is designed to increase ambience. It also includes a front-firing wide-band tweeter and midrange plus a side-firing woofer that is able to descend to 32Hz, –6dB. "SE," in this model's case, denotes better parts in the crossover that are claimed to deliver additional transparency, extra sparkle on top, and "an extra level of refinement."

Employing Roon to play files through an Innuos Pulse streamer ($3249) through an MSB Premier DAC ($27,900), as well as a Bergmann Modi + Thor turntable ($17,000) with Hana Umami Red cartridge ($3950) that I didn't audition, the system acquitted itself quite well. The marvelous intimacy and expressive nuance of Alexandre Tharaud and Camélia Jordana's "September" came through beautifully on a 24/44.1 file, and the Theme from Schindler's List in 24/96 sounded especially winning in the midrange.

The rest of the system was anything but shabby. We're talking a Nagra Classic preamp ($19,500), Classic Amp ($19,500), Classic Phono (21,500), Classic PSU ($16,900), and VFS speaker stands ($2750/each) along with an IsoTek Mosaic Genesis power conditioner and Kubala-Sosna Sensation cables.