Göbel High End Divin Marquis loudspeaker

Although it was founded by ex-Siemens loudspeaker engineer Oliver Göbel in 2003, I am embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of Göbel High End until I visited the room hosted by Florida retailer Bending Wave at the 2019 AXPONA. There, I listened to the German manufacturer's ginormous $220,000/pair Divin Noblesse loudspeakers, which were making their US debut. I was impressed by what I heard. I was interested, therefore, to learn that Göbel was introducing a smaller Divin model, the Marquis, which would not be too large for my listening room and would be priced at $80,000/pair.

The Divin Marquis
Smaller it might be than the Noblesse, but at almost 4' tall, 16" wide, and 29" deep (with its binding posts), and with its high-gloss finish, the Divin Marquis still has a physically imposing presence. And at 330lb each, it is by far the heaviest loudspeaker I have had in my room. I asked designer Oliver Göbel via Skype why the Divin Marquis was so massive. "The front baffle is 75mm-thick polyurethane ... normally used in machinery shops for [supporting] the tools. This material is extremely rigid and has a high mass, but it also has a very nice damping behavior at certain frequencies. The rest of the [constrained-layer damped] enclosure is a melamine-bonded fiber material. It has a very high density of 1.1kg/liter (MDF has a density of 0.6kg/liter), and it's extremely rigid."

What strikes the eye first when you see the Divin Marquis is the relatively large (3.5" tall × 1.5" wide) AMT tweeter, which is acoustically loaded with a waveguide machined from aluminum. This waveguide is more than 2" deep and has what appears to be a Tractrix flare. "It's not a pure Tractrix curve progression," Göbel explained. "We tried a lot with different angles and different curve progressions [to best match the dispersion of] the midrange driver." The tweeter is sourced from Mundorf but is modified extensively for use in the Marquis to allow the crossover frequency to be set at a relatively low 1.6kHz.

920gobel.tweet

Mounted below the tweeter is a fairly large, 8" midrange unit with a copper-coated aluminum voice-coil wound on a glass-fiber former and powered by a neodymium magnet. Oliver Göbel said that this is the key driver in the Divin line: "It was developed and enhanced based on our bending-wave technology and knowledge in order to better control resonances. ... It has a special cone geometry and dust cap, a special surround, special coatings on the membrane and surround/spiders, specific glues."

920gobel.mid

The midrange unit has a shallow, flared waveguide and is loaded with a subenclosure that has nonparallel walls to minimize air-space resonances. The driver's cone is made from paper impregnated with Kevlar fibers, with multiple surface treatment on both the front and back. It is terminated with a corrugated surround rather than the usual half-roll rubber type.

The 12" long-throw woofer takes over below 140Hz. It uses a treated-paper cone impregnated with carbon fiber and also uses a corrugated surround. I asked Göbel why he had chosen this kind of surround. "With the right coatings, the lossless behavior is much better for this kind of surround," he responded. "Normally, the disadvantage of this surround is that you have resonances, especially for the midrange driver." (Such resonances are due to the reflection from the surround of the wave traveling through the cone, due to the mechanical impedance mismatch.) "We solved this with coatings on the surround [to get] a progressive damping behavior."

920gobel.woof

The woofer is loaded with four triangular ports symmetrically placed around its circumference. "We put a lot of work into our bass-reflex alignment of the bass enclosure," Göbel explained. "We came up with a symmetrical arrangement of the bass reflex ports and a symmetrical internal enclosure design ... in order to provide a symmetrical air load on the back of the [woofer cone, which] prevents the membrane from wobbling." He went on to explain that he was not a fan of using a lot of damping material in the enclosure. Instead, he uses an internal Helmholz resonator, heavily stuffed with damping material to control the first standing wave in the woofer subenclosure. The Helmholtz resonator is coupled to the internal volume with a 3cm-thick layer of ceramic foam—"this tightens up the bass."

920gobel.ports

All three drive-units are made exclusively for Göbel High End. The crossover uses high-quality parts from Mundorf and Duelund, with multiple in-house, epoxy-resin vacuum impregnation steps, and is mounted in its own sealed subenclosure. This is sealed with epoxy resin and mounted to the enclosure on decoupling "silent blocks." The internal wiring is based on Göbel High End's Lacorde Statement cables, and electrical connection is via two pairs of WBT binding posts. (A single-wired version with one pair of binding posts is also available.)

Setup
Bending Wave USA's Elliot Goldman assures me that he will require Göbel dealers to commit to delivering and setting up the speakers in order to be able to sell them. This was not possible with the review samples, however, as we were still in Phase One of New York's COVID-19 lockdown. I was on my own.

Once the Divin Marquises had cleared customs at Newark Liberty airport, I reminded the shipping company that the driver of the delivery truck needed to have a pallet jack. He did, thank goodness, but once he had deposited the pallet with two huge flight cases strapped to it, the total weighing 836lb, outside the vestibule to my listening room, I was stuck. I couldn't even move one of the flight cases onto the wheeled dolly I had ready for it.

920gobel.packed

Fortunately, my youngest niece's husband could come over later that afternoon, and with both of us suitably masked, we managed to get each flight case through the vestibule and down the two steps to the listening room. And there I blessed Oliver Göbel both for the ingenuity of his packaging and for having emailed me a detailed pdf on how to unpack the speakers.

With a flight case lying horizontally on its feet, we could remove the end cap. Carefully rotating the case upright onto its now-exposed end meant that the speaker inside was now resting on its feet. The remaining two halves of the case could then be unfastened and removed. Included in the case were four Delrin coasters; placing these under the speaker's four feet allowed us to slide the speaker close to where it would be used. We repeated the procedure for the second speaker, my nephew-in-law went home for dinner, and I decided to wait until the next day to start laboriously but carefully sliding the speakers around to optimize their positions.

COMPANY INFO
Göbel Audio GmbH
US distributor: Bending Wave USA
10404 West State Rd. 84, Suite 101
Davie, FL 33324
(954) 716-7407
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
georgehifi's picture

How's your back JA after having to shift these things and amps to drive them around for listening and measuring.

Cheers George

John Atkinson's picture
georgehifi wrote:
How's your back JA after having to shift these things and amps to drive them around for listening and measuring.

I am always careful with large, heavy amps and speakers: wearing a brace, keeping the weight close to me and my back straight, lifting with my knees etc. But these speakers almost did me in. I'm reviewing minimonitors for a while now, starting with the Bowers & Wilkins 705 Signatures in the December issue.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

jimsusky's picture

I seem to recall that Pearson - probably in his forties - had Frank Doris (once referred to as "Frank 'n' Doris) as a setup guy. A young(er) strong(er) back (or two) seems to be indicated.

invaderzim's picture

I'm looking forward to the B&W review.

Awsmone0's picture

I know you don’t normally do it, but these speakers measure so well I wonder what their distortion is like ?

John Atkinson's picture
Awsmone0 wrote:
I know you don’t normally do it, but these speakers measure so well I wonder what their distortion is like?

I only investigate distortion when the listening has suggested that there is something wrong. The half-step/semitone-spaced tone bursts spoke very cleanly with this speaker, with no audible "doubling"" - second harmonic distortion - even at high playback levels.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

tonykaz's picture

350 lbs each ? Egads.

How old did you say you are ?

On top of all your other superlatives, you can heft 150 Kilograms without damaging the darn things.

I'd have thought Linn Isobariks would be over the top.

Did you get paid Milwright Scale ? ( about $65/hr )

Well, I guess, you can now accept those big MBLs with all their electronics. ( single handedly )

and...

no more weakling excuses from fragile review staff. Hmph!

I have an elevator in my new Florida Home, I could handle 600 lb. loudspeakers ( although I'm not going to contemplate it )

Dear John Atkinson,
I imagined you drifting into the Lazyboy but you continue to surprise & impress, just like all these long Decades past.

Thank you,

Tony in Venice

ps. I could suggest a nice little electric Hi-Lo with a 4,000 lb. capacity.

Ortofan's picture

... presently on sale (in the walnut finish) for $14K - down from $20K.

In his review, JA1 characterized them as exhibiting "a neutral, uncolored midrange; weighty but well-defined lows; sweet, smooth highs; and superbly secure, stable soundstaging."

If, as JA1 concluded, "I very much enjoyed my time with the KEF Reference 5" and the "KEFs gave me all I need for musical and sonic satisfaction", then what more might the Göbel speakers offer that would justify their purchase at 4-5 times the price of the KEFs?

funambulistic's picture

... by JA1 back in January (maybe again somewhere else - I did not look at all of his reviews): "It's been a long time since I had the big KEFs in my room, and value, of course, is in the ears of the listener."

Why do you keep asking the same question?

Ortofan's picture

... to make it more general.

Suppose that you already enjoyed listening to a given pair of speakers and found that they gave you all you needed for musical and sonic satisfaction. Are those speakers still lacking in some regard? If so, what then might you possibly expect a much more expensive pair of speakers to offer that would justify their purchase?

Is that better?

Anton's picture

I think the answers to your questions are completely up to you!

These are beyond my reach. Plus, they lack a rear firing tweeter (or 'ambience' tweeter on the MBLs,) so they aren't quite in the front rank yet.

Without a rear firing tweeter, the speaker will rank down there with the Tidal Audio Akira or Marten Coltrane 3.

Until they get those rear firing drivers, Von Schweikert, Wilson, and MBL will rule.

Ortofan's picture

... deemed to be an essential feature of any speaker, ought we to conclude that you would reject a product such as the Dutch & Dutch 8c, cited below by the "anonymous internet troll" as something of a high-performance speaker engineering paradigm?
KR found listening with them to be a "pure delight" and JA1 summed up their measured performance with one word: "Wow!"

MhtLion's picture

They are clearly a beast of speakers.

dial's picture

What preamp did you use with the Linn ?

John Atkinson's picture
dial wrote:
What preamp did you use with the Linn?

Channel D Seta L (followup review in the November issue) feeding the Ayre A/D converter at 24/192. (Don't tell Mikey!)

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

invaderzim's picture

"and I decided to wait until the next day"

That is some real self control. That is like seeing the present under the tree on Christmas and then going "maybe after dinner tonight I'll play with it"

Shangri-La's picture

Is it due? Been refreshing the page all day lol.

John Atkinson's picture
Shangri-La wrote:
Is it due? Been refreshing the page all day

The October issue's Recommended Components will be posted to the website next week.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

Shangri-La's picture

Thank you John. The list is what I most look forward to every 6 months. Cannot wait :-)

dial's picture

Channel D Seta L (followup review in the November issue) feeding the Ayre A/D converter at 24/192. (Don't tell Mikey!)

I won't of course, there's a volume knob somewhere ?

John Atkinson's picture
dial wrote:
there's a volume knob somewhere?

I set the A/D converter's level control so that the LP signal peaks around -6dBFS, then adjust volume with the PS Audio DAC's control.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

dial's picture

Now I understand (at last !). Thanks ! The divin marquis was Sade, wasn't it ?

tonykaz's picture

You are a Pro-Audio , are you not?

and... you have something to say with the ability to say it.

I would value your opinions on Formats if you dare go there.

Thank you for your insights, so far.

Tony in Venice

ps. I too am an engineer

Anton's picture

The more I see them, these speakers bear a startling resemblance to 70s and 80s boombox speakers...

Picture these as 18 inches tall and connected to a tuner/cassette/8 band equalizer section between them and it becomes uncanny.

Perhaps they could even flank one of those 'stereo stacks' from the early 80s that came with the stand included.

popluhv's picture

Anton, now that you point it out I can't un-see it!

remlab's picture

It measures pretty damn well compared to a lot of other ultra expensive speakers from boutique manufacturers(Like Goldmund). I was expecting much worse.

MikeP's picture

These are the best kept secret very few have heard yet !

https://www.nsmt-loudspeakers.com

X