Grandinote's Gargantuan Soundstage

Grandinote owner/designer Massimiliano Magri (above) joined his North American distributor Reinhard Goerner at AXPONA for the premiere of the Grandinote Premier Mach 8XL loudspeaker ($30,800–$33,000/pair, depending upon finish). According to Grandinote's endearingly "English as a second language" website, the Mach 8XL's eight full-range drivers utilize a special treatment behind the drivers' membranes that prevents cone break-up. The drivers roll-off above 13kHz, allowing a super tweeter that handles harmonics above 7kHz to come to the fore. Rather than employing a crossover—the Mach 8XL has none—drivers are modified to create "a solution in the middle between bass reflex and transmission line."

Magri likens his "Semi Resonance Tube" (S.R.T.) cabinet to a tube with a large downward-firing port. In the room, he claimed 98dB sensitivity and perfect phase and linear response from 20Hz to 20kHz.

Sitting in the nearfield before a system that also included Grandinote's Volta server/streamer ($11,500), Proemio preamp (approx. $12,000), and Silva amplifier ($15,000), I was awed by the Mach 8XL's superb depiction of space. As much as it brought to mind some of my humongous soundfield experiences with speakers designed by Michael Børresen, the Grandinote Mach 8XL took me on a quasi-immersive trip all its own. I found a track from Todd Garfinkle's M•A Recordings master of Sera una noche absolutely, positively, and completely captivating.