Onda Ligera’s First Showing

Latvian enterprise Onda Ligera, manufacturer of loudspeakers and integrated amplifiers, made a very impressive U.S. debut at T.H.E. Show. With products not yet distributed in the US, the company mated its biggest loudspeaker, the 3-way WAVE 168D ($35,000/pair), with what I believe was their IPA 006 integrated amplifier ($15,000). (The speaker’s nominal impedance is 4 ohms, and the 006 is said to be capable of outputting 600W into that load.) Ensuring that the front end would be of similar quality, Onda Ligera used the excellent Esoteric K-01 CD/SACD player ($19,500). I wish I had asked about the cabling and power treatment.

This system sounded extremely fine. On a gorgeously reproduced recording of John Coltrane, for example, bass was tight, and the sound of cymbals seemed very natural.

On my Channel Classics SACD of the Ebony Wind Band playing chamber works by Revueltas, the sound was a bit warm but very controlled. Air and depth were first class, response was fast, and the system seemed to convey the entire range of winds and percussion. It’s too bad that the guys who favored Coltrane fled the room. Perhaps if I had told them that Revueltas was a Mexican freedom fighter who opposed fascism, they might have stuck it out. But I was too busy enjoying the music.

What I can’t tell you is what the tortured prose of their brochure, which begins, “Today technology and truth are variable constants,” is supposed to tell us, other than the fact that Onda Ligera is no different than God knows how many Asian companies that will spend infinite amounts of money on technological research, but refuse to hire a decent translator. Catch this one: “The company’s engineers by means of their products have tried to minimize moral and material excruciation of music lovers performing harmonization of audio systems…”

Why does reading this make me want to reach for Ex-Lax? Here’s hoping Onda Ligera finds a US distributor . . . and a better translator.