When Elliot offered me the possibility to upgrade the Aeon Fine to the Aeon Reference, I was hesitant at the beginning, as I was very happy with the sound I had, and I thought I would just get more, better-defined bass, which I was not missing at all. Anyhow, the conditions were good, and the timing convenient. Also, the current system and room acoustics were finely tuned, so I thought this is the right time to have the best sound I can, and I went for it.
Even though it was not planned that way, by good luck the Aeon References arrived in my home the same day the Aeon Fine left. So I had the privilege of a very fresh, almost immediate, memory of the sound of the Fine in my room for comparison with the References. As soon as they arrived, I quickly installed them in the same spot and left the system warming up for an evening listening session, as I was leaving the next day on a trip.
For initial listening, I picked up a record I heard the previous night with my daughter. Nothing audiophile type, just good well-recorded music (Simon & Garfunkel Live in Central Park reissue), and used the same arm/cartridge combination (Graham Phantom Elite 10”/Transfiguration Proteus Diamond). The previous night the sound was magical and my daughter and wife were amazed at what they were hearing. So not an easy challenge, especially when they started with the precondition that the big speakers were just an exaggeration of mine, as they could not sound any better. I kind of agreed with them and was secretly hoping that I did not make a mistake. I did not.
Contrary to my expectations, the bigger speakers were not about more bass. In fact, the difference in bass quantity was not big. Bigger differences could be appreciated in bass extension and definition. This was great but somehow expected. What really impressed me was the midrange, how with the additional definition in bass and the speaker configuration, the voices and sounds became completely detached of any physical constrain, no coloration, no dynamic constrain, perfect 3D sound materialized in thin air. It is not that the Aeon Fine were lacking in any of these aspects; in fact, they were the best I had heard anywhere in my life, but this is something else. The positioning, purity of voices, guitars, pianos etc, the retrieval of ambiance details, the perfect integration of sound from top to bottom, and the ability to convey all the dynamic nuances of every sound is amazing.
I was so sure of the improvement, that I invited my daughter to listen to them, and did not say what to listen for, just played the same record. The reaction was priceless, as she started to smile, then quietly laugh and started pointing in the air the location of each one of the sounds (as context, she has been listening to high-end systems all of her life, plays piano and is lovely but disarmingly straightforward in her opinions). Same reaction from my son, who kept me late that night playing record after record. The funny part is that during dinner, they asked me to explain how an almost similar product can produce such an exponential improvement, and I have to create all sorts of semi-crazy theories.
I wanted to share this with you, as my humble way to acknowledge the effort and level of perfection you have achieved with your products, and to encourage to keep doing what you are doing, as the results transcend the realm of electronics and sound reproduction and take you to a magical place were I only listen to music, detached from all physical limitations.
Now that my new Goebel Aeon speakers have been dialed into my room, and the system has settled down, I am very glad to tell you that these speakers have exceeded all my expectations, by a lot. For the benefit of other readers here, my current system comprises a TW Acustic Black Knight table, two TW arms, Kuzma 4Point 9, Graham Elite, Transfiguration Proteus D, Ortofon Century MC, Lyra Atlas and Miyajima Madame Snakewood, SRA Base, CH P1, L1 and 2x M1 (bi-amping the speakers) on SRA rack and bases, all Goebel interconnects and now Goebel Aeon speakers. Room is a library that measures 29´x16´ with slanted wood ceiling that starts on the system end 9´and 27´on the other end, concrete walls with different finishes (wood, library, wallpaper), mostly reflective with beautiful acoustics. Previous speakers were Nola Baby Grand Gold 2 and Nola Grand Reference Gold 2. My first reaction when setting up the speakers was of a nice surprise, as I placed them near where I though should be, and they sounded great there, from there kept dialing in and they kept improving, but never sounding bad, simply getting better. I could have left them in the first spot and still would be the best speaker I ever heard, and from there went up a lot. The bass in this speakers is just amazing, deep, powerful, perfectly defined in every note, really fast and zero color or overhang. The resolution of the bending wave component is perfect, voices have no trace of box sound, impact, dynamics, image, are all there in full, very fast and with proper warmth. The only problem I can see with this speakers is not for me, but for you, as they can easily be my last speaker for a long while. They are that good.
I had the upgrade done last Wednesday. Just got the new caps broken in late Saturday BUT went in for hip replacement surgery on Monday, so haven’t been listening since.
However, during my pre-op time with it here are my impressions.
1. First, AMAZING company and kudos to you guys for arranging this in the least intrusive manner possible at a cost that incredibly reasonable
2. Stirling was AMAZING. Not only was he incredibly efficient and helpful but unlike so many other people, he treated my equipment like I am sure he would his own. He took incredibly good care of my amp and was incredibly diligent in the upgrade. He followed up to make sure all was working properly, explained the break in of the new caps and listened to the system for awhile and was great to talk with.
3. This is NOT an upgrade. This is like getting a whole new amp. I loved the M1 but these new caps bring a new level to transparency, transients and especially the low end. Just a much more balanced sound than I thought was possible.
Can’t wait to get back to listening.
You guys have been awesome and in my opinion, this is how you build customer loyalty. I have talked to Elliot many times about how so many companies “churn” their customers and as a result, lose their customers. This is how you keep you customers loyal.
We couldn’t quite recall the exact date, but I first met Elliot Goldman at one of his earliest stores in South Florida and although he doesn’t remember the specifics, I sure did. It was one of those audiophile demos that you never forget, even if it was some 30 years ago. Elliot introduced himself, turned the lights down low, and cranked up Dead Can Dance on an all Spectral rig driving the big Genesis speakers. I never forgot it. Nor did I forget a most hospitable host who never tried to sell me a thing (as if I could afford it anyway.)
The Bending Wave Goebel speakers have attracted lots of attention, and although the “Grand Opening” for his new brick and mortar store Front Row Theater” is a week away, once again, a visit to the area prompted me to call Elliot to see if I might be able to visit to hear them. He graciously welcomed my visit.
There’s always so many things to assess when hearing a SOA system for the first time as you try to attribute what to what. Is it the room? The electronics? The cables? The gear? Etc. But one thing you can take to the bank, is that Elliot knows his sh** and knows how to set-up a good system. And with that, let me just say that I had a wonderful visit. Not only was it good because I got to hear a fabulous music system. But what is equally great in the world of an amateur traveling audiophile (although I am an amateur to Ked and wish I had his frequent flyer miles), is that it’s even better when you hear and learn about great music at the same time. Surprisingly, Elliot doesn’t consider himself an audiophile as much as he considers himself a music lover. His playlists are eclectic and decidedly “non-audiophile”, unless you want them to be. But when he is left to do the driving, just sit back and soak it up. It’s a genuine treat. I never would have guessed for example, that I’d be listening to some country singer from Houston whose lyrics are worth paying attention to hearing. As regular WBF readers know, Elliot has offered a limited version of his playlist to those who have asked him directly. Yet he says there’s still a few hundred songs or so that he hasn’t dropped into his yet!
So let’s get to it. How did the Bending wave speakers sound? Well, to begin, you can bet they didn’t sound too shabby since they were being driven by about 500K worth of CH Precision gear plus Goebel cabling. Seriously, if I had to limit my adjectives more discretely, the word I would use is “purity”. One might presume that would be the case since The Bending Wave driver is nearly a full range driver. In reality, it covers from 160Hz to the bat range of hearing, so one shouldn’t be surprised that a lack of crossovers for most of the range translates to a perceived “purity” of sound that does indeed set a very high audio bar for listening. There is also an array of 3 conventional drivers each above and below the Bending Wave driver for augmentation below 160Hz, but for the most part, it is the uniqueness of the Bending Wave that accounts for the majority of the range of sound one hears.
We spent a few hours listening to an all digital-sourced series of recordings and a recurring comment when listening to some oldies but goodies (60’s through 80’s analog recordings burned to digital) was just how good they are which for the most part, I had not previously appreciated. This is clearly direct testimony to the merits of the system Elliot put together for which the Bending Wave driver is a big part of its success.
Of interest, Elliot also had a pair of the Goebel Divin speakers in the room but they were not hooked up. Priced a bit higher to the Bending Wave, they do not use the Bending wave technology. I’ll let Elliot provide the rationale for the strategic decision that is the basis for Goebel’s unusual marketing decision if he wishes. But they are said to provide their own unique benefits for listening including more formidable deep bass and higher efficiency. I hope to be able to hear them on a future visit. No doubt the Bending Wave will be attracting a lot of well-deserved attention in the weeks and months ahead. You’ll also be able to hear them at AXPONA if you’re going.
Now I have the unenviable task of returning home and scurrying to find all the great tracks Elliot played for me today while trying to accept the limitations of a more conventional driver system that use well-designed crossovers (Wilson Alexandria S-2), but there-in lies the rub, There is little argument that for many things in audio such as capacitors, a similar mantra can also be said regarding crossovers that “the best sounding crossover is no crossover at all”. The Bending Wave driver is a formidable achievement that is certainly worth hearing. If indeed you hear them, I’m sure that like me, you will be thinking long and hard about what you heard for a long time after you leave Elliot’s shop.