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Loudspeaker columns | floorstanders


Manufacturer: FINKTEAM
Price (at the time of the test): 24 900 EUR/pair

FinkTeam | Maxstraße 75
45127 Essen | Germany


Provided for test by RCM

The BORG are loudspeakers manufactured by the German FINKTEAM company. The person who came up with the idea and designed them is Karl-Heinz Fink, a man well-known and much respected in the audio domain. Until recently, however, he has stayed in the shadow, designing loudspeakers for many well-known brands. Thanks to the Polish distributor, the RCM company, Karl-Heinz came to the “High Fidelity” editorial office especially for you, in order to listen to our system and to how his new loudspeakers operate in it.

he enormous WM-4 FINKTEAM loudspeakers caused a lot of confusion among people during the High End 2018 exhibition in Munich. Looking at them and not knowing what it was all about, it was hard to say why, however. They did look a little different than most loudspeakers at the exhibition, but they still seemed to be mainstream – these are stocky loudspeakers with D’Appolito arrangement – two midrange drivers and a tweeter, with a really large woofer below.

Only having looked at them closely, one could become suspicious of their “ordinariness”. It was then possible to see that the tweeter is an AMT Mundorf driver, the midrange drivers have flat membranes and they have been made in-house according to the FMWD (Flat Membrane Wide Dispersion) concept (do you remember the NXT technology?), while the woofer is an enormous 15-inch unit with a paper membrane and textile surround. Just as many (if not more) innovations were hidden inside the loudspeakers. It was not the company’s first attempt to include them, as the earlier WM-3 version of the loudspeakers had already been presented in 2016, while a year later a working version of the WM-4 was shown. However, things took on colour only in 2018.

Looking at the loudspeakers is one thing, while knowing who designed and manufactured them is another thing. They were created by Karl-Heinz Fink. It is a man who stays in the shadow, but still strongly shapes the audio market. He specializes in designing loudspeakers for large audio companies that then sell them under their own brand names. His consulting (design) company is called Fink Audio-Consulting.

Although he is a native German and comes from Bohum, his main inspiration have virtually always (i.e. since he was a teenager and constructed DIY loudspeakers) been British designs, including ones by the Harbeth company. As he says, however, his mentor was Ted Jordan, the owner of the ALR/Jordan company, i.e. a German person. Karl-Heinz’s clients include Tannoy, Yamaha, Q Acoustics, Boston Acoustics, Castle, Denon and Marantz. He was even responsible for the Naim Ovation model and drivers used in the Bentley by Naim car audio system. So, it is highly probable that you have heard his devices in one or another audio system.


One of the causes of the confusion and “colours” that I have already mentioned, was the presentation of the latest FinkTeam loudspeakers, the Borg model, in Munich. It turned out that the company’s aim was to manufacture a model that was possible to use at the homes of most music lovers. The former model can only be placed in large and very large rooms – the letters in the WM-4 symbol are an abbreviation of the word Waschmaschine, i.e. a “washing machine” – a large one, let me add.

FinkTeam’s Borg is a two-way floorstanding design featuring a 10.25-inch high-power mid/bass driver and an Air Motion Transformer (AMT) tweeter.

The Borg was a significant design exercise, as combining a 10.25 inch mid/bass driver, albeit an extremely fine one, with a HF unit is never easy. To combine the two drivers to achieve a flat frequency response and, more importantly, a slow mid/HF roll-off in power response is a significant feat of engineering. There is no off-axis hole in the middle effect., access: 24.03.2019

Yes, a two-way loudspeaker of this size, with such a large mid/bass driver is a rarity and a challenge. As I have already said, however, what you see on the outside is just the tip of an iceberg. The rest is hidden under this “skin”. The few areas for which the company has proposed its own solutions are: the cabinet, crossover and impedance, distortion, mid/bass driver, tweeter and spikes/domes.

The cabinet | The cabinet of the Borg model can be compared to various different constructions – a Stealth bomber, Avalon loudspeakers or a pharaoh sarcophagus. It is because technical aspects were more important to their designers than artistic values. The shape of the loudspeaker has been optimized with respect to minimizing diffraction, and improving stiffness. Vibration was measured using a laser system and the person responsible for this aspect of the work was Markus Strunk, FinkTeam’s vibration specialist.

As he told Alan Sircom from the “Hi-Fi+” magazine, the cabinet is still an important element of the puzzle, even with optimized drivers (Alan Sircom, Meet Your Maker - Karl-Heinz Fink of Finkteam, “Hi-Fi+” 28 Oct 2018, access: 19.02.2019). The cabinet of the tested loudspeakers has a layer structure (sandwich design), with two MDF layers on the sides and damping material between them. The thickness of the boards is not the same and it differs depending on the place where they are situated.

Another element that adds stiffness are folds visible next to the tweeter. They are included to minimize diffraction on the edges, but they also have impact on the mechanical contents of the cabinet. Effort has also been made to make the mid/bass driver operate in comfortable conditions. So, it is not attached directly to the MDF, but to a metal ring which reinforces the edges of the hole.

The cabinet has been optically divided into three elements: the front, rear and base. It is a mechanical whole, but having different functions. The front and base have been covered with enamel (a special kind of varnish that yields a hard surface after it dries) – as Karl-Heinz said, this is his carpenter’s favourite varnish. The rear is covered with natural veneer. There are three colour versions available – one with a dark grey front and a dark rear, one with a cream front and a lighter rear and one with a black front and a light rear.

The crossover | One of the simplest methods of dividing bandwidth is by connecting drivers with the use of a few elements that constitute a first-order filter (6 dB/octave). It is preferred by many audiophiles, owing to its simplicity. It also has its disadvantages, however. They can be avoided when crossovers of a higher degree are used, i.e. ones characterized by a steeper falling slope.

What has been used in the Borg model is a complex sophisticated Linkwitz-Riley 4th order crossover with time delay between two sections. As Karl-Heinz said, he wanted wave propagation to be balanced across the whole bandwidth – not only on the axis, but also at a wide angle. The crossover divides the bandwidth at an untypical point (for such loudspeakers) – 1.6 kHz, i.e. very low. The purpose was to cut the large driver low enough not to narrow wave radiation. However, that required using a big AMT driver having the surface as large as 6464 mm2.

The crossover has been installed on two separate boards and that is why there are two separate sets of slots on the rear panel. So, we need to use clamps. These are comfortable and durable Mundorf jumpers. Other elements manufactured by the company, including polypropylene capacitors, can also be found in the crossover itself.

One of the goals of the ‘Borg’ project was, on the one hand, to obtain as flat time response as possible, with emphasis on the lack of peaks and holes, but also, on the other hand, smooth impedance curve. It is not a high-sensitivity driver, but it should constitute a comfortable load for the amplifier. When we look at the impedance curve available on the manufacturer’s website, we will see that it does not fall below 6 Ω and reaches its minima at 38 Hz (7 Ω) and 20 kHz (6.5 Ω). It is flat throughout the whole mid-band frequency and stays at the level of 12-13 Ω. Based on the graph, one can also see that the bass-reflex port is set quite low.

Fine-tuning | Next to the clamps, we will find something that is rarely found in home audio systems, but is considered almost compulsory in professional ones, i.e. tone and impedance control. Midrange control is a shelf filter operating within the range of 300-2000 Hz, making it possible to control the position of the virtual stage, placing it closer or further away from the listener. It can also be used to compensate too lively room response.

There is also a “Presence” control here, i.e. a narrow filter with the center at 2.5 kHz. Its function is to change the characteristics with reference to the signal source, cables or amplifier used. The manufacturer points out that the plus setting is suitable for soft systems, while the minus setting is for bright and hard systems. There is also tweeter level control.

Positions of the controls during the test:
Damping: 2
Mid: +
Presence: +1
High: -

After Karl-Heinz has looked at my system, he only asked me about a few things, including wooden boxes lying on the loudspeaker bases. When I said: “These are SPEC filters that counteract the electromotive force generated by the driver system of the woofer”, my guest smiled, saying that he has used an exactly the same system in the Borg loudspeakers.

It has four settings:
1. Standard, for transistor amplifiers having a high damping ratio.
2. For transistor amplifiers, but with a lower damping ratio, e.g. ones without feedback.
3. For tube amplifiers only.

However, Karl-Heinz set all the controls in my system himself, agreeing on each setting with Roger Adamek, the owner of the RCM company. Despite this, it is worth mentioning that the given recommendations are just a starting point and not the ultimate recipe. The gentlemen set the “Damping” control in my system at “2”, i.e. the position designed for amplifiers characterized by high output impedance and, therefore, low damping.

This is not true about my amplifier – the Soulution 710 has a fairly untypical design with very high feedback and thus very high output damping – the manufacturer has given the value > 10,000 while good amplifiers have between 500 and 1000. So, let us remember that all the tips given by the manufacturer should only be the starting point for our experiments.

The drivers | The third of the gentlemen, Mr Lampos Ferekidis, is responsible for drivers in the FinkTeam company. He makes measurements using the Klippel R&D System, deals with calculations and writes programs for specific measurements. It is a very experienced engineer and one of the people responsible for developing the NXT drivers which, let me remind you of that, seemed to be the future of the audio world for some time.

The Borg loudspeakers have the company’s own custom-designed mid/bass driver. It has the diameter of 10.25” (260 mm), a paper membrane and textile surround. We have known similar drivers from pro-audio applications, but, from a historical perspective, all drivers used to look like this. It has a solid die-cast chassis, a large magnet with aluminium rings that enhance the linearity of the magnetic field, as well as a large-diameter coil (3”). The textile surround implies high sensitivity, but that was not what Karl-Heinz wanted the most – it was more important to him, as he says, that there is no hysteresis characteristic for rubber surrounds and that the stiffness of the surround is similar to the stiffness of the spider.

The tweeter is a construction that we have recently discussed, on the occasion of testing the Audiovector QR5 loudspeakers. It is not a cone driver, but an AMT – Air Motion Transformer. Its design resembles a concertina with magnets at the folds. The surface of the membrane is very large, thanks to which the driver frequency response is broad, both at the top and the bottom. This was utilised in the Borg loudspeakers by setting the crossover at 1.6 kHz.

As I have already mentioned, Karl-Heinz came to Poland especially for us, in order to listen to music and arrange the loudspeakers with me. As he said, my room is a little overdamped and much smaller compared to the room where the loudspeakers are designed. On the other hand, however, which was also pointed out by Karl-Heinz, I sit close to my loudspeakers, which largely eliminates the problem. So, he bore that in mind when he set the controls on the rear panel.

We also devoted quite a lot of time to the arrangement of the loudspeakers, mainly to toeing them in. As you may remember from an article FINE-TUNNING, or how to set up speakers, two types of arrangement have worked out in my listening room – one with loudspeakers in front of the listener and another with loudspeaker axes crossing in front of me. Both Karl-Heinz and Roger have different views on this issue.

The most extreme arrangement was the one proposed by the owner of RCM. He believes that loudspeakers should stand parallel to each other and closer than usual. When he arranged the Borg loudspeakers, they stood at the distance of 190 cm from each other (measured from the centres of the front panel) and 220 cm from my ears. Karl-Heinz most often chooses to toe loudspeakers in a little, but not too much and to place them quite wide apart from each other. In this arrangement, the loudspeakers stood at the distance of 230 cm from each other and also 230 cm from my ears. The Harbeth loudspeakers in our “HF” system are positioned in a yet different way – they are toed-in in such a way that their axes are directed straight towards me. They are placed at a similar distance from each other and from me as in the arrangement proposed by Karl-Heinz.

The Borg loudspeakers were powered by the Soulution 710 power amplifier with the Ayon Audio Spheris III preamp. During the test, I listened to two different sources. One of them was analogue and that was the Tentogra Oscar turntable with the Kuzma 4Point 14 arm and the Miyajima Madake cartridge. The other one was digital and that was the SACD Ayon Audio CD-35 HF Edition player.

FinkTeam’s audio system is completely different. As the company owner said, he most often listens to music from files, as it is the most comfortable method, taking into account constant changes. However, it is a system that is being optimized and improved all the time. As Karl-Heinz says, everything is important – the cables, LAN filters, sources, etc. The digital sources in his system are the MacMini and an Auralic player with a Mutec clock. Naturally, Karl-Heinz also has turntables. An important source signal is also the recently bought Telefunken M15A reel-to-reel tape recorder which weighs 50 kg.

The amplifiers are mainly Octave devices, but one can also see Marantz ones in the system. It is no coincidence – Karl-Heinz and the brand ambassador, Mr Ken Ishwata, are old buddies and friends. That is why they organize some premieres during the High End exhibition together.

Recordings used for the test (a selec- tion

| Compact Disc
  • Andrzej Kurylewicz Quintet, Go Right, Polskie Nagrania „Muza”/Warner Music Poland 4648809, „Polish Jazz | vol. 0”, Master CD-R (1963/2016);
  • Ariel Ramirez, Misa Criolla, José Carreras, Philips/Lasting Impression Music LIM K2HD 040, K2HD Mastering, „24 Gold Direct-from-Master Edition UDM”, CD-R (1964/2009).
  • Frank Sinatra, Sinatra Sings Gershwin, Columbia/Legacy/Sony Music Entertainment 507878 2, CD (2003)
  • Nat ‘King’ Cole, The Nat King Cole Love Songs, Master Tape Audio Lab AAD-245A, „Almost Analogue Digital”, Master CD-R (2015);
  • Peter, Paul and Mary, In The Wind, Warner Bros. Records/Audio Fidelity AFZ 181, “Limited Edition No. 0115”, SACD/CD (1963/2014)
  • Shubert, Sonata for Piano in G Major, Op. 78 D894, „Fantasie-Sonate”, wyk. Valery Afanassiev, Denon Co-78923, „Mastersonic | One-Point Recording”, CD (1994) w: Welcome to the Concert. The High End Reference Sound, Denon Co-78921-25, „Mastersonic | One-Point Recording”, 5 x CD (1994)
  • Vangelis, Blade Runner, Atlantic Records/Audio Fidelity AFZ 154, „Limited Edition | No. 2398”, SACD/CD (1998/2013)
| Long Play
  • Benny Carter, Jazz Giant, Contemporary Records/Analogue Productions AJAZ 7555, „45 RPM | Limited Edition #0404", 2 x 180 g LP (1957/2009)
  • Brendan Perry, Ark, Cooking Vinyl/Vinyl 180 VIN180LP040, 2 x 180 g (2011)
  • Cannonball Adderley, Somethin’ Else, Blue Note/Analogue Productions, AP-81595, „The Blue Note Reissues, 45 RPM Special Edition #2468”, 45 rpm, 2 x 180 g LP (1958/2008)
  • Clifford Brown and Max Roach, Study In Brown, EmArcy/Universal Music Japan UCJU-9072, 200 g LP (1955/2007)
  • Czesław Niemen, Katharsis, Polskie Nagrania „Muza” SX 1262, LP (1976)
  • Hans Theessink, Jedermann Remixed – The Soundtrack, Blue Groove 1910, 180 g LP (2011)
  • Leon Russell, The Montreux Session, Edel 0208394CTT, „Triple A Series”, 180 g LP (2013)
  • Mel Tormé, Oh, You Beautiful Doll, The Trumpets of Jericho - Silver Line 904333-980, 180 g LP (2000)
  • OMD, Dazzle Ships, Virgin Records, 205 295-320, LP (1983)
  • The Cure, Disintegration, Fiction Records 532 456-3, 2 x 180 g LP (1989/2010)

As I wanted to maximize the benefits of having the constructor of the Borg loudspeakers with me, not only did I conduct an interview with him and asked him to arrange the loudspeakers the way he wanted, but also suggested listening to them together.

We divided the listening session into two parts. During the first one, we listened to my system, with the Harbeth loudspeakers arranged as usual and recordings that I had prepared. During the second part, we listened to the same recordings, but with the loudspeakers arranged according to Karl-Heinz’s and then Roger Adamek’s instructions. We only used the SACD player then. I conducted a third part of the listening session myself and then I listened to both CDs and SACDs, as well as vinyl records.

| Karl-Heinz, the Borg loudspeakers and me

WOJCIECH PACUŁA: So, we started with toed-in speakers and after that we moved on to a parallel arrangement.
KARL-HEINZ FINK: Almost parallel.

WP: You said that the loudspeakers in your system are a little bit more toed-in than Roger suggests.
KHF: Yes, but my room is completely different. There are diffusers everywhere, also behind the loudspeakers, on the left and on the right. So, it’s really difficult to have a listening session in an ordinary listening room the way we do it in our listening room. That is why I really toe the loudspeakers in during shows – they almost “look” at each other. However, I do it only for people sitting outside the listening axis. Thanks to that, the solid image is always in the middle.

WP: I’m not sure if I’m right, but it seems to me that we get lower volume with the Borg model than we do with the Harbeth loudspeakers.
KHF: If you are asking me for an opinion, I prefer my loudspeakers, because they produce more realistic sound. The Harbeths make it all very big. It can be attractive – I’m not saying this is bad, but I prefer more natural sound.

ROGER ADAMEK: I think there is lot of coloration on the midrange in the Harbeth loudspeakers.
KHF: I haven’t listened to them long enough and haven’t heard them in my room to be able to comment on that. This is typical sound for this kind of loudspeakers – they have their own style that in one way is attractive, but in another way – a little bit “old-fashioned”.

But, again, I would like to emphasize the fact that I prefer my own methods. I’m not saying they are the only effective ones. It is especially important when it comes to the Harbeths. When I started my business around 1982, I was in contact with Dr Harwood and sold his 6.5’’ drive units made of clear polypropylene. They were one of the first loudspeakers with very rigid cabinets that I made.

WP: And how does this listening room differ from the one at your company, in terms of sound?
KHF: Our room is bigger. It’s not a problem and I can say I easily recognize the sound of my loudspeakers. Here they sound like they always do. The Harbeth loudspeakers show the image closer to the listener and make it bigger. My loudspeakers move it backwards, which I like more. However, it is impossible to say which arrangement is “right”, as each of them will simply suit different people.

ROGER ADAMEK: For me, this room is overdamped.
KHF: It’s not a problem for me. The elements that make hi-fi and high-end different are: attention to details and the actions you take to get your system working the way you would like it to work. I have my special method that I like and I will always set a system up, so that I like its sound. And I have no problems when other people say: “No, I want the image more at the back or the front.” Fine, if someone sets up their own system, they can do whatever they want to their sound, as long as they do not tell me to do the same in my system.

In order to make it easier, you make these little adjustments to the system and its setup. When I go to a show, I always take two or three sets of interconnects and loudspeaker cables with me. And sometimes, you know, when the room is not so good, I use a cable made by one of the well-known companies, because there’s always something in it that strongly surprises your listeners. If a room is boring, it always helps it a little bit. But if we have a room that is a little bit more “lively” or is not overdamped, the cable that I am talking about would just hit you between the eyes and it would not be pleasant. So, we tune everything on the location with what we have available to get the sound that we like – just like here.

| Me, the Borg loudspeakers and only me

The arrangement | The first thing I checked when I was left alone with the Borg loudspeakers was their arrangement – something I have already mentioned. It was an interesting experience, as each of the people who had been present in the room has a lot of (different) experience in the field, which resulted in some additional possibilities.

Before we move on to the substance, it is important to remember than none of these or any other arrangements guarantee “natural” sound and “natural” space, as these qualities are not and will not be present in sound reproduction systems. It is a reflection of the reflection of reality – art rather than a documentary. So, by selecting a specific arrangement we also choose a set of particular advantages and disadvantages, as well as the vision of the person who has recommended the given option.

The loudspeakers do something else in each of the three arrangements – they interpret recorded signal in their own way, pointing out the values that we consider to be important and the features that are significant to us. It is essential that we remember about it, no matter what we are talking about in the audio domain. At our level of quality, with so much accumulated knowledge and experience as in the case of the Borg loudspeakers (I am now thinking of all the participants in the meeting), words such as “bad” or “good” must always be put in quotation marks.

The “straight ahead” arrangement (by Roger) results in a very stable sound image and the lowest tonal balance. It is normal, as, in the end, here we listen to the loudspeakers largely outside the main axis. What was not fully instinctive, however, was the fact that the bass went lower and was denser and stronger, although still wonderfully controlled. Space had very good proportions, while imaging, i.e. presenting solids in space was very convincing.

One disadvantage was that the sound volume decreased, there was less air between instruments and attention was focused on the foreground. The depth of the stage was good, but everything behind the main performers was less significant.

The broader arrangement, with the loudspeakers a little toed-in (by Karl-Heinz), resulted in breath, momentum and light between the performers. The bass was a little shortened and the front of the soundstage moved back. Compared to the previously described arrangement, the depth of the stage improved and we had better insight into the front-back axis. But the bass became shorter and the tonal balance rose a little. In this arrangement, I decided to set the “Mid” control back to its neutral position. This arrangement gave me the broadest stage, the most momentum and a good perspective into the depth, at the cost of selectivity and the definition of instruments.

However, I conducted the actual listening session the way I always listen to music – i.e. with the loudspeakers set quite wide apart, with the axes crossing right in front of me. I am not saying that it is the best method, but the advantages that it offers are simply more convincing to me than what I had got before. However, I must admit that some of the recordings sounded just as good to me in the “straight ahead” arrangement.

I am mainly referring to monophonic recordings. With loudspeakers arranged “straight ahead”, they were characterized by the best compactness and “essentiality”. What also sounded very good were minimalist classical music recordings, such as the Denon ones, recorded using a single stereophonic microphone (the “Mastersonic | One-Point Recording” series). However, when it came to stereophonic recordings, I preferred “my own” arrangement.

The sound | Having had this experience, I already knew what I could expect from the Borg loudspeakers and what they would not give me. These loudspeakers pay tribute to the “BBC school” in an incredible, literally ravishing way. It is not the same “school” – in the end, we are talking about a different constructor, different techniques and technologies. The main idea, however, is clear and, in my opinion, similar.

It is dense, low sound with tangible sound sources. It beautifully creates moods, is characterized by high resolution and “natural”. In a way, it combines some features of the low range of my Harbeth loudspeakers, the treble of the Kaiser Acoustics Kawero! Chiara loudspeakers and the midrange of the YG Acoustic Hailey 1.2 loudspeakers. It does not mean that the FinkTeam loudspeakers are better than all of the abovementioned devices, but that they provide us with a set of features known from other top-of-the-range loudspeakers, but in such a unique combination.

We also instantly become sure that low distortion is not only declared by the manufacturer, but is actually real. It is very clear sound, which is rare for low-set tonal balance and low sound like here. The recordings have their own character and are not modified in order to make listening more pleasant – and that is what the Harbeth loudspeakers do to some extent. I could hear one more time how similar goals, i.e. low distortion and phase shifts, can be reached in different ways – the Borg loudspeakers sound totally different than the Hailey 1.2 model, although both of the manufacturers were guided by similar initial assumptions.

To put a long story short – if someone likes the FinkTeam loudspeakers, they probably will not be impressed by YG Acoustic devices (and vice versa). The American, perfectly made loudspeakers are more transparent, open, faster and much more selective. Their bass seems lighter, but it actually goes lower and has greater weight. The Hailey 1.2 loudspeakers sound less energetic than the Borg model, if we define ‘energetic’ in terms of sound physicality, i.e. speed with more “body”.

What is interesting, despite the high resolution of the German devices, manifesting itself in saturated, dense, a bit dark sound with many colours, it would be hard to say that they are especially selective. I am familiar with AMT drivers used in a lot of devices and the best ones have a very similar signature. They are smooth, silky, beautifully pastel and pleasant.

However, they do not show the weight of the instruments and their three-dimensional body as well as the best dome drivers, e.g. the Dynaudio Esotar (in the Sonus faber Electa Amator I) or the new driver used in the YG Acoustics Sonja 2.2 loudspeakers. The musical message from an AMT is more homogenous and uniform. It has nicer, more pastel colours, but it does not differentiate the energy of individual sound sources so well.

In this case, however, the driver is magnificently combined with the mid/bass driver. As a duo, they produce a presentation called “wood” in musical circles. It is emotionally engaged sound without sharp edges, with an elaborate harmonic response, creating highly tangible prolonged response. In this respect, it resembles the sound of both the Kaiser Acoustics and the Harbeth M40.1 loudspeakers. The Borg model seems to be more expressive than they are and to better articulate the sound of individual instruments.

Paradoxically, however, the Harbeth loudspeakers sound more tangible and energetic. They build up larger phantom images and create broader space. Another paradox is that even though the Harbeth loudspeakers sound calmer, despite the fact that the first line is bigger and closer with them, the Borg model is more neutral. Does it mean that it is also more “natural”? This is a question you will need to answer for yourselves. Each of the three people participating in the listening session had a different view on this issue.

I compare, bring closer and project the sound of the Borg loudspeakers onto other devices, as I want to give you a broader picture. Perhaps, however, as I have just thought, it is simply more important how they play, without comparing them to any points of reference, as these are unique loudspeakers. They aim to show the inner truth about the recording and the instruments. They are not fussy, i.e. they are equally engaged while playing Sonny Rollins’ music from the latest reissue of Saxophone Colossus on a SACD (Analogue Productions), Depeche Mode from Blu-spec CD2 and electronic music accompanying Laurie Anderson on the Homeland album.

For a longer while, I listened to really old Benny Goodman’s recordings from the year 1934. I have a few different collections of his early recordings. The album I am talking about is part of a 10-disc box released by TIM (The International Company) from Germany as part of the “Past Perfect” series. The recordings are put in a chronological order, in accordance with the time of recording. Musicians who later became jazz superstars, such as: Coleman Hawkins, Gene Krupa, Hank Ross, Benny Carter, Buddy Clark and others play in Goodman’s band on this album. It includes four sessions that were recorded between February 2nd and November 26th.

It is sound typical for that time, i.e. with limited frequency response and quite flat from the perspective of dynamics. However, the Borg loudspeakers showed something that makes us listen to these recordings with true pleasure – their musical, artistic truth, resulting from the simplest recording method – direct-to-disc – and a lack of manipulation on the signal. So, the album sounded really smooth. The slight concentration of the sound of these loudspeakers on the midrange did not turn into “shouting out” information. The Borg loudspeakers rendered the colours of the instruments well, without thickening them.

One could also hear, however, the Borg model’s own specific features. They have quite a hard “push” – something that closely follows the strike. I have heard this type of a musical message, although not such a good one, from JBL loudspeakers that also have paper membranes (e.g. the S3900 model). The push is better differentiated in Karl-Heinz’s loudspeakers, thanks to which their sound is deeper and denser, but still fast. The imaging of these loudspeakers focuses on larger planes, without clearly detailing them. Everything is there, it is real high-end, but it is going in the direction of “adjusting” the message and not towards analysis.


The sound of the Borg loudspeakers places them, in my opinion, between the warm and a little coloured, but extremely emotional and substantial sound of the Harbeth M40.1 model, and the precision and clarity of YG Acoustics loudspeakers, but probably the Carmel 2 model rather than the Hailey 1.2. The sound of the Borg model is relaxing and exceptionally musical – i.e. colourful and precise at the same time. Their centre of gravity is set low, but they do not stun listeners with the lowest bass. We hear them as one large driver, thanks to how well their drivers have been selected and tuned.

Their energy, i.e. emotionality is a little lower than in the case of the Harbeth loudspeakers, as, in the end, it is a different idea of sound. The purpose was to show the message more clearly, a little further away from the listener, with a little smaller sound sources (volume). In this respect, the Borg loudspeakers resemble the AudioMachina Pure NSE loudspeakers, which I have not yet mentioned.

However, I would like you to understand me correctly – all the points of reference have been mentioned for the sole purpose of “spatial” orientation, and not in order to tell you that the Borg model is similar to them. It is an independent being and a separate design, so different from all other loudspeakers and so sophisticated that those who find colour, rhythm, mass, filling, clarity and precision important, must simply listen to these loudspeakers. We hereby award the Borg loudspeakers our RED Fingerprint, i.e. the second award after the Best Sound • Audio Video Show 2018. As you can see, there is something going on, isn’t there? ■

Technical specifications (according to the manufacturer)

Frequency response:
41 Hz – 30 kHz (- 6 dB) | 32 Hz – 35 kHz (-10 dB)
Average impedance: 10 Ω
Minimum impedance: 6.5 Ω/20 kHz
Sensitivity: 87 dB (1 m/2.83 Vrms)
Distortion (THD): <0.2%/87dB SPL
Dimensions (HWD): 1050 × 300 × 400 mm
Weight: 52 kg each


Reference system 2018

1) Loudspeakers: HARBETH M40.1 |REVIEW|
2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

AC Power

Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

  • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|


Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

Record mats:


Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC