The Wilson Benesch Endeavour loudspeaker, is the latest model in the company's flagship geometry series and is arguably the most sophisticated stand-mount loudspeaker in the world.
A veritable feast of the latest Wilson Benesch first principle engineering, this radical loudspeaker originates from the Odessey series Discovery (one of my all time favorite desert island speakers) but taken to a completely new level with Cardinal and nano-technology engineering.
With staggering thoroughness, virtually every single part of this loudspeaker has been considered for the role it plays in the overall performance. You don't get spikes but
Wilson Benesch tackles the requirements for faithful reproduction of electrical signal into acoustical power with brilliant engineering in the same way racing car companies
extract the maximum power and control performance from their highly engineered cars. It is for good reason that advanced materials like carbon fiber composites and nine drivers are used(three are hidden).
Real Loudspeaker Engineering
Wilson Benesch has collaborated with UK government organizations and universities for several key technological material advancements.
These include resin transfer mould technology in 1999 (along with Lotus cars and two UK Ministry of Defense organizations), and tactic drive design using Isotactic Polypropylene,
a unique cone material invented by professor Ward of Leeds university. The latest refinements of these innovations are incorporated in the Cardinal loudspeaker.
With over 20 years of experience, Wilson Benesch understands how carbon fiber composite technology is the best way to direct and damp energy in cabinets so they do not store
and delay release energy that gives speakers a boxy sound and smears detail. You want to hear the music not the loudspeaker cabinet. It perhaps makes sense that low mass structures are
easier to damp than high mass ones - you will hear and feel the passing of a freight train even at some distance -whereas it would be hard to imagine a balsa wood model making any noise at all.
The idea then that big thick wooden cabinets or monstrous turntables somehow eliminate "noise" is false - it is simply moved to a lower frequency. Cabinets put out considerable sound themselves;
if a cabinet is 100x larger than a diaphragm it only has to move 100th of the distance of the diaphragm for the same acoustical output. For a given external surface area, internal air volume
is lost from thick cabinet walls (3" or more thick in some cases) and from internal bracing and the extra mass is hard to stop vibrating once it is excited.
Wilson Benesch A.C.T cabinets are stiff light monocoques with minimal internal bracing.
The impressive cabinet system of the Wilson Benesch Cardinal Loudspeaker is a supported by a massive engineered high grade aluminum alloy base that requires hundreds of thousands of lines of "G" codes
(that controls computer driven CNC milling machines) for all the complex 3D geometry and subtle curves cut from what is initially an 88 Kg slab.
The Wilson Benesch design and manufacturing expertise come together in the Cardinal Loudspeaker that really represents a state of the art approach to sound
reproduction in the home. As the reviews come in comments about the ability to differentiate source material, musical tonality, timing, and presence, seamless integrated sound,
control and quality over quantity reflect how well Wilson Benesch have brought to the market place a speaker that objectively and subjectively meets real sound reproduction
requirements. The cost is entirely appropriate for a nine driver technological tour de force.
Nano-technology Midrange Enclosure
The Endeavour loudspeaker uses a dedicated Carbon Nanotech Enclosure to isolate the midrange driver from the internal modulating pressure effects of the stronger isobaric bass drivers.
This specially developed material is far superior to MDF box chambers, takes up far less precious air volume, and manages standing waves within the enclosed space with ultra low resonance of it's own.
Wilson Benesch has used the Isobaric principle in its Discovery, Chimera and more recently Cardinal designs.
Two drivers are linked via a small airspace.
The internal, unseen driver, manages all the air movement and spring effect inside the cabinet while the external driver operates as if in free space with no spring effect and a very low bass resonance frequency.
Conventional baffle mounted single drivers have to add mass for a lower resonant frequency but the downside of this is a sluggish step response and slow imprecise recovery.
Large drivers would need large holes in the cabinet which act as passage ways for the internal sounds of the cabinet to escape and be heard. The isobaric approach significantly improves the signal to noise ratio of the loudspeaker system.
The A.C.T monocoque cabinet of the Endeavour loudspeaker is so stiff that additional bracing is not required, and with the use of the Carbon Nanotech Enclosure, the remaining
full internal air volume can be used by the isobaric bass drivers. Remarkable bass timing and extension is achieved in this compact cabinet.
The advanced Wilson Benesch Semisphere tweeter is used in all the geometry speakers. The powerful magnets and massive heat absorbing rear end cap in the optimized vented housing is huge compared to many tweeters, which behind a face plate are little bigger than a dollar coin.
Together with a low mass diaphragm, linear power response extends smoothly to beyond 35 KHz and the tweeter only requires a minimal first order cross-over which rolls the tweeter off at 5 KHz.
Carbon Composite Sculptured Top
The top of the Endeavour loudspeaker was designed using complex 3D parametric modeling.
The top has beautiful free flowing curves and distinguishes the speakers from the norm.
But the top also is responsible for the stealth-like disapparence act of the speakers scattering higher frequency sound waves that flat reflecting surfaces would focus into coherent detectable standing waves.
Thus the top is an important contribution to the ethereal soundstage and life-life presentation.
Kinematic Location System
The load is distributed over three 28mm threads which do not terminate in a spike but is reduced to single 12.5mm steel ball that sits on three 12.5mm steel balls held captive in a location disc
(floor coaster). Through this kinematic system, virtually tons of pressure is located down to 1 square mm of surface area!
Wilson Benesch Endeavour loudspeakers come standard with a British aerospace quality silk black finish, or real wood veneers applied by Bentley trained craftsmen,
or architectural grade polymer color finishes and are hand-built to order with a delivery time of approximately 10-12 weeks.
U.S Retail Price: $50,000 approx (standard finish)
Wilson Benesch is located in Sheffield England - the traditional home of steel engineering in the UK - and is the only U.K. audio company to have won substantial
government funding for its innovative development work.