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22.09.16
Volya Bouquet loudspeakers

Introduction

Scene: interior Munich High End Show, edition 2016. I am in front of the room where the Volya Bouquet loudspeakers are performing. I am puzzled by them and enthralled by the Ukrainian hostesses. I make a joke and, in no time, I am arm in arm with Dmytro Klysak, Volya’s founder and owner, who explains and shows me his realizations. I immediately understand that these works are colossal, for sound and design. I fall in love with them and we agree for a visit to the company. As we say in Rome: cotto e mangiato (cooked and eaten: in no time flat). Just look at the photo below.

 

Volya Bouquet

 

This is what happened. I sensed a scoop and threw myself headlong. You probably will say that I am right after having read what comes next…

 

Design

Have you drunk your own brain, Castelli? Have you seen these loudspeakers? Their look is between naïf and trash, by way of ethnic. They seem souvenirs from a nation of the former Soviet bloc.

Do not question the taste.

Try to move further, as I did. Firstly, the Bouquet speakers and Volya are very serious realities. Volya arises as a specific business project: to fill a space in the High-End market, the space of no-compromise realizations with a highly artistic and artisanal value.

Volya is meant to be the first interpreter of a new kind of extreme Hi-Fi: the Art High-End. Luxury products, with room for personalization and absolute performing contents.

When some time ago, the audiophile Yevhen Kozhushko (now Volya’s Operations Manager, engineer and designer of the Bouquet speakers), and Dmytro Klysak, (entrepreneur in the field of heavy metallurgy and now Volya’s owner and financier) decided to leave their mark in the High-End market, their target was something simple but ambitious: if we have to do something, it has to be different from everything else.

From such premises, they get to the Bouquet: loudspeakers different from all the others. In the Bouquet, there is a solid technical and audiophile expertise together with the Ukrainian soul and sentiment.

I am not overdoing.

The speaker enclosure is like the typical Ukrainian wood spoon, that one with the hook to be hung to the pot or bucket. Obviously in a bigger dimension.

The speakers are decorated with Petrikovskiy hand-made painting, in black lacquer coating and floral decoration. This traditional Ukrainian painting is included into the list of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It dates back to the 17th century and originates from Dnipropetrovsk oblast of Ukraine where is still carried out by the main Petrekivka school.

Do not indulge on the shape and painting of the Volya Bouquet. Go beyond. Imagine the Bouquet with a gold leaf, or with a Dolce & Gabbana’s motif, or with Swarovski jewelry or diamonds. Well, if you can imagine it, if you want and can afford it, you can have them. This is the unicity of Volya: to create an absolute High-End component in artistic shapes with potential, infinite luxury customizations. Each Bouquet speaker is – and always will be – a unique masterpiece.

 

Manufacture

Back to the look. The enclosure of the Volya Bouquet is rounded and very high. From this point of view, the “folk” origin of its shape is just a memory. Instead, it is a simple but clever pretext for providing the speaker with internal surfaces free of standing waves – there are no parallel planes - and with external rounded surfaces. All that to make the front side and the entire speaker “invisible” to the first reflections of the drivers. The pulsing sphere in a softer and less stolid version.

The piano black lacquer coating makes the speaker “mimetic”, since it reflects what is around. The floral decorations seem ethereal, floating in the air. They are hand-painted by Lyudmila Gorbulya, a top class master of Petrikovskiy painting. Besides, the ultra-strong lacquer coating protects this delicate artwork.

The cabinets are in MDF with variable wall thickness from 35 to 50 mm milled by a CNC machine.

Design and property are Ukrainian, but the production and the assembly – except the decoration – are made in Germany, in a factory very close to Accuton’s. Right this company, worldwide known for its production of special and sophisticated ceramic drivers, provides all the custom-made drivers for the Bouquet speakers. Brand of the German Thiel & Partner, Accuton has being aiming to the perfect dome since its foundation by Bernhard Thiel, who in 1984 invented a process for the production of very thin sheets out of the ceramic oxide of aluminium. Avalon, Ayon, Estelon, Gryphon, Kharma, Marten Design and Tidal are just some of the brands that use its dynamic drivers. No wonder if in the Bouquet speakers there is a 280 mm woofer with membranes of Kevlar and ceramic sandwich, a 220 mm midwoofer with ceramic membrane, a 50 mm midrange and a 25 mm tweeter with diamond membranes.

The Bouquet speakers are bass reflex with back tuned port, with a mid-low sensitivity of 86 dB, a maximum power of 240 W, an impedance of 4 ohm and a 25-50.000 Hz frequency response.

The internal wiring is in pure solid core copper, the crossover components are Mundorf and Goertz, the connection terminals are WBT.

The crossover frequencies are 150, 1.000 and 5.000 Hz. The crossover is designed in separate boards in order to minimize crosscutting hindrances. The biwiring is possible to reduce the interferences in the frequency ranges.

Each pair of speakers, whose height is about two meters and the weight more than 100 kg each, is custom-made only and ready in four-six months.

 

Listening test

A premise that says a lot about Volya’s intentions. In Dnipro, Volya’s registered office, the owner, Dmytro Klysak, put his personal system…where we were lodging!

I could play music day and night with the Volya’s CDs he put at our disposal. First Class, indeed!

 

The components of the system were of value, the same I appreciated at the Munich High-End Show. A multi-standard digital player Mark Levinson Madrigal N°390S, CD Processor HDCD, integrated amp ASR Emitter II Exclusive Version Blue with dedicated complete power supply, that is three ASR Power Supplies, one with batteries, interconnect cables XLR AudioQuest Turquoise X2 Hyperlitz and power cables AudioQuest Aspen in biwiring provided of Audioquest DBS - Dielectric-Bias System.

 

I also played my test and reference CDs to control channels and acoustic phase – you never know – and moved to different spots in the room.

Among the CD’s at my disposal, I enjoyed the Yello with Oh yeah, from the album The race, Melody Gardot with the delicious Worrisome Heart, and the Kharma CD Circle percussion. Said the, you would excuse me if, to be practical, I will report my listening impressions by referring only to the CD test Absolute Sampler - Quick On The Fly Tests, AA.VV., whose PDF with the full track-list you can download HERE. The CD is also treated Essence of Music, a treatment that we always suggest.

 

Absolute Sampler - Quick On The Fly Tests

 

On the Track 1 (T1), Allan Taylor’s voice is natural and without annoying sibilant notes, a thing very difficult to obtain with other systems. The delicacy of the emission is confirmed by T2, where the dynamics of the heels on the stage is missing a bit, and on the high pitches by T3, where in Randy Crawford’s voice the sibilant note is disappeared, especially in the word “see” of See Line Woman. In T4 the great ambience of the smoky jazz cave is given back exemplary. The T7 plays back immediately all the woodiness of Christian McBride’s instrument and a lot of articulation, with a great difference between pizzicato and bow. In T12, Le Serpent, I go through what is probably the greatest articulation never heard before with this track, a “controlled articulation”. In Libertango, T18, very convincing is the dimension of the instruments. The bandoneons are not, as often happens, exaggeratedly “explosive” in the dimensions of the musical message, bigger than they are. That makes me think that the Volya speakers are not hyper-realistic or surreal, maybe supported by the great quality of source and amplification.

In Toccata e Fuga BWV 565, the low pedal of the organ is veeery satisfying and not exaggerated. As usually happens in the low efficiency speakers, if you turn up the volume you get very close to the performing instrument, increasing the sense of vicinity to the recorded sound source.

In T31 - the excerpt of Hotel California by Eagles from Hell Freezes Over - the freshness of the audience is without exaggerations or forced brilliance, once more with very proportionated dimensions of voices and instruments. With T43 by Goran Bregović the “black background” among the instruments is extreme and the track title, Sex, is without sibilant notes, for the first time, as I can remember. Eventually, we have uncle Frank (Sinatra), in the T44, with that Fly Me to the Moon that is an intelligible vintage take that reaffirms the ability of the system to give back natural voices without distortions or artefacts.

 

Pro

The quality of the product is indisputable. The cabinet is original and made in an impeccable way, with sublime drivers and a final look of absolute musical and artistic value. If you like Accuton’s sound, you cannot say anything. These speakers are unique, sculptures on their own, also when off. Each pair is an artistic masterpiece in the finish and highly performant in the sound: period.

 

Con

These speakers do not admit speculations. You cannot drive them with a poor source or a budget amp: you mortify them and they will not work properly. It is like buying a Ferrari and asking for emotion while it is in the garage. You have to be able to drive it and give a lot of gas.

 

Maybe

The further realizations of the finish, those on demand, will make the difference and the commercial success of the project.

 

Quick metaphors and final recap

From the audiophile point of view, we are in front of one of the most remarkable outcome in terms of timbric coherence: the choice of targeting just one typology of drivers of the same manufacturer will surely pay off.

The sound is “civilized”, without annoying extremes on the high notes, as often happens with the speakers that use Accuton’s drivers.

My impression is that these speakers are totally transparent and invisible to the listening experience. Everything sounds “in the air” and not “on the speakers”: only with extreme lateral positions the mids move from midwoofer to midrange or viceversa, revealing the position.

They are inexorable, without any yielding. You can live together with these speakers for hours. Their sound is big and powerful when needed. They are not affected by any swelling from the bass reflex. The scene is palpable, without any exaggeration or coloration and, in these meaning, the speakers are “dry”, without any swelling or tails.

They have a great potential dependent from the chain that precedes. I have made a test only with one source and amp, although of great manufacture, but I am very curious of listen to them with other setups, like the Gryphon amplifications that use Accuton’s components in their speakers.

 

Whom they are for?

The Volya Bouquet follow rigorous technical principles, very high audiophile standards and pure aesthetics. We are not saying design, whatever technical, minimalist or with any other preparation. The target is not, paradoxically, the audiophile market. The target is whoever has big financial means and wants a performing masterpiece. The Volya can enter into the most luxurious VIP living rooms. Authentic art masterpieces, they would require a frame…around.

 

P.S.

This visit has been exceptional. Not only for the quality and the ambition of the component we have tested. Also for the generous welcome to ReMusic. Mostly for the clearness of intents of Volya’s project, for the proud and the business vision of its property and for the priceless human material that I want to thank personally and on ReMusic’s behalf. Dmytro Klysak, Volya’s founder and owner, and his wife Victoria. Yevhen Kozhushko, Volya’s Operation Manager, engineer and designer. Yuliia Minchenko,Volya’s Product Manager. Vsevolod Ovcharenko and Irina, Volya’s collaborators and friends. Your commitment is admirable and your patriotic spirit contagious. You are the persons in charge of a start-up with an international appeal.

 

 

Tone | frequency extension, ability of reproducing faithfully the instrument and its harmonious build up

There is a great articulation and ability in unravelling the instrumental diversities. However, the velvety contribute of the ASR Emitter and the audio chain is very important.

 

Dynamics | micro (detail) and macro (absolute) extension and rate of the transients

It depends a lot on the amplification and on the cables. As there is no high efficiency, you cannot expect broadsides beyond 100 dB, but if the amp has no yielding you can get a dynamic reconstruction capable of an amazing micro-detail and great excursions, aided by the absence of distortion of the drivers. In synthesis, for this parameter the amplification must be muscular and granitic, capable of a great swing. The ASR Emitter with its 250 watts into 8 ohms, has given what is the best available on the market.


Image | ambiance, transparency, scene, soundstages, virtual stage, sense of presence, resolution

My tests, both in Munich and Dnipro, have been made in rooms that have limited but not penalized the potentialities of soundstage and ambience. Transparency, presence and great resolution, with the delicacy of the Accuton’s drivers, almost a parallel with their real intrinsic fragility. The speaker disappears, from our sight and our ears. Its shape facilitates the dispersion of the sound. You hear the speaker only if you are very close, with small detachments and movements in mid-high range, as you could already understand from its height and from the distance between the emission points.


Tonality | general setting of the device, if present or characteristic: for instance warm, cold, toned, amber, shiny, opaque...

Speaking of neutrality here is redundant, but it is a neutrality that does not drain the musical texture. It makes it more expressive and articulated. It is a humanity of tones and voices that you can appreciate when you remove from your ears some hyper-realistic Hi-Fi sounds that are of impact but at the same time unnatural and tiring.

 

Emotion | emotional involvement, strongly depending from the matches, an absolutely anarchic and personal parameter

Very strong, if you appreciate the instrumental composure and linearity of one of the best realization currently available with the Accuton’s drivers. It is an emotion always composed, never trivial or pandering.

 

Manufacture and Packaging | Both exemplary. The first one is even simple in its make: solid speaker, although essential. Coherent drivers, carefully selected. Cables and crossovers at the state of the art. No frills, only substance. The package, also offers the service of home delivering and installation. You do not have to worry about anything, but for the next parameter…


Price/quality ratio | Unadvisable parameter. We are talking of absolute realizations. It is not just a “top speaker”. It is also an artistic object. Just to explain: even without the drivers and electronic devices, the price will be justifiable as unique and unrepeatable painting.



Official technical specifications

Sensitivity: 86dB (2.83 V/1m)

Maximum power: 240W

Impedance: 4Ohm

Frequency range: 25Hz-50000Hz

Type of low frequency design: bass reflex with back port

Crossover frequencies: 150Hz, 1000Hz, 5000Hz

Woofer: 2x11” (280mm) ceramic and Kevlar sandwich

Mid-bass driver: 1x8” (220mm) ceramic

Mid-range driver: 1x2” (50mm) diamond

Tweeter: 1x1” (25mm) diamond

Weight: 210kg/pair

Dimensions: 600x1970x600mm (WxHxD)

 

Official distributor: direct sale. For further info click here for Volya’s website

Official current price: 120,000.00 EUR approx.

Equipment:

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When I arrived, I found a CD sampler for my test.
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