Assessed in the PUUR audio, video & domotica showroom
Retail prices in the Netherlands:
Satya: 117.000 euro per pair
Mimesis 11: 12.250 euro
Normally, I review equipment on my own premises using my own reference equipment. In this case, however, this was not very practical. As a deviation from normal procedure, I will review the Satya’s in the PUUR audio, video & domotica showroom where I was handed an iPad with access to everything and anything both locally stored and as part of streaming services and was fed regular doses of coffee with very nice Bonne Maman Tartelette biscuits. Here, the speakers were already positioned such that Robert and Daan felt they performed best and I could get started with my assessments right away.
Top: the WiFi antenna is at the rear of the midrange/tweeter enclosure. Bottom: the coaxial input is neatly tucked away in the frame.
As the middle model between the huge Samadhi and the modestly sized Prana, the Goldmund Satya is just perfectly sized. The Satya loudspeakers’ robotic appearance might make them come across as a complex system but they truly are anything but. Indeed, these 3-way vented designs contain separate built-in Telos amplifiers for bass, mid, and treble and cleverly apply DSP to achieve sound with the lowest possible distortion. But there is literally nothing to configure and connecting them is extremely straightforward, either wireless or with a coaxial digital cable. The wireless connection, in this case, works within the regular 2.4Ghz WiFi bandwith but according to an audio-optimized Peer-To-Peer protocol that utilizes band-hopping to minimize the possibility of glitches which was developed by Texas Instruments. With this protocol, the speakers are addressed directly from the Mimesis 11 Digital Hub or the Dongle that comes with the speakers and so they do not become part of the regular WiFi network.
You control the volume either with your digital source or a digital hub such as the Goldmund Mimesis 11 and the latter also allows the connection of multiple sources but adds nothing else to configure. It’s easy as pie. Or rather, it’s as easy as any wireless speaker with one big difference: these are seriously high-end speakers.
Both of the Satya’s two enclosures are suspended on their sides as well as grounded via a large spike
As I already found when writing the Telos 590 review, Goldmund does not share a lot of details on their website or in their manuals. All that can be found is that the 140KG heavy loudspeakers are vented and employ a soft-dome tweeter, a 7″ midrange, and a 12″ woofer, the latter selected for high linearity and dynamic performance. Built-in is a separate Telos amplifier per driver of respectively 175W, 175W, and 300W.
The system was comprised of a Lumin U1 Mini with Sbooster external linear power supply, connected to the Mimesis 11 Digital Hub/preamp via an AudioQuest Diamond USB cable and connected via two Goldmund Lineal S/PDIF cables to the Satya loudspeakers which were powered with AudioQuest Firebird power cables.
I should note that the large listening space that was the PUUR demo suite with all its hallways inevitably had room modes that lead to some issues in the bass performance. This is not at all uncommon and I have issues with my room as well but the point of my mentioning this is that in the PUUR space, this was addressed very effectively by using parametric EQ within Roon which is software from the team previously responsible for Meridian Sooloos. Naturally, when in the digital domain, virtually any manipulation is possible but few playback solutions are as exhaustive and yet so simple to use as Roon. That’s why a free lifetime subscription to Roon is included with every Goldmund purchase at PUUR audio video & domotica.
Prior to my visit, the Suite had been used to demo other speakers, the Kroma Audio Julieta’s, among others. The Satya’s had only just been repositioned. Even though the loudspeakers had not been used for some time, when the playback started, the performance was immediately toe-tapping, highly gripping and very dynamic. As it turned out, the system did benefit from a bit of warming up as the delivery gently gaining more of a sense of freedom and fluidity and after about two hours of use, the system seemed to be on steam.
Tonally very neutral yet well-textured and not at all clinical or dry, these speakers seem to not to be pre-occupied with audiophile aspects such as soundstage layering and retina-like resolution and instead focus on delivering the musical message. This, they do without fail: I literally found my foot tapping with each and every song that I played.
The aspect that was most attention-grabbing was their utter coherence. These are 3-way designs but they sound very much as a single driver with absolutely no apparent differences in character, speed, or dynamics in the 3 driver sections. These speakers may not have the widest or deepest or best-layered soundstaging capabilities but in turn, they deliver a performance so solid, vibrant, and dynamic that brings one closer to the feeling of a live performance.
After having played all sorts of music both from my own collection as well as suggestions from Daan and Robert, I can very confidently state that they are comfortable playing any kind of music style. I did find that some of my smooth jazz and soul selections could have benefitted from some more subtlety in terms treble nuance and airiness although I am perhaps also biased in these respects due to having lived through almost two decades of using ribbon speakers when playing this kind of music.
Having also heard the Kroma Audio Julieta’s in this same space and with very similar electronics only weeks prior to this listening session it was clear that these are two very different systems with very different presentations. While the Julieta’s’ big and deep soundstage and rich midrange were highly seductive, I can certainly also see the benefits of the Satya’s active approach. There seems to be something to active designs such as these that makes them perform in a very solid and direct-coupled manner that is very hard to achieve using separates. What’s more, personal preferences and listening bias aside, if you wanted to obtain a performance similar to that of the Satya’s using passive loudspeakers and pre/power amplifiers of the same quality, it is not at all hard to surpass the Satya’s price sticker which makes this something of a relative matter.
Rock as well as Classical
Although they play any music style with verve, it is interesting to note that the Satya’s excelled particularly with two seemingly very opposite styles: Rock and Classical. Go figure. Normally, or, at least traditionally, different speakers and entire systems used to be specified for these two musical styles. But the Satya’s seem not to care. They play both styles with gusto and on a scale that leaves nothing to desire. Rock will have you playing air guitar while classical music will leave you breathless in admiration of the performance. Although these speakers definitely discourage the narrowing down onto certain audiophile areas, if push comes to shove, I’d be inclined to consider their strongest aspects to be timbre/tonality/texture and solidity. Their timbre or tonality and texture are simply spot-on and as close to the real thing as I have heard it via a music system. A natural timbre and well-articulated texture are what makes it possible to differentiate between synthesized instruments and real acoustical ones and this particular area is where many loudspeakers go wrong with performances that can be utterly refined and detailed but still somehow gloss over the texture, reduce liveliness, or add an unnatural tonality making the music sound artificial. Their solidity, ultimately, is what makes one forget that a system is playing and it is what makes a recording of a live performance truly come to life.
I won’t beat around the bush – at 117K these loudspeakers are simply out of reach of most people. Even if their built-in 6-channel amplification with DSP would quickly amount to a higher cost if they were high-end separates and even if they render nearly all cables superfluous, this is a sum of money that most people cannot spend. But then, they aren’t for everyone. These speakers are designed to fit in perfectly in designer living rooms, for people who value aesthetics as much as the absence of cables and a plethora of audio components.
At the end of the listening sessions, Robert disconnected the coaxial digital cables from the Mimesis 11 controller causing the music to halt for a couple of seconds only for it to resume via WiFi automatically and without a perceptible change in performance. He added that they had not heard any differences either and that they prefer cable only because WiFi can be less reliable when you are in an industrial building such as theirs that is littered with hot spots. So, if you fancy using the world’s best wireless speakers, by all means, arrange a listening session at PUUR audio, video & domotica.
Apart from a normal visit, you could also reserve a spot for one of the upcoming Goldmund Suite sessions during which Robert and Daan play a selection of classical pieces integrally on the Goldmund system as part of a theme. The one that I attended was Goldmund Suite @ The Movies where I listened to Mahler, Symphony Nr. 5 – Iván Fischer by the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Rachmaninov, Piano concert nr. 2, Daniil Trifonof, Yannick Nézet-Séguin by The Philadelphia Orchestra. It’s one thing to listen to a list of fragments but quite another to spend an evening immersed in the most beautiful music selections.