Vegas - Swedish Statement

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by Josh Ray on January 19 '06

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Vegas was truly a show for extremes. We covered the $400-450k Swedish Statement before here and here, but it was fun to finally see this system in the flesh. Once again, the room was packed and listening was hard but the roar from CES halls was, "you've got to hear what the Swedes have been up to!" A lot of people came to the show saying, "Swedish Statement? Whateva" but left saying, "damn, I wish I bought Google stock."

The Swedish Statement's most prominent feature is, of course, the speakers. Marten's $250k Coltrane Supremes sport 1" diamond tweeters and 2" diamond midranges - the only one in the world - as well as a whole slew of ceramic drivers from the insane minds at Accuton. Cabinets are made out of carbon fiber and wood. The big towers are subwoofers with 9" drivers, 2000 watts of juice and active crossovers with digital room correction taking over below 100Hz for perfectly smooth bass. Total range is 15-100k Hz and 93dB into 4 ohms.

The rest of the system includes components by Bladelius, turntable by Nordic Concept, cables by Jorma Design, rack by Woo and power conditioning by Power Wing out of Arizona, the Sweden of the South West. I believe this was the most expensive room in Vegas but don't hold me on that.

Interestingly, every company chose to set up their rooms differently. The Signals Super-Fi room was identical to the Swedish Statement room but they placed their systems on different walls. Don't know why but, really, they both needed rooms four times the size to rip properly. THE Show at St. Tropez caused all kinds of fun with hot tubs in the bedrooms. One room - can't remember which - had the entire tub filled with exotic micro-brews on ice. Combine that with about half of the other rooms handing out drinks, it was a miracle someone didn't puke on some ridiculously expensive piece of equipment...that I know of.


Too bad that place was so packed... some of us were eager to hear reports about how $450k of components really sound like. There was a lot of expectations about this one.
Yeah, I really would have liked to spend, oh, an hour in each room. Alone. Maybe I can get a demo model of the Swedish Statement... Lots of people raved about the Swede's system sound but the room usually had people staring at the diamonds all buggy-eyed like Jurassic park. "There's a 2 inch diamond in there???" Yeah, get over it, sit down and be quiet. Sheesh. Anyway, with systems like this, sports cars are a proper analogy. Driving it around the block doesn't mean much. You've got to take these guys to the salt flats and let 'em rip. That means, of course, getting the system in room and spending some quality time with it. Hey, if you can afford a half mil boom box, the insane delivery charges are nothing. Also, for those that don't know, there is no "right" system, it's all a matter of taste. No speaker can perfectly reproduce live music so the analogy comes down, again, to sports cars. Which is better, a Ferrari or Lamborghini? Corvette or Porshe? It's all taste. Stereophile's crew has their own kind of taste while 6Moons has another. I have my own taste and it's not hard at CES to tell how a system sounded - as long as I got to play a track or two. For me, some sounded awesome, some horrible. There was this one $100k+ system that, to me, was just brutally bad. The company shall go nameless but, to others, it may have been the greatest thing ever (though I didn't see the room mentioned with glowing remarks in any of the other reports).
Josh, in what way did you find the nameless $100+ system sonically displeasing? What music were they playing and at what volume?
I brought Arcade Fire's Funeral album and adjusted the volume to my own tastes. I happened to be in the room later at night on the first day so I was the only person there for a good while. The type of speaker was a line array with a couple bass drivers and a dozen tweeters and a dozen midranges each side. After listening to a bunch of line array speakers at the show, I came away feeling not terribly enthusiastic, though others love them. The speaker I mentioned threw a huge wave of sound, from ceiling to floor, but it wasn't clear. It was mud to my ears compared to others at far less price. Top standard speakers gave a really crisp image of the recording - really tell where the musicians were in the recording studio, you know? But this speaker just threw sound everywhere. Not my cup of tea. One common gripe of line arrays is the number of drivers -- more drivers, more cost, lower quality. The speaker in question used a dozen of these $40 midrange drivers I recognized. Midrange is the most critical range for the speaker and it seems to me a $40 driver can't perform to the same level as a $400 driver like Accuton's ceramic drivers or others, no matter how many dozens of drivers it has. Same goes with the tweeters and woofers. While the issue of driver cost is much debated, for me, it's worrisome to see the same drivers in a $70,000 speaker as in a $250 speaker. But, hey, the cabinet sure was beautiful... If you're interested, go here for driver info and prices. Under "loundspeakers,' click "info" next to company name for all the goods.
I live in 26256 Las Vegas, Nevada. Have you been here before?