Vimberg Mino Loudspeaker

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BillWells2018.jpgOK folks, for those of you who have not seen photos or had an opportunity to see the actual product upfront and personal, trust me – the newly introduced Vimberg Mino loudspeakers not only look the part, they also perform in a manner that lets you know that in this particular case – you can indeed judge a book by its cover. In a word, these loudspeakers are simply “impressive” – both from a visual and sonic perspective. Over the past five years or so, I have had numerous opportunities for exposure to a variety of different Tidal products including both their electronics and loudspeakers and whenever I see them, I am always impressed with their stunning good looks and performance. My exposure to these wonderful products has been primarily through Doug White, U.S. dealer for Tidal and President of The Voice That Is (TVTI), his high-end audio dealership that’s nestled in a nicely serene location inside the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
 

Gtt 2018a.gifMy invitation to visit TVTI and check out these new speakers coincided with Doug’s return from the recent annual Munich Hi End Audio Show and my travels (i.e., road trip) on the east coast. Doug has been a Tidal dealer for over 7 years with an upbeat pursuit of this company’s philosophy and focus around ultimate performance. It’s also been interesting to observe TVTI’s positioning of Tidal products at various high-end audio shows with nothing less than stellar exhibits (including high accolades from show organizers, industry types and attendees) at these shows. According to Doug, his insistence for focusing on excellence has helped to firmly align him with Tidal’s overall philosophy (viewed here), as well as having an opportunity to be engaged in important development aspects of the newer Vimberg line. In terms of this report, please note – it is intended as a high-level overview of this new and very interesting loudspeaker vs. an in-depth analysis and full review. Hopefully my comments will provide enough information (insight) to encourage you to pursue additional information and/or access to this product on your own.
 

Needless to say, upon my arrival to the TVTI dealership, I was anxious to get right to the business of checking out the new Vimberg Mino speaker. However, Doug being the consummate host quickly offered me a refreshing beverage and light snack to help me settle down from my hectic drive up the busy I-95 corridor from the state of Delaware. Shortly afterwards, we entered the main listening room at his dealership. Resident in the room was an impressive bevy of gorgeous Tidal speakers accompanied by some stately Tidal electronics. Amongst them stood the moderately sized and very attractive Vimberg Mino speakers ($31,000) next to the mighty Akira loudspeakers. 

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Origin250.jpgOnly by direct comparison to the much more expensive Tidal speakers (above), with its rather stunning finish, was it possible for me to discern any noticeable difference in the fit and finish between the Vimberg and other speakers in the room. And at that, I’m talking about a miniscule difference. The fit and finish of the Vimbergs is quite good and consistent with the quality standards established by the manufacturer. The pair that I saw in the TVTI showroom was immaculately finished in the company’s Summit White color. Feeding music signals and power to the Vimbergs included the following components:

TIDAL Audio Preos Preamplifier (including phono stage and DAC), $32,900
 

TIDAL Audio Impulse Dual Mono Amplifier – $33,000
 

Dynamic Design AV Titania GS series cables (power chords, interconnects and speaker)
 

Vertere MG-1 turntable with SG-1 tonearm, $11,995 ($12,500 in black)
 

EMT JSD 6.OP cartridge $5995
 

StillPoints ESS GRID Rack – $8,600 – $12,100 (varies w/configuration)
 

StillPoints Ultra SS Isolators – $249 (each)

 

After entering the listening room, including a brief walk around to check things out and get my bearings, finally our listening session began. Music consisted of a wide range of genres with a variety of excellent recordings played back in both analog and digital (streaming) formats. Music styles ranged from classical to jazz to contemporary to R&B, vocal, instrumental well as orchestral and beyond. With these types of recorded music, I was able to get a sense of the Mino’s overall character and performance capabilities. Not knowing what to expect, my mind was wide open with anticipation so when the proverbial needle dropped and the music started playing, I was most certainly pleased. In fact, my most immediate impression was one of sophistication with a superb natural rendering of recorded music – a sound of musical accuracy and beauty. Beyond this, the sound could be described as elegant, pure and transparent. At no time did I detect any sort of boxiness or hi-fi’ish coloration.
 

As I reported in my earlier report of the stunning, and far more expensive, Tidal Akira loudspeakers (discussed here), according to Doug, the manufacturer’s philosophy is that everything has some sort of coloration. As such, the company focuses on the voicing of their products to the real sound of voice and/or instruments, not a colored euphonic sound. Based on my initial listening and early assessment of the Vimberg Mino, I would say that this approach has successfully transferred over to this newer line of speakers which is certainly a good thing. For the asking price of $31k for the pair, I believe it’s more than reasonable to expect excellence of both manufacturing and sound and that’s exactly what it appears that you get with the Vimberg speakers.
 

Tweekgeek2017.gifUpon further listening, here are some of my other observations pertaining to the sonic characteristics of these loudspeakers. Most noticeable was the impressively wide and deep sound stage – one that was open and clear in all dimensions. There was also excellent clarity with the music being highly resolved and along with being silky smooth, relaxed and with very natural dynamics. Clearly the speakers got out of the way of the music and provided an effective disappearing act. Interestingly, even though this speaker doesn’t seem to have quite the same degree of grunt and growl on the very bottom, as the larger speakers in the Tidal line up, the bass line of the Mino is very accurate and extends down nicely in a linear manner. With this speaker having a bass reflex feature, including a special plug that is easily removable, Doug was able to demonstrate how the bass could be altered slightly to address room and set up configuration. Midrange is full-bodied with a nice sense of organic feel while also being clear, open and seamless. In particular – vocals were rendered with a very natural, beautiful sonic character including all the musical colors (and nuances) you would expect for a speaker in this price range. Similarly, acoustic instruments were also portrayed with a high degree of naturalness adding to the overall realism of the sound emerging from these speakers.
 

Based on my observation as well as my preliminary opinion – the Mino speakers are what I would call a “music-lovers” speaker – something you can groove to as well as simply allowing whatever type of music preferred to simply pour over you. This is complemented with excellent extension in to the upper mids and higher frequencies where the speakers have a noticeable ease about them. One other aspect that became readily apparent during my brief time with these speakers, as a three-way speaker, the integration of sound between the different drivers was absolutely seamless and with a high degree of linearity and coherency. In fact, no particular aspect of the audio band seemed to stand out with these speakers.
 

In terms of the build quality and manufacturing process for the newer Vimberg line of speakers being separate and apart of the process for the Tidal line, it is very much under the watchful eye and oversight of Jorn Janczak, Tidal co-founder and president. I first became aware of the possibility that this new product would one day exist during my initial introduction and subsequent interview with Jorn. This particular discussion took place during the 2017 Axpona North America Show in and where he shared with me his vision for creating a product that would embrace the philosophy and technology of his stellar Tidal loudspeaker line and at the same time, be more accessible to a wider range of potential users due to lower pricing. Today, this is now a reality and with my recent exposure to the Mino model (see specs below), I can attest to the fact that Jorn appears to have successfully implemented his vision by introducing the Vimberg speaker line to the industry and worldwide markets.

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SPEAKER SPECIFICATIONS

1 – 30 mm (1.2”) ceramic dome tweeter

1 – 90 mm (3.5”) ceramic midrange

3 – 168 mm (6.6”) ceramic sandwich woofers

Cabinet Dimensions: 43 cm (16.9”) W x 126 cm (49.6” H) x 53 cm (20.9 D)

Impedance range = 4.3 to 8 Ohm

Bass reflex feature w/removable plug

Weight: 159 lbs (each)

 
From what I’ve learned regarding how Jorn was able to reduce the overall cost of the Vimberg speaker line, for starters – although sourced from Accuton, the drivers for the Vimberg line are from the standard stock of drivers rather than the much higher costing custom units that are made exclusively for the Tidal line. Another cost reduction process has to do with the finish. For the Vimberg line, Jorn uses a special machine for the finishing process. Additionally, the finish is approximately one-half as thick as the meticulous, labor intensive, manual process used for creating the stunning finishes of the Tidal speakers. Beyond that, the highly polished stainless steel mounting brackets and feet for the Tidal speakers has been replaced on the Vimberg with glass-pearl streamed anodized aluminum units. Obviously there are more areas where Jorn was able to trim costs but for high-level understanding, these are the primary areas that provide a significant amount of the cost reduction for the manufacturing process of the Vimberg loudspeakers.

Many thanks to Doug White (The Voice That Is) for his warm hospitality and for providing me with an enjoyable and informative visit to his dealership. Judging from what I heard during my time there, I expect to hear more about the new Vimberg speakers as more audiophiles/music lovers are able to check them out for themselves.


 

 

 bill wells   

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