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Einstein The Pure Loudspeaker

04-08-2018 | By Danny Kaey | Issue 96

Linn did it. Meridian has also done it. So have Naim, Avantgarde, Burmester, Gryphon, and a host of other brands, mostly hailing back to great European heritage and lineage. Naturally, one may ponder the who, the what, the it may refer to, and you would of course be right in that quest. Here, this question is best answered with a unique, yet fundamental truth, which is the assumption that the manufacturer who intimately knows their different product lines, will generally also be the one best suited to design and manufacture all the hardware components contained in each of these product categories which then makeup the sum total of your HiFi. In lingo inglés parlance, this is more frequently referred to as vertical integration. On the big boys side of the business, think first and foremost Apple, IBM (back in their heyday), Amazon, to name a few of these industry behemoths.

Back in the world of HiFi, EINSTEIN has quietly been making an exquisite name for themselves, and the past three or so years in particular have seen them become a fully vertically integrated design and manufacturing house. Smitten as I have been with EINSTEIN gear—I own their full suite of electronics, including the utterly remarkable The Silver Bullet Mk II OTL amplifiers—the opportunity presented itself following last year's LAAS (Los Angeles Audio Show), to sample their latest frontier, an all-new loudspeaker system, aptly named in typical EINSTEIN fashion "The Pure." With the addition of The Pure in their lineup, EINSTEIN has now effectively gone full circle and has completed the last remaining post to becoming a fully integrated manufacturer. Thus, today, one can own an entire all analog, complete EINSTEIN system from the ground up, including pre-power amps, phono amps, turntables, a cartridge, a complete set of cables and lastly—of course—loudspeakers. To say that this achievement is remarkable would be an understatement, since developing, manufacturing, and then selling these components requires finesse, knowledge, and ultimately, the necessary wherewithal that only a few companies can muster to deliver.

In conversations with Volker Bohlmeier over the past year, EINSTEIN's properly German proprietor, interesting information has come to light regarding such a bold move. Says Volker, "We clearly see our long-time customers asking for just this sort of complete EINSTEIN system; also, many of our new customers have taken a very close look at our complete system and have taken the plunge, head first so to speak." Indeed, speaking with a few friends across the globe who are in the "know" seems to confirm just such a direction, which is not to say folks aren't buying individual EINSTEIN gear—they of course are—it's just that for some customers, this all-in-one approach seems to be the right fit.

Just how EINSTEIN achieved this sort of integration also bears closer inspection. Instead of tasking their long time electronics wizard extraordinaire, Rolf Weiler, to create these new product categories, EINSTEIN did what only seems natural: combine the efforts of those who have shown a long-term conviction to certain product categories with the best of EINSTEIN's manufacturing prowess and their legendary product design (headed up by Volker's wife, Annette Heiss). Thus, this leads to, for example, The Pickup, EINSTEIN's phono cartridge collaboration with Ortofon; or The Tonearm (a daft name for a toneram) built by none other than Japan's el primo for all things analog, Ishiama san (of Ikeda, Fidelity Research fame); or, as is the case with The Pure, a collaboration with long time friend and collaborator Dr. Karl Schuemann of Audiomachina fame. Now, it's perfectly okay for you to not feel familiar with Audiomachina; their US presence in the high-end loudspeaker business has been largely virtual outside of true connoisseurs. Move the conversation to Japan however, or to a greater extent, the far East, and watch how certain audiophiles' ears perk up when you mention the name in casual passing. They know. Volker knew too, which is why he picked Dr. Karl Schuemann to collaborate on an all new EINSTEIN speaker design.

At first, The Pure appears as Stanley Kubrick's Monolith from the film classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey. At least that's what friends and visitors often chime when they see The Pure setup in chez K. Nominally appearing as a two cabinet 3-way, The Pure takes a rather different approach to dynamic loudspeaker design than what you may be used to. A genuinely full range system, The Pure's standout driver is perhaps none other than the ultra-recognizable Fostex FW168HR mid-range driver, that EINSTEIN essentially runs full range sans crossover. At the top, sits another Fostex horn driver, whereas the true bottom end is covered by Peerless 700w Class D powered, woofer, sitting in its own, separate cabinet. Minimum impedance is listed as 8 Ohms and sensitivity at 89db, no doubt a genuine nod to EINSTEIN's own The Silver Bullet Mk II OTL amplifiers. Moving to the cabinet construction, you'll find a a mix of solid 12mm aluminum, used for the rear panels and baffle, which is also aided through generous use of steel and further resonance absorbing acrylic across the entire front of the speaker. Finally, the surrounding frame is built up with 40mm thick MDF with clever applications of honeycomb chambers on the inside which take care of all internal bracing and vibration absorption. The two speaker modules (the top containing the tweeter and full range Fostex driver, and the bottom, containing the single woofer), then sit, securely mounted via solid bolts, on a steel T-beam that adds a slight backward slant to help better integrate the speaker system into your typical living room.

Einstein The Pure Loudspeaker

In a final twist of norms, The Pure can be run two ways: one, each speaker can be run full range using the built-in bass amps modules leashed up to an RCA pre-out on your preamp; or, two, each speaker can also be run full range via your main amplifier; whereby you would simply leash the top cabinet to the bottom cabinet via a pair of jumper cables. To further help the speaker get out of the way of your room, Volker cleverly, nay, cunningly, decided to also incorporate both level and frequency attenuation for the 700w powered woofer and a 3-way high frequency adjustment switch to the horn tweeter, respectively. Clearly, the goal for The Pure has been to maximize typical in-home sonics and to minimize the ways of getting you there. Maximum joy, maximum value. As I said, clever indeed.

Given this in home setup friendly on-speaker adjustment, The Pure's setup routine at chez K was straight forward, if not to say, a nice summer breeze.

Now then the past few years have seen a number of high profile speakers run through my room(s); from Zu Audio's Druid V, to Wilson Audio's Alexia and (now) mighty and mighty fine Alexx; from YGs Hailey to Sonja 2.3, I've pretty much seen the gamut and representation of some serious beating air into submission fire power.

Perhaps the defining, nay, dominant characteristic of The Pure surely has to be explosive dynamic expressionism first, coupled with nuanced yet lively resolution of the incoming musical signal next. To wit, these also happen to be the strongest defining character traits of the entire EINSTEIN ecosystem, thusly adding even more juice to the all-important decibel knob, otherwise known as volume. Frankly, The Pure's concept isn't really new. Crossoverless speakers surely have been around for some time, and I've been a fan of them ever since I first got sucked into the zoo, that is Zu Druids and Definition speakers. Undoubtedly, that dynamic expressionism, the tonal correctness, and the otherwise effortless sound simply speak to me and my listening style. It's full range or bust. You certainly don't walk up to your favorite performer and ask him to compress his guitar, drums, or piano just because your system isn't capable of reproducing it (caveat: sadly, the mastering engineer surely can do such a ghastly thing for you, and many a great recording has thus been ruined by it).

A track I really got smitten with—Albert King's bluesy, funky "‘Til My Back Ain't Got No Bone" on I Wanna Get Funky, is a perfect example of The Pure's abilities to capture dynamics, resolution, and nuance all at the same time. With the interplay of the track's prominent, nay, prodigious bass line and percussion, a sense of genuine cohesiveness unfolds before you. Where others may add a dose of your mom's favorite maple syrup, The Pure's funky (looking) full range Fostex throws back exactly, precisely what the amp and pre are feeding it. There's no overhang on the bass line, no bloat, and no lag. You get what you give. Here, the ability to dial in the bass driver to the digs in your room clearly plays out in your favor. With no port to contend—remember, The Pure is in fact a fully sealed design—you see instant gratification. Cueing up Jason Isbell's "Flagship", off Something More Than Free, the space, ambiance, and micro dynamics of Jason's guitar shine with just the right amount of sparkle. Tonally, The Pure is spot on, especially with an instrument as nuanced and harmonically, expressive as a guitar.

A favorite track of mine, Varèse's "Ionisation", conducted by Zubin Mehta and the LA Phil in 1972, proves yet another point with The Pure. Which is to say that the solidity of the cabinet combined with the crossoverless design yields layers upon layers of hall ambiance, spatial information, and a giant Cinemascope style panorama of the recording venue. Particularly, the complexity and interplay of the various percussive elements are resolved with such almost blinding precision and articulation that you naturally feel drawn into the performance, tuning out all superfluous external influences. Especially at night, with all lights turned off, the effectiveness of this presentation becomes even more dramatic and powerful. As an aside, I can't help mention—yet again—the EINSTEINs system's downright nonexistent inherent noise floor. No matter if playing back vinyl or digital, there is a certain sense of purity to the sound that I frankly have not heard from any other system, solid state, tube or otherwise.

Vocal tracks, be they Sinatra, Dino, or Sarah and Ella, can carry the most minuscule of tonal inflections; a speaker choked by ill-designed crossovers can only hint at these most subtle of nuances—The Pure on the other hand liberates these from any constriction, and coupled with the very high quality Fostex drivers, elicits that goose-bump feeling we audiophiles oh so cherish. Agnes Obel's "Fuel To The Fire" on her album Aventine, is another prime example of The Pure's finesse with female vocals. Her most gentle voice accompanied by piano and Pro Tooled orchestral arrangements beams with purity—no pun intended—that becomes immediately apparent when listening on lesser systems. The gentleness you hear through The Pure becomes congested; the delicacy you perceive becomes somewhat flat, and well, not so delicate. Definitely one of my favorite demo tracks as of late—problems in the system are immediately laid bare; benefits too.

Where does all this leave this rather remarkably interesting speaker? First, it comes as a no-brainer that anyone considering EINSTEIN electronics ought to do himself a favor and audition a pair of these. Surprises and other such pleasantries may be on the plate. Second, don't be fooled—these aren't merely "hey let's build a speaker so we can offer a complete system" type loudspeakers. Hardly. Fact is, quite a bit of development time and prototyping went into this design. From the luxurious fit and finish, to the overall parts quality of the drivers, this loudspeaker is no afterthought. Third, if in fact you chose to go with an all EINSTEIN system, you'd likely be in for a surprise. On musicality, tonality, and expressiveness, I can't think of anything close to it—make no mistake, a complete EINSTEIN system is in fact the closest thing you'll ever hear to a music box, in the truest sense of the word. Faux hyper-detail or clinical pixel-peeping you won't find here.

Lastly, instinctively coincidental, feel free to look up EINSTEIN at this year's AXPONA show—you'll hear these speakers in all their glory and seductiveness. For a true connoisseur and music lover then, The Pure is a most highly recommended audition if not outright purchase. A+++

The Pure Loudspeaker

Retail: $48,000



Einstein The Pure

  • Principle: semi-active three-way speaker system
  • Frequency response: 18Hz-30kHz
  • Sensitivity: 89dB/8Ω
  • Drivers: 26cm woofer, 15cm midrange, 2cm super tweeter
  • Crossover: Subwoofer 18Hz-150Hz with active equalization, Midrange driver without any crossover, Horn tweeter with 6dB connection, switchable level control with four-stage IL precision switch
  • Subwoofer: active, closed with integrated 700W ICE power amp, analogue crossover technology with adjustable frequency range and adaptable volume level for the woofer
  • Dimensions (H/W/D): 120/40/15cm, 125 cm high incl. stand
  • Weight (incl. stand): 100kg / each
  • Recommended amplifier power: 15-200WPC/8Ω