The SoundSpace Systems loudspeaker Robin is not your average loudspeaker in any respect. For a start it has sensitivity of 96dB, whichmakes it suitable for all but the measliest of amplifiers. In fact, it’s unlikely that there’s a decent quality amplifier around that couldn’t drive it.
The Robin is not a small loudspeaker by any standards, yet it’s the smallest in the German company’s range, weighing in at a respectable 42 kilos and standing over a metre high before you add the isolating feet; it can therefore reasonably be called ‘serious’.
The SoundSpace Systems Robins seem to be able to adapt to whatever musical style you play through them. With their high sensitivity and benign load the Robins are perfect for tube amplification. The Enjo proved this but I suspect that a single ended design would double that up. The Robins have a balance that is both warm and musical yet also very revealing of detail, I love the way that they can paint such a deep, rich picture of the music regardless of its style. Expensive yes, musically compelling; doubly so.
After getting to know SoundSpace Systems speakers in detail over the past few years, I certainly did not expect their new product to be AC Power Conditioner. But then again, Dr. Michael Plessmann is no ordinary audiophile and music lover. His restless mind is always on the lookout for new ways to take his beloved creations to the next level, and as you can learn throughout the review, the SoundSpace Systems AC Power Conditioner has become a fundamental part of SoundSpace Systems' balancing act.
In today's world, especially in high-end audio, it's all about the integrity of the power, where stable voltages and currents should arrive from source to destination unaltered.
SoundSpace Systems AC power conditioner optimizes the flow of energy while expanding spatiality, reducing noise, and increasing transparency and density but does not affect tonality, timbre, and color. It provides remarkable balance when used either before or after the power ladder or with a single component.
Music: Judy Collins's "Maid of constant sorrow" touches on a slightly different kind of subtlety and very quickly everything can become tonally disoriented. The SoundSpace Systems AC power conditioner has introduced a unique directionality to the music, acting autotonic and bypassing the sensual guardians. Something I do not often stumble upon. It also did not inflect Collin's voice, which again, many power conditioners can alter. With SoundSpace Systems AC power conditioner Sheila Armstrong's voice (“Frauenliebe und Leben”) was rendered with more plasticity, without contrivances and gimmickry, away from relentlessness, with the upshot of fluidity.
SoundSpace Systems AC power conditioner was designed from the beginning to deal with analog voltage deflection and is an antidote to the many similar devices that drain the power from the system instead of providing it or kept intact. It takes care of grid anomalies and allows for natural generalization without removing superimposed harmonics or blurring the texture and fleetness of the music.
Robin, the latest speaker creation from the Berlin manufacture SoundSpace Systems comes up with breathtaking spatiality, wonderful openness and a sophisticated mix of very different technology for high, mid and low frequencies. With Robin, music fills the room. In a way that is so present, unveiled and clear that I have never heard before, at least in my listening room. When it comes to the technology, it's worth looking a little closer: The top is actually a folded open baffle. Removing the rear cover shows its revealed entire midrange-tweeter unit. At the top, the air-motion transformer with a noble rosewood waveguide. Below, half covering the midrange driver, an additional ribbon tweeter for extreme airiness and optimized room imaging. The French Supravox midrange thus radiates to the rear and front. The Robin includes 6 dB first-order crossovers that allow the speaker to work with just about any amplifier. Due to the high efficiency of 96 decibels per watt, very little power is needed, a small tube amplifier is quite sufficient. But there's also nothing to stop you from connecting a high-wattage transistor power amplifier. So far, no other loudspeaker has brought me so close to the live experience. "Feel the music" is the motto of SoundSpace Systems, and the Robin makes this possible.
Many manufacturers try to enrich the scene with unusual concepts. Hardly anyone trusts his ears as much as Michael Plessmann. Can you hear that?
I notice Robin's very realistic spatial imaging, certainly also a merit of the ribbon. The bass solution works very well and makes a sovereign impression. One of Robin's main virtues is his casual, sovereign performance. And he can - like a robin - portray the finest ramifications in the music. On John Pizarelli's homage to Paul McCartney's "Silly Love Songs", for example, the cymbals sound hyper-realistic and on his guitar solo you can really hear how the fingertips press down on the strings and slide up or down on them. But this form of resolution is not at the expense of a holistic performance, which I get to witness beautifully on Jimmy Scott's version of "Motherless Child". You can really let it rip with the Robin.
Conclusion: The Soundspace Systems Robin is a special speaker that you have to approach, but then really fall in love with. For passionate music lovers, it offers the opportunity to acquire their ultimate loudspeaker.
The loudspeaker Robin is a prime example of successful downsizing: it is considerably smaller and lighter and thus more living-room friendly than its siblings, but comes very close to the - at least fully equipped - considerably more expensive loudspeaker Pirol in terms of sound: it combines high efficiency with harmonious tonality, great attention to detail and tremendous joy of playing: an audiophile stroke of luck!
Dirk Sommer from HIFI Statement: "I'm slowly giving up looking for faults in the Soundspace Systems world. It always plays in an appealing and exciting way. The room leaves nothing to be desired and in terms of tonality, it doesn't show any particular conspicuousness. That's why I listen to "Child In Time" again, but not in the original version from Deep Purple's In Rock, but from Unio, the album by the Bass Monsters: the four double basses play virtuously and don't get in each other's way in terms of sound. Here, too, the Robin fascinate with their well-balanced mixture of clarity and joy of playing. But I was particularly impressed by the precise placement of the deep sounding quartet in a large room, whose height is by no means limited to that of the speakers. Even with high-quality chains, such three-dimensional imaging is not a matter of course."
SoundSpace Systems Robin is a living room-ready speaker integrated into the existing high-resolution sound world of SoundSpace Systems speakers. It shares the DNA of the other SoundSpace Systems speakers, uniting the best technologies for the different frequency ranges. The crossovers are strictly 0./1. order. The speakers have high efficiency and are an extremely light load for any amplifier. SoundSpace Systems' smallest speakers are spacious, electric with potency, dynamically swinging back and forth in space with the most refreshing ease, and with the powerful weight and authority of much larger floor standers.
SoundSpace Systems Robins can handle system gain and wattage when thrown at them as few speakers can. They do well with both integrated and tube amps, and due to their active bass, they don't place high demands on wattage. They present compelling dynamics and a completely open sound without being stripped back. Robins' attention to detail offers a widening perspective complemented by the clarity of reality. It's never easy to get all speakers drivers in consonance and that's especially true with bass, but Robins delivers a deep-seated response with all genres of music, putting reality and credibility first and most importantly in the absence of subwoofer aftertaste.
Michael Plessman has gone to great lengths to create SoundSpace Systems' most affordable speakers to date. The Robins offer a real serenade to the music joy, ravishing it for what it truly is, and appeal to the needs of those audiophiles and music lovers who crave pure dynamic recording.
The new loudspeaker "Robin" not only has a beautiful voice, he can also show muscles. His small stature and slender build are combined with surprising strength and unexpected cleverness. Nevertheless, he remains a fine spirit always committed to the truth. The Robin speaker is a semi-active three-way design that excels in colour, bass power, resolution and homogeneity. At 96 decibels per watt and metre, Robin is a real efficiency monster, making it an excellent playing partner even for low-wattage tube amps. Robin often wins where others fail. Welcome to the world of high-end superheroes.
"What makes the SoundSpace Systems Robins so unique? The semi-active design is just a part of this puzzle. Picking up the right drivers is another. Building the right cabinets, choosing proper cabling, crossover elements and finally developing just the most fitting DSP is another. But ultimately it all came down to spending numerous hours listening to them and fine-tuning them until the sound was simply right.
What’s special about Robins (and Pirols and Aidoni) is how skillfully SoundSpace Systems managed to combine a whole set of sonic qualities which translate into a performance that makes you quickly forget about them, the whole system, room, and the very fact, that what you’re witnessing is just a reproduction of a musical event that took place years ago, possibly halfway across the world. All that truly matters is music and emotions it inspires. Music that is present, that is played for you here and now.
The final piece of this puzzle is the fact, that one can pair the Robin speakers with almost any amplifier, regardless of its output, or technology behind it. All that matter is its performance level, the higher the better, and character, as it will shape the sound Robin reproduce. Go ahead, give them a try – these might be the only speakers you’ll ever need."
"Aidoni's vibrant character, even though intended for listening to pleasure, could also work as a listening monitor. The foundation for this bandwidth of performance is a freshly conceived and unique concept that strives for the perfect approach in each of the frequency ranges. The active 15-inch bass are powered by four times 500 watts Class D per speaker, and a digital signal processor (DSP) provides control. The low-frequency potency is time coherent and the design does not apply any bass reflex tricks."
"Goosebumps are inevitable. While listening to Both Directions At Once by John Coltrane with Aidoni, the feeling of sitting right in front of the musicians is overwhelming. No music for the masses, no loudspeaker for the masses. But exactly what Plessmann founded SoundSpace Systems for: musical emotion."
"The loudspeaker Pirol performs extremely enthusiastic and doesn’t leave the listener indifferent. By now it's clear to me: Michael Plessmann must have thought through some matters extremely well. I am not necessarily interested in the efficiency of a transducer. Be that as it may, the representatives from Soundspace Systems made it obvious that after all I ought to somehow think about it: Even when listening to the most familiar records, there suddenly was fine detail to be more clearly audible than with transducers whose efficiency lies around 90 decibels. Actually, I could get used to the active bass of the Pirol in the long run. Even if the bass level is clearly set to joyful listening, the lows of the Pirol remain rhythmically thrilling, resilient, nimble, fast and outlined. And such a constellation is a very difficult thing to achieve with pure passive concepts. One usually has to decide between the earmarks just described or immersing in pleasant low bass waves."
"SoundSpace Systems Aidoni speakers deliver copious amounts of detail and unexpected resolution that exceed any close-minded expectations. More than that, SoundSpace Systems‘ flagship speakers can reveal mircro-timing deviations with mind-blowing precision. This feature alone is worth all of the excitement. Anything related to timing is crucial for the recreation of a believable aural illusion and Aidoni is splendid in this regard. Aidoni speakers are making their statements with their confrontational nature that instantly ignites all the rights inner triggers by bypassing the usual sensual safeguards. This is another rare feature that most high-end audio loudspeaker designers should strive for. It also puts Aidoni in the league of their own. These speakers were clearly designed from the ground-up to provide a purest and uncompromised music pleasure."
"Over the course of this review I listened to Pirols paired also with several other amplifiers … There was actually one key lesson to be learned from all those setups, namely that Pirols don't really care about the technology behind amplifiers. What does matter is their performance. Because the more refined the partners, the more Pirols are able to spread their wings … As you've probably noticed I didn't go through with a standard checklist of the qualities we value so much as audiophiles. Why? The answer is simple – when it comes to the top components, speakers, amplifiers, sources and so on, individual sonic qualities don't matter anymore … what really matters starts beyond it. Simply because at this level it's not about bass, treble, midrange, timing, space, resolutions and so on anymore. Once you set Pirols up properly and start listening you will forget about all these now irrelevant sonic features and focus on music, on how it makes you feel, how immersive, personal and unique the experience will get. Whatever music genre is your favorite, whatever mood you're in, whether you need to relax or feel like dancing, Pirols will be there for you."
"There is something fundamentally right in the way Pirol speakers present the essentials of music ... Pirol’s rigid internal structure and ceramic shell is surely a key point of taming the enormous energy while not killing the music. It’s too easy to rip out the music’s rawness, but Pirol’s well-thought innards are properly acoustically balanced. It’s not exactly easy to achieve a level of acoustical control where no frequency is having their forte. That is only one quest with the speakers’ design. The biggest challenge is getting the timbre, tone and color right. While some speaker’s design allows the thunderous rendition of the music, they’re too often sound like a pro-audio system; shouting and nervously delivering the sonic content. It takes a lot of sweat and blood to get any speaker to the real high-end audio plane, where high-end stands for the believable converting of music where little or nothing is lost in translation … This is exactly what Pirol offers … a no constrained aural enjoyment with a far grander sonic projection than what one would expect from their size."