CES 2009: $21,000/pair German Physiks Unicorn Speaker System

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German Physiks Unicorn Speaker System


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German Physiks makes speakers that range from $21,000 to over $200,000 per pair.  They use a driver they call the “DDD” for “Dicks Dipole Driver” which is a pure Walsh cone made of carbon fiber.   You can read about Walsh speakers and their original developer, Ohm Acoustics at my page Ohm Walsh speakers: unique technology, stunning performance.

I’ve used Ohm Walsh speakers since I was in college (still have my original pair, as well as a pair each of Ohm As and Ohm Fs, and several samples of the modern designs) so I was obviously anxious to see how a cost-no-object speaker built with refined Walsh technology would perform. 

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Close-up of DDD (Walsh) Driver

As a longtime proponent and user of Walsh speaker technology, I was very disappointed when I heard these speakers.  While they sounded good and were very transparent, they did not sound as good as Ohm models selling for a tiny fraction of the Unicorn’s $21,000 asking price.  At $21,000 any speaker should blow you away, and these merely sounded good.  Based on prior listening experience I’d say the Ohm MicroWalsh Tall speakers selling for around $1,000 provided comparable sound quality to the Unicorn, and the $3,000 Walsh 200 Mk. 2 I tested recently (review coming soon) completely dominate them in every respect- detail, bass response, richness, sweeteness, and that elusive character that allows the music to absorb you and sweep you away .  The $3,000 Definitive Technology Mythos STS SuperTowers I heard later that same day also provided sound far superior to the Unicorn.

I am sure many others in the industry will look at the price tag, look at the workmanship and fawn all over them, but I am less than impressed.  For my $21,000 I will take a pair of STS SuperTowers or Walsh 200 Mk. 2s with corresponding surround speakers, an Anthem front projection system, and Anthem electronics to work it all- and I’d probably still have some change left!

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