Gobel/Bending Wave Axpona 2023

Elliot G.

Industry Expert
Jul 22, 2010
3,405
3,199
1,910
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
www.bendingwaveusa.com
We are proud to annopunce that we will be showing again at Axpona 2023 this April. We will be showing for the first time at Axpona the new Divin Sovereign Subwoofers along with the Divin Noblesse speakers. This will be the same set up that was at Robert Harley's home and reviewed in the current issue of TAS Feb.2023.
We will be showing with a new electronics provider, for us, we will be showing with Vacuum Tubes, first time at Axpona and for one of my favorite brands growing up in Audio
Audio Research!@!!!! I expect to virtically bi- amp the system and that is killer with the Noblesse.
We will also be showing with Wadax and will have the full Reference System on display including the DAC and Server and hopefully the new Server Power Supply if it is available ( it should be)
We have a few surpises set up and will announce them as we get closer to the show.

I believe this will be an amazing show with great sound and music.
We hope to see you there.
 
BW Jeff Beck Poster Low Res vF.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: ashandger
I look forward to seeing you there, Elliot, and to hearing this system!
 
I look forward to seeing you there, Elliot, and to hearing this system!
Well I will do my best , in a challenging environement, not to disappoint you.
We will be showing Noblesse with 2 Sovereign Subs, Gobel Lacorde Cables, Audio Research amps and preamp and Wadax reference DAC and Server ...maybe the Server PS as well.
E
 
Hello Elliot, from your experience, what sonic impact do you anticipate vertical bi-amping will have? Many thanks
 
It is another one of the "more " ways to increase what the capabilities of a system can do. I dont like trying to use the same old audio approved terms so I will try to explain what I hear this way. I found the room getting more out of the way ( bigger) I found that there are better both low level and high level dynamics if the music has it and a general more organic and you are there type sound. The small things are more intimate and the large more bombastic, I dont find anything that I did not like except the $$$ You do need to use identical amplifiers and identical cables for this and each time I have done this, at RH, at Capfest, at my showroom I have been thrilled with the results. It is just that sometimes I can't keep it like that which I dont like.
I am expecting a good result at Axpona and it will be the first time there that we bi amp and the first time we use ARC and the first time we use tube gear there. All of these should make it interesting. I hope after a few years that this time I can get the sound to where I am happy with it as the Club Room is large and full of reflective surfaces but I think we can conquer it this time :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: ashandger
It is another one of the "more " ways to increase what the capabilities of a system can do. I dont like trying to use the same old audio approved terms so I will try to explain what I hear this way. I found the room getting more out of the way ( bigger) I found that there are better both low level and high level dynamics if the music has it and a general more organic and you are there type sound. The small things are more intimate and the large more bombastic, I dont find anything that I did not like except the $$$ You do need to use identical amplifiers and identical cables for this and each time I have done this, at RH, at Capfest, at my showroom I have been thrilled with the results. It is just that sometimes I can't keep it like that which I dont like.
I am expecting a good result at Axpona and it will be the first time there that we bi amp and the first time we use ARC and the first time we use tube gear there. All of these should make it interesting. I hope after a few years that this time I can get the sound to where I am happy with it as the Club Room is large and full of reflective surfaces but I think we can conquer it this time :)
Hello Elliot, many thanks for very detailed feedback.....very helpful indeed. I have never heard a system with vertical bi-amping, only horizontal bi-amping so this is very interesting indeed! Have a wonderful show. Many thanks
 
Hello Elliot, many thanks for very detailed feedback.....very helpful indeed. I have never heard a system with vertical bi-amping, only horizontal bi-amping so this is very interesting indeed! Have a wonderful show. Many thanks
it cant be done with every speaker but it does not require a crossover and can only be done with identical amps. In any case I believe you need that anyway but...
 
  • Like
Reactions: ashandger
Some interesting news for the upcoming Axpona room .We wil hjave the brand new ARC Ref 160 M mark 2 amplifiers for the show.
These are brand new and its the first show in the US that will have them.
We will be using 4 of them to power the Divin Noblesse. Shjould be very cool.
See you there!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ron Resnick
Wow, that's going to be a HOT system ;) I would love to hear the Noblesse vertically biamped with Dartzeel 108 MK II amps. Have a great show.
 
Wow, that's going to be a HOT system ;) I would love to hear the Noblesse vertically biamped with Dartzeel 108 MK II amps. Have a great show.
I would have no issue doing that but they don't seem to do shows and I dont have any other possible access to them. I have heard them with CH 10 series done that way, it was really wonderful.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ashandger
I promise to see you and talk even if your mad busy
Would to meet you.
And If I read above correctly Ron as well.
 
I promise to see you and talk even if your mad busy
Would to meet you.
And If I read above correctly Ron as well.
I cant speak for Ron but I know I will be there all the time LOL
 
I promise to see you and talk even if your mad busy
Would to meet you.
And If I read above correctly Ron as well.
if you and Ron want to set a time I will happily give you some private time if I can.
By the way we will have the Wadax PSU at the show WOO HOO first one
 
2023-03-31 14.50.02.jpg
 
2023-03-31 14.49.58.jpg
All packed and shipping for Axpona 2023 Club Suite 15 th Floor
 

Göbel High-End Divin Noblesse Loudspeaker and Divin Sovereign Subwoofer​

Göbel High-End Divin Noblesse Loudspeaker

Göbel High-End may be an unfamiliar name to North American audiophiles, but the German loudspeaker manufacturer has enjoyed wide popularity in its home country, throughout Europe, and in Asia. The company was founded in 2003 by Oliver Göbel, who left his job as lead loudspeaker engineer at Siemens to forge his own path. Göbel has specific expertise in bending-wave transducers and developed an acoustic application for the technology for which he was granted a patent. That patent was the impetus for Göbel to start his own company, focusing on high-end loudspeakers and refining bending-wave transducer technology. This year marks the Göbel High-End’s 20th anniversary.
Göbel’s company has grown, moving in 2022 to a new factory near Munich, built from the ground up with Oliver Göbel himself providing the building’s architectural design. I had seen Göbel speakers at the Munich High-End show many times, but never got a good listen to them because their large exhibit room was always standing room only. My first real exposure to the firm’s products came at the 2022 AXPONA show, where I heard the $90,000 Divin Marquis demonstrated by Elliot Goldman, Göbel’s U.S. distributor. As I (and Jonathan Valin) wrote in our show reports at the time, the Divin Marquis was one of the show’s best sounds. It didn’t hurt that the system included the Wadax Reference DAC and Reference Server front end and was powered by CH Precision 10-Series electronics—reference-quality components.
After the show, I did some research on Göbel’s technology and became intrigued by its Divin products. The company offers two lines—the Epoque Aeon Series that is designed for smaller or moderate-sized listening rooms, and the very different Divin Series. The Epoque Aeon Series (two floorstanders, an on-wall, and two subwoofers) features a flat-panel bending-wave driver that reproduces the range from 160Hz to 31kHz, augmented by an impulse-response-compensated bass array configured in a way that mates with the bending-wave driver’s dispersion. You can think of the design as a nearly full-range driver (the bending-wave transducer reproduces an astonishing seven-and-a-half octaves) augmented by cone woofers. The visual appearance of the Epoque Aeon line is unmistakable; a thin column dominated by the large, flat bending-wave transducer flanked by the cone woofers.
The three-model Divin line looks more conventional, but looks can be deceiving. The middle Divin Noblesse reviewed here ($250,000 per pair) has a symmetrical angular hourglass shape with a very large (5.6?) Air-Motion Transformer (AMT) tweeter in the middle flanked above and below by an 8? cone midrange driver and a 12? woofer. The multifaceted enclosure is ported to the front by four ports per woofer, symmetrically positioned around the driver. Although the Divin Noblesse doesn’t employ a flat bending-wave driver, the drivers’ design is informed by Oliver Göbel’s expertise with bending-wave transducers. He used his knowledge of flexible diaphragm behavior to eliminate inaccuracies in the Divin Noblesse’s pistonic drivers.
Göbel High-End Divin Sovereign Subwoofer

The more I learned about the Divin Noblesse’s engineering, the more impressed I became—this speaker is brimming with innovative design techniques that separate it from just another “cones-in-a-box” offering. I’ve gone into some detail describing these innovations in the technical sidebar.
Notably, the speaker’s sensitivity is a whopping 95dB, with a flattish impedance curve and an impedance minimum of 3.8 ohms (at 100Hz). These characteristics mean that the Divin Noblesse will be a very easy load for an amplifier and will likely work well when driven by lower-powered amplifiers.
The Divin Noblesse was supplied with a pair of Göbel’s brand new Divin Sovereign subwoofers ($29,500 each). The sub features an 18? driver, integral power amplification, DSP control, and the ability to tune the sub’s parameters via phone or tablet from the listening seat.

 

Listening​

Oliver Göbel and U.S. distributor Elliot Goldman visited to install the system, along with set-up expert extraordinaire Stirling Trayle. Watching Trayle work is an experience in itself; he combines unparalleled expertise, a perceptive (and fast) ear, and an astounding work ethic to elevate the performance of a system to unexpected heights. Several manufacturers have hired Trayle to install their products in my listening room (and at shows), and for good reason—he gets consistently superlative results. You can see what Stirling does at audiosystemsoptimized.com. The installation took a full two days, nearly all that time devoted to loudspeaker placement.

The Divin Noblesse offers two pairs of binding posts for bi-wiring or passive bi-amplification. This suited the CH Precision M10 amplifier; each amp can be configured as a monoblock or as a two-channel amplifier. We operated the pair of M10 amplifiers in passive bi-amplification mode; One channel of each amplifier drove the woofer section, with the other channel driving the midrange/tweeter. Of course, the Divin Noblesse can be powered conventionally by a single stereo amplifier or a pair of monoblocks. The Divin Noblesse was driven full-range, with the subwoofers low-pass filtered. The subwoofers were connected via a second line-level output from the CH Precision L10 linestage.

Switching loudspeakers after several years of living with the best loudspeaker I’ve had in my listening room (the Wilson Chronosonic XVX and Subsonic subwoofers) was a bit disconcerting. It took some adjustment to the different presentation, but once the Divin Noblesse settled in I came to appreciate this speaker’s special qualities.

First, the Divin Noblesse is truly a full-range speaker with wide bandwidth and seemingly unlimited dynamic range. The Divin Noblesse’s most salient characteristic is a lively upper midrange-to-lower treble region that brings detail to the fore. This speaker’s resolution, transparency, and clarity through the midrange and treble were stunning; fine detail such as percussion instruments, a subtle background vocal, or a piano line played quietly beneath other instruments, were resolved with alacrity. I’ll give you just one example that could stand in for many others. I’ve listened to the fabulous 1975 live Eric Clapton album EC Was Here on many systems, but never before heard on the track “Ramblin’ on my Mind” that the drummer’s ride cymbal has rivets. Also called a “sizzle cymbal,” rivets give the instrument that shimmering sound and extended decay. The Divin Noblesse resolved the complex microstructure of the cascading transients and decays of the rivets with astounding precision. If you extrapolate this example to nearly every instrument, across all kinds of music, you’ll get an idea of how the Divin Noblesse presents music with extraordinarily high level of detail.

This resolution and clarity weren’t confined to the treble. The midrange was similarly resolved, a quality that was immensely
 
y rewarding in the Divin Noblesse’s reproduction of the human voice. Vocals were projected into the listening room with palpability and presence. I was startled when I played the first track on Melody Gardot’s album Sunset in the Blue; her voice was projected between and in front of the speakers with vivid immediacy. Moreover, the Divin Noblesse revealed very fine nuances of expression, adding to the song’s impact. This track could serve as another example of the Divin Noblesse’s resolving power; the gently played acoustic guitar accompaniment in the background was portrayed with clarity in timbre, pitch, and dynamics on every note. Similarly, the speaker’s lively midrange rendered vocals more intelligible. This clearer articulation allowed me to hear nuances of vocal expression with newfound ease and clarity.

Before hearing the Divin Noblesse, I looked askance at the 8? midrange driver (most are 6? at most), particularly an 8? midrange coupled to an AMT tweeter. Nonetheless, after living with this speaker, I have no reservations about the design. In fact, I must conclude that the Divin Noblesse is, through the midrange and treble, the highest-resolution dynamic loudspeaker that I’ve heard in my listening room—its presentation of detail and palpability approach that of electrostats and Magneplanars.

That said, there’s a fine line between this presentation of rich musical detail and a bright, etched, and fatiguing sound. The Divin Noblesse walks right up to that line—but doesn’t cross it, in my judgment. This is a lively, exciting, upbeat—even thrilling—sounding speaker, but what kept the Divin Noblesse from veering into the realm of excessive brightness was the speaker’s purity, textural liquidity, lack of grain, and absence of metallic sheen (common to hard-dome tweeters). Significantly, the Divin Noblesse didn’t suffer from top-octave tizziness that emphasizes sibilance and imparts a synthetic sound to cymbals—a sound likened to that made by a spray can. The top-octave smoothness and liquidity (in addition to the finely filigreed resolution of detail) allowed the speaker’s midrange and lower treble to sound illuminated without the entire presentation deviating into excessive brightness. It’s a delicate balancing act, but one that the Divin Noblesse pulls off with almost miraculous ease. The 5.6? Mundorf Air Motion Transformer tweeter, here modified by Göbel and mounted in a custom waveguide machined from an aluminum block, is a spectacular transducer. It has tremendous life, air, light, extension, and speed, yet never sounds etched or fatiguing. Jonathan Valin’s evocative phrase, “illuminated from within,” which he first used to describe the sound of Audio Research electronics, came to mind.

These qualities rendered music with an upbeat sense of life and energy. When Joe Pass comes in for the last solo on the track “Contractor’s Blues” from the Count Basie LP 88 Basie Street (original Pablo LP), his hard-swinging entrance prompts the band to kick up their game to meet him. A few bars into the solo, the drummer emphasizes the rhythm with rim shots that lock in the groove, taking the energy to the next level. The Divin Noblesse reveals, with tremendous alacrity, these kinds of nuances of musical expression.

Another virtue of the Divin Noblesse’s lively upper midrange is its clarity of line and ability to resolve individual instruments and notes without smearing or congestion. The album Mirror Mirror by Brazilian pianist Elaine Elias is a series of piano duets alternating between her and one of her two musical idols, Chick Corea and Chucho Valdés (the album won the Grammy in 2021 in the Best Latin Jazz Album category). The at-times fiery interplay between the two musicians could sound confused or congested through a lesser speaker, and the energetic Latin rhythms diluted by less-than-precise articulation of each note. The Divin Noblesse beautifully portrayed the two 9? grand pianos as separate instruments, and in doing so, revealed the marvelously sympathetic interplay between Elias and Valdés or Corea. Each track was recorded live in the studio with the pianos facing each other; the Divin Noblesse wonderfully recreated the sense of spontaneous occasion of these remarkable performances.
 
Even without the subwoofers engaged, the Divin Noblesse went satisfyingly low in the bass, with plenty of weight and power. The subs added that extra measure of fullness, bass dynamics, and, of course, the expanded soundstage provided by reproducing low-frequency spatial cues. The subwoofers added that “subterranean” component on organ recordings that you can’t get even from the largest full-range speakers, as well as more weight and impact to kickdrum. A pair of 18? woofers can move an awful lot of air in the lowermost octave.
The bass had a nice bit of extra bloom and color, although I wouldn’t characterize the speaker as having a “bottom-up” presentation. Rather, the Divin Noblesse delivered a satisfying fullness in the music’s foundation, from the power range in orchestral music to the visceral purr of a Fender Precision bass. It is common for speakers to sacrifice pitch precision and transient performance for this warmth and bloom, but that wasn’t the case with the Divin Noblesse. The speaker had superb resolution of bottom-end information, with no smearing of transients, blurring of pitch, or dilution of timbral detail. Kickdrum was tight and controlled, with no overhang or bloat. Bass guitar was reproduced not just as low-frequency information, but as strings plucked by fingers on the fretboard, with superb resolution of the starts and stops of notes and precise inner detailing of the instrument’s texture. The Divin Noblesse beautifully revealed the artistry of some of my favorite bass players. The combination of this level of resolution with weight and fullness was immensely satisfying. A great track that highlights this synergy is the title track from Spirogyra’s album Down the Wire, which features some funky, virtuoso, body-animating electric-bass playing. I was surprised by how well the Divin Noblesse resolved the pitches and dynamics of bass lines played on the Hammond B3’s pedals by the late organist Joey DeFrancesco in his guest stint on Lee Ritenour’s Six String Theory. The Divin Noblesse could get away with its touch of extra bloom and warmth in the bottom end simply because the bass sounded so precise and detailed.
In this issue’s From the Editor, I observe that high-sensitivity loudspeakers seem to have certain sonic qualities quite apart from needing less amplifier power. One of these qualities is dynamic verve—the sense of suddenness on transients, of a more vivid projection of the music into the listening room, and of a feeling of ease on musical peaks, particularly at high playback levels. That pretty much describes the Divin Noblesse; the speaker had an exciting, visceral, upbeat immediacy that was reminiscent of a horn design but without horn colorations. In fact, the Divin Noblesse’s dynamic performance was one of its best qualities; it went loud effortlessly, reproduced transients with speed and articulation but no fatiguing etch, had virtually no overhang or smearing, and never sounded congealed even during the most complex passages.

Conclusion​

When considering a quarter-of-a-million-dollar loudspeaker, the performance bar is high, indeed. But the Divin Noblesse clears that bar with its outstanding musicality. This is an immensely communicative speaker by virtue of its stunning midrange and treble resolution, dynamic verve, and transparency. I had many thrilling listening sessions with the Divin Noblesse—thrilling in a raw, visceral, almost primal way. This isn’t a polite speaker that engages the intellect at the expense of conveying the immediacy of performers making music in the moment.
If you’re in the market for a loudspeaker of this caliber, the Göbel Divin Noblesse should be on your short list to audition. You may find that its combination of virtues as compelling as I did.

Specs & Pricing​

Divin Noblesse Loudspeaker
Type:
Three-way dynamic loudspeaker
Driver complement: 12” woofer (x2); 8? midrange (x2), AMT tweeter (x1)
Frequency response: 21Hz–24kHz (–3dB)
Impedance: 4 ohms (3.8 ohms minimum at 100Hz)
Sensitivity: 95dB 1W/1m
Finishes: Piano black lacquer (custom finishes on request)
Dimensions: 56cm x 168cm x 82cm
Weight: 260kg (572 lbs.) each, net
Price: $250,000/pr.
Divin Sovereign Subwoofer
Type:
DSP-controlled, integrally powered subwoofer
Bass extension: 10Hz (–3dB point)
Driver: 18?
Integral amplifier power: 2500W
Control: iOS or Android device
Finishes: Piano black lacquer (custom finishes on request)
Dimensions: 54 x 78 x 60cm
Weight: 145 kg (319 lbs.) each, net
Price: $29,500
GÖBEL HIGH END
Roedersteinstrasse 9
84034 Landshut
Germany

goebel-highend.de
info@goebel-highend.de
BENDING WAVE USA (U.S. Distributor)
10404 West State Road 84, Suite 10
Davie, FL 33324
(954) 579-7463

bendingwaveusa.com
Associated Equipment
Analog source:
Basis Audio A.J. Conti Transcendence turntable with SuperArm 12.5 tonearm; Air Tight Opus cartridge; CH Precision P1 phonostage with X1 power supply; DS Audio ST-50 stylus cleaner, Levin record brush, Degritter ultrasonic LP cleaner
Digital source: Wadax Reference DAC, Wadax Reference Server, UpTone Audio EtherREGEN Ethernet switch
Amplification: CH Precision L10 Dual Monaural linestage; CH Precision M10 Dual Monaural power amplifiers
AC Power: Shunyata Everest 8000 conditioner, Shunyata Omega and Sigma NR V2 power cords; Shunyata AC outlets, five dedicated 20A lines wired with identical length 10AWG; two Göbel AC power cords (powering the subwoofers)
Support: Critical Mass Systems Olympus equipment racks and Olympus amplifier stands; Center Stage2 isolation, Arya Audio RevOpods isolation
Cables: AudioQuest Dragon interconnects, AudioQuest Dragon Zero and Dragon Bass loudspeaker cables
Grounding: Shunyata Altaira grounding system
Accessories: The Chord Company GroundArray noise reduction
Acoustics: Acoustic Geometry Pro Room Pack 12, ASC 16? Round Tube Traps
Room: Purpose-built; Acoustic Sciences Corporation Iso-Wall System

Tags:FLOORSTANDINGGOBELLOUDSPEAKERSUBWOOFER
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. This is THE place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss vintage, contemporary and new audio products, music servers, music streamers, computer audio, digital-to-analog converters, turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel-to-reel tape machines, speakers, headphones and tube and solid-state amplification. Founded in 2010 What’s Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals, we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people, and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing