was our next challenge - in the true sense of the word.

When we began working on this speaker, our initial goal was to create a very simple enclosure. It should be the sum total of our knowledge, including experiences with earlier cabinets and different kinds of wood. At this stage, we had no inkling that it would become our most expensive, most complicated - and most amazing speaker yet.

The basic intention was to develop an enclosure at low cost to our kit clients. Ideally, we planned to take a thin, pliable sheet of wood, bend it backwards, and fix both ends into a short "tail". Then we'd saw a hole in the front, mount the speaker chassis, and presto you'd have your speaker.

Things went pear-shaped; or, as a German saying has it: "The devil dwells in details." The tension of the bent wood was so high that its curves broke, and it would break invariably, no matter what modifications, tricks or coaxing we tried. Sometimes, it would shatter a few days after we'd already felt moderately triumphant, but shatter it would. Obviously, we had to change our approach to the whole thing: We separated the front from the side flanks and knew instantly we'd hit the right track. The different prototypes will be shown in a separate story some day.

After many months of hard work, the final result was a slender, curved cabinet. It avoids the disadvantages of designs with parallel sides and is crafted with elaborate workmanship. The side walls are not pre-formed and are bent into shape under high tension: a difficult process to master, even more so as the floor is open and the flanks can be fixed to three sides only. Again, the design follows the rationale that a loudspeaker housing is comparable to the corpus of an instrument; it should use rather than eliminate energies from the driver. Thus we carry on a tradition of reverberating housing concepts that Western Electric and Altec Lansing first formulated in the Fifties.

The speaker debuted in Germany at the Frankfurt HighEnd Show 2000.

At a time when few full-range speakers were available, it received much attention for its unusual shape and aestethic appearance. We couldn't predict that a segment of the DIY-scene would react by staging a run on vintage radios, only to gut them and fit the speaker units into plagiarized Rondo enclosures. We are sorry about this and share the chagrin of the original collectors of those items (

Rondo was the sum of our observations, experience, and research, the bottomline of years' worth of building enclosures in different types of wood, thickness and volume with one and the same speaker unit. Arriving at vastly different results by changing just a few, often minute parameters has been a profound experience.

We are immensely grateful to Prof. Dr. Nico Schalz, professor of musicology at the Bremen Conservatory, who was the first to privately give this speaker intense attention, praise, and feedback. (, only in German language).

We couldn't come to a better conclusion than our French representative in Paris, Alain Choukroun: "Rondo, c'est poesie".

For further reading, please see the review about Rondo in Image-HiFi 3/2000 by Roland Kraft

and by Thierry Soveaux in Diapason Juli/August 2002