Audio reviewer, Lachlan Feenan delivers his verdict on Wing’s game-changing audio technology following the Melbourne Hifi Show…  “One of the most impressive speakers I’ve ever heard.”

Hey folks welcome to my second highlight video from the Melbourne International hi-fi show.  If you haven’t watched the first one yet, I’ll put a link just here so you can click on it and take a look, but basically this is just a quick snapshot of some of the things that caught my attention at the recent Melbourne International hi-fi show.

And number two is a company called Wing Acoustics. These guys are based in New Zealand, it was started by two brothers Michael and David Palmer, who’ve created a brand-new, never seen before technology for speaker drivers.  What’s exciting about it is the way that it works and I’ll talk about that in a moment. But what really caught my attention is, in speaking to the CEO, Chris Hardy, I discovered that they not only making speakers, but they’re also using the same driver technology in headphones.

Now the way this driver works is that it is essentially a wing shaped diaphragm if you like, I don’t know if you would call it a diaphragm, but it’s a wing shaped device that actually pivots in a base. You can see here on this video, the acousticWing from the side and the way that it moves, so this is completely different to anything we’ve seen before and what makes it really unique is there’s is no stored energy. There’s no spider holding the mechanism in place with the voice coil, there’s no surround around the diaphragm that’s going to be creating any tension, so that acousticWing is completely free to move in tune with whatever’s coming through from the audio signal and it leads to quite an incredible sound.

It’s incredibly transparent, but that doesn’t mean it’s bright, it actually does produce bass, not thundering bass, because it’s not a huge driver, but it produces base, and more importantly, it produces a speed and accuracy of sound that I haven’t heard, ever before. Which sounds like a big statement, but wait until I talk about the headphones and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

The speakers themselves that they have put together, and you can see you on screen, currently they’re a small bookshelf style speaker with a small 3 inch subwoofer, a passive radiator and the acousticWing driver and they really do sound phenomenal. They’ve got a nice dynamic punch and they’ve got that incredible transparent fast sound that I spoke about before, obviously they’re not going to rumble room because they are a bookshelf speaker, but they’re impressive for their size.

Now these were only prototypes we were listening to, so I can only assume they could sound even better by the time they are finished, but already they are one of the most impressive speakers I’ve ever heard. And I have to say walking around the show there were probably only two or three sets of speakers that I actually found impressive, I’m not a huge speaker guy, I don’t like the fact that when you are off axis you lose the image, so to hear these and have them really blow me away was quite surprising. And interestingly, they do perform really well off axis so this is something I might even be looking at in my future too.

Now as I mentioned, one of the things that really impressed me, was the ability for them to take the same driver and put it into headphones. Specifically, as you can see in the photo here, they were able to put a pair of HD 800s next to a prototype pair of their own headphones, using their own drivers. The version I got to listen to was very much a prototype, even though it didn’t look perfect, it sounded fantastic and it was great for people to actually have a chance to hear this technology in a headphone. Now I said before that they were really transparent and were like nothing I’ve ever heard before. To give you an idea, I listened to the HD 800s first, I then listened to the acousticWing headphones, which immediately had more bass and was more dynamic, but still had a lot of speed and detail and transparency up top.

But it was only when I’ll be back to the HD 800s, that I discovered that there was a transparency to the sound of the acousticWing headphones that actually made the HD 800s sounds thick, it made them sound slow and sluggish in comparison and that’s an amazing thing to be saying, because the HD 800s are known for their transparency. They are known for being, in my opinion at least, a little bit light on and lacking in depth and yet what I heard was that the acousticWing not only gave me better bass response, but it gave me a better sense of transparency and speed and that all comes down to the fact that those drivers move so freely, there’s no resistance at all, you’re hearing the finest of transients and a high-speed response to what’s coming through from the audio signal – they’re doing it perfectly, whereas all other traditional drivers, it seems, are actually holding us back sound wise.

So these are really impressive and I can’t wait for there to actually be production models around. I’m looking forward to hopefully getting my hands on some for a review and if they sound anywhere near as good as it even the prototypes, I’ll be wanted to buy a pair as soon as I can possibly get my hands on them. Now if that sounds interesting to you, Wing Acoustics have a Facebook page and obviously a website. I’ll put links in the description below. I highly recommend you jump on board and check these guys out. It is something to follow along with because I think they are on to something really special, and I look forward to seeing what comes next for them.