|Extract from "HIFI & MUSIK",
no.4.98: "Von Schweikert VR-8"
The Ultimate Loudspeaker
Vimmerby is one of the hottest hi-fi towns Of Sweden. Why? Because there you will find the
store Ultimate Sound & Music, which now carries a speaker system which must be among
the best there is: Albert Von Schweikert's magnificent VR-8
Von Schweikert is the man behind those speakers which about a year ago made us exclaim in
unison: "The best we have ever heard!" Despite all the comments we got from that
statement, we still insist that the VR-4 is one of the most intelligent buys of speakers
you can make and the same philosophy of sound is also apparent in the VR-8 but on an
extremely larger scale. And I literally mean EXTREMELY!
We are well aware that we have already used up the ultimate headline, but you know
headlines can be relative. So this time I guess that it has to be: "The best I have
ever heard". Because, believe me, I have listened to a lot of very advanced hi-fi in
my time, but the VR-8's performance is beyond all praise!
I dare say that this is the most optimal speaker ever made. Most of its competitors,
despite the price tag, fall way behind these monsters, even far more expensive ones. The
VR-8 costs about as much as an Audi A6 2.4 L, but its extreme performance takes into
account that the VR-8 is a very good value for the money.
In addition, they are cheap to drive. A mere five watts turns into a roaring 102 dB in the
full register. In the case of the 8's, this is equivalent to 20 - 35 HZ within +/- 1 dB! A
wide dispersion pattern and a very fine transparency also contributes to the magnificent,
The origin of this speaker construction is partly due to what Albert (as he puts it)
happened to "rediscover" about the advantages of a high level of sensitivity.
Lighter cones and stronger magnets made the speaker elements more and more alive. The
microscopic details of recordings, which normally are obscured by low efficiency elements,
suddenly emerge from the depths of the recording.
At the same time he discovered how the combination of multiple high-efficiency elements
suddenly made much higher demands on the cabinet and filter constructions. He noticed for
instance how the energy of the drive elements to a great extent was absorbed and destroyed
even in well damped and heavy cabinet constructions. When on the other hand the mass and
damping of the cabinet were dramatically increased, the drive elements got a stable
foundation to work on, making even the weakest cone movement clearly perceivable. By the
enhanced low level resolution, the speaker started breathing in a new and fascinating way.
Once the drive element and cabinet problems were solved, it became clear that the
crossovers were also masking the sound. No matter how advanced film capacitors or how
large air-wound spools he tried, he never found anything clear enough. After months of
assiduous searching (among other things he made trials with some outrageously expensive
space technology gadgets) he eventually realized that the capacitors which are the least
prone to mask the sound are good old oil / paper capacitors from the dawn of the radio
The VR-8 able to reproduce the lower registers, all the way down to the bottom of the
abyss, without any trace of distortion, resonance or any other kind of impurity or dynamic
I wish I had had about three weeks time to listen and that I had the opportunity to bring
my entire collection of CD's and LP's because even though we had about 10 hours to play
records on it, it felt as though we had hardly begun to skim the cream off the surface of
the capacity of the 8's.
The only way to describe these speakers is to use extreme expressions. Take for instance
the dimensionality and the sense of presence, which by far surpasses anything the
undersigned has ever experienced. The only limiting factor was the recordings, definitely
not the speakers.
The VR-8 also has a transparency and a purity which is as far from conventional speaker
sound as one can get. In absolute terms of purity and openness, the VR-8's are comparable
to Sennheiser's actively tube driven electrostatic-headphones Orpheus (at $25,000 US)! Not
to mention the dynamics, which suddenly opens up a new cosmos of (up till then) unheard of
richness of nuances - from 20 - 35 kHz!
Well, one could go on forever like that, but if I would have had to describe the sound
with just two words, I would when all is said and done: dynamics and purity. The pin-point
imaging, the three-dimensionality, the glittering over-tone register, are certainly all in
a class of their own, but it is after all the full-scale dynamics and the prodigious
resolution that most impresses. Everything else sounds pitifully shrunk, compressed and
lifeless compared to this, because the VR-8 has in fact more in common with the real thing
than with hi-fi. It handles macro-dynamics as elegantly as it does micro-dynamics,
revealing details almost imperceivable.
I have always believed that it was OK to put less priority on dynamics, but now I know how
wrong I have been all this time. It is in fact not the capacity to play loudly which is
the issue here, but the capacity to completely unmask the sound and to pick out all
nuances totally uncompressed. That is perhaps the greatest lesson one can learn by the
VR-8 and what makes it so utterly unique.
THE RIGHT HEIGHT
I just can't think of any drawbacks with the VR-8, not even the price tag. The fact that
Albert also has been able to create such a fully homogenous tone and sound range is a
remarkable achievement in itself.
I certainly feared that the sound image would be too high but the eye deceives the ear. If
one for instance closes ones eyes and points to a singer's mouth, then it is always the
correct height. Strange, but it has got something to do with the linear diffusion and the
The VR-8 is a speaker that will sharpen your sense of hearing in all its aspects and you
will definitely become a more critical listener, after having experienced how far it is
possible to go with stereo reproduction.
The funniest part of all this, is that Albert has actually thought about the consequence
of listening to his VR-8. Therefore he has created a smaller version, the VR-6, which has
exactly the same mid-range / treble-head, but the bass system consists of double 9-inches.
All in all this produces a scope of 20 - 35 kHz. The sensitivity is equal to that of the
VR-8, i.e. 96 dB, which in reality becomes nearly 100 dB because of the influence of the
room. With a height of 140 cm and a weight of about 80 kg, the VR-6 is more interior
The VR-6 costs SEK 150.000, compared to VR-8's 230.000.