Franco Serblin Ktema Speaker

Perhaps best known for founding and heading Sonus Faber from 1983 to 2005, Franco Serblin now has a new venture—the Ktêma speaker, named for the Greek expression, Ktêma eis aei, "a possession forever."

The Ktêma began with the idea of the proscenium—the center of a theatrical stage where much of the action takes place. The focus of attention is on the soloist, and the surrounding space, which includes the rest of the musical ensemble, arises from and develops around that point.

This idea is embodied in the Ktêma's design. Mounted high on the front of the Ktêma is a 1-inch soft-dome tweeter and two 4-inch midrange drivers. The curved sides of the cabinet are concave, while the back surface, which holds two 9-inch metal-cone woofers near the bottom, is convex. This unusual design is intended to focus attention on the mid-high range while the bass fills the surrounding space.

The frequency response is specified from 26Hz to 33kHz in-room, though no tolerance is given. The woofers are said to be "compression-loaded and room interfaced," while the midrange drivers are in an "acoustic-resistance configuration" within a "step-compensated baffle." Unfortunately, there is no explanation of just what these descriptors actually mean.

Continuing with more inscrutable terminology, the crossover is described as a "mutational variable slope, coherent spatial radiation design," and pure silver-palladium mono wiring from Yter is used throughout.

So what's the price tag? £25,000/pair (about $40,000 as of this writing). Is it worth that much? Here's what famed opera singer Andrea Bocelli had to say about that in a letter to Franco Serblin: "Even my voice seems warmer and more beautiful! A real home theatre, where the singer is right there, in front of you...many congratulations for 'a possession forever'..."