Hansen Audio Grand Master Speaker

Among the myriad speakers introduced at CES 2010 was the Grand Master, the new flagship of Canadian maker Hansen Audio. A behemoth standing over six feet tall and weighing 650 pounds, it's packed with proprietary technology that promises exquisite sound.

This 3-way speaker uses no less than 10 drivers—two 1-inch dome tweeters (one on the back near the top), four 7-inch cone midranges, and four 10.6-inch cone woofers—all designed and hand-made by Hansen from the same multi-layer, composite-sandwich material said to prevent sound-wave deformation. The curvaceous cabinet is designed to avoid any diffraction distortion and bring the drivers' dispersion and phase characteristics into coherence. In addition, the cabinet is made from the company's Composite Matrix material with one layer called the Cloaking Device, which is said to further lower the distortion floor.

The result of all these machinations is a frequency response specified from 15Hz (!) to 23kHz (±2dB) and a sensitivity of 90dB/W/m. And the price? $239,000/pair. That's some serious coin, but the Grand Master garnered some serious praise from the audiophile press at CES last January.