The Ensemble Concept
Why does Ensemble sound so real, so close to ‘live’, so naturally musical – so different from most HiFi? Why can Ensemble perform this magic practically independent of room size and conditions? Questions that have often been asked. The answer lies in six design fundamentals:
- Take the most demanding and complex music as a yardstick, verify in a ‘live’ context.
- Take living rooms (of all sizes) as a basis.
- Make all elements to have the same strong qualities and inherent balance.
- Eliminate interference on all levels.
- Pay attention to even the smallest details.
- Have parts specifically made where quality is extremely critical.
The synergy of these fundamentals leads to products with a unique quality, creating a deep attachment of ownership, as is regularly reported by customers.
Add to this a seventh design principle:
- Make form, function and build quality constitute a perfect whole (a real ’ensemble’) and you get products of timeless elegance, user friendliness, and long, reliable service.
Handmade in Switzerland, including soldering each of the hundreds of components by hand, in overseeable production batches, each product has the touch of an individually built unit, yet with it comes the guarantee of absolute consistency. Each unit is burnt in for three days and passes a final listening test before shipping.
The ultimate driving force behind all things Ensemble is a deep attachment to music, a passion for everything genuine, and a constructive critical attitude.
In more than 30 years of consistent, continuous work towards the goal of having the equipment completely disappear in the listener’s awareness, Ensemble has never been as close as with the latest generation of its products, comprising the SONDORO™ series of electronics [son d’or = golden sound], the ONDIVA™ speakers, the INCANTO™and DALVIVO™ cables, the ALLINO™ RCA plugs, and various MAKES SENSE™ accessories.
Continued work on many levels such as interactive interference, shielding, isolation, decoupling, resonance control, power correction, impulse handling, memory effects, conductivity and more has resulted in advances that are all reflected in the latest generation, often finding expression in specifically made parts, such as the GOLDEN GATE™ and HI-RISE™ capacitors.
Having set up – ’plug and play’ – an Ensemble system, it only takes a few bars of music and by magic transposition you find yourself in a space energized with music, the musicians in life size, in a space as wide and deep as it was recorded. And the illusion is perfect, as you can walk around in the room, and the magic does not break in. A new experience, a new dimension of listening, creating a deep down feeling of wellness.
Ensemble – A Profile
Ensemble (AG SA Ltd. Inc.), incorporated as a Swiss company in 1986 by Dr Urs Wagner, was born from a fascination and passion for music. ’Ensemble’ means a group of people or objects in perfect harmony. True to its name, the Swiss company’s policy has been to build products that guarantee a supreme musical result as a ’plug and play’ system, and at the same time have the ability to make a big musical contribution as isolated units within an existing system. Handmade in Switzerland, Ensemble provides that particular pleasure and satisfaction very high quality can give.
In designing components for real-world conditions, Ensemble gives a lot of attention to areas that are often overlooked on the drawing boards: e.g. the control and suppression of mechanical and electrical interference. These disturbances often pass unnoticed because of their ’under cover’ masking effects. Only when they are undone, their absence becomes strikingly apparent, and the quality of sound takes on a new dimension of immediate, effortless naturalness and great clarity.
Music is energy, so to reproduce music well is to control that energy and avoid its presence where it should not be. For that reason resonance control, ie the prevention, suppression and redirection of unwanted vibrational energy, is a strong design feature throughout the entire Ensemble line. The same applies in the electrical domain where effective measures are taken to give a wide range of parasitical interference little chance to sneak into the system and start its degrading work.
The fascination of an Ensemble system lies not only in its musical expressiveness but also in its ability to have a scale of expression ranging from the very delicate to the boldly dramatic.
In a way, its scale is therefore wider than that of many larger systems, inclined to drowning the subtler and finer textures or losing the natural proportions of instruments and performers – slam and ’power’ being their main concern. The natural, unforced balance, so typical of Ensemble, proves to be a decisive factor that components or a system from Ensemble will remain an inseparable musical companion for many years to come.
The human ear is capable of perceiving qualities that are well beyond the range of the best measuring gear, not least because of the extreme complexity of information music represents. With music happening in space, all the mirror images and echoes come into it as well, creating a specific ambience and atmosphere around the music and the musicians positioned in space. All this comes alive with Ensemble, drawing you into the music and making music listening a new kind of experience.
To give visual and haptic expression to the superb inner build quality, Ensemble products are designed in a style of timeless elegance, blending harmoniously into a wide variety of interiors. In conclusion, we can say that the quality of a music system can be measured by the extent it disappears technically in our awareness and lets us concentrate completely on the music itself. It is like listening to a great musician – a few bars of music, and we are no longer aware of the hard technical work behind it, because we are completely drawn into the music.
With only the recording as the limit, Ensemble has come a long way to communicate a deep musical experience, which has the quality and potential of becoming a priceless part of daily wellness.