I’d never heard of Pearl Acoustics’ Sibelius Loudspeakers until I read a thread about them in PFM (Pink Fish Media). I have to say I was intrigued – solid oak cabinet, single driver, active speakers made simple. Normally at this time of year I would be organizing holidays and changing the car but clearly I’m going nowhere soon so investing in something I will actually use in the current circumstances seems sensible. After exchanging a lot of e-mails with Harley Lovegrove the designer I decided to try some. I ordered them on the Monday before Christmas hoping to avoid any Brexit problems as they are based in Belgium. Shortly after, I found out that the Channel crossings were closed so I resigned myself to a new year delivery. However, on Tuesday I learned they had landed at the DHL depot at the local airport and were duly delivered to me Wednesday morning. A good start!
They are even more impressive in the flesh than in the photographs – beautifully made. They weigh a ton, as do the very elegant bases. What do they sound like? Probably the best I could say is that the sound surpasses the looks. They have the widest soundstage I’ve ever heard at home. Great imaging. Total lack of boxiness. Very revealing of fine detail. My previous doubts about whether they would be able to fill my 6 x 5m room now seem risible. They do so effortlessly. They work brilliantly with all types of music. There is a very natural flow and cohesion to music which is very satisfying. Harley says they are not the best for electronic or music with pronounced drums and bass. Being a contrary sort that’s exactly what I tried first! The bass on Billie Eilish (“where do we go …”) was amazing. I swear there must be at least two 8 inch woofers hidden in the cabinet. That would explain the weight! I guess there are many speakers with more extended bass but probably few with the amount of punch. It seems like the amplifier has them in such a tight grip that if they had eyes they would be watering!
There are obviously lots of great sounding conventional speakers but it’s nice to discover something that is different which works so well. The Markaudio drivers are, well, remarkable. I’m surprised they are not more widely used. I can understand why Paul Messenger thought they were great value at £5000 and actually bought a pair. At c.£3000 (with stands) bought direct, they are a steal when you consider the peerless build quality and the sound reproduction which is on offer. Not so much keepers as family heirlooms.
Talking of reproduction we don’t know what the sound was in the studio that we are trying to reproduce but Harley does. His other passion is sound engineering. Apparently he’s recorded hundreds of sessions of classical music, for CD and radio play, so he knows exactly what he is trying to recreate. Now I just need to resist the temptation to acquire the power amp that Colin Wonfor has designed especially for them…