As a division of Europe’s premier loudspeaker design consultancy, we at FINKTEAM are involved in the creation of many different speakers across a wide range of prices. Loudspeaker manufacturers hire us because of our expertise, experience and extremely well-equipped simulation and measurement facilities. But we are ‘backroom boys’ so much of our work is, in the nature of consultancy, confidential: only if the client elects to mention our involvement are we credited.
When we began work on designing a loudspeaker for ourselves, from the ground up and virtually without cost limitations, we envisaged it both as demonstration of our capabilities and as a very useful internal reference. There was no intention that it would go on sale. We are loudspeaker engineers, not loudspeaker manufacturers – at least, not normally.
But events took an unexpected turn when Marantz Europe’s brand ambassador Ken Ishiwata heard an early and not very eye-pleasing prototype (it was known internally as ‘the washing machine’) and asked us to create a properly finished version which he could use to demonstrate his electronic designs. This speaker, the WM-3 – with industrial design by Kieron Dunk of IDA in England – we unveiled at the Munich High End show in 2016, and it was so well received that we were forced to rethink. Like a car maker who shows a concept car that wows press and public alike, we realised that there was unexpected demand for what we had created.
So we set about making it a ‘real’ product, a process which involved much more than creating a small- scale production line. We decided to enhance the design in key respects: by swapping the WM-3’s nice, but not perfect bass driver for a design of our own, by improving the midrange driver chassis, and by selecting a different AMT (Air Motion Transformer) tweeter. Of course, all this required changes to the crossover and cabinet too.
The result of our efforts, the WM-4, is the best loudspeaker we currently know how to make: the distillation of our wide, deep experience of designing loudspeaker drive units and loudspeaker systems, and marrying them into something even greater than the sum of its parts.
We believe the combination of our design skills together with total control of manufacturing, as we build in-house, allows us to deliver a world-class loudspeaker system that is at home playing audiophile demo tracks as playing classic rock, jazz and orchestral music.
In summary, the WM-4 may be a technical tour-de-force but it is all for one single purpose: to maximise musical enjoyment.