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Clarisys Audio Minuet planar ribbon speaker system Review

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Flashback moments

There was a time years ago when I acquired a vintage Apogee panel speaker. It was the smaller model, the Caliper, which greatly eased the process of moving it downstairs into my listening room. I finally had my opportunity to hear the magic of a true planar ribbon (hereafter ribbon) speaker!

Life turns in unexpected directions, and once again my curiosity was stirred to hear a ribbon speaker when, at AXPONA 2023, I spied the Clarisys Minuet and thought it impressive. Seeing as there were two pair of these strikingly beautiful speakers at the show and one was available immediately afterward, I set up the review with the Clarisys designer, Florian Wiegand, and Michael Bovaird of Suncoast Audio, the US distributor.

Toward the close of this article for submission, I noticed that Clarisys is getting some positive media attention from the HIGH END Munich 2023 audio show for its Auditorium Speaker. Rightly it should, given that it was engaging at AXPONA 2023 and has been a standout in my room.

Before I get deep into discussion of the Minuet, a word of hope for owners of vintage Apogee speakers. Clarisys is dedicated to the spirit of the Apogee design, but with marked improvements. The company offers parts to rebuild vintage Apogee speakers and tutorial videos for owners seeking to rehab their speakers, as detailed on the Clarisys website.

I offered Florian a chance to answer some questions in an interview, and he accepted. I direct the reader’s attention to that interview, which will be published soon. Consequently, there will be less technical discussion about the speaker in this article, which will focus on the basics and listening impressions.

I find it refreshing that Clarisys publicly supports a charity in Vietnam, a country I will not forget visiting, especially Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. The charity is called ClariKid and it assists disadvantaged children by providing scholarships and treatment of cancer, and physically challenged children with the means to play soccer.

The Minuet has a 3-year limited warranty and is shipped in a set of flight cases. You do not want to throw these cases away as it could cost you dearly should you ever need to relocate the speakers. Those with severe space considerations will need to factor in storage of the flight cases. If one is desperate without capacity to store the cases, they can double as extra firm beds! I am jesting, and I certainly did not test it! One of the flight cases contained all the parts for the stands, copper jumpers for facilitating single wiring the speakers, and some Allen wrenches to affix the bolts on the legs. There is no User’s Manual currently, but Michael says it is in development.

Refreshing the front end of the system

In this next segment of the review, I am borrowing from my discussion of the Aurender A20 reference analog network player, which is is forthcoming at The A20 arrived two weeks after the Minuet speakers, and with the change to the front end of the system, I feel this discussion is relevant. I share it for general information about the sources used in the assessment of the Minuet and to demonstrate that the Minuet is a fine speaker for revealing system changes. If you do not care to read about my transition of the digital source or the streaming service Qobuz, skip to the section entitled “Appearance, Build Quality, and Shipping.”

I am experiencing a renaissance of system building of late. Investigating digital sources, I have revisited server/streamer components. Noticing the progress Aurender has been making, the fact that many fine HiFi shops carry it, and a positive experience at AXPONA, where no less than 20 units from the company were in use, I felt confident that it would be a fine choice for a review.

I am on an approximately five-year cycle regarding upgrading my digital front end. My journey in file playback started with a Mac Mini running the up-conversion software HQ Player. It was great at the time because I was inexperienced. It did not take too long, however, to conclude that it was woefully short of the ideal digital source.

Next, I checked out (reviewed) the Wolf Audio Systems Red Wolf Audio Server. It was far more capable and better sounding as a digital source. It lifted the digital performance as I hoped it would, but I was not thrilled about the J Play software. Together, with the Red Wolf’s operations, I found it to be more involved in terms of handling settings than I wanted. I opted to keep looking for something with a simpler interface. The Red Wolf/J Play combo seemed more suitable to techie types and those who were heavily into video.

The digital front end I have been using since 2018 is the Small Green Computer sonicTransporter and the SONORE Signature Rendu SE with systemOptique and linear power supply. Since that time, the optical converter has been assimilated into the Signature Rendu, thus simplifying the setup. But one is still left with two components that interface. I have appreciated the sound quality and the customer service of SGC/SONORE.

The sonicTransporter and Signature Rendu SE has offered me quite a bit of pleasure. It appears that there have been tweaks to the SGC/SONORE setup as opposed to an entire overhaul. In the past year or two, twice I sought an additional review while new units with upgrades were being introduced. I interpreted (not to put words into the makers’ mouths) what I was told, the differences might not seem profound enough to me. I believe my colleague David Blumenstein is currently seeking a review of these products, so for a more affordable digital upgrade, his article would be pertinent.

My comments on comparison between the SGC/SONORE components and the A20 also must be seen considering the current price disparity between them. The A20 is $15,000 versus the current MSRP equivalent of my setup, the sonicTransporter i5 Gen3 with CD Ripper ($1,925) and Signature Rendu SE – single enclosure opticalRendu and linear power supply ($4,950), together totaling $6,875), which is about 46% of the cost of the Aurender A20.

At AXPONA 2023 I was able to finalize my plan to review an Aurender A20 with Ari Margolis, the company’s Director of Sales and Business Development. Initially, I thought I would be fine with an outboard CD ripper, but it seems my dependency upon a Mac desktop complicates things. I couldn’t use a Macintosh drive to rip discs to the Aurender. Wishing to avoid unwanted complexity and potential technical problems, the obvious solution was to switch to reviewing the A30, which incorporates a disc drive. I was intent on having the capacity to rip discs because a large part of my esoteric CD collection is unavailable on a streaming platform. I am grateful that Aurender offers it. This review was completed during the time the A20 was in my possession, before it was swapped for the A30.

Some will say that streamer/servers are mere computers and that I am full of it for suggesting that one such product renders bits differently than another. I long ago grew weary of such arguments. An audiophile either builds rigs and learns how things sound, or they do not. I have stopped wasting my time arguing with people who want to joust theory and who often won’t spend their money regardless of the conclusion. There are two types of audiophiles, those who want better and compare, and those who don’t. I write for those who do comparisons, not for those who argue with no intent to act.

With time I am being pulled toward the one box solution. I have had plenty of doodads, add-ons and multi-box solutions and I’m tired of it. In this age of synchronicity of all things digital, I want a simple and powerful source, and I’m not inclined any longer to compromise. That potentially takes me out of the orbit of SGC/SONORE. Aurender seems to take that demand for simplicity and superb sound seriously. They obviously are putting their skin in the game by creating an ecosystem from which music is played so that they can control the process from the user interface to output to the speakers.

8 Responses to Clarisys Audio Minuet planar ribbon speaker system Review

  1. Ken Basar says:

    My Audio Room is 17 x 25 x 8. Is this room too large for the Minuets?

  2. Ken,
    God’s Peace,

    My room dimensions are not far off from yours; 13’x23’x7.5′. The Minuet is plenty large for my room. However, have worked with several much larger speakers, such as the King Sound King III, the Legacy Audio Valor, V, and Whisper, Aspen Acoustics Grand Aspen, and the PureAudioProject Quintet15. So, my tolerance for a much larger speaker in a moderately sized room is high.

    The Minuet would presumably work quite well in your room, but if you wished to have the same technology/presentation but with a larger sound stage/scale, I suggest you consider the next model up, the Studio Plus.

    Douglas Schroeder

  3. Ken Basar says:

    Douglas another question. How far out from the head wall did you achieve? I would prefer about 5 feet but I guess 4 feet would work.

  4. Douglas Schroeder says:

    God’s Peace,

    Think of the effect of reflectivity of the head wall as being on a continuum. I had the speakers about 5′ from the head wall. If you have the space and inclination, experiment with the distance from the head wall, perhaps ranging from 2′ to 5′ or more. The presentation will change holistically as a result of such placement. I did not place them very near the wall because my Perlisten subs are situated and tuned for the room, and I was not going to move them for any speaker under review. The Minuet blended well with the Perlisten subs and added extra power and depth to the system.

    Though it might not be absolutely necessary, I strongly recommend that fine subwoofers be used whenever possible with even larger dipole speakers. Some may disagree, suggesting that subwoofers cannot keep up with the speed of the dipole driver. I disagree, at least when it comes to the Perlisten subs.

    Douglas Schroeder

  5. Ken Basar says:

    Thank you so much for your reply.
    I have a set on order, so sorry for the additional questions.
    1. How far should they be placed from the sidewalls?
    2. I have some Stillpoints Aperture 2 in the center behind my present speakers, and also some ASC tube traps in the corners, what do you think of having them in the room?

  6. Douglas Schroeder says:

    God’s Peace,

    I would not place them closer than 1′ from side walls. Feel free to experiment with such things. The soundstage will change according to how far apart from each other they are.

    Do not overemphasize ancillary things such as footers. Tube traps are effective for the right purposes, but I would definitely try removing them also to see what the effect is on the presentation. The speakers will not create the LF of subwoofers, so if you do not have subs, then definitely try both ways.

    Feel free to experiment with all such things. The final result is like cooking a meal, so have fun.

    Doug Schroeder

  7. Alessandro Chiocchetti says:

    I owned and got rid of a Legacy Audio iV2 Ultra Amplifier purchased solely trusting the dealer recommendation (huge mistake). To keep it short I found it being by far the least musical amplifier I ever owned during four decades.

  8. Alessandro,
    God’s Peace,

    Audiophiles have different taste and priorities. My experience is that the i.V4 Ultra continues to be one of the two or three very best I have handled among the tube, SS, or hybrid amps I have reviewed. I also have been at it for about 40 years. Congratulations on being a true long-term music lover!

    If the audiophile’s priority is for a very fat, rounded, and (what I would call) syrupy sound that is heavy in the mid bass and light on the treble (what some audiophiles would call musical. I’m not sure if that applies in your situation), then I would not expect the i.V4 Ultra to satisfy you. I find that audiophiles tend to fall into two camps, those who want the above characteristics and those who don’t. I’m one who doesn’t want that particular combination, as imo it convolutes the performance and is not as tonally balanced across the frequency spectrum as the i.V4 Ultra. I also have found the majority of amps called musical to be lacking in definition and resolution. We are speaking in generalities.

    For owners of Clarisys speakers or other dipoles, such speakers are going to potentially sound more bright and detailed to the ear than traditional dynamic speakers, especially those with a lot of cabinet resonance such as Audio Note or Harbeth. My experience with the attempt to make such speakers warmer is that unless an extreme tube amp that offers higher power is used, the performance of the dipole will suffer in terms of macrodynamics. To get a speaker like the Minuet to have warmth of a speaker like those above and with the dynamics of the i.V4 Ultra would take an extreme amount of money, imo. Note the high MSRP amps that are used by Clarisys. It’s pretty easy to get even a budget speaker to sound “musical” if that means tonally ripe. To get a speaker like the Minuet to be tonally ripe and still have excellent resolution and dynamics would be a challenge. Even then, you are not guaranteed to get the result you want.

    I hope that you are able to achieve the sound you desire!
    Douglas Schroeder

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