Euro style and high-end sound in an apartment-friendly speaker
Trenner & Friedl's Osiris speakers produce amazing sound without taking over the room.
Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.
I've always been attracted to audio companies that break the mold. Ones with products that jump out from the pack in the way they look and sound. Scan my reviews of Zu speakers, Schitt electronics and the Border Patrol digital converter to see what I'm talking about. Today we're looking at Trenner & Friedl's Osiris speaker -- even before you hear it you know it's going to be something special.
Where many high-end speakers' front baffles are festooned with multiple woofers, plus separate midrange and tweeters, Osiris has just a single 6.5 inch paper woofer. Look closer and you'll see centered on the woofer is a coaxially mounted 1-inch titanium tweeter (see picture). Like I said, Osiris is tantalizingly different.
It's a small floor-standing speaker, just 33.5 inches tall. The cabinet is made from multilayer birch wood, and it has stealthy bass ports tucked away on its bottom panel.
Unlike most high-end speakers Trenner & Friedl speakers can be placed within inches of the wall behind them or well out into the room. Instead of the usual set of binding posts Osiris features a cable clamping system; the speaker's impedance is rated at 8 ohms.
Build quality is commensurate with the price, Osiris runs $8,500 a pair. The standard finishes are sumptuous walnut veneers, and a variety of extra cost finishes are also available. Big money to be sure, Osiris is aimed at the audiophile cognoscenti. Trenner & Friedl models start at $3,450 a pair for the Sun bookshelf speakers.
I've only been dimly aware of Peter Trenner & Andreas Friedl's company, but it's 25 years old. Their speakers are all made in Austria.
Listening to Osiris
All of my listening sessions took place at the In Living Stereo showroom in New York City. There the speakers were paired with a Leben CS600 tube stereo integrated amplifier ($6,495), it delivers 32 watts per channel. No worries -- once I started listening I never once felt the Osiris needed more power. If the sensation of live music is what this audiophile pursuit is all about the Osiris delivers on that promise.
Jumping from electronica to rock, Osiris took me there. I was drawn to the way this speaker reproduces vocals, they sound so right.
Keith Richards' work with the Rastafari reggae group Wingless Angels amply demonstrated the Osiris's low bass potency. This acoustic music's pounding drums filled the In Living Stereo listening room with surprising ease. The Osiris connection to the heartbeat rhythms was palpable, and the soundstage floated free of the speakers locations in the room.
Best of all, the Trenner & Friedl Osiris doesn't need to take over the room and be the center of attention. Just partner it with suitably refined electronics and enjoy the music. It's as simple as that.