FinkTeam may be a relatively new name in the loudspeaker marketplace, but the company and people behind it are almost legendary in the depth and reach of their experience in the audio business. Knowing this, when we first actually heard the Borg at Munich in May 2019, we were very comfortable in taking on a brand with both great sonic attributes and a truly top-class company backing it up.
FinkTeam only have two current speakers under their name at the moment, KIM (a large-ish standmount) joining the BORG in summer 2020. BORG is now proven to be an eye- and ear-catching product for many UK audiophiles, and we look forward to seeing how many agree with us on the rare blend of abilities the Borg brings....
FinkTeam loudspeakers are no typical designs, and we feel they can punch beyond their weight, with the fine-tuning options giving a unique advantage in many real-world rooms and systems.
As an adjunct to 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’ and 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 a 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.
The WM-4 may be a technical tour-de-force but it is all for one single purpose: to maximise musical enjoyment.
A year later and we have completed the design of Borg – a smaller more domestic room friendly loudspeaker. Yes, we know a great 10inch isn’t going to be better than a great 15inch for bass power and dynamics but for some a great 10 is all that can be accommodated.
We suggest that you get to listen to the Borg at your convenience, you may be surprised as just how musically revealing and fun it can be.
"What to say about Borg? It’s the best speaker I have ever heard. Period. And although the cabinet and driver design is extremely clever, it is the crossover design that really impresses, simply because it is utterly inaudible." - Jon Honeyball, Hifi Critic Magazine
FinkTeam’s Borg is two-way floor standing design featuring a 10.25 inch high-power mid/bass driver and an Air Motion Transformer (AMT) tweeter.
Borg is a significant design exercise as knitting a 10.25 inch mid/bass, albeit an extremely fine one, with a HF unit is never easy. To combine the two drivers to achieve a flat frequency response and, more importantly, a slow even mid/HF roll off in the power response is a significant feat of engineering. There is no off-axis hole in the middle effect.
Bass Unit High Power 10.25-inch with 3″ Voice coil
HF Unit 6464mm2 AMT (Mundorf)
Terminals High Current Connectors for 4mm plugs or spades
Dimensions 1050 x 300 x 400mm (HWD)
Weight 52kg each
Finish Choice of standard finishes or any finish to special order
Defining a new model for a relatively new company in the market place is always challenging. With Borg we made our second model a success by having innovation. For our third model, KIM, we asked our dealers and distributors and they asked for either a more expensive model or a cheaper model, but there was no clear trend. So, we did what we are good at – we made it our own way again! Just a speaker that we would use ourselves, something which we could have fun on, designing a speaker for us.
Due to the low height of the design the speaker is tilted on its dedicated stand, this ensures that in a normal listening position the soundstage has the correct height and size. There is still the ability to adjust the angle in case the listener is closer or further away from the speakers. As the stand is so important for the final sound it comes together with the speaker. The stand is made from stainless steel and only has very small surfaces that could radiate resonances and is light enough not to store energy.
For adjustment to different amplifiers the woofer damping can be modified and a second switch sets the HF level. The crossover is at a low 2200Hz, the AMT is also connected via a passive delay to adjust the phase in relation with the woofer - something that worked very well in Borg. Components are high quality Mundorf, or custom built as needed. The woofer uses a paper cone, this time with a rubber surround. On an 8” driver It is not possible to use corrugated cloth as a surround material without too many compromises. To get the resonance frequency down to the level required for the cabinet it would reduce the midrange quality and add colouration. On the cabinet we used all the tricks and whistles we learned over the years. The walls are made from two panels with the latest damping glue between them, the bracing is all carefully optimized and resonators added to avoid standing wave modes without killing the fun out of the box with excessive damping material. The port is made using the same principles developed with Borg, but this time it’s integrated into the rear panel.
Frequency Response 35Hz-25kHz -10dB Average Impedance > 8 Ohm Minimum Impedance 5,9 Ohm @ 160 Hz Sensitivity 86 dB @ 2.83 V / 1 m Distortion 0.2 % THD @1W Crossover Frequency 2200 Hz Bass Unit High-Power 8“, 38 mm voice coil diameter HF Unit 110 mm AMT Dimensions 854 x 300 x 310 mm (HWD) Depth 412 mm with stand Weight 25,1 kg Finish Choice of several standard finishes Cabinet Reflex with multiple Strunk Absorbers and damped double layer Sandwich panels with one dimensional bracing and CleanPort resonator. Integrated Stand Option Switches 3 Positions Tweeter level, 3 positions Woofer damping Terminal High Current Single Wiring pure Copper
* WM4 will cease production in 2020 *
FINKTEAM’s WM-4 is a three-way, twin-cabinet design featuring a 15-inch bass driver, twin 5.5- inch at-diaphragm midrange drivers and an AMT tweeter.
The two midrange drivers and tweeter, arranged as an MTM (D’Appolito) array, are housed in the top cabinet which is faceted to reduce diffraction effects.
The bass driver occupies the lower cabinet and is reflex loaded via a large forward- ring port.
The WM-4 combines wide bandwidth (30Hz- 30kHz) with high sensitivity (90dB) but is easy to drive, with an average impedance of around 6 ohms and low impedance phase angles. To make the WM-4 better adapted to use with some valve amplifiers, an optional impedance smoother is provided which reduces the impedance variation and hence the frequency response errors that result from high amplifier output impedance.
The WM-4 is a loudspeaker with two great abilities: it is capable of revealing the smallest change in the partnering system and thus is a wonderful analytical tool. However and very unusually for an analytical tool it is capable of kicking back and playing music of any era and making it enjoyable, involving and communicative.
The two abilities are rarely found together in loudspeakers designs but the wide dynamic range and very low distortion of the WM-4 deliver performance at the highest level.