It seems that you can barely browse the internet these days without coming across another new Kickstarter audio product. Many of these get announced and then never see the light of day, so it’s nice to hear from one that has actually made it into production.

Feniks Audio (based in Schaffhausen, Switzerland) has announced that the Essence active sound system, which they claim is “the world’s best computer speaker system and world’s smallest high-end monitor”, is finally shipping.

The Essence was offered directly to customers in April 2016 thanks to a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, where the project successfully raised nearly CHF 100,000 from 110 backers on 6 different continents. A further 19 customers purchased the system during a pre-order campaign. Originally estimated to ship in the autumn of 2016, after the campaign completed it was decided to upgrade the internal DAC from the ESS ES9010 DAC chip to the superior ES9018, which necessitated a redesign of the board and rewriting the firmware. This also lead to manufacturing delays. As unfortunate and frustrating as the delays were, the end result is, they say “a substantially better product than was originally promised and, we believe, worth the wait”.

The first shipments are already being delivered to customers, with more being sent every week. Feniks have also recently relaunched their website with e-commerce functionality, where the Essence is available to ship worldwide for CHF 1600 (approximately USD 1650/EUR 1395/GBP 1260).

Ted and Robert Kwolek, the father and son team behind the project told us: “After the long journey to bring the Essence to life, it’s incredibly rewarding to hear the positive comments from customers, which makes it all worth the effort. It has always been our intent to make quality high-end audio accessible to a larger audience, both in terms of price, design, and ease of use, and in that regard especially the Essence is a remarkable success. We’re very proud of what has been accomplished against the odds on a limited budget. A huge thank you to our customers, investors, and fans, who believed in the product and have been remarkably patient during the duration of the production process. Without them, the Essence would not have been possible. In the weeks and months to come, we look forward to building more of our beautiful speakers to ship to the homes and offices of customers throughout the world and spread the enjoyment that high quality audio brings”.





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