Living Voice has been refining the Vox Olympian horn speaker for several years now and when I visited the company's Nottingham headquarters they had taken delivery of the latest and most elaborately finished version yet. The cabinet is made by Anglo Dutch super yacht fitters Struik & Hamerslag in Fakenham, Norfolk and the quality of workmanship is like nothing I've encountered in the world of hi-fi. The only area where you might find something to approach it is in the finest antiques, and presumably luxury yachts.
In the image above you get an idea of the sophistication of craftsmanship involved. The main section on top of the midrange horn, the deep, sumptuous central part that looks like bubbly toffee, is amboyna burl. The lighter inlaid stringing around it is lacewood and the dark edge is macassar ebony.
The main carcass is in macassar ebony with a sunburst motif on the side of the horn, the controls are in LG2 bronze as is the majority of the treble horn – the front of the mouth is 24 karat gold plated brass. The midrange horn and supertweeter are yet to be fitted.
Amboyna burl veneer 'reads through' from the top to the mouth of the midrange horn and thence to the double tongue of the bass horn below. The lighter yet nearly as dramatically figured veneer on the edge of both horns is ripple eucalyptus which sets off the richness of the darker veneers superbly.
The Living Voice Vox Olympian badge which is made for the company by Octave Audio in Bristol is a work of art in itself. The strike or bridge is in oxidised silver and sits over an inverted ziggurat with 'Made in England' in the same material at the bottom.
This side view of the midrange horn mouth reveals the way that Struik & Hamerslag have been able to curve the amboyna burl veneer in two planes to spectacular effect.