Stenheim Alumine Two SE Loudspeakers

Stenheim was founded in 2010 in Switzerland by five founders, all of whom were intensely passionate about music and its reproduction in the best possible quality at home. Now, and for around a decade in fact since Stenheim's first years, the company's helm is guided by CEO and owner Jean-Pascal Panchard. Music, of course, is where you may find yourself intimately connected to each of the emotional components which curate the soundtrack to your life. Stenheim’s motivations are based around principles of a love for music and a deep and well-practiced knowledge of the engineering ideologies required to bring such aspirations to fruition, and give a voice to the imagination, also a company of which I had very little knowledge prior to this review sample being sent to me.

Swiss engineering

So, what was I expecting? To be honest, I didn’t really have any preconceived ideas of what the Alumine Two SE would sound like, other than being unquestionably influenced by the size and the price of these units. They are small, but unexpectedly heavy for their stature, and they are expensive, very expensive for such a small format, passive speaker. So, on one hand I suppose I expected quite a lot for the dollars and, on the other, I expected to be underwhelmed by their performance due to their size. Let’s not give away too much right now…


My first impression upon unboxing these little speakers was how heavy they were; absolutely solid. The immediate effect is one of gratification, a feeling that you have just picked up something of true value, an item crafted to such a degree, that you know instantly that it must be shared, and appreciated, while possessing a reassuring impression of quality and engineering excellence. Aesthetically there is a surprising lack of opulent expression or perhaps overstated egoism; these just seem to have a very simple air of brutalism, a simplistic design with a mix of utilitarian, yet architectural elegance. If you strive for a minimalist, elegant and uncluttered environment, these will fit anywhere. I love that. Simple as that.

Understated overachiever

Ok, I can’t hold this back anymore. These speakers are phenomenal. Not just great, or brilliant, or fantastic. Don’t get me wrong, they are small format standmounts, and in my humble opinion, they need subs, but even without subs, these speakers are fantastic. I always, and I mean always, go back to my Bowers & Wilkins 802 when I have samples for review, and if I am listening for pleasure, and then switch back for a bit to relate my impressions of other speakers, and of course for critical listening sessions, enough to let each speaker and component get under my skin and leave really a good impression of itself.

Not this time. I have not been able to take my Nordost out of the back of these things. Now, I have had some other gear here for review, and I have for the past few weeks, had these paired to a pair of REL 31s, expensive reference offerings in themselves, but quite simply, the result from this pairing is in my opinion, and in my room, with my tastes; on par with the REL 31s paired with my Bowers 802s. The clarity and expression from this set up is top notch, complete, simply overwhelmingly satisfying. I did not, and do not want, for anything else sonically.


I have sat in front of these constantly, with an array of musical genres and sources and time after time, been completely in love with the experience they provide. That really is what it’s about, right? The experience you are provided with from a well curated music reproduction system, that allows you to get back to just that. Music. Isn’t that what we all want? To forget about buying more gear and be absolutely satisfied with the way music is brought into our lives? I’m rediscovering that again after many years of designing high-end studios, acoustic environments, producing music and being obsessed with the tech. Sure, the design plays a big part of it, and enjoying all the great equipment out there, but imagine when you find that system, right in your own home, when you feel content, that you don’t feel the need to keep searching, but instead enjoy the relationship you have just rediscovered.

It is so easy to think that I will write positive reviews about everything I am presented with, in order to get more gear to review, but that simply isn’t the case. At certain price points, there is undeniably, a level of performance that excels the lesser market, but I just cannot over-express how absolutely fantastic these are. Again, without a sub, I would be wanting for more, but this also goes to show how important a correctly chosen, and placed sub, or set of subs, are in a system. Learn how to blend speakers and sub/s correctly and your entire experience will be enhanced beyond your comprehension. It’s not just about bass, but the way the frequency response and soundstage are changed entirely. But that’s for another review.

So, let’s talk about what I played with these. I have a few go-to tracks, as does everyone, and then I try to discover new music and see how the system ingratiates itself with these new additions. “The Logical Song” by Supertramp, a fantastically well produced track and equally well mastered, came across with a degree of clarity and body normally reserved for the likes of my 802s. Played at low level, there is a distinct lack of bounce and charisma from the opening drum fills and familiar dynamics, but that’s not per say, exclusive to these Stenheims, a very gentle nudge of the volume control and things changed drastically. Now, Supertramp’s dynamic hit is delivered with absolute confidence, the detail is precise, sparkling, vibrant, exciting, but always controlled, balanced, always in touch with itself and cohesive at every point. I had to repeat!


The Alumine Two SE are 93dB sensitive at 2.83V/1m with an 4 ohms impedance and a 200W peak power handling, so there is no issue with requiring a large amount of power on tap, and my 300 watts Mark Levinson monoblocs paired beautifully with these. The frequency response of Alumine Two SE is 45 Hz to 30 kHz, covering enough of the frequency gamut to deliver a fantastic representation of the music on their own, especially in smaller rooms, and even professional production setups, but with subwoofers, the picture really is complete.

“Sailing” by Christopher Cross presented another sublime experience, like sitting in a marshmallow sofa and sinking into every tone and note that washes over you with utter seduction. There is no resonance from the cabinets, no harsh frequencies, just pure unadulterated enjoyment, and what certainly appears to be a dynamically consistent delivery of every frequency being sent through the speaker cables.

Now let’s discuss the technical components for a second. The cabinets are aluminium, and we know that aluminium has some resonant frequencies that may create some sharp resonance from the cabinets. Stenheim has some very simple but effective damping applied inside the cabinets and the aluminium is substantial (between 10 mm and 15 mm panel thicknesses). Speaker drivers are set into the cabinet from the rear, with the screws being applied from the rear interior of the cabinet, leaving a completely clean finish. Free from screws on the front of the speaker. No dust covers required. Said drivers employed on the 2-way Alumine Two SE include a 25 mm (1 inch) soft dome tweeter (shallow horn-loaded) and a 165 mm (6.5 inch) resin-damped cellulose fibre mid-bass driver with front-facing reflex port support.


The SE version’s crossovers are made from the very best components. I did some research online and watched a few videos regarding the crossover construction, and it appears that Stenheim has used Mundorf, Jantzen, Audyn, Myflex and Jupiter – all high quality niche components for the crossover. Stenheim has also developed its own custom internal wiring and the SE version incorporates higher quality binding posts. All components are noted for their excellent electrical properties and equally high prices. No surprise that these speakers perform as they do. The fit and finish of Alumine Two SE is simple but of the highest quality. It’s a small company, with a small headquarters, producing what I assume to be low-to-mid quantities of high-quality loudspeakers.

Electronic music such as “Insomnia” by Kidburn from the album Love in Times of Death, became an epic journey into 80s stylised synthpop, involving me deeply in the dream-like, reminiscent electro-pop song’s layers of synth and vocals. “Soho Vibes” by Mo’ Horizons just jumped out of the speakers, with the percussion reaching levels of clarity and vigour that defied the size of these little gems, before evolving into a rich tapestry of subtly effortless groove.

From the dirtiest grooves by the likes of Jane’s Addiction, the revered benchmarks from Dire Straits, and modern dancefloor classics like Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now”, these little speakers seemed to transform into giants. Paired with a great set of subs, blended correctly, and you will for sure, have found yourself an unbeatable high-end audio experience.


I urge you, no matter what your tastes or expectations, to experience these speakers, and I mean that in the most comprehensive manner of “experience”. I simply cannot overstate the way these speakers perform. But what about price? So, this is where things do get interesting. These speakers are made in Switzerland, where wages are higher, cost of doing business is higher, and therefore prices are higher. They are made under the careful guidance of a skilled engineering team scrutinising every stage of design and construction. The Stenheim design team remains completely in control of each stage of the manufacturing and assembly process, resulting in a high-end product with a distinctly boutique, well-crafted and meticulously honed finish.

But is the performance at a level so far beyond offerings from the likes of Bowers & Wilkins, at half the price, that you could justify the extra expense of around 100% more? I’m not sure. There is no doubt that manufacturing costs can add a huge amount to the bottom line and therefore the retail price of a product, but the experience to the consumer must be equal or at least close to that, to justify the extra outlay.


However, we are not (at the present time at least) assuming that Stenheim is living in the world of the average consumer – these are luxury goods. That’s a fact, and with their SKU numbers being comparatively low, I would imagine that their target audience, and their viability within that market is healthy. These are Swiss made after all, and increased costs are just a matter of fact.

So here are my two takeaways.

  1. If you cannot afford them, please try and experience them, it is well worth it, and something that will leave a smile on your face.
  2. If you can afford them, if you are looking for a pair of speakers in this format and size, and the design fits your taste, also go and experience them, I reckon you’ll buy them!

I’m definitely a fan, I will be following Stenheim closely, and “hey” all you engineers over there at Stenheim, if you’re looking to collaborate on designs with another Scottish engineer, I’d invest my time in a heartbeat, these guys know what they’re doing. No fuss, no esoteric nonsense in their aesthetics, just pure simple, elegant, albeit slightly brutalist designs, well-engineered crossovers, and extremely well thought out fit and finish. And above all else, they perform. This is a purist’s company, an engineer’s company, an intellectual offering in a sea of ever-increasing eclectic exoticism.

I like what they’re doing at Stenheim, and I hope the success story continues.

Barry James Johnston

Associated Equipment

  • Speakers — Bowers and Wilkins Nautilus 802, Yamaha NS1000 – 2 Pairs – Modified, KEF LSX, REL HT1205 x 2, JBL 4328 LSR, Sony subwoofer
  • Amplifier — Mark Levinson No.531H Monoblocks, Quad 606 Power amp, Sansui AU555 Integrated
  • Preamplifier — PrimaLuna EVO 400
  • SourcesDigital: Gryphon Scorpio, Simaudio Moon HAD230, Marantz PMD-340, (MacBook Pro 15 - Audirvana, Tidal, Spotify) Sony PHA3, Sony NW ZX2, Sony PCM2600
  • Analogue: Marantz TT-15S1, Clearaudio Satisfy Tonearm, Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood MKII, Whest P.20, LINN LP12, Stax UA7CF Tonearm, Audio Technica LPW40WN
  • Cables — Nordost Frey, inakustik Exzellenz Balanced interconnect, Isotek IEC, various custom interconnect
  • Audio Rack — Custom – Noizy Head , Noizy Head custom iso platforms
  • Miscellaneous — Audio Technica AT-AWAS, Focal Listen, Audio Technica MSR7, Mac Pro, Focusrite Scarlett 18i20, Vicoustic room treatment, and a various supporting cast

Stenheim Alumine Two SE Loudspeakers
Price: AU$28,000 (Solid Aluminium Stand AU$5700, Solid Steel Stand AU$2900)
Australian Warranty: Five Years

Australian Distributor: Nirvana Sound
1300 988 366

Stenheim Suisse SA
Route du Rhoône 10, Z.I. du Botza C3
1963 Vétroz
+41 27 565 3211