Gershman Acoustics Grand Studio II Loudspeaker

Unusual, if not unique – does this Canadian company's idea of stacking two speakers for each channel pay sonic dividends?

The idea of stacked speakers is nothing new: SME founder Alastair Robertson-Aikman was famed for using double-decker Quad ELS57 electrostatics [HFN Sep '77 & Dec '01] and the idea was even endorsed by the speaker company which provided instructions to achieve the same thing, with the upper speaker mounted in a frame upside down above the lower. Even the late brand ambassador, Ken Ishiwata, was for a while demonstrating his Marantz electronics with stacked pairs of Mordaunt-Short Performance 6 speakers mounted in frames he'd spec'd and had custom-made.

The same thinking informs these £16,836-a-pair Grand Studio II floorstanders from Ontario-based Gershman Acoustics, a company founded by designer Eli Gershman 30 years ago, that birthday recently being marked with the sculptural 30th Anniversary Grand Avant Garde speaker.

Double Decker
The 'II' in the model name indicates not a second-generation design, but that each channel uses two of the company's Grand Studio speakers, each a relatively conventional sealed-box standmount, with the upper enclosure 'flown' upside-down above the lower in a frame made of stainless steel. This exo-skeleton creates a fine gap that prevents mechanical interference between the two cabinets while minimising, as far as possible, the distance between the two 25mm soft-dome tweeters.


Held within a stainless steel frame, the two Grand Studio 'standmounts' each host a 200mm woofer, with black anodised alloy cone, four-layer voice coil and generous roll surround, plus 25mm soft-dome tweeter

The frame supports a construction some 117cm tall and weighing a substantial 73.5kg. It's not exactly pretty but it is striking. The company explains that the stand 'introduces a different material and resonance frequency compared to the HDF wood enclosure, contributing to a lower, tighter, and more precise bass response'. It also claims this two-speaker configuration 'not only enhances the soundstage but also provides improved dispersion characteristics, ensuring a more consistent listening experience throughout a room'. If this seems to fly in the face of received wisdom about speakers using twin tweeters, Gershman counters that this 'has been carefully addressed to avoid any interference or phase issues'.

Jump To It
Hooking up the speakers is relatively conventional, despite that 'two enclosures per side' configuration. The cables from your amplifier connect to the lower loudspeaker, from which supplied jumper cables run to the upper enclosure, thus wiring the two sections in parallel. And setup is similarly undemanding, beyond a requirement that the speakers should be at least 1.6 times as far from side walls as they are from the wall behind them. They can then be toed-in slightly towards the listening position, the exact degree decided by listening for what the company describes as the 'sweet spot where the music locks into place creating a natural and incredible 3D soundstage'.

And there you have it: two 200mm, long-throw alloy-coned bass/mid drivers and a pair of 25mm soft-dome tweeters point at you from each set of high-gloss black speaker arrays – other finishes are available to order at a £600 premium – clamped in the embrace of a matt steel frame. There's no denying the quality of the workmanship and finish here, the sealed-box speakers still being handbuilt in Canada. Even the crossover is assembled by hand with point-to-point wiring using custom oxygen-free copper cable.

Gershman Acoustics
Ontario, Canada
Supplied by: Audio Pinnacle/Summer House Sounds Ltd, Hants, UK
01420 544140