Stenheim Reference Ultime Three

Regular price $235,000.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $235,000.00 USD
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Reference Ultime Three
A gateway to sonic nirvana.

The Reference Ultime Three first wowed audiophiles in 2014 where, surprisingly, it was the successor to the comparatively diminutive Alumine Two. This latter iconic speaker introduced a new concept in speaker design, that of marrying sonically inert aluminium cabinets with high-efficiency drivers and sophisticated crossovers. If this combination could revolutionise bookshelf speakers, could it do the same for the largest floorstanders? The answer was a resounding “yes”.

This is a speaker capable of producing a massive, cohesive soundstage and the full sonic spectrum of recorded music. Bass response goes down to an earth-tremoring 15 Hz providing the deepest lows whilst the 100 kHz top end provides bell-like clarity in the upper reaches of musical performance. As with all Stenheim speakers, the aim and the achieved result is to let the music speak for itself with all the immediacy, dynamism and excitement of the original performance. Despite their size, these are speakers that do not demand to be centre stage. They are simply the conduits to the most enthralling musical experience. Naturally, as a large floorstanding speaker, the Reference Ultime Three is designed for bigger spaces where it provides room-filling sound and where it can truly shine. But as a typical Stenheim product, it does not require massive power to drive it, being unnaturally efficient – all part of the Stenheim design brief. 

The Reference Ultime Three has a classic d’Appolito architecture with two bass drivers, two medium drivers, a tweeter and an offset ribbon super-tweeter. At the back of the speaker are two more rear-firing bass drivers and potentially, an optional rear-firing super-tweeter. The super-tweeters operate at an extremely high frequency which may be inaudible to the human ear, but they combine with the tweeter to produce a notably more detailed and authentic treble response.  

The purchaser of the Reference Ultime Three can decide between two versions, either a passive or an active crossover-equipped pair. The treble and midrange section of the crossover is housed within the speaker cabinet itself in a sealed enclosure behind those drivers, but the bass section is supplied in a separate external cabinet. Whilst the performance of both versions of the speaker is truly exceptional, the active crossover version releases a further 6dB in efficiency and adds a breathtaking clarity especially in the low frequencies. This version requires a second amplifier as bi-amping is a necessity, whilst the passive crossover option will make do with a single amp. The active crossover is housed in a CH Precision enclosure, though the electronic board is a Stenheim design. The passive crossover is supplied in two separate cabinets with a room control panel enabling several possible adjustments to fine tune the sound to a given room such as changing the MTM (Medium – Tweeter – Medium) gain by means of jumpers. 

Another option available is a motorised MTM section. Here the midrange drivers and tweeters are mounted in their own separate enclosure which can be remote controlled to orient itself through an arc of several degrees. The key advantage is that of set-up, where the Reference Ultime Threes can effectively be toed-in to provide the optimum sound. This is simpler than trying to move the imposing cabinets themselves for fine-tuning purposes.

These aluminium cabinets are works of art. Internally, they are heavily braced and contain six separate enclosures to isolate the various drivers from each other. They are also massively damped using three-layer damping pads that are also used in the award-winning Alumine Five. Externally they possess a classic elegance that derives in part from their Golden Ratio proportions.

The Reference Ultime Three is a truly remarkable speaker that draws on all the experience, expertise and craftsmanship of Stenheim to produce. It will allow the listener to completely re-experience his or her music collection, enabling hitherto hidden aspects of the original performance to come to light. It cannot fail to impress, enthral and delight. With a quality system behind it, this is a speaker that is truly a gateway to sonic nirvana.


Solid aluminium platform for
Reference Ultime Three

This aluminium billet platform is available as an optional extra for Reference speakers. It gives them greatly increased stability through enlarging their footprint considerably. It is also designed to make it much easier to switch from the castors that enable the speakers to be positioned, to the spikes that will provide their permanent support. The platform’s spikes also offer a greater range of adjustment :  + or – 5cm (4 inches in total), and this is much easier to achieve by simply turning the hefty, knurled knobs. The result is that the sound can be fine-tuned as the speakers can be tilted from the vertical to provide the optimum angle in complete safety. Finally, different floor types can be catered for as the platform ships with three different spike ends for adapting it to thick carpet, hard or delicate floors.

Technical specifications

  • Reference loudspeakers with 8 transducers in full d’Appolito configuration

    • 4 x 32 cm high excursion woofers,

    • 2 x 17 cm neodimium midrange drivers,

    • 1 x neodimium tweeter,

    • 1 x ribbon super tweeter

    • 1 x back-firing ribbon super tweeter (optional extra)

  • Billet aluminium cabinet with 6 independent closed chambers (no ports)

  • Passive-active 4 way, with active or passive analogue crossover for the bass section

    • 3 way passive crossover for the mid-high-superhigh sections

    • Active or passive crossover for the bass section

    • Active version with 1 external stereo active analogue 2 way crossover

  • Full passive version with 2 external mono passive crossovers

  • Remote-controlled motorized angle deviation of the MTM (Midrange – Tweeter – Midrange) section (optional extra)

  • Connections for 2 stereo or 4 mono separate amplifiers (1 stereo or 2 mono for passive version)

  • Frequency response : 15Hz to 100KHz (active version)

  • Power handling : Bass section: 1400 W RMS - Medium-tweeter section: 250 W RMS (active version)

  • Sensitivity : min 96dB SPL/2.83V/1m (active version)

  • Dim : H 1670mm x W 370mm x D 560 mm (H 65.7in x W 14.5in x D 22in)

  • Weight : 240kg each

  • Warranty: 5 years