This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

By default speakers are the highest distortion generators in the hifi chain. That's true for the frequency response, phase linearity and mechanical behavior. Costly speakers address the latter via heroic measures. There are aluminium (Magico, YG Acoustics, Crystal, EBTB), specialty glass (Perfect8, Waterfall, Crystal), synthetic resins (Wilson), synthetic marble (Mark & Daniel), concrete (Concrete Audio), stone (nOrh), panzerholz (Kaiser), stacked Ply (Aries Cerat) and a long list of other subjugatorial means to battle box talk. If you've felt approaching trains announce themselves from afar with clearly felt tremors or a passing lorry in a high rise, you already appreciate that high mass is rather ineffective at suppressing resonance. Hence industrial routers and lathes aren't hard-coupled to their massive concrete foundations but isolated on Sorbothane-type viscoelastics.

Even the big Axcentia remains with 6-inch drivers, albeit now paralleled and dedicated to just bass.

At 19kg/ea. the Aptica clearly doesn't pray to high mass. And that's good for your back, your suspended floor and your shipping bill. It might even be good for your sound. That is if high-mass speakers as a lot have struck you as overly dry, angular and slightly robotic in their delivery, i.e. not sufficiently fluidic, elastic or generous. Theory is one thing to appreciate that a truly dead enclosure must make the sound cleaner and more accurate. It's another to hear low-mass speakers like Harbeth, Spendor, Living Voice, soundkaos and Ocellia defy that notion and rather than sound bad magnify qualities the dead boxes can't but which you might think of as equally important or more so.

With its concealed damped steel-bar spine turned stem for a mechanical ground path into the solid and spiked metal plinth, strategic non-parallel walls and boat-hull curvature, the Aptica combines various recipes from the deaden-that-box bible except for extreme mass. But it also doesn't attempt to crack the 40Hz barrier. That and the use of extended-reach line loading make for a counter-intuitively small mid/woofer and minimized excursions to create lower mechanical forces easier to address. The compact form factor reduces panel size, hence vibrational reactions.

85dB sensitivity of course warrants power. I had the 125wpc Swiss Goldmund Job 225 stereo amp. For twice the shove there were the mAMP ICEpower monos from Wyred4Sound's EJ Sarmento. Equivalent April Music amplification had garnered repeat show accolades on Mårten speakers from The Abso!ute Sound. Such sightings suggested special synergy between the gen 3 Danish class D modules and these German metal/ceramic drivers which Albedo selected for their "ultra-stiff low-mass diaphragms, excellent transient response and very low distortion". My special curiosity was how the latter's famed accuracy, damping and rise times would manifest. As a very quick lucid lively invigorating sound? Or as a somewhat hard, lean, mechanical and overly incisive read that I'd find wanting for body and lazy decays? Before I'd find out I had to taxi my runway for the obligatory break-in. Time for a closer visual inspection then.

With your new Apticas peeled out of thick foam caps and protective plastic bags, you're left with two cannoli, two boxes of pizza and one filled with pepperoni and parmesan - okay, gloss-black plinths and spikes with receptor discs. Attachment to the T-shaped brackets takes three bolts each. Now horizontal goes upright, in my case into fat Track Audio shoes to securely slide on my sisal rugs without jumping out.

I'd always thought of my cheery Cherry Boenicke B10 as the unkontested kings of kompact kool. Sultans of svelte swing. Noisy narrators of narrow. As it turned out, the Albedos were a close second, just as narrow at the base, less deep and only a bit taller. Growing older makes one softer. Exercise and proper diet delay it but mental softness is a different case. Give me light small speakers to the end of my days. My head has gone all jello around the notion of concrete bunkers sized like refrigerators.

And this as yet said nada about slippery perfection of glossy veneer wrap tinted a pale gray, scalloped rakishisness of what faces you. Fit 'n' finish of these Italians really was spectacular. Jewel like. For a small speaker reaching this deep into the till, all eyes should feel properly served and sated. My old flame was dressed to kill. I felt straight on a set of The Transporter. Would the conversation pick up where we'd left off years ago?