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Music lined up ready to fly. Time to choose the environments for our slender young acoustical ladies from Capriccio Continuo. The methodology in these listening sessions was intended to test the Auralea in a wide a number of configurations to determine the latitude of performance one can reasonably expect. My first setup eliminated the Audio Space preamplifier by running the Wyred4Sound DAC-2 directly into the Bel Canto 200.4 amplifier in balanced mode, a minimalist situation without tubes.

The second round brought the 300B-based Audio Space Reference 2S back into the picture fed by both the Wyred DAC-2 and the Audio Space CDP 8A's tube output for another two distinct musical interpretations. Cables were an Audio Art Cable loom, Madison Audio Lab and Signal Cable Silver Reference in matched and mixed situations. Power cables were a succession of three different Audio Art Cable Power 1 Classic and Special Edition versions as well as the specialized Signal Cable Magic Power Digital reference. The range of successful presentations proved quite broad, from panel-like understated transparency to densely organic, upfront and immersive. Break-in was painless. The Auralea showed the majority of her virtues straight out of the box, revealing a clean warm midrange extending cohesively in both directions with good detail. Time merely added somewhat greater dynamic nuance and a little more bass weight. 

First the basics. The tonal balance of the Auralea 309 was remarkably smooth and extended. The high frequencies produced by the Heil-derived tweeter were exceptionally detailed yet very sweet. The transition to the 6.5" mid/woofer had a high level of transparency and continuity for a relatively seamless blend of character. The driver pair created an intense bubble of coherent dimensionality that stretched from the extreme highs down to the upper bass. The midrange was quick, clean, articulate and imbued with sufficient warmth to keep the tone natural and the instruments palpable. The low-frequency driver got down quite low with a mild bid of warmth in the lower midrange/upper bass and a combination of good power and extremely good control at its limits.

Various system configurations affected the upper-through-midbass region and could be swung from mildly lean through quite warm. At its lower extreme the Capriccio Continuo hit down to about 30Hz with conviction before rapidly falling off, not quite true subwoofer territory but close enough with most material to obviate the need of further augmentation. Detail was quite consistent across the range of both drivers, a high compliment to the abilities of the woofer to keep up with the folded ribbon. A notable point of character was the absence of overt transient snap or sizzle that would traditionally be associated with a traditional or folded ribbon design. This was not the result of a deficiency in information retrieval. On the contrary, the Auralea paraded a strong level of both detail and dynamic gradation. Instead this trait resulted from the two drivers exercising a high level of damping which created a darker base dynamic and an inherently also denser more organic delivery throughout the spectrum.

Achievable volume levels were moderately high with good dynamics. At low to moderate levels the Auralea demonstrated healthy overall dynamic swing with very good differentiation of dynamic gradation. Overall the speaker presented itself in a highly civilized manner by being articulate and dynamically convincing as long as it wasn’t pushed beyond reasonable levels. At that point the 6.5" woofer reached its limits and progressive compression occurred in the lower frequencies although it continued to maintain exemplary articulation. The onset of compression was configuration dependant. In a leaner balanced system dynamic gradation in the lower regions stayed wider at somewhat louder levels. In a warmer system the woofer hit saturation sooner.

Soundstage presentation proved setup-sensitive. Adjustments based on the tweeter's radiation compromised centre fill focus to instead produce a wider stage. Best results were achieved by concentrating on image precision in the woofer range as the first priority. This snapped the stage into tight focus with good dimensionality and rendition of space, albeit with the penalty of a minor loss of width. Optimum seating position for serious listening was slightly constricted in terms of width but by no means head-in-a-vise restrictive. Distance requirements were more generous, producing good results from nearfield through farfield arrangements. The Auralea changed the size, distance and instrumental positioning to reflect the information in the recording and the presentation dictated by the system configuration ahead of it. The speaker therefore produced less of its own soundfield and instead more of the recorded soundstage. Where the information was provided, it was capable of creating a richly detailed and voluminous venue with exceptional density of air and solid performers.