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Genuine lift-off. Perhaps because this speaker's mid/bass artillery seriously dominates and thus outshines its tweeter's power response; perhaps because of the chosen tweeter itself; perhaps because of both - in this combination Sopranino asserted itself rather more forcefully. Whilst the grumpy upstairs accountant still complained that a $4.000 super tweeter for a €7.660/pr tower speaker was an imbalanced budget allocation, the more carefree audiophile occupying the same brain only took note of the delightful performance gains.

In its own review and many sightings since, I've always characterized the Rhapsody 200 as being voiced in a vintage Sonus faber vein to which was grafted a very boisterous US-style bass balance. This speaker is warmer, darker and more opulent than hyper resolved and jumpy. It is a minorly fat paper-driver sound with beaucoup bass whose twin-ported loading the designer has strategically underdamped to play it more dynamic. To come off without fallout this requires an amp of superior damping like the Swiss Job 225. For ultimate performance one would go Dutch and Hypex Ncore. The AudioSolutions is the most conventional speaker in my inventory. I acquired it for precisely that reason. It's poor reviewer form after all to only reference stuff most readers can't relate to even if it is the off-the-beaten-path exotica we personally fancy the most.

Whilst not changed in flavor—it did the same things as before—Sopranino's effect now was rather more pronounced in magnitude. As a result it bled over into other areas. This was like stepping into a darker room with the same flashlight. It makes a bigger difference. Fizziness and its related prickly charge from the highest frequencies (for that Anthony Gallo's wonderful CDTIII tweeter in his Strada 2 is my reference in the extreme nearfield of the desktop) invigorated and thus counteracted the 200's tendency to be just a bit lead-footed. Minor carbonation in table water. This injection of air opened up the soundstage in terms of being easier to step into. It also bestowed upon performers and particularly vocalists what audiophile lingo calls auras or halos. That's a perception of space which surrounds a voice or instrument as made audible by gossamer reflections. It's not about the entire soundstage but individuated bubbles within in.

Such space baubles don't occur in live music. There our eyes fill in the holes. During playback we literally grope in the dark. Our eyes in fact keep reminding us that there's nothing there but lifeless hifi gear. Anything approaching visual cues bridges sensory gaps. Sopranino helped to better carve out and thus extricate individual artists from over against the background like sculpting in deeper relief. Again that's an entirely unnatural effect relative to live music. Within the purely artificial construct of hifi playback it is enjoyable nonetheless. In this context it's quite accurate to think of Sopranino as a visualization tool. It enhances certain elements which to eyes-closed listening as the preferred serious mode appear as quasi visual cues. This includes a minor edge sharpening of even bass notes. That's presumably whenever their upper-most harmonics fall within the super tweeter's coverage to make transients more specific.

My takeaway for the AudioSolutions Rhapsody 200? Sopranino made the design better balanced. As a conventional direct radiator the 200 goes about loading space differently than the German Physiks HRS-120. What with the latter became alienation because it mixed in a different dispersion mode here augmented a pre-existing but slightly weak tweeter condition. Strengthening that tweeter clicked better with the big picture. Now that I'd grasped Sopranino's proper use, I had two more speakers coming in that should prove equally copasetic.

One was Albedo Audio's Aptica from Massimo Costa of Italy; the other Davis Acoustic's MV One from Olivier Visan of France. Being a true one-way based on a proprietary Alnico-powered 7" graphite cone without whizzer, the latter in particular promised to be ideal.