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Also single-amped, the Topaz sounded cleaner and clearer than the Ruby, with inner detail shockingly close to the Diamond+. While Ruby was shaky during subsonic harmonics, Topaz retained better control and contained casualties to a minimum without audible reduction in lower octave activities. That was with the volume at 12 noon and SPLs a tad louder than normal. That was quite admirable for an entry model. How did it fare in the handicapped race against the Diamond+? The leader excelled with a grandeur and breadth that none of the others could match. Frequency extension on both ends was finely calibrated, weight evenly distributed across the spectrum to bring out the nuances. The Topaz and Ruby by comparison seemed to emphasize the midrange which happens to be the sweet spot for human hearing, resulting in the happy misunderstanding that their midband was richer.

During casual listening, the two bi-amped models were almost neck to neck. Only the ultimate test CDs helped to separate them. The Diamond+ goes deeper and reveals more microdynamics. While both exemplified iron-fisted bass control and speedy response, the Sapphire's bass was arguably faster. If I had to make one snap-shot description of the bi-amped vs. single-amped models, the Sapphire and Diamond+ are technically advanced DSD or 24bit/192Hz, Ruby and Topaz matured Red Book. It's hard to say which is superior. It's a matter of taste. In my personal view however, it was the tri-amped Maximus-Monitor that had the final word. It reigned with undisputable authority and displayed warmth, lushness and uncontrived elegance. Could that be the cushioning effect of more usable bass energy? We'll soon find out with the forthcoming Mark & Daniel subwoofer. Anyhow, if my first generation Maximus-Monitor that Srajan described as having a "somewhat bottom-heavy warmish presentation" pleases me so, just imagine the revised version with the very real 'plus' modifications.

Summing up
After successfully determining the hot buttons of their target audience and turning them on, Mark & Daniel might have given us too many options. Varieties might be a good marketing tactic in the food industry but it ain't necessarily so for audio. That's what I thought before this exercise. While my findings remained qualitative, not quantitative, I can confidently say there are enough differences between the models to allow intelligent choices. How intelligent largely depends on personal taste and budget or more importantly, how well Mark & Daniel synergizes with your amp. If you go by the book, class A/B amps with tested and trusted bipolar output transistors and loads of power reserves are your safest bet. If you prefer a warm and mellow sound, even moderately powerful tube amps can work wonders. If you opt for swift and slick, spick and span, Class D and high-power Tripath won't let you down. That's a pretty safe way to sum things up.

What if you already own a pair of Mark & Daniel mini monitor and think of upgrading - is Diamond+ the model for you? That I can't answer. You have to think hard about your quibbles with your existing model - if there are any legitimate ones. Would you get better mileage from a better amp? Would you be better off making the leap to the Maximus-Monitor? Should you try out the paired Mark & Daniel subwoofers first? In my mind, Diamond+ is the leader of this group. It witnesses Mark & Daniel's technology reaching its highest level of craftsmanship to date. No other two-way speakers I've heard at this price or a notch above can trump it. I could have given out our Blue Moon Award but I am waiting to hear it with Mark & Daniel's paired subwoofers. As far as price/performance ratio is concerned, we know that cannot be assessed meaningfully without taking other synergy factors into consideration.
Quality of packing: Double carton box with foam cradles, adequate for overseas shipping.
Reusability of packing: Two or three times.
Ease of unpacking/repacking: Manageable despite the weight of the synthetic marble enclosures.
Condition of component received: Immaculate.
Website comments: Informative but sometimes slow to load.
Warranty: 1 year parts and labor.
Human interactions: Professional and friendly, timely responses to questions.
Pricing: Hard to beat for this level of performance.
Application conditions: Allow +/- 3 feet from rear ports.

Daniel Lee replies:
This review is in perfect timing for us.You mentioned that too many optional models may confuse audiophiles. That is true and I understand this point perfectly. However, my intention of the R&D on the Diamond+ was for a good replacement of the Sapphire with the premium-grade cabinet, better sound (technology) and better aesthetic design. Although the Sapphire has already won us much reputation not only in North America -- it was also awarded in many European countries like France and Poland -- I think it is about time to phase out the Sapphire from the market and replace it with the Diamond+.

Here is some feedback I received from one of our dealer days ago. Forget about his good comments but some of his observations meet my design goal for Diamond+: less bass, a better transition and higher SPLs over my original designs.

"I received the M&D Diamonds+ today. These are the best-sounding M&D speakers I have heard so far! I love the way they are voiced and that's straight out of the shipping box. They sound more like studio monitors than the Maximus Monitors. The transition from the high frequency driver to the bass driver is great! There was always a bit too much bass energy in the Rubys and Monitors but the new Diamonds+ are fantastic! Daniel Lee has done a super job on the design of the + line. The Diamonds+ will play much louder than the Rubys too!"

Mark & Daniel website