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The 805 speakers' piano gloss lacquer is an exercise in gleaming perfection, hence tricky to photograph. The tweeter is a clone of the popular Vifa/ScanSpeak ring radiator.

The mid/woofer is treated textured paper. The grills are socketed with the usual post and rubber receptacle scheme.

The crossover is peopled with serious parts including AlphaCore Goertz type foil inductors.

The 805 is very nicely made and presented but its $900/pr price would seem quite high considering how Glow Audio's Voice One plus Sub One combo clock in at $700 together, the NuForce sub/sat trio at $500. And yes, a sub on the desk top takes up more space. And, both Glow and NuForce have formal US (and other) distribution in place whereas Miu Audio must go direct until importers have signed up. Pros and cons either way.

Moving from the just reviewed Glow Audio speakers driven by Dayens' unbelievable €220 Ampino integrated and the Stello CDT100 and DA100 Signature stack as source to the 805s made the point. On the violin/piano duet of The Twinkle of Stars reviewed here by David Kan, the ring radiator tweeter simply resolved more overtone information and hammer-fall attack than Glow's 3-inch widebander. Conversely, the piano's lower reaches had more mass and impact over the Sub One than the 805s' unassisted 110mm units. Are you a bass or treble freak?

Meat versus energy rephrases the question. The 805's greater top-end resolution moved the soundstage ceiling up to bring in more air and light. Simultaneously, the zingy aspect of struck strings and how it nearly immediately reflects back from recorded surfaces lit up. Thus the energetic elements of the music increased. Yet on fare with significant bass energy, the 805's inability to extend the same energizing action downwards became unsatisfactory once the Sub One entered the picture again to show the difference.

Once you know something, you cannot make yourself ignorant of it afterwards. From the audio legos I had in my toy - er, tool box, the above speaker combo of Miu Audio 805s + Glow Audio Sub One driven from the Dayens Ampino rather than Glow Audio amp took the audiophile cake. This system had great extension on either end of the scale to marry attack with high mass. I did have to move the 805s' front baffles as far away from my seat as possible so their backs actually stuck out beyond the table's edge before they disappeared as obvious sound sources. For long-term comfort however, the Glow Audio one-ways actually proved preferable. The kind of detail the 805s dish out becomes nearly hyper real to approach -- this is a matter of taste of course -- being too much of a good thing in the near field.

The $900/pr tag of the 805s follows suit when considering a floorstanding Vandersteen 1c goes for $995/pr and any number of Canadian 2-way monitors want significantly less. Even on the desk top, a lesser monitor with decent sub will be more persuasive. With the advent of Glow's $348 Sub One, this breed has now fully matured. That leaves a crafty shopper $550 for a pair of monitors before exceeding the 805s' sticker. What this shopper will exceed with this sub is the 805s' solo performance. That's not slighting Miu Audio. Their speakers do look luxurious and are clearly built to very high standards. They're just not priced competitively with today's market. Which gets me to the 503.

I couldn't get it to not distort. I first suspected a suboptimal speaker cable connection. To make twice sure, I unbolted the wooden cradle for better access to the binding posts, then redid every single one just to be sure. No luck. I removed the Bluetooth antenna since both my laptop and cellphone can detect three wireless access points besides our own (which is always turned off unless Ivette needs to go online). Perhaps there was interference? Not so. I suspected the provided mini-to-RCA link and swapped it out. Not the culprit. I inserted my Beyerdynamic DT880s (the only resident 'phones with integral mini plug). Same deal and I only got the left channel unless I backed out the plug a bit.

Regardless, with every bass transient, there was clear distortion as though the unit was overdriven at perfectly harmless levels. I then attempted to roll another 6922. Someone in engineering needs a firecracker up his tail pipe. The diameter of that black circle at your left is 6.5cm. My index finger can't fit through the round holes nor the clearance around the tube. Forget a thumb/index pincer pull altogether. *ç&°!

Cough. Miniaturization is popular and Apple has led the way. Miu Audio's focus on cosmetics (high) simply cuts too far into user friendliness. I cannot see customers being any more tolerant. They too will call certain items inane. Those need to be rethought. When a review loaner misbehaves to not work properly, we always give manufacturers an opportunity to address it. In this case, I don't consider the 503 ready for prime time regardless of how it might sound. A tube that none but elvin-fingered contortionists can replace; binding posts with similar requirements; a remote whose volume buttons don't advance the output by more than one number and hence have to be pressed over and over to get anywhere... these are all such basics that nobody wants to talk sonics before they're handled. Buttons that perform three or more functions but have no markings at all are confounding. Anyone keen on accompanying the 805's clearly upscale ambitions with matching cabling will be frustrated by the mini-only access of the 503's auxiliary input. And so on.

In short, experience suggests that Miu Audio is still too new a comer to fly under its own banner until they find a better balance between cuteness and usability, price and the competition. Until then, over and out.

Miu Audio website