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Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
Source: APL HiFi NWO 3.0-GO; Ancient Audio Lektor Prime; Raysonic Audio CD-168
Preamp/Integrated: Supratek Cabernet Dual; ModWright LS-36.5 with PS 36.5; Melody I2A3; Woo Audio Model 5; Trafomatic Experience One [on loan]

Amp: 2 x Audiosector Patek SE; 2 x First Watt F4; Yamamoto A-08s; Fi 2A3 monos; Yamamoto A-09s
Speakers: Zu Audio Definition Pro; DeVore Fidelity Nines; WLM Grand Viola Monitor with Duo 12; Rethm Saadhana; Zu Presence [on loan]; Mark & Daniel Maximus & Ruby Monitors w. OmniHarmonizer

Cables: Ocellia Silver Signature loom; Crystal Cable Ultra loom; Zanden Audio proprietary I²S cable; Crystal Cable Reference power cords; double cryo'd Acrolink with Furutech UK plug between wall and transformer; Stealth Audio Indra and Meta Carbon
Stands: 2 x Grand Prix Audio Monaco Modular 4-tier
Powerline conditioning: 2 x Walker Audio Velocitor S fed from custom AudioSector 1.5KV Plitron step-down transformer with balanced power output option; Furutech RTP-6 on 240V line feed
Sundry accessories: GPA Formula Carbon/Kevlar shelf for transport; GPA Apex footers underneath stand, DAC and amp; Walker Audio Vivid CD cleaner; Walker Audio Reference HDLs; Furutech RD-2 CD demagnetizer; Nanotech Nespa Pro; Acoustic System Resonators and front wall sugar cube matrix
Room size: 16' w x 21' d x 9' h in short-wall setup with openly adjoining 15' x 35' living room; concrete floor and ceiling, concrete/brick walls

Review Component Retail: speakers at €900, €1200 and €1800 depending on finish class detailed below; amp at €900 unless high-gloss finishes are desired

Spain. Land of Flamenco and García Lorca. Marc Valero's cleverly spelled Passion & Sound is based out of Barcelona. For third parties over a decade, he has designed and built output transformers and valve equipment as well as Tripath amps. Such solid experience prompted the desire to step out of OEM anonymity. "We have 3 types of PS3 model speakers with different finishes: Entry Level, Premium and Custom Edition. Those are distinguished merely by finish level and hence price but the sound quality remains identical as do technical specifications. Likewise with our amplifiers. Only their finishes vary. We only apply a surcharge for custom or piano lacquer finishes. At the moment and in our country, all purchases will be exclusively through our website (although the on-line shop is not active yet). Spain is presently not our focus because of the prevailing lack of general interest which plagues our domestic hifi/hi-end market."

"We believe in a policy of affordable pricing even though the quality of our equipment is similar to more expensive competitors - but you should judge that point. We want to establish a global sales price to the public. Even though we are aware of the currency exchange and related challenges, we shall dedicate our efforts to do so. We believe that after years of development in parallel with our ongoing manufacturing expertise, we have achieved an unusual price to performance ratio for our own offerings. We were pleasantly surprised by their final quality to begin our marketing. We look forward to agreeably surprising you and our target audience in the hifi market."

The front-ported speaker enclosure is crafted from 15mm plywood with 2mm "luthier-grade" external veneers. It houses a single 5" whizzer-cone'd widebander with 5.9 grams of moving mass for a 93dB claimed sensitivity. Promised frequency response is an ambitious 40Hz to 21kHz. The entry-level PS3 wraps its enclosure in Okume veneer and nitro-cellulose varnish. The Premium offers Walnut, Wenge, Ebony and Zebrano options in nitro-cellulose varnish or satin lacquer. The custom edition remains unspecified for finish options to be between customer and craftsmen. It also includes stands.

The PSi15 DC-powered integrated Tripath amplifier weighs a mere 3.3kg. It offers 9/14wpc into 8/4 ohms of output power with an attendant 97dB of S/N ratio and dynamic range. Two onboard NI NH high-capacity batteries afford a stated 10-hour play cycle before recharging becomes necessary via a stabilized 12V (max 13.2V) 3AH optional charger (a 12V car battery is permissible as well).

Amplifier finish choices include Ebony, Maple, Bird's Eye Maple, Bubinga Pomele, Grey Ash and Chapa Natural de Zebrano. The blue power LED is cleverly down-firing, reflecting off the supporting surface rather than your retinae, particularly obnoxious in the dark. Equally clever is the avoidance of all metal for the enclosure to eliminate electromagnetic field disturbances to which these Tripath chips are notoriously prone. The PSi15 chassis is crafted exclusively from wood and uses a composite base. It's very attractive in a non-electronic object d'art fashion.

Passion &ound's focus is clearly the audio zen of 'less is more' and 'keep it simple silly'. Kiss the minis to start an affair?

To manage KISS for a non-tube amp/speaker combo nearly requires these ingredients: passive attenuator to eliminate preamp; Tripath/battery link as a simple but proven performance package (a gainclone chip amp would require a bigger power supply and create more heat); single-driver crossover-less speaker with ported alignment for maximum bass and a smallish driver diameter for maximum treble. The speaker's modest power requirements allow for a simple amplifier.