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Even with deliberately ‘alienated’ and only briefly inserted ‘astronaut voice’ effects (think Cevin Key’s "Destructor Beam" from 2003’s The Dragon Experience) I was a bit awestruck by how the Stereokonzept conveyed the impression of direct teleportation into my space rather than having these voice effects be mere part of the music. Compared to my Thiel CS3.7 this was a decisive tick more tangible, more laid bare and as such less concealed as well as spatially and texturally more defined. In short it was more real. During this A/B I noticed how the Thiel left such details enfolded in the music to seem somewhat more homogenous or flat, less carefully peeled out and dimensionally as well as timbrally (certainly no weak points for my coaxial Thiel) less articulate.

Despite such high accuracy, the 3.0 was the opposite of unpleasantly analytic. This was assisted by a treble which, in line with the above, was doubtlessly highly transparent and embodied but very unselfconscious too to feel unforced and relaxed. The first quality—-transparency with body—reflected in little things like the shaker on "Time Run Out". To say that I made out each individual grain would be hyperbole (and not realistic as though it were encoded as such on the recording) but it took very little imagination or mental interpolation indeed to ‘see’ or ‘ sense’ the shifting filler material inside the shaker producing the noises. Yet this wasn’t artificially heightened as though presented on a silver tablet. It didn’t become ‘aggressively shakery’ in any show-off fashion. Additionally the instrument was suspended with great image focus and presence to, as already noted with voices, convey an exceptionally believable impression of plasticity.

This unforced treble flavor should be attractive to listeners who own a good percentage of non-audiophile recordings in their collections. Even harshly struck long decaying cymbals on lesser productions as shown in the first few bars of Frusciante’s "Exercise" remained attractively open and airy (i.e. not prematurely rolled off or tonally dimmed). They showed even less scrim layer and were even more elegantly integrated than I knew it not only from my Thiel CS3 but also the Sehring S703 SE. The latter's very pure but friendly treble was markedly less defined and transparent.

That said, in the uppermost treble both competitors seemed airier or more developed. Yet the Stereokonzept was expansive enough. That’s saying something because I’m particularly sensitive to components/chains which play it too dry or dull. Here nothing telegraphed any lack. It simply wasn’t about the type of presentation that’s expressively energetic on attacks. Consequently particularly rhythmically more ‘offensive’ electronic fare had my Thiel CS3.7 more spectacular, a tad crisper, edgier and more explosive or driven. Those qualities are clear strengths of the Thiel which never transgresses into the unpleasantly sharp. I’m very fond of the CS3.7’s treble. And yet… my American did seem second on ultimate sorting, on being tonally more diffuse than the unbelievably low-distortion no-fog speaker from Lübeck. All said, the 3.0 seemed to me a very intelligent compromise between Formula One microdynamic reflexes (it’s immediately apparent how there’s no ribbon, magnetostat or air-motion transformers at work) and softly sprung limo drive.

Balanced is a term which generally suits the Stereokonzept. This also applied to tonal balance. Here the speaker’s bass in just the right and neutral quantity contributed to an ideally complete sonic picture. On more subtle bass action as for example teasing out the bass drum’s decay trails on "…I will say this twice" from The New Puritans’ Beat Pyramid, the Stereokonzept left no doubt about being impeccably intelligible and precise.