Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 12.2), PureMusic 2.04, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, COS Engineering D1, Metrum Hex, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi La Scala MkII, SOtM dX-USB HD w. super-clock upgrade & mBPS-d2s, Apple iPod Classic 160GB (AIFF), Astell& Kern AK100 modified by Red Wine Audio, Cambridge Audio iD100, Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital, Pure i20, Fore Audio DAISy 1 [on review], S.A. Lab Lilt [on review], Metrum Acoustics Pavane [on review], Lindemann Audio music:book 15 [on review]
Preamplifier: COS Engineering D1, Nagra Jazz, Esoteric C-03, Bent Audio Tap-X
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8, FirstWatt S1, F6; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; Gato Audio DIA-250; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; AURALiC Merak [on loan], Lindemann Audio music:book 55 x 2 [on review], Vinnie Rossi LIO [on review]
Loudspeakers: Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; soundkaos Wave 40; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Submission; German Physiks HRS-120, Gallo Strada II w. TR-3D subwoofer
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event MkI and MkII; KingRex uArt double-header USB; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Arkana Research XLR/RCA and speaker cables [on loan]
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all components, 5m cords to amp/s and subwoofer
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves and Krion or glass-based Exoteryc stand/s for amp/s
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: Irregularly shaped 9.5 x 10m open floor plan with additional 2nd-floor loft; wood-paneled sloping ceiling; parquet flooring; lots of non-parallel surfaces (pictorial tour here)
Review component retail:
$15'000/pr with stands

Small speakers are popular. And why wouldn't they be? They're visually less domineering. Their cosmetic impact is quieter if you will. More old than new money. Alas, hard-boiled audiophiles are always quick to point out their inevitable compromises relative to bandwidth and SPL. Even so, clever engineering, hi-tech parts and proper use can mitigate those or render them nearly irrelevant.

As a rare woman in upscale hifi, Gabi Rijnveld isn't genetically prewired to the primitive mantra that bigger is better. Living in the low lands of frugal Holland rather than the US helps, too. With her company, she's no stranger to actively preaching a different gospel: Small is elegant, small is beautiful. That's certainly true for her chic cables.

When it came time to migrate her proven glass or aluminium Arabesque speaker concept into its lowest price point yet, her engineering husband Edwin who spearheads sister brand Siltech had to look for a new material. To hit their target price, the team needed to cut assembly complexity and associated costs.

Take a gander at the below cutaway. It'll have you appreciate at a glance how the faceted bigger Arabesque monitor bolts together; and just why that laborious scheme was flat out of this picture. Don't even start with invisibly bonded overweight tempered glass panels. Those make up Crystal's two top models. That even more outrageous approach was completely off the reservation for what was to become the Crystal Cable Minissimo. But so were the ubiquitous MDF and popular Birch ply. Educated by glass and metal precursors, Edwin and Gabi had higher demands for rigidity and resonance control than those materials afford.

As my prior reviews on Vibex DC/AC line filters and the new optional shelves for Artesania Audio's Exoteryc rack range showed, Spain's Porcelanosa company has a material called Krion. It is conceptually related to DuPont's Corian by being a quasi synthetic stone. Rather than bonding crushed marble or granite, Corian is 2/3rd ATH mineral filler and 1/3rd acrylic polymer. The Spanish stuff too is a blend of 2/3rd aluminium trihydride and high-resistance resins to result in a poreless anti-bacterial material "that is hard-wearing, easy to repair and clean."

Based on a conversation with Gabi and Edwin at Munich HighEnd 2014, the Minissimo is 'carved'—CNC machined—from a solid block of similar stuff which they source from Germany. All we're further told about it? It contains aluminium flakes. Suspended in resin, those behave like stressed members of a bridge says Edwin.

The only seam of the Minissimo enclosure thus is the bottom cover with the downfiring port. That's structurally superior to the plate-to-plate builds of the bigger stablemates. This fact didn't escape Edwin's measurements on the quietude of this from-solid enclosure. At 0.2% at 86dB, it outperforms the prior bigger cabs by a significant margin. Before you wonder why the port doesn't exit through one of the stand's uprights for additional volume, our Dutchies tried that. Though good in theory, it didn't work as well in practice. Using expensive Comsol modeling software to look at their cabinet's behaviour under pressure, fluid dynamic and various other conditions gave them a very long leg up over much of their rectangular box competition.