To get a handle on the Aeron's character, I inveigled a pair of Triangles because they're efficient, modestly priced and impressed me with their coherency, speed and overall musicality at a store recently. The Triangles boogied and promised oodles of fun. Say no more. While I'm rapidly getting the hang of online music providers, I factored in the large number of CD collections that were still extant the last time I looked so I used a spare Esoteric P700 CD transport I had in storage. To assuage the Aeron's internal DAC, I used a modestly priced Schiit Bifrost that was also in storage. The signal source for music files was a MacBook Pro loaded with Audirvana Plus. But I need to point out that all tracks were processed at 44.1kHz.

Audio fundamentals: Aeron 165 and Triangle Esprit Titus EZ specs. As much as you can believe any manufacturer's specs, the AP-165 is rated at 70wpc. The universal power supply is AC115V/230V 50-60Hz, frequency response spans 20Hz–50kHz, with a distortion said to be 0.05%. Headphone impedance is 32-200Ω. The AP-165 has two line inputs and a moving magnet input. A Bluetooth 4.0 receiver is built in as is a USB DAC crunching away at 24bit/96kHz. The headphone jack is 3.5mm and a beautifully styled/made and functional remote control is provided. The line input stages are said to have a signal-to-noise ratio of 86dB and the voltage gain is 34dB. Input impedance is 80kΩ. Vinyl devotees can look to MM impedance of 47kΩ/68pF with a sensitivity of 3.5mV and signal-to-noise ratio of 74dB.

The tube compliment comprises one 6N2 and one 6N1. Dimensions are 380x350x120mm (LxWxH) and weight is 18kg. Lifting the AP-165 reveals that all the weight is on the left side of the front fascia. Prising the lid off shows why. Running along the left side front to back is a hefty shielded power supply. I contacted Dared and they sent me a little more info. The AP-165 has a high-current power supply with ultra-low internal resistance and can provide more than 6 amps to control inefficient speakers. The preamp stage has an independent power supply which Dared says results in very low noise and distortion. All the inputs use very high-quality relays for signal purity and negligible crosstalk.

The 2-way Titus EZ arrived in Europe in early 2015 but is new to Australia. It has a striking horn-loaded titanium dome tweeter with compression chamber and a sharpish phase plug revised to the one used in earlier Titus versions. Triangle will tell you that the new phase plug was designed to yield smoother dispersion. After listening to the previous Titus ES model ages ago, I came away with the verdict that whilst enjoyable with plenty of speed and detail, the tweeter had a very directional tizz particularly driven with beer-budget transistor amps. Unsurprisingly the Titus ES sounded a lot better with valve amplifiers.

The mid/woofer is a 139.7mm affair revamped with better cone compared to the one used in earlier Titus models. Both drivers are built in Asia with Triangle employees overseeing quality control. Sensitivity is said to be 90dB and the frequency response is 55Hz-22kHz ±3dB. Power handling is 60-80 watts. Larger than an LS35/A, the Titus is 305x267x168mm (HxDxW). The uppermost rear of the Titus EZ carries the port and down below is a single pair of really good binding posts.

CD listening. Joni Mitchell constantly reinterprets her own music by adding maturity and wisdom to youthful songs. Compare the earliest version of "Both Sides Now" with the one recorded on a later album of the same name and the subjective listening experience is enhanced. The earlier version was laced with traces of hope. The later version gives itself over to sadness and a sense of irretrievable loss. The Aeron/Titus pairing preserved the wistful, pensive flow of strings that carry Mitchell's mature, husky voice with body and texture, thus giving a level of listening enjoyment which these entry priced components had no right to.

There was a magical symmetry with this pairing. The Aeron's drive, sweetness and tempo work nicely with the Titus's speed and dynamic agility. The only flaw is the ever-so-slight tendency to brightness that appears as Mitchell's voice soars with dynamic force and speed. This pair is not overly detailed, transparent or as neutral as you'd expect from highly credentialed components the next level up the audio scale. But they do enough to sound convincing, allowing this listener to suspend disbelief and engage and explore the music at quite a deep level. Moreover the grand scale of this later version was conveyed with commendable soundstage width and depth. Great stuff.