M+D's prior most bandwidth-ambitious monitor, the Aragorn, had a recess on top to take their optional Omni Harmonizer aka upfiring 360° dispersion super tweeter. Add-on status for the latter enforced a very unsightly cable connection, from a third pair of binding posts on the main box up to the tweeter. Their then flagship tower Fantasia S was even worse. To diffuse weight, it shipped in three parts: bass unit, AMT head on a rotating collar, Omni Harmonizer. That beast necessitated six pairs of posts per channel, hence biwire cables plus two sets of cable jumpers. With the new Maximus, that lego scheme expired. No more separate super tweeter enclosure, no more external wire loop to feed it. Luxury brand EnigmAcoustics still suffer with their (our) Mythology M1 monitor. Its Sopranino tweeter isn't integrated but slips precariously on the hard glass top; and connects with an external cable. At €15'000 for that posh package including custom stand, it's mechanically as well as cosmetically half baked. Major props to Daniel Lee for using his MkII overhaul to banish that piecemeal issue. For the customer, it also means that the $4'500/pr Maximus II includes a part which the same catalogue still carries today as a $1'100/pr treble additive.*

*The original Maximus spec'd at 38Hz-22kHz with an 800Hz xover compared to the MkII which we already know rates at 32Hz-35kHz with a 700Hz hinge. Whilst some of these figures might seem close (what's six more bass cycles you might wonder), the actual driver changes to make them happen are rather farther apart. For full-on stony speakers in synthetic or natural rock, there are the €30'000/pr Kroma Audio Julieta from Spain, the €15'000/pr Crystal Cable Minissimo from Holland and the €1'250/pr Prime Tone from Finland. Speakers have also been made from concrete and there'll be other stoners unmentioned. Still, this club has few members. In it, none are as numerous as the M+D range.

For context, German firm Elac push their 4pi Plus.2 circular ribbon super tweeter for a stout €2'098/pr. Enigma's Sopranino demands a whopping $3'900. For €600 more, you could buy a complete Mark & Daniel Maximus Monitor MkII with integral super tweeter. On construction, aluminator brands Magico and YG Acoustics must rely on abundant bolts to torque up their various metal panels into cabinets. Synth stone cabs like Kroma Audio's and Mark & Daniel's rely on chemical bonding instead. The same resin which binds powdered aluminium particle or stone slabs also glues up their panels. This approaches true monolithic construction. You simply don't want to drop one of these. Depending on height of drop and hardness of impact surface, they could shatter. So, no bum wiggles as you sashay past a stand-mounted Maximus with a vacuum. Finally, the careful reader took note that the pleated 5-octave tweeter now has its own protection circuit. Because M+D boxes can play it very loud, there's always a risk. Someone who flunked Physics class might throw rhyme and reason to the Maxwell ad wind and go too far. Whilst you could still overdrive the woofer to hit its stops—only someone deaf wouldn't notice—the AMT now simply shuts down until temporary insanity has passed. End of small print.

A final comment is due their overriding design philosophy: 2-ways exclusively no matter size or weight of the final product; and the most compact possible enclosure for a given bandwidth/SPL brief. Obsession with a singular crossover point weds a desire to move it below the presence region. That necessitates tweeters of progressively wider bandwidth hence radiation surface and output potential. Since this scheme forbids dedicated woofers—they all double-task at midband coverage—they can't get too large or would no longer meet their intended tweeter. Hence M+D's biggest woofer is a 10-incher as seen in the flagship $22'500/pr Cello at right. This single driver is claimed to hit a solid 20Hz with Xmax of ±1.3"/16mm and two downfiring ports.

This brief paragraph illustrates how a stubborn design philosophy enforced subsequent R&D into custom drivers since none existed that fulfilled the associated requirements. Where certain famous ultra-costly speaker brands use off-the-shelf drivers very happily, even M+D's smallest entry-level model very happily does not**. Whilst that's neither here nor there on pure performance (there are terrific speakers using stock ScanSpeak or SEAS issue), it is very much here when one considers an outfit's in-house engineering resources and commitment to pursue an individualistic vision on premium sound all the way to the end.

This is extra relevant when ChiFi suffers the oft self-inflicted cloning curse. Public perception accords them little true inventiveness but killer chops at copying others without regard for IP, occasionally not even that of their fellow Chinese. None of that can be said of Mark & Daniel. Whilst one might not cotton to their sound or agree with their philosophy, one is forced to accord them proper respect no matter what else!

** With the expiry of Oscar Heil's patent, its folded tweeter tech has shown up in any number of speakers, from A.D.A.M to Burmester, from Gryphon to Kaiser Acoustics. I'm unaware of any that cross in as low as Mark & Daniel's own, however.