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, S.A. Lab Lilt [on loan]]
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Esoteric C-03, Bent Audio Tap-X, COS Engineering D1
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1, F6; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; Gato Audio DIA-250; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; AURALiC Merak [on loan]; Reimyo KAP-777 [on review]
Loudspeakers: Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Eversound Essence; 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; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Arkana Research XLR/RCA and speaker cables [on loan]; Sablon Audio Petit Corona power cords [on loan]
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all components, 5m cords to amp/s + sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands
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 in Europe: starting at €8'990/pr

Some things simply ought to be big.
A small Harley engine just won't do. Nor one you'd not hear from half a mile away. With speakers, it's only current fashion which belabours biggitude. It wants to hang small flat-panel speakers right next to that, ha, ginormous flat-panel tellie without taking up floor space. In the olden days, speakers were noisy furniture. Even two-ways had 10" to 12" woofers. Whilst those didn't descend as low as the best of today's high-excursion 7-inch wonders—those might hit -3dB @ 35Hz where the vintage breed barely got to 50—there's something to cubic inches for which the longest of throws sadly won't compensate. At least so sez the vintage ethos. Amen.

Trenner & Friedl Isis at HighEnd Suisse 2014 with Cyrus and Jeff Rowland electronics.

Today it's been revived by the likes of Zu who don't even have a midrange smaller than 10.3 inches; or Japan-bound legacy Tannoys which still pay homage to this idea; or two higher-efficiency models in the DeVore Fidelity catalogue; plus Audio Note and sundry. And as you figured from this intro, the Trenner & Friedl chaps from Austria aka Peter & Andreas.

Now personally, I really don't like big speakers. They cover up our terrific lake and mountain views. They take up too much space inside. They obscure parts of the soundstage by standing smack in the way. Heck, refrigerators belong in the kitchen. And built in for chrissakes where you don't see 'em.

But - at two trade show demos, at HighEnd Suisse 2014 and then later the same year in two different exhibits at the November Warsaw show, Trenner & Friedl speakers had squatted in some of my favourite rooms. Me thinkest that a gentleman can only protest so much before an admission is due. Three strikes and you're on. Here said admission must be that despite personal preferences to the contrary, certain sonic results just might require a different approach. Mind you, I still wasn't prepared to host their commodious 3-way Isis in which you could hang 15 suits with their matching pants and have room to spare.

After all, my audition room for work is also our comfy room for living. Hence their 8-inch Pharoah sampled in Warsaw with a Trilogy tube-hybrid integrated would become my more modest entrée into their world. Call it the vintage-is-hip-again realm of broad-shouldered hifi furniture which celebrates unapologetic rectangulosity. Here boat-hull curvatures and non-parallel walls are for geeky sissies. Think wannabe bikers with plastic-shrouded crotch rockets when real men ride big exposed iron. Delivery of my loaners to morph me into such a he man at least for the duration would be by the very same Swiss dealer who'd hosted that first room at the Zürich show whilst using Jeff Rowland electronics.

Sissie dimensions of 950 x 400 x 240mm HxWxD really wouldn't be foreboding. It's the twice as broad as deep look which triggers those retro reflexes. This cabinet isn't yer standard MDF affair either but "golden ratio-proportioned Multiplex Birch wood of different densities damped with Austrian sheep's wool." There's also a "high-precision machined-from-solid horn" for the tweeter whilst the paper-cone mid/woofer is "impregnated with a six-layer finish of Italian balsamic oil lacquer".