Remember the launch of the Audio Magic Stealth? Ever since, the small company in Aurora/Colorado making it has left a trail of sharply defined imprints on the beach. Not the lone stretch Robinson Crusoe called home, mind you. No, the overcrowded bumper-to-bumper mess of polluted water front that audio cables and power line components inhabit. If only someone considerate and compassionate were to plant palm trees on said beach, to shield the unwary audiophiliac from the merciless sun frying brains and wallets over-easy. One might discover small carvings in the tree trunks. "Jerry was here", they'd say, leaving you to wonder. Who is this mysterious Jerry? And why did this absentee combatant immortalized by a dull blade vacate his hotly-contested seat of this scene in the first place? What the heck did he trade it for?

How about the sanity of home-sweet-home? You see, while fellow cable makers fret over the size of their sliver (or triple-weight cholesterol bomb) from the overall fruity pie called deep-margin cable sales, Jerry Ramsey, head sorcerer at Audio Magic, isn't overly concerned with size. Rather, his focus is on taste. Doing audio for a living, the question becomes: Does he have fun with it or not? To insure that he does, Audio Magic's a garage outfit - Microsoft before the explosion. In other words, small. In the face of a challenging economy, it's a successful recipe also to avoid going to the bumwush - the old British term for ruin, obscurity and annihilation (preferably in that order if you plan on going bust).

Jerry's never even been to the other guys' beach yet. Chances are, he never will. He can't swim and doesn't need a tan. He's too busy filling modest orders with his daughter Mandy, completing their degrees in Bowen and NST advanced body work while putting his existing designs through genetic engineering experiments. It's the perennial tweaker's hunt for higher performance morphing. It's a never-ending chase, one only too familiar to fellow audiophiles who view this permanent state of impermanence as a worthy affront to their creativity and financial resourcefulness.

The 5+ hours drive from Taos to Denver where I'd interview Ramsey passes through the resort towns of Angle Fire and Moreno Valley's Eagle Nest, then through Colfax County's picturesque Cimmaron Canyon. Leaving the spectacular wooded cliffs, one eventually hits the deserted straightaway between Cimmaron and Raton to reach Highway 25. And if the beasts deign to graze close enough to the road, one spots sizable herds of antelope and buffalo. No bull! And buff they are, these bison, quite the throwback to times when Anglos were the distinct minority in these lands and often at the pointy end of the stick - er, arrow.

Headed for the Denver suburb Aurora which by now has outgrown the metropolis proper? It was akin to Robinson Crusoe returning home. Translation? Mujo culture shock. In this instance, it wasn't called civilization but mall-city, mushrooming condo land and development insanity. Sending smoke signals of thanks to the ethers for calling remote Taos and not the big city home, arriving at Jerry's meant heading straight for the downstairs dungeon called The Grand Illusion PA-1. PA doesn't stand for public address system but are the initials of Jerry's mum and his way of paying homage to her. The remainder of the name, especially the grand part? That becomes self-explanatory once you enter.

Before we'll part the figurative curtains, keep in mind that the following system is housed in a basement room 17' wide by 15' deep with 8' ceilings. The speaker wall is slightly concave, its center point an additional 6 inches farther from the listener than the straight corner-to-corner line in front of him. The rear walls splay inwards by ca. 10 degrees while the ceiling rises by the same offset toward the back. These spatial asymmetries are all practical applications of the old adage that if you avoid parallel walls, you undermine standing waves and may obtain non-boomy, fully extended bass even in a small space.

What by the dull hammer of Thor are you staring at? Well, that's the main reason for today's interview - to shock well-seasoned audiophiles with what seems to defy all dearly-held point-source or even line-source principles. Having heard it years ago in an earlier incarnation, I knew this in-wall cluster speaker system to work amazingly well. Jerry's mo-betta claims of subsequent alterations and upgrades simply compelled me to listen again. But first, a closer look.

Covering the freqs bottom-to-top, you're staring in disbelief at the egg-shell 24-inch, 18-inch and twin 10-inch Hartley woofers which can be back-lit for an eerie "the pale-green UFOs are landing" effect.

The 10s are paralleled by dual 4-inch SEAS midranges flanking a Raven R2 ribbon tweeter, this trio of drivers wedged against an Eminent Technology planar tweeter. Between that cluster and the largest Hartley woofer are twin Eminent Technology planar-magnetic mid panels strategically angled toward the listening position via stand-offs. Now add 4 x JBL 2405 compression tweeter (one above the dual 10"s, one below the lower 4-inch mid, one below the 24" woofer and one in the upper corner where the walls and ceiling meet) and a second free-standing Raven ribbon atop the corner bass trap. That's fourteen transducer per channel, friend, in an elaborate, multi-amped, actively crossed-over 6-way array.