Then there were the mysterious venue atmospherics with productions like the aforementioned Stille Klang. I'm not exactly sure how but with the Acapella I thought I could hear the air move inside the church. I know, I know, utter poppycock. And yet it felt that way. In accepted technical parlance, this probably were the most subtle of decay trails which my loaners tracked farther than I was used to. The soundstage seemed to heave with virtual inhalations as though I was physically there. Spooky! I'm done with people claiming that resolution doesn't really matter.

While still on soundstaging, that was truly astonishing for a speaker of this size. Routinely giants stand in their own way whilst well-executed luxo monitors play out all their ace cards to clean up in this discipline. And versus the best monitors there still was a gap in image specificity. But this relies on finding extreme localization focus of heightened appeal in the first place. Others call it hyper real instead so pure artifice. Never mind that such comparisons are silly. Who parks 2 x 130kg refrigerators in the lounge thinking that the dynamic range and bass performance of monitors suffices? Nobody. Now the Acapella must be compared against similarly grown-up towers. Here I'm back at Focal's Maestro Utopia Evo which weighs the same physically if not financially [€52'000 – Ed.].

On edge limning the French would win by a Parisian nose but that the German rendered its images a bit more round and organic didn't seem coincidental. In the end it's personal taste. On stage breadth, depth and ability of dynamic cardio, the Acapella didn't concede a thing. Like the Focal, it knew how to embed voices and instruments inside their own space bubble or aura if you will. Being surrounded by their own air pockets integrated musicians more believably into a 3D stage than had they stood nekkid. Unfortunately this particular effect is hard to describe. With valve amps I'd call it bloom. Is that useful? In my Focal review I wrote of a spaces-within-space effect. Whatever you call it, its key to render a virtual stage that's not just generous whilst precise but realistic so not checker-board sterile as though mapped by lasers.

Given that we're investigating hornspeakers, dynamics were very good but somehow not 'horny'. To cite the giant non-horn Focal again, its impulses registered a tick sharper and fresher. Still more so did my big Blumenhofer horns. When drum sticks hit skins, plectrums pluck or piano hammers strike strings, the competitors felt harder. It's what directly followed such impulses that the Acapella drew more microdynamically astute. This distinction also figured with the acoustic guitars on Julie Barne's Not Even Happiness album. When finger tips slid across strings, the High BassNobile captured those smears with directness but a tick milder than usual though it tracked the subsequent string oscillations with more delicacy and harmonic nuance. I also heard more instrumental body. Check then for elite microdynamics but not maximal attack mode as might be thought synonymous with hornspeakers.