Neither had the upper hand and that was telling. Both staged far, deep and wide but then took their own scenic route. Trilogy's soundstage was inhabited by thick internally moist colorful images served up close and personal. AGD's pencil pressed harder to render more specific image outlines locked on transients, contrast and crispness to balance artfulness with realism. One was soft, sweet, elastic and intimately enveloping. The other was cooler, harder, more resolved and spatially uniform left to right. Figuratively speaking, if Trilogy promised sunrise romance atop a very high mountain from where I saw everything, AGD put me inside a car with twin-turbo monster engine ideal for blasting through the left lane at silly speeds. Although I had my thrills with either, these experiences were incomparable.

To state the obvious, spending extra coin won't get us extra performance if we look for it in the wrong place. Trilogy's reference tier must be exactly what you want to justify its expense. Even then it won't do everything Alberto's latest can; or vice versa. That's why the staggering price gap between them didn't factor. In that context today's battlefield was as even as possible. Long story short, after weeks of highly entertaining conflict, artillery fire dropped as many corpses on either side. AGD's 'budget' set held its ground against the British behemoths and proved equally gifted on technical capabilities and sonic elegance. That's how good this class (AG)D is.

Next I had to separate the Californiacs and investigate them individually. Tempo was auditioned with the 915R, then Alto fronted the 995R monos. All interconnects, power cords and other tweaks stayed put. The result of these triangulations was straightforward and predictable again given my familiarity with other AGD products. Figuratively speaking, Tempo was a menacing demon with off-the-charts acceleration which Alto made safe to drive. Tempo provided grip, control and traction yet was lean by itself. Alto boosted its organic tissue and density. Both elevated each other in truly synergistic fashion just as the Vivace monos and Andante pre had done two springs ago. They really belong together. That way one has a visual match that also sonically works an awesome charm.

Without Alberto's best on hand, I couldn't possibly say whether Alto and Tempo are tuned exactly like it. Not knowing simply couldn't diminish their accomplishment in isolation. As a stack they did splendidly against my reference hardware. They left no room to second-guess their GaN roots which is plenty to be most vocal about. Don't let their small footprints and price fool you. These highly ambitious very serious performers are fit to battle far pricier larger competitors. Remember, mine were seven times their ask! Then again, Alberto's last name Guerra means 'war' in Italian. So we shouldn't be too surprised, should we?