Spaceship SPe. Is doing without the bottom two octaves ideal? Surely the absence of the deepest bass can help prevent problems like annoying boom and the resulting masking of spatial information in most real-world listening rooms. Maybe that's why the Audio Note AN-K/SPe are capable of some of the most pleasant spatial reproduction I've experienced in my home in recent years except for the Grandinote Mach 2R which at that discipline is probably hard to beat. The Audio Note do not project individual events, voices and instruments as sharply delineated and separated onto the virtual stage as the Italians. However, the sheer extension of the stage to the left, right, above and below was enormous and above all surprisingly weightless and free. In contrast to the more direct Grandinote, the entire stage's positioning took place rather on and somewhat behind the speaker plane and did not involve me as actively.

The speakers' complete disappearance as sound sources from the musical panorama happened even more convincingly with the AN-K/SPe than Mach 2R. In combination with the fast impulse response and airy overall impression, the Audio Note sounded very relaxed, effortless and unrestricted where I'm not using these characteristics as euphemisms to cover up tonal flaws or other shortcomings. Technology and the thought of hifi took a back seat for once. I haven't listened to this much music in a long time.

Conclusion. The Audio Note AN-K/SPe are a recommendation for people who don't care about brand cachet or technology and who simply like to listen to a lot of music. They're also for real hifi nerds fed up with forest-and-meadows hifi. The AN-K/SPe fit perfectly into small to medium-sized rooms especially if an installation requires/enables close-wall placement. Electrically they are relatively undemanding and should cope with small pentode or properly made SET amplifiers. Sonically they are all the more demanding and prefer comparatively colorful, silky and elegantly fluid electronics to overly strict masters of neutrality and dynamics.

Among other things this is because the AN-K/SPe are somewhat reserved in terms of timbre and lower bass. Their overall tonality is mostly neutral with a very slight residual warmth extending from the upper bass to the lower midrange which gives the sound a pleasant solidity. Thus these are great speakers for unadorned, realistic and coherent reproduction of acoustic music in general and smaller acoustic, classical and jazz ensembles as well as sophisticated electronica in particular. With these genres they enchant with a seemingly endless panorama and relaxed airiness with maximum coherence. On the other hand, rumbling techno is not their thing and wall-of-sound heavy metal disciples as well as hip-hop fans should not be misled by that 20cm woofer. Those who enjoy music holistically and do not value the very last bit of deep bass should give these a try and take their time because the Audio Note AN-K/SPe are not flashy dazzlers. They want to be discovered to then richly reward intensive engagement.