Schenker delivery by massive lorry was in a very utilitarian cardboard box. That had seen better days but I knew that this would be a well-traveled demonstrator pair.

Soon perched on our British Track Audio stands, the lustrous clear lacquer atop richly veined Santos rosewood veneer spelled upscale Asian taste where this wood species is revered to symbolize luxury.

Throwing my eye sight then close-up lens at the tweeter netted just this. It's fair to call this a proper horn since it's far deeper than a mere wave guide.

First impressions? "What an incredible tweeter!" This was shortly followed by "what a brilliant port". Going in we knew. Following his own taste not Asia's, Alain had deliberately not turned his tweeter up to the highest possible setting. Despite slightly lower amplitude, there was no hiding a most obvious fact. This was one hellaciously fast and responsive HF unit. It dug deep into the finest upper harmonics to counteract its ceramic partner's propensity to, at least elsewhere, often seem harmonically just a tad bland or grayish. With tonal gloss but no artificial brilliance—the Asia tuning might change that second aspect—this ultra-light transducer behind its precision Delrin horn majored on airiness and fizz. That tracked down into very low SPL. This unknown French tweeter was superior to the far heavier but famous Mundorf AMT in our regular monitors. It was superior to the inverted ceramic Accuton dome in our Albedo Aptica two-way towers. It most reminded me of a Raal ribbon, albeit with higher energy density and rather more color.

Going off on a port earlier might have seemed quite strange. But it just followed the speed-is-the-deed theme by not going off. The M3's port was very well damped so the low registers were as agile and immaculately enunciated as the rest. 'As above so below' was the takeaway. Where our Acelec Model One had Simon Lee's i5 integrated register as more bassy, darkish and fulsome like an aged beauty, the i5/M3 combo played it in the middle and radiated outward from the midrange. Space, depth and layering were as mature as were body, tone and fullness. That made for quite an ideal balance between speed and physicality. Treble and bass were extensions of, not separate entities from, the vocal band. This was neither a bottom-up nor a top-down perspective. This was a centrist affair with a core of real chewiness. 261.1Hz for president would be the attendant bumper sticker. That refers to C4 or 'middle C' as the fourth C key on an 88-key piano.

Built-in synergy of Alain Pratali's boxes with Simon's amp is no cheap sales-floor ploy to sell you on a particular combo in inventory that day. It's an actual and very happy fact. It's easily proven when you hear it together so Simon Audio clients are well served.