But first, picture-perfect postcards to ground the preceding points in specific music examples. Here's the opener from Aytac Dogan's Deva album. Its special lookout is the fine stick work past 3'00". It's plain as day on headphones because they eliminate the room's overlay. It tends to get more buried and subdued over speakers particularly with average tweeters. Pull out excellent horn tweeters, Raal ribbons or Zoltán's line-source tweeter and what you know to be there from superior headphones translates into the room.

The same headfi-to-speakerfi transition without losing things in translation factored. Here it was the dynamic impact and crack of percussive hits as their own attractions on Østein Sevåg's "Wind" from his Caravan album. To a lesser extent because the recording quality is middling, the same held true for the Michael Shrieve/Klaus Schulze classic Transfer Station Blue where panned drum hits break up the falling synth shimmer.

For more beat excellence down into the very low bass…

… a favorite go-to track is "Gold Dust Bacchanalia" from Mychael Danna's soundtrack to the Mira Nair movie Kamasutra. I've used it for years on all manner of headphones and speakers including 2 x 15" jobs. I knew that despite elephantine synth bass reach, Courante 2.0 left no stone unturned and could do this loud. Audiophile terminology might refer to such tautly timed percussive events as 'beat precision' or 'impulse fidelity'. It's a very different kind of affirmative action than what John F. Kennedy had in mind. What it affirms for music playback is the overriding importance of the time domain. It's a very active quality which immediately informs our perception and participation. When timing is this affirmative, musical vitality moves to the fore.

For a tacit sense of venue space that's clearly shared between its musicians, this elegiac track by the Tarkovsky Quartet is a fine example. Naturally ECM's recording quality is an important ingredient. But it's also fair to say that the Bayz mixes cues of our playback venue with those of the recorded venues. It adds extra spaciousness which is arguably artificial or a special effect. But close your eyes, relax and then inquire how your body feels. You might notice how its belief in hearing actual instruments in actual space has become stronger. Does that equate to a detestable deviation from recorded truth, the whole truth and nothing but?

If so, it sure fools our senses into believing the illusion to be more not less real. "Your honor, I'm simply the better liar. You can't hold me for that. I'm perfectly legit." Indeed. If you prefer to issue a cease-and-desist order, go ahead. Courante 2.0 won't care. It just won't be for you. Given how its price puts it well beyond personal ability, it's not for me either. But that won't prevent me from wondering. Doesn't it represent a true and successful effort at the state of the art in 21st-century speaker design? Let's take a break while I mull over what else, if anything, I've heard that does what it does; and whether price should even be a factor in such considerations.