For my review, an Innuos Statement streamer/server handled storage/transport duties, a LampizatOr Pacific DAC passed their signal to a Trilogy 915R/995R pre/powerset connected via Boenicke S3 speaker cable either to sound|kaos Vox 3afw or Mini speakers. Interconnects were Boenicke Audio IC3 CG and DIY XLR. All key hardware powered off Boenicke Audio's Power Gate distributor with its three captive M2 cords plus two extra LessLoss C-MARC. The USB chain included only one Mercury3.0 USB cable. A set of external LessLoss Firewall for Loudspeakers modules complimented both speaker sets, a Fidelizer EtherStream sat between Linksys WRT160N router and Innuos Statement. A GigaWatt PC-3 SE EVO+ power conditioner fronted by its own LC-3 EVO cable fed ISOL-8's Prometheus PSU connected to router and network switch.

Speaker assignments usually start by tackling optimal positioning and suitable companions. My previous Nenuphar experience simply didn't have to reinvent the wheel. The F8 Neo drivers made similar demands. Their mechanical fondness for amps of higher output impedance was no secret. These widebanders like to roam free. The lower an amp's damping factor, the less on the leash they are. No feedback is a bonus. Given that, Bakoon's AMP-13R and Kinki Studio's EX-M1 were off duty. Cube Audio's 10-incher had sounded best with Trilogy's 925 integrated of zero feedback and a damping factor of just 16. Unsurprisingly the same brand's 995R/915R combo played the same game. Its match with Mini was so wholesome that I saw no need to engage my FirstWatt F7 fronted by a Thöress DFP.

Mini wasn't at all fussy about positioning. A gentle toe in and about a meter from the front and side walls locked it all in. I already knew that closing the side distances would reinforce bass but that clearly wasn't needed. These drivers were happy as clams already. Toeing them in further was counterproductive. That was unusual considering how most such drivers beam. All in, the Mini didn't have special positioning needs to come on song. It scored as high on setup ease as had its bigger brother. Although it's been a while since that 10-incher's departure, the 8" sounded unmistakably alike. Past unboxing and setup, my attention quickly drifted from checking off reach, openness and linearity to a highly entertaining performance clearly meant to shock and awe. I remember well how pounding, palpable inside my chest and crazily extended Nenuphar's bass had felt. Early on it left me puzzled. I'd had no idea that one unassisted driver could reach so low and be this elastic, powerful and texturally sophisticated. Although Mini didn't reach quite as low, it still didn't feel hollow, limited or in dire need of subwoofer assistance. It slammed just a hair less wicked but still pulled stunts that would make many regular speakers blush.

Just like the earlier visitors had, Mini was clueless about how to do sluggish, bloated, fuzzy or boomy. Not once did it get shrill, pale, tense or stiff. It scaled with SPL to develop more and more shove and dynamic grandeur yet remained clean, pleasantly wet and composed. It didn't know how to do shout and pierce either but clearly featured that same big-bore open throat and fearlessness Nenuphar had. Widebanders are known for directness, immediacy, quickness, clarity, openness, euphony and expressiveness served up in a very distinct way and Mini covered all those bases. It rendered vocals as distant or intimate as a given track had them but always pinpoint focused, internally moist and outline-limned to feel very alive. The more years as a full-time reviewer I have under my belt , the more I think that only widebanders know how to portray voices this convincingly.