Delivery was by big carton will triple-layered foam cut for precise cradling of each Spirula satellite and the Thunderstone subwoofer. Subsequent removal of a foam layer revealed a small inner box for the power cord with figure-8 plug; a Toslink cable with 3.5mm adapter; a 3.5mm stereo link; banana-terminated speaker cables; tiny spike protectors; a cleaning brush; a brochure; and an owner's manual.

With our Soundaware D100Pro SD card transport for a first wired Toslink check, I had instant sound. First of course I had to connect speaker leads and observe proper polarity. The leads were color-coded black and white whilst the beautifully turned posts of banana receivers had very subdued markings in their ends which can be easy to overlook.

Deeptime prefer more subtlety and nobler materials than the usual black and red plastic nuts.

Here's a closer look at the 3" Tangband W3-2141 widebander in its surprisingly weighty enclosure. That Laurence Dickie of Vivid-style tapered tube rolling back upon itself didn't betray so much as the faintest semblance of a clam shell seam because, as we learned, there isn't one. That part is extra mind boggling.

To the eye, Spirula and Thunderstone appear as though across the prehistoric eons, organic shells had petrified into black lava rock. Being 3D printed, they of course have been grown grain by grain. But knowing that hard fact and having the soft encounter were still two very disparate things. As a compact active system, Ionic wasn't much removed from a set of Gallo Acoustics micro spheres with canister sub. Yet design and execution pushed prospective ownership beyond basic sound appliance status into functional art. To just make sound over equivalent bandwidth, a pair of €549/pr Audio Engine active boxes will do. But Ionic's target audience wants something different. Such desire won't be specific until one sees a photo. Who'd imagine this was available unless one saw it first? This then falls into the "I know it when I see it" category. It might even belong into the Sharper Image catalogue. Of course right after, one must overcome thinking them cute as sin but mere eye candy of empty sonic calories. For that, photos can't help. Now one needs to listen.