The point-to-point wired filter separates into two boards with Mundorf and Jantzen parts. For this application, one is hard pressed to find suppliers of higher pedigree. Input terminals for our just 1-meter tall champion are from WBT's plasma-protect range. The multi-braced enclosure tilts back slightly for physical time alignment. Build tolerances are 1/10th of a millimetre which also benefits rigidity. The Polish builders even kept a watchful eye on apparent secondary concerns like metric bolt receivers to not rely on screw-to-wood torque which never keeps. Hookup wiring is long-crystal OFG6N copper with solder connections not clips. With quality speakers that should be implied but in reality it's where many cut corners. The artisanal degree of Equilibrium's wood and lacquer shops represents bona-fide fine furniture quality – proper furniture that is, not flat-packed Nordic assemble-yourself fare.

My samples were finished in matte slightly metallic lacquer whose ‘Galatea' hue, depending on illumination, morphed from faint green to sand-colored. In matte or glosse, the client picks any color in the RAL-K7 palette. For a 10% surcharge, there are also oak, cherry and walnut veneers. With such options, there ought to be something for everyone. A bit of criticism is due to the Idea S8's plinth, not that it didn't properly support the speakers on four POM footers fastened with M8 bolts to black-lacquered MDF. But that plate could have been bigger and thicker. While I'm at it, outriggers would work better still.

New distributor-papa Jörg Klein described the Idea S8 as an unpretentious Jack of all trades who won't insist on dancing with just the mega-posh kit. Already the Warsaw demo suggested so with a $3'000 Rogue Cronos Magnum III valve amp which could have surprised given low 85/W/m sensitivity. Impedance rates at 4Ω without significant dips below. That smiles at sufficiently potent tubes. Flea-watt triodes and other exotica aren't invited of course but upward of 30 watts should be joy.

My virgin samples begged for break-in and asked for more than the usual patience. Even weeks into it I still heard changes which kept migrating from a presence-region emphasis and crispness to finally proper coherence. At the end of this process, I was actually surprised by how seamless these three drivers meshed. Particularly the beryllium tweeter didn't play dreaded spotlight but proved to be a civilized member of its elite club. For a sealed box of not copious cubic volume, this Equilibrium managed surprising reach but obviously couldn't muster full output in the sub bass. Instead I heard articulate grip and in my room solid output starting in the mid bass without any emphasis in the upper bass.

Take the bass on Karl Seglem's "Solhaug" from his Nordic Balm album. The Idea S8 was every bit its equal without any newsworthy misses or boom. Where a recording prompts it, comfortable stomach massages are game. Of course bigger speaker like my €20'000/pr Acapella La Campanella dig even deeper with more pressure and authority but can't detract from the fact that Equilibrium's shallow cabinet does develop quite grown-up bass from its available cubic inches.