Power zone and midrange. Above ~150Hz, Shinai came yet closer to the traditional ideal of the neutral amplifier. Concerning tonality, there was absolutely no peculiarity that would indicate any kind of coloration. Voices sounded unobtrusively natural. By comparison, my Norma/LinnenberG combo presents female voices in a somewhat more reserved less open fashion. This I probably wouldn't know without direct A/B. However, the reason for this was no tendency of the Grandinote to exaggerate the upper midrange or presence region. Again it was just outstanding transparency with an unobstructed view on micro information which revealed even the smallest detail of vocal articulation.

On "Danny Boy", the friction as the air turbulence in the narrow vocal tract of Jacintha's throat was something I only noticed this clearly now. The same went for the subtle sounds which a wet tongue makes in a mouth. In SBTRKT's "Wildfire", Shinai illuminated the densely interwoven voices in the second half of the piece with almost X-ray lucidity. This attention to detail went a step beyond nearly anything I'd experienced before. Only the 2.5 x pricier BAT VK-53SE and VK-76SE combination still surpassed this completely natural flood of detail in the mid and presence ranges. Fortunately none of it seemed ever ethereal because the fundamentals possessed real substance and body. The saxophone in Pink Floyd's "Money" came across nicely and Jaco Pastorius' fretless bass purred with pleasant tangibility.

High frequencies. Here I'm going out on a limb. Up to €15'000, the Grandinote Shinai produced the best treble I know. It sounded neither bright, sharp, crystalline and hard nor soft and romantic. It merely was overwhelmingly detailed and airy. No matter whether I put on Yello's shimmering electronica from Toy on the Sikora turntable or listened to the cymbals' delicate high-frequency webs in Max Rouch's "Lonesome Lover" via Qobuz … I could hardly believe how much micro information Shinai uncovered. This openness had a pleasantly silky texture that was more fluffy than hard so completely free of stress. Depending on the music, you might think that you've heard a slightly cleaner treble in front of a black background elsewhere. Far from it. Shinai shows every detail no matter how small like when cymbals fade all the way into the noise floor. Fascinating!

Dynamics and energy. Now I feel like moving from duty to inspired freestyling. Even though my earlier comments were laudatory already, it got even better. Time and again, I found myself exclaiming an incredulous "ha!" accompanied by a smile as soon as the Italian reproduced dynamic, impulsive and transient material. It didn't matter whether it was the striking effects-laden guitar of Al Di Meola or the incomparably more natural hence duller Bruce Springstreen six-string. Shinai made their production differences very clear. It always did this with incredibly weightless yet not disembodied attacks to develop maximum microdynamic agility. I perceived every milli-Newton of flutter in Leonard Bernstein's keys treatment of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. When grand piano and Columbia Symphony Orchestra went full tilt, the amp's speed helped to deliver convincing large-scale dynamics with substance and force. The ASR Emitter 1 may have dropped an even bigger sledgehammer but didn't seem as agile. This gave the Grandinote the advantage with big dynamic demands in the mid and high registers as on the guitars in "Alhambra" from Yello's Flag. It also mastered the electronic impulses on Yello's Toy and "Fnktrp" from The Floozies' Do Your Thing. Likewise for congas and small drums whenever a recording allowed. Exaggeration wasn't its thing though. Dynamically compressed recordings remained flat.