Have you secretly suspected that past the typical audiophile fare, your décor-approved boxes could be less ideal for more get-down stuff like ZZ-Top? Now the raunchier side of N°Four's competency should appeal. Aside from unplugged acoustica, classical and Jazz, they handled the hard Texas e-Blues as authoritatively as Roger Waters' Amused to Death. Ditto the Rap dub added to Capital Bra by his 12-year old offspring. Even an exceptionally finely tuned (backloaded) horn does enjoy stretching its legs on the wild side on occasion. By not shutting down on firebreathing club fare, the N°4 will also appeal to listeners who had otherwise written off the widebander genre as unfit for full duty. Quite invariant of amp choices, this transducer's even tonality plus natural tone color and first-rate resolution will impress regardless of musical preference. True, this price range can pursue lower bass, more dulcet treble and perhaps even noisier SPL. But when it comes to dynamic spontaneity and musical persuasiveness, options shrink drastically. It's why the Ichos N°Four MkII SE rates tops on my list of favorite speakers below €10'000; and why this pair will stay for good. Invoice settled!

Psych profile for the Ichos N°Four MkII SE…
♥ linear response, even tonal balance. Accurate timbres combine high fidelity with emotional conviction. In short, just right.
♥ no depth-mining bass wonder which on 'normal' listening won't factor. Quick yet neither emasculated nor overdamped, this bass convinces with sonority and surprising punch. Intelligibility of bass colors and textures eludes many a similar floorstander.
♥ the midrange aces realism, a touch of drama and using precision for great directness. It serves listening satisfaction without oversaturation. Brilliant vocals.
♥ the treble doesn't even try to seduce with advanced silk-dome silk to counter instead with lucid clarity. Freshness and energy are on the menu as are questionable mastering choices.
♥ though not unconditionally groomed for max SPL, this backloaded horn is fully grown up relative to size and weight. Where the alarm bell really goes off is on microdynamics. Unfettered and responsive like greased lightning, the smallest voltage fluctuations track tightly. Depending on mood, this could prompt speechlessness or madly approving howls.
♥ though not curated for excessive soundstage scale, whenever capacious churches or concert halls do appear on the programme, they render believably and with price-appropriate depth layering. Highly embodied images routinely pop up well outside the speakers.
♥ High-level fit 'n' finish. Top veneers and broad lacquer options explode décor-appropriate accessorizing.
♥ few amplifiers will find this Ichos challenging. 92dB/W/m and nominal 8Ω welcome tubes and transistors of 20wpc and up but the quality of those watts will be key!

Concept: 1.5-way rear-hornloaded widebander
Dimensions & weight: 1006 x 231 x 345mm HxWxD, ~25 kg/ea.
Trim: RAL colors, real-wood veneers, high gloss, some of it for a surcharge
Sensitivity: 92dB/W/m
Nominal impedance: 8Ω
Warranty: 5 years