Tussles. Due to high Irish VAT being levied on his declared value, Matthew asked me to refuse the shipment once it had cleared Dublin customs. It skipped back to the US. There he issued a revised waybill then dispatched it again. Re-delivery had the package back in Irish customs two weeks later. Once on the van out for delivery, the online terminal took three hours to cough up 'operational delay, incorrect address'. Leprechaun at work? Surely you've heard of the Irishman who left the pub. It can happen. The following day the shipment hopped back on the van. Would our leprechaun cause more mischief? Affirmative. The van never showed up. By evening, the tracker had the box back at the depot. Time to call customer service in Mumbai. It's where FedEx contracts with a call center. I learnt that Matthew had omitted our Eircode then gotten a phone digit wrong. When the van rolled up again, I had two deliveries. FedEx's online terminal said so. Yet the unfamiliar driver handed over just one tiny box clearly not of cables. I insisted he had another. He insisted on just the one. Channeling my inner lepreconman, I eventually got him out of his cab to open the sliding door. Matthew's box stared us straight in the face. Without Eircode or a working phone number; this driver simply didn't know where to drop off a stowaway. Mumbai hadn't intercepted in time. Never mind. All was well. With a thank you to the fairies, I cracked into Matthew's box.

He'd forgotten the promised break-in CD too. But minus the recalcitrant 6m interconnects, the cables were finally at hand. Spooled up to rest on end, the speaker wires had crinkled up in transit, their sides folded over some. As you'd iron out a wrinkled shirt, I used my hands to flatten the ribbons then stretched out their weave back to full width. This handling felt rather plasticky. I got similar tactile feedback from the synthetic black sleeves of the interconnects and their shrink tubing. To my mind none of it was fully price commensurate. And why do the interconnects need their fat mid section and heavy metal barrels when the pigtails show far thinner actual wire size? Also, one XLR cable arrived without one connector's tiny set screw which probably fell out in transit. As a result, unseating this XLR from a component pulled the top end right off its barrel. In 20+ years on the beat, that was a first. Yet serious listeners would remind us. It's the sound which matters. But first, how best to route extra-wide ribbons? My usual Furutech cable lifts expected them to lie flat. This naturally countermands any curves to dress flat cables without wrinkles and kinks. So the lifts departed. Standing on end on the parquet flooring caused the least deformation to the ribbons' geometry. True, I didn't fancy the resultant big black look compared to our usual barely-there wires. But it did beat the flat-yet-rumpled alternative. I like my place of work neat.

With newly arrived Børresen X3 speakers, I leashed up the combo and ran tunes to warm up the lot. To get serious, our resident Qualio IQ speakers stood by to narrow back down to just one changed variable. First I had to exorcize potential transit chills and clock 20 hours on the XLR. A few sessions extended that treatment to other fresh arrivals. Then it was time to listen. Our Polish speakers moved back in. So did our usual $1'120/3.5m Kinki Studio Earth speaker cable and $489/1.5m matching XLR to reset my familiar status quo. Kinki's pricing reminds us. MBA's positioning really asks for a sonic revelation. Given 'never heard before' claims plus a super-stiff ask for particularly the ribbons, usual mild flavor shifts wouldn't move my excitement needle out of the low RPM zone. Of course reviews aren't blood sports. Last-man-standing antics are purely puerile. So I tend to stay away from such framing. In this instance many could argue that it's appropriate. I'll plead the fifth.