Whilst  issuing tickets, another was due the twin 5¼" AlNiCo widebanders in Franck Tchang's sculpted Parisian César. Those run unfiltered into a dual dispersion lens. One fires up, one down. The optional super tweeter enters on a 1st-order 18kHz high-pass deflected off its top hat. A few inches above the floor, the downfiring 10" woofer sneaks in at 100Hz on a single inductor. This speaker redefines overall filter simplicity. With its 25Hz-35kHz dispersion of 360°, it saw 8-plus metres of reflective path lengths from the front wall back to the seat in the spots where most speakers end up in this room. That caused an indistinct reverberant overly thick response which disappeared when I limited front wall distance to just over a metre.

Groomed for real-life tonality and more realistic dispersion than direct radiators, Franck Tchang's proprietary small widebanders driven by push-pull pentodes with mild SET attributes had luxurious timbres and agile dynamics. With cone surface of a single 7.4" driver distributed across two smaller cones and motors; with omni dispersion for higher in-room sensitivity but no absorptive filter parts; César is primed for dynamic headroom without the HF beaming so typical for its driver type. The signal path of tubes ⇒ amorphous-core transformers ⇒ widebanders run wide open made for an expanded color palette. Ultra resolution coupled to extreme focus for very high contrast ratio and outline sharpness is one means to conjure up palpability. That's not how this hardware chain went about it. It did it with increased timbre depth, tactile image density and microdynamic verve. Call it sumptuous physicality.

César's small widebander – 100Hz – 18kHz.

The pinkie-size bottles had zero issues with the metal-cone woofers either. My typical check tracks for synth-generated infrasonics in the ambient genre all ticked off. Loaded into far more generous cubic volume, César's sealed bass alignment presented as rather friendlier to the EL84 than our Codex woofer had.

César's 10" woofer.

My only issue with the 2C combo of Cubes + César was that the speakers' omni nature already produced its own pseudo triode effect of more reverb-heavy conditions. Adding the EL84 to the mix then compounded that flavor well past how our adjacent small A/V system depicted César which then could sit even closer to the front wall and was driven by 100 watts of lateral NOS Mosfets. As someone long since transitioned to transistor amplifiers, that was the sound which on César I found ideal. In their own review, I would thus run these Parisians on high-power solid state.

Meanwhile listeners into what Dennis Had—ex Cary Audio if you forgot—had called deep triode a decade ago would idolize what the Polish pencil pentodes got from the Franck Tchang towers. Locking in just so the amp/speaker interface to your personal liking is key. After insuring that the speakers play your room properly, it's the most important hifi decision to be made. All else is window dressing. With four speakers rotated, I decided to return to Kroma's mighty Mimí. Just because the Cubes could drive our Codex didn't mean I ought to promote 'can' over 'should'. Nenuphar meanwhile was too idealized and niche of an example. Giving single-driver widebanders undue coverage could suggest that today's EL84 monos need such a diet to sing. Not. Now the über 2-way monitor genre far better represents the target audience to ask that my review be weighted accordingly. If the Living Voice landed on time, they'd make an appearance in the same vein. For the main auditions however, it'd be the Krion-clad Spaniards in matching white.