As always in these matters, when in doubt, lend an ear. Better yet, lend two. That ought to settle it.

Should your wallet not keep up, that's par for today's course. Putting another monster number on the score board comes from slow 3D printing in glass and nylon, then polishing the works in lustrous skins and shiny metals picked and crafted to order. Bespoke hi-tech comes at a price. If you want value, go active and after a KEF LS50 on the low end, a Genelec 8361 on the higher side, a Kii Three for a top-class solution. This assignment drives up to a very different kind of address. On October 26th/27th in fact, that address was the Ascot Racecourse which according to Wikipedia "holds the second-highest attendance record (280'000) among sporting venues in the world".

The last exotic fruits we'd sampled, of ace industrial designers who had applied their hands to upscale hifi, had been Antonio Meze with his Empyrean flagship planar headphone; urban architect Jorge Mata Falcón with his Sottovoce Stereo 3 speaker; automotive experts Ondrej & Martin of Deeptime with their Spirula/Thunderstone system; and architect Jacob George with his Rethm Aarka monitor. With Hylixa, the theme continues. Again it's not about swanky good looks alone. It also packs plenty of serious tech.

Next we see Hylixa shells after CNC turning whittled down their printed blocks into the final egg shape. We appreciate how a stand continues and completes the structure.

It's an integral inseparable part. In it locks not just proper height and grounding but isolation for microphonic filter parts.

It's become simple Hollywood fact. No matter how outrageous, if your mind can see it, special effects can create it. Mechanical objects still hit brick walls. Whenever wild imagination clashes with more prosaic manufacturability, imagination gets shot down. It crashes into reality and burns. Hylixa resets common boundaries. Advanced mechanical design meets equally advanced manufacturing know-how meets costly hi-tech machines and processes. Ambitious 3D renders morph into coded instructions which print then CNC actual physical objects. Specialized finishing adds luxury touches and sparkle. Here outrageous imagination knew exactly how to make it so.

Hence Hylixa is as much proof of concept as it is a very costly fully functional object d'art. That addresses audiences other than typical audiophiles. One might nearly ask just what electronics are stylish enough to properly partner up? Our household on that score would fall miserably short.

Meanwhile interior design or luxury lifestyle mags which might identify and procure ideal cosmetic partners lack the audiophile background to put Hylixa's sonic performance into proper context. Breaking molds inevitably means that old patterns no longer fit. New discussions must be had. And those mean no last but mostly just first words.

It's the domain also of Devialet's Phantom of the French opera. Today the enabler simply wasn't their LVMH aka Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy Group with €46.8 billion in 2018 revenues. Behind Hylixa are just two industrial designers, one acoustical consultant and ARCC Innovations of Cambridge. The moral of this story might be that unlimited funds are all swell as hell but that nothing ever begins without a very concise very different very uncompromising idea and vision.

To convey their vision in full, Ashley May announced himself for a late November ferry crossing from Blighty to Eire. He and his wife would make a day trip to the Irish west coast they'd not seen before to personally deliver my loaners and fill in any holes in my presentation. After all, we haven't yet learnt just what possessed Ashley and his partner David to get into hifi in the first place; what had them focus on loudspeakers, then dream up that novel cylindrical transmission line; how they identified ARCC as the ideal manufacturing partner; what type of partnering gear was used during Hylixa's R&D and what competing speakers might have served as performance benchmarks Node meant to keep up with. Nothing ever drops fully formed in a vacuum. Everything stands on the shoulders of what came before, be it consciously acknowledged or absorbed as a more generalized Zeitgeist which informs our thinking, ideas and imagination. Period films recreate an era's feel with design cues culled from architecture, wardrobe, hairstyles, color palettes, automobiles, appliances and music of the time. What were specific early 21st-century influences that had pooled into Hylixa?