Postscript. In the spirit of a few days later, during my subsequent Kinki Studio EX-P27 review I made the following observations: "In our household, Pál Nagy's passive magnetic icOns with Dave Slagle autoformers are the apex predators of speed and lucidity; acinonyx jubatus or cheetah. In a hifi that still looks for its perfect balance as not some abstract absolute but your ideal, cheetah can turn cheater when its level of exposure shows up system flaws. But once the triptych of room, speakers and amplifier/s hits your personal bull's eye, subsequent upgrades can focus solely on magnification power. Now one strategically improves raw resolution. It could mean resonance attenuation, isolators, cable lifts, masterclocks, noise traps and better cables. Once one works backwards from such 'finished' setups which for us include Artesanía or Hifistay equipment supports, Furutech or Audioquest cable lifts, Furutech NCF, Franck Tchang resonators and clock-sync'd USB bridges, resolution losses manifest. By thickening up the musical fabric, minutiae of space, contrast and separation begin to obscure. Blue-sky airiness casts over with a few lighter or heavier clouds. Keenness mellows, jump factor becomes more gemütlich. Mass might increase and with it, a sense of heavier materialism. Calling the other pole one now slides down on spirituality is certainly overwrought. Its sense of otherness as a venue different from our own room simply holds. It's a greater sense of space. It intrudes into and overlays onto our own acoustic. This can even affect music energetics; what we might call emotional frisson or the sense of directness whereby musicians can shock us a bit like live-wire electricity.

"With the icOn 4Pro SE as my central baseline for these qualities, the next step down was the Wyred4Sound STP SE II. This was followed by the Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature in tube bypass. Each of these steps registered as a bit farther away from feeling above the clouds for the most uncut views whilst also seeming closest to the sun's energy as that more cutting directness. The final step down was the EX-P27. Though in the bigger scheme these steps were small, jumping straight from top to bottom was plain.

"Before this language suggests a strict value rating whereby top is best and bottom dead least, it's important to invoke personal taste and how that informs which sonic values a system is most tuned for. Whilst these Aurai Lieutenant speakers use bipole horn tweeters and open-baffle big midranges with hidden bandpass woofers, they're still no spherical Avantgarde horns. Having started my reviewer career with a pair of Duos in Taos New Mexico, I suspect that with them, the Kinki Studio would now invert my Mayan step pyramid to come out on top. The same might hold were I to replace the denser more organic Denafrips Terminator II with a leaner Chord DAC; or if I took out the Nepalese throw rug and opened the curtains onto the French doors for more hard reflective surfaces."

Now you have the sonic essence of these magnetic passives from the UK. Now you understand better why after 20 years of putting together different hifi systems to learn what my ideal sound is—that you only find out by exploring many different flavorsthey've become one of my weapons in the endless hunt for ever higher resolution when nothing else in one's sound wants fixing…