Once the 300iX no longer felt all dark, heavy and opaque from being 100% new, it departed our come-on-song factory of this simple video system. Back in went the resident Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe which on bipolar balance still was more lit up and edge specific to suggest higher resolution. Its far lazier volume control doing it one decibel at a time without Perreaux's acceleration zoom simply felt pedestrian by contrast; or better yet, agricultural when farmers make up our actual neighbors. If there's one functional thing I'd transplant to the Italian deck, it'd be Perreaux's zippy volume firmware. Meanwhile Gold Note's remote wand felt rather more luxurious than the 300iX's plasticky version. Push/pull just like these gain topologies.

The next stop was my smaller upstairs system. Now the Kiwi replaced a pre/power combo of Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature and Goldmund Job 225. Here the speakers are puniferous so only good to ~70Hz when not used close to a wall. Since I run an 80Hz 4th-order active analog filter for a hi/lo-pass division of labor with a 2 x 9½" force-cancelling Dynaudio sub, the MonAcoustic SuperMon Mini choice was by design. Why buy more bandwidth only to throw it away again? This was the cue for Perreaux's clever pre-out/main-in loop into which I'd embed my filter. So I selected 'separates' in its menu then wired things up accordingly. To be safe just in case, I set the start volume to -60dB.

Use mouse-over for magnifier function.

I needn't have played scaredy cat. Everything wired up right the first time. Soon SPL sat at ~-25dB for medium-low SPL and 10dB higher for solid room levels. Being able to loop in a black box like this Sublime Acoustics K231 crossover really does multiply the utility of the usual closed-loop integrated amp concept. This one integrates a lot more. Simply get creative.

Right off, sonics were surprisingly on par with my usual pre/power set. Whilst the Swiss budget amp by itself is quick, direct, dynamic and to the point so au contraire to the 300iX showing downstairs, the preceding DHT preamp with direct-coupled Elrog ER50 power triodes injects deliberately mild but effective harmonics and extra body. The 300iX's mix of bipolar/Mosfet transistors and their tuning in the circuit arrived at a rather similar place if just a tad heavier. Tonal balance remained somewhat darker to play up mass and half shadows. The latter make for a touch of romance unlike their banishment during summery high noon. Then all is lit up starkly if, at least in audio terms, perhaps also slightly relentlessly. We might say that the 300iX really does wear polarized Maui Jims; indoors for a change.

Dynaudio sub's forward placement compensates its 2.5ms digital latency for proper time alignment with the mains.

That this Jimmy was more ripped I realized when Andy Narell's "Bacchanal" from The Long Time Band kicked off my home-grown calypso party. I actually had to turn the Dynaudio sub down a number of clicks to regain properly civilized balance not rum punch. This is a rhythmically locked + loaded groove. In typical muscle-amp fashion, the 300iX showed off bigger bass striations than the Job 225 had managed. Even the sub couldn't equalize this difference in pop, swagger and charge. The band's engine room drove at higher RPM. All its beat 'n' bass makers worked harder to live up the meaning of bacchanal. "The bacchanalia were unofficial privately funded popular Roman festivals of Bacchus based on various ecstatic elements of the Greek Dionysia. They were almost certainly associated with Rome's native cult of Liber and probably arrived in Rome around 200 BC." Translation? Public orgies. Musically it simply meant playing it muscular and with a lot of vitality. The drums cracked, the bass bounced, the shimmering steel drums were piquant and metallic so nicely uncut in the treble. Hearing the same track on the desktop with my Final D-8000 headphones just to check this YouTube link made for a far tamer reading. Any orgiastic elements the 300iX had liberated went asleep. Yawn.

With great power comes great punch? Quite; but also adroitness to avoid any sense of even subliminal sluggishness. I managed to kick up that adrenaline pep another notch when 3 became 1 to bypass the Terminator Plus with a coaxial line into the 300iX. That subtracted some firm fat to tilt the textural balance in favor of more incisiveness and acceleration. If the Perreaux made a permanent home in this system, our DAC, preamp and amp would all retire in the utility closet. "So it rocks out" you allow bored. "Great. That was so predictable. What happens dulcemento? Can it make an old man happy with a lady like Lynni Treekrem?"

Okay, here she's not all peaches 'n' cream. Still, you get the idea – female vocals, downtempo tune, high production values, audiophile turf. What did our muscle amp make of it all? And for that matter, how about Ibraheim El Hakami's shiny power vocals of "Shatktelak" from his Tahyaty album [available on Qobuz]?

First, a message from the power authority. Because my room had gotten a bit chilly, I fired up a space heater. Suddenly the music enveloped new steady-state noise. I hit 'pause'. Perreaux's power toroid was angrily abuzz from the seat. As soon as I powered off the heater, the buzz vanished. Close-up hum remained. Now my upstairs synapses fired. So I swapped the amp's power cord from my usual passive Furutech distributor to an active AC conditioner with built-in DC blocker. That nearly suppressed the nearfield hum entirely. Once the heater fired up again, the amp's self hum increased but nowhere near as bad as before. The moral of this anecdote is clear. Our big power donut is rather susceptible to DC on the power line. End of special message. And, after a double happy-hour stretch of higher -15dB SPL, the 300iX was clearly toasty to the touch but nothing like a class A roaster. Even residents of hot countries will be able to use this 350wpc beast without shorting out their aircon.