Voxatious. Without re-invoking orgies, I'll just say that the 300iX got very intimate with well-recorded vocals. Of course here I was listening to small isobaric widebanders. They run up to 6kHz before small AMT fill in the very top. Vocal intensity is what they're good at. But they still need an amp to let them. Had I nourished any presumptions that this much power testosterone wouldn't suit now-here voice artistry, those presumptions had gone on an extended fast. Be it Norse female exploits or high male Saudi vocals, the big amp could dig deep onto vocal chords rather than stop short on the chest. Because it also brought mass and anchoring to bear down, even El Hakami's power falsetto didn't get shrill or brassy. That was a good trick – like this next Chopin valse done up as a Flamenco fandango by, of course, a Polish guitarist, the leader of the Indialucía ensemble Miguel Czachowski.

On that note, also visit his interplay with India's percussion maestro Giridhar Udupa. That's because on anything with rhythmic pepper and paprika, the big amp's speed really excelled at spicy/spiked staccato transients without lingering fuzz or furriness. Again, this wasn't a discipline I'd expected the Perreaux to ace. Rather, I'd anticipated it to go just a bit pear-shaped. But it refused. That I found very noteworthy. Big engine, high torque plus turbo for the upper gears. That covers it for upstairs.

Time to slip into the bigger room of the downstairs system. To start with power-appropriate voltage efficiency before going soft on the ~93dB sound|kaos Vox 3a, Acelec's 84dB Model One monitor stood in. My usual filter box unplugged to work the Perreaux full range. Comparator amps were my 250-watt Kinki Studio monos. The big sub just sat there unemployed.

The below setup was a reminder. Muscle amps really do big up small speakers. Certainly port + omni bass action couldn't be as clean and abysmal as the cardioid so directional sub but raw reach and willing dynamics still surprised even when prior experience knew better than act surprised. I lived with this arrangement for a day to calibrate my ears, then swapped in the 300iX. When one keeps a small harem of speaker mates, it's easy to forget the specific sound of certain hardware constellations.

Given room layout/setup and not owning a 7-meter digital coax to reach my Singxer SU-6 USB bridge from the Perreaux, these were basic amp/integrated comparos. Though one could bypass the visitor's volume in its menu, I didn't. The entire rationale of buying a costly integrated is to use all its functionality. So I instead locked the Sonnet Pasithea DAC to fixed gain. With the 300iX's display letters set to large, I had easy legibility from the seat. Once again the transformer hummed enough to be faintly heard from the seat. Including the initial photo op for its innards and display modes, that was the 4th location in which it proved noisy. It's my one sadly persistent complaint of the design which doubled as eliminator from any award considerations which otherwise loomed large.

Vis-à-vis the Kinkis' read, the Perreaux presented as just marginally warmer so a smidge more relaxed or 'set back'. That its inherent speed could still ruffle the folds of Mundorf's hyper-dynamic AMT came clear on the "Antonio Lucio in Dublin" opener of Hugh de Courson's O'stravaganza. Many know of his inspired Mozart l'Egyptien volumes I and II but this earlier production is just as ingenious. Just why massed strings remain so problematic during replay I'm not sure of. It's simply super easy to either under or overplay their metallic, percussive and sawing aspects. Here Vivaldi's Four Seasons clash with up-tempo Irish fiddling, flutes and bodhrans to really turn up the heat.

That much like the Kinkis plus pleated tweeters, the Perreaux walked right on this edge rather than default to faux sweetness was, at least in my book, a big compliment. I prefer directness that's unafraid to occasionally overreach to padded reluctance that plays it safe but more boring. If your music brings the heat and your speakers suffer a minor dynamic imbalance so more on top than in the middle, don't mistake the 300iX for a cuddly chump. Its knives are honed, its julienne skills tops. For an encore, the black Dutch boxes departed, the wooden Swiss moved in.