Small tendencies? One minor wrinkle I eventually did spot. Gamma played it slightly mellower than forward going north of the upper midrange. This factored less with the voices on "From the dust of this planet" and interestingly not even with well-recorded vocals but more with brightly lit guitars. The circular ear-wormish licks on Dysrhythmia's "Running towards the end" from their Test of Submission album drilled itself with a bit less urgency and relentlessness into my consciousness than usual. Gamma's overall voicing leaned almost subliminally into more pleasing long-term comfort.
Contrasting competitors? Speakers in this particular class which as such aren't regular visitors were last April's also active Abacus Horn sans DAC/streamer. When A/B'd, here the Quadral and Abacus would be fundamentally divergent characters. Airier super treble and slightly mellower presence band (Gamma) would meet a subtly dimmed upper treble and fresher upper midrange (Horn). Gamma would throw in clearly superior bass differentiation, the Horn a small lead with exceptionally coherent soundstaging that exceeds the basically flawless contenders from Hannover. Common ground would be to appeal beyond just the raw facts. Gamma presents emotional content from the cultured side, Horn from the sportive. That phrasing was deliberately black and white when both speakers exhibit so few markers as to simply sound honest. But by contrast, their minor personalities would step forward.
Going still beyond on resolving power and subtlety without vivisectionist antics would be AudioSolutions' Virtuoso M. Combined with my Bryston 7B³, those admittedly also cost thrice of what Quadral get for their fully active solution. Across their mids and highs though, the Lithuanians simply were grippier and more involving. On bass reach and articulation, Gamma wold win. Leashed to the Bryston, my older Spendor D9 [€9'000, since superseded by a newer model] continues to pleasure me with its out-sized virtual stage which I simply enjoy and brilliantly airy mids/highs for a trademark gorgeous shimmer. But I also hear the loss in bass pressure which otherwise is a range the Spendor handle equally precise. Also, Gamma's cultured mid/treble registers clocked in as a tad calmer and clearer as though the last remnants of fluctuations atop a watery surface calmed down to open up the least skewed view onto the ground beneath. Hello even lower distortion.
Since 2008, fairaudio have hosted any number of Quadral guests. Here it still seems the case that to certain high-enders, the brand just isn't distinguished enough yet to make its pedigreed mark on their consciousness. Perhaps Quadral should copy Rolex and claim they no longer even make boxes? On this subject I'll simply say that for our reviews, we deliberately picked models which we felt would appeal to serious shoppers and connoisseurs. That's particularly apt for the 'ribbonized' Aurum range. Typical ribbon sound so beloved by some yet feared by others—exaggerated shimmer, forwardness, exhibitionist tendencies—isn't really the focus of quSense. Precision and airiness are, extrovert gleaming halos aren't. The same cultured, undisturbed, musically subservient treble traits mirrored in the midband. That made for a very coherent and persuasive yet still informative and transparent sound picture. Despite its propulsive pressurization and impulsiveness, the low end integrated flawlessly as well.