Unlike NASA's doomed 1986 Challenger, I was certain that Silent Pound's constant directivity for "3 x lower room resonances" would launch into orbit just fine. My bigger question was the voicing/tuning from driver and filter choices. Those reflect an individual designer's or team's taste and aesthetic. Knowing how they overlap with our own is key to happy ownership.

If you're still confused about that other matter, so am I. What of Silent Pound? Surely the odd name has significance like Portia's pound of flesh. But here we're dealing with loud not silent speakers; and Lithuania being on the euro not pound. What's the intended meaning? "To deliver as much sound as possible with as little distortion as possible. Crystal clear sound with a lot of bang which stays in the room so neighbors don't have to hear it." That connection made no more sense to me than to Doug Schneider who covered the Warsaw show. About this exhibit he wrote: "I left the room impressed with what I heard musically and from Balciunas, bent on writing this article because I had the burning feeling that I needed to point out this speaker to the world so others will know about it, too. Mind you, it also crossed my mind that this speaker could wind up a blip on the radar that disappears completely and becomes nothing at all – which is what happens with many new companies and their products, interesting or not. But what I am quite sure of after researching even more about the Challenger online is that it's not shite; or close to that. In fact, it was my favorite product of Audio Video Show 2022."

Hifi Pig too were impressed: "Playing Thriller and cranking the volume a good bit, these speakers remained calm and collected but still dynamically pleasing. They also look very very nice. Imaging in the hot seat was excellent and 'large-scale'. One of my favourite sounding speakers of the day so far."

Checking back on availability January 2nd seeing how the Warsaw show pair had been early pre-production, "I think we'll be able to ship a pair by the end of March." Date. Set. By April 12th, "sorry for not coming back sooner. We're late on our promise as we've had some production kinks to work out. But we could send you a pair for testing beginning of June. Please let me know if that time frame works for you." Done.

By May 30th Martynas checked back to confirm a week 24 ship window. That meant June 12th-19th. The date was approaching, controlled directivity inbound in 60kg/ea. speakers.

Six layers of primer.

I strongly requested that they ship individual boxes not a combined 150kg palletized crate. Know thyself is key when accepting heavy merch without a loading dock, pallet jack, massive storage or second set of hands.

On June 16th my loaner shipment was on the road. By then the company had a new logo; and I a preview on the Treble Clef M speaker from Denmark. It exploits a Ripol-evolved bass system for a certain overlap with today. Here I reference it as a reminder for how controlled directivity can net any number of cosmetic outcomes. To dream up a concept then massage it so people want to display it in their homes as a silent sculpture whenever no music plays is its own challenge. By avoiding the Dane's DSP and active class D drive, Audrius Balciunas works with established audiophile preferences. Passive speakers give their owners freedom to mix 'n' match upstream electronics at will.

Not only does the Treble Clef look radically different. Its active concept addresses another audience, too. Well apart from performance, these are important considerations. Though 'philes may not admit it, it's never just about sound. How the sound is achieved can be just as important as the actual output. Like city hall, death and taxes, fighting the status quo could seem folly. Here the Challenger's built-in difference looks normal enough to stir up little resistance. To enjoy success not just make a statement, sufficient conservatism can be key. Now hiding one's assets in plain sight becomes the real trick. Face on the Challenger disguises its dipole bass divergence. The back grill even does from the other side. What's left is unusual shallowness which ought to please; and triple rows of descending holes on either side of the upper drivers. Absolutely essential to cardioid control, they blend far easier than Duevel's floating spheres to create omni dispersion. Before laying on ears, I thought Silent Pound's concept of controlled directivity to look great not geeky, gaudy or grotesque. Where professional acoustic room treatments are a hard to impossible sell, a pair of Challengers should be easy. [Amphion's Krypton 3X is another conservative example of cardioid midranges set up with perforations.]