First, let's revisit Simon's opening claim of "this is a real killer, with driving power beyond your imagination". It points at handling more difficult speakers than 45 watts might promise. One speaker difficulty is low efficiency to convert input voltage into sufficient SPL. Here one needs enough voltage gain. At 30 out of 63 on its dial, the i5 with a standard 2V max input signal had our 84.5dB Acelec louder than I wanted in a 4m x 6m room. That left major headroom untapped. The more sensitive M3 left even more. But going loud enough isn't necessarily the same as proper control. That's because another speaker difficulty is reactivity of combined back electromotive force, complex power-absorbing filter networks, steep phase angles and big impedance swings. For that high current delivery and stability into low impedance loads is the general antidote. Here we know that the i5's Darlington outputs generate high current but also that Simon's small linear power supply can't double into 4Ω. A 2Ω rating isn't even published. To test actual relevance beyond sundry smaller upstairs speakers, I'd have to go downstairs and try our big 4-way Audio Physic Codex. But upstairs had already signed off on plenty of voltage gain to play typically inefficient small monitors with big bass to very high levels in a standard-sized room.

Before switching speakers, I wanted to hear the M3 on our Bakoon AMP-13R, my joint product of 2019. Now that took to the hot stool behind the boxes. It's a 25wpc DC-coupled 500kHz class AB design with patented current-gain stage, patented bias regulation and lateral Exicon Mosfets. It's the fasted highest-resolution amp in our collection. Would it bleach the color palette and lean out tone textures on these ceramic mid/woofers? Not. Versus the i5, power in the upper bass did diminish a bit but reverb blur stabilized, overall detail magnification increased. With it, I had a heightened sense of cloudless spaciousness with peak image specificity. In short, the combination didn't devolve into a speed-freak spectacle which really goes nowhere on musical persuasion but does so very quickly.

Alain's design ethos of "I focus on the impulse response and in-phase transients to get a very natural open sound" was neither misdirection nor bragging. Devotees of uncorked nearly holographic soundstages and very immediate front-row clarity should adore these French speakers. Simon's integrated didn't light up these abilities to the same extent. Instead it worked more darkness and bottom-up softness into the sonic tapestry. That was particularly attractive on well-recorded piano like this lingering Jacques Loussier take on Erik Satie's popular "Gymnopedie N°1".

This balancing act—between speed and comfort, leading and trailing edges—each listener sets with personal component selection. The important takeaway is that for all its keen articulation powers and refined transient fidelity, the M3 wasn't an inherently lean nervous speaker. If desired, it can be mated to fast 'Swiss school' amps and not turn you into a figurative pale rider across an arid desert.

For more Accuton data points, I next brought up our Aptica. Reviewed in 2013, it then represented my favorite hard-membrane example I could afford to become our domestic ambassador for the breed.