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Impressions at this stage were that the Kantata revealed listening room conditions with the same bluntness as the character of the ancillaries. Rather than soft shoeing, this was a matter of passing things along unaltered. By not imprinting the proceedings with their own personalities, these speakers hold in reserve real potential depending on what conditions one can provide. I was quite thrilled and deliberately stuck musically with Williams whilst switching to Robbie’s "Swing if you are winning". That took off as well. Robbie Williams swung through his Sinatra classics with such verve that no foot remained still. Time for qualifications. Let’s start at the bottom.

In the bass the Kantata acts quick, slim and elastic. The synths on The Kills’ "Now Wow" reach relatively low and remain differentiated. Naturally the large tactile bass of big floorstanders is beyond 'em. Even so I was really impressed by the pressurization these small woofers managed. For my tastes the bass had formidable qualities. Most speakers particularly of the bass reflex persuasion always sound a bit boxy to my ears. Additionally they generate a kind of pressure which I find unpleasant at higher levels. Very different is bass from full-range panels or horns – not boxy but fast, lithe, with less pressure but incision nonetheless. And that’s exactly the direction which the Kantata pursued. This had my attention. Even higher levels didn’t default into discomfort. Lower levels meanwhile kicked in sooner than over my larger Geithain. The bass reflex tuning of the Kantata proved more responsive.

This had me sequence from loud to quietly through a number of bass orgies, be those synthetic—Drop by Fatfreddy; The Devil, You + Me by The Notwists; various Madonna—or acoustic (say Holly Coles’ Romantically Helpless) or classical (Solti/Vienna’s Rheingold from Wagner). The Kantata didn’t drop a thing. The sound was compete, the bass relaxed and more consistent than certain monster bass which drowns out in its own power. What merits a reminder is that the Kantata pulled off this quickened differentiated and controlled low end with a valve amp. This reiterates a benign load to suggest that the speaker should work well with a wide variety of amplifiers.

The mid band proved equally relaxed. Everything somehow sounded quick, smart and consistent no matter the material. There was the exceptionally lucid but fragile voice of Ofri Brin [On Shore Remain] which seems to convey each quiver of the throat. There was the potent soul power of China Moss [This One’s for Dinah] with wonderfully articulated body and the experienced country pipes of Lucinda Williams. But the males of the species were catered to as well. The already mentioned Robbie Williams showed how the lower reaches which he hasn’t quite mastered like Sinatra retreat with a bit of groaning deeper into the throat. These are problems Leonard Cohen on I’m Your Man definitely doesn’t have to show off his sonorous timbre with utter conviction. Joe Jackson’s Blaze of Glory was a reminder meanwhile how it’s definitely okay to get a bit nasal at just the right moment.