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The Blumenhofer column is more sonorous than energetically fresh. The initial tone burst of piano or picked guitar attacks for example is a tad less bright, sharp and focused than elsewhere. My mentioned Thiel is more peakish. That’s not a bad thing and depending on taste could appear more honest or appealing in fact. The interesting thing was that the Fun 13 completely sidestepped feeling slower or less dynamic just because it handled transients somewhat gentler. It’s common after all for warmer components to also sound more relaxed and less driven. Not here.

Despite a minor tilt into warmth, microdynamics were very immediate and on the money. I picked very deliberately. In conjunction with its small summer-day tuning, this direct address is the core appeal here. In short, don’t equate warmer with softer or slower in this particular instance. Simply subtract macrodynamic stunts which given the driver choices and enclosure size are limited by design but acknowledge that the smallest Blumenhofer is an exceptionally quick speaker with brilliant microdynamic reflexes.

Sound Part II. Something else is vital. In this price class the resolving power and transparency in the midband are nothing less than exemplary. Had I just one reason to call the Fun 13 a very interesting speaker, it’d be this. ‘Exemplary’ is decisive. I didn’t acquire my Thiel SCS4 to break bass records, host raves or go flying in thin air. No, core competence for the Thiels was and is transparent midrange accuracy. Swapping in the Fun 13 always gained on that count. Things got even more transparent and with it the feeling of being yet closer to the action. Be that the Goldberg Variations transcribed for violin, viola and cello [Caprice Records, 2003, hybrid SACD]; the trademark hoarsely overblown trumpet of Molvær whose latest Baboon Moon features not just serene cuts but also gloomily oppressive massed soundscapes for which neither the Thiel nor Blumenhofer were quite big enough; or Madame Feist’s pipes with "Let it die" from the eponymous album - I had the sense that Blumenhofer cleared out a slightly blurry softening agent or fog The impression was that vocalists and instruments faced me quasi nude. Truly impressive!

Particularly with voices this Blumenhofer virtue asserted itself well prior to any A/Bs. During the Fun 13’s break-in period when I wasn’t busy with ‘active listening’, I routinely thought “ah, that’s what they’re saying!” Enunciation and intelligibility of lyrics are strange critters. I can’t ever recall sitting in front of my system thinking any artist did a really poor job of it (van Morrison excepted). But when they get as clear as here, the words don’t merely slip into the ears as sounds but as more or less sensible sentences or lyrical phrases. The Fun 13 thus is a very cunning linguist. Whilst with Pop you might prefer to not always follow the lyrics exactly (how much of it is trite?), overlooking them with the Blumenhofer Fun 13 is tougher. You’ll discover just what they’re singing about.