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Break-in, setup, listening. Why fight the evil inner J.R. Ewing laughter of "hey, let’s take this for a spin and not too quietly either" when a firm called Dynamikks—nay, DynamiKKs!—sends out a speaker with quite opulent wooferage? One gleefully rubs the palms, spins up an LP, casts a sly glance at the bass driver… and gets as first impression a microscopically precise analysis of the mid/high frequencies. I spontaneously knew that the drummer’s brush consisted of exactly 237 hairs and that his sizzle cymbal energized 43 rivets. It’s not every day one receives such need-to-know secret intel. I nearly forgot to notice the plucked double bass. Seriously though, what was up? Nomen est omen? Morning did talk of a monitor after all. Until then I’d thought that pure noise and smoke.

A somewhat euphoric phone call to colleague Jörg caused a quick visit. "Whoa, such treble resolution even my big Thiels don’t manage" he admitted but added "on high it’s a bit much for my taste". The Monitor 8.12 as bright speaker? Not really. Cold out of the carton and freshly installed, it had no time on it. That’s often synonymous with a forward treble. I also had a lean cable on it. Once I substituted DynamiKKs!’s own ribbon or other wires from our collective grab bin, things fell into balance. Finally and most importantly, I’d initially parked the 8.12 where my Ascendo System F usually sits, 1.7m from the front wall and about 3 meters from the ears. I like it direct. But this didn’t imply a setup the DynamiKKs! were groomed for. Box moving was in order. With occasionally surprising results.

As already mentioned, Ulf Moning talked of bass coupling i.e. of deliberate LF support from wall and floor. The latter was obviously fixed. Nearer to the wall I could do though. To couple without prejudice, why not disband with my corner bass traps altogether? Envisioning out-of-control room modes, I’d figured what the hell. It was worth a try. Ha! Now the 8.12 went about its bass work with a power and clearly better differentiation than many freestanding speakers had – and that being nearly glued to the wall with a bare 60cm of clearance. Good grief. No other speaker had ever ended up there without causing excessive boom. Yet this 'un squatted there delivering low bass amongst the best I’d ever heard in this space. Surprise N°1.

With increased speaker/seat distance and a fleshed-out low end, the highs too were fully integrated now, no longer begging for the wrong type attention. Yet I wasn’t completely convinced. The speakers nearly sat atop my mono amps. The main stack including record player was too exposed to port emissions, never mind those early reflections from the rack and gear in it. I couldn’t shake a suspicion. Had soundstage precision not been better before? To make sure I pulled the boxes forward again. Shazam, surprise N°2. Things slowly began to boom. Why now?

I had two plausible reasons. One, Moning wasn’t off by claiming friendly interactions between rear port and close wall proximity—at least for his box—where it creates quasi bipole radiation in the lower octaves to undermine the worst room mode response. Two, I'd probably had good cause for my bass traps. But I’d duly forgotten to put 'em back. This was fine with the 8.12 against the wall. Though not intuitive, it wasn't fine when they were further out in the room. Yes?

I’ll spare you the details. Until I’d exhausted all possibilities it took a bit. I eventually ended up with a 1-meter distance to front and side walls, moved my chair back half a meter and put the bass traps back. This resulted in poster-child tonal balance with true full-range extension. ‘Monitor’ my tail. In truth I was happy with the tonal balance but considered that mandatory prerequisite. What fascinated me were other qualities. Neutrality is a prerequisite to authentically reveal differences between recordings and their great variety of tone colors and voices. Mind you, I’m not completely dogmatic about this. For years now my Ascendos had delivered a hand’s width more bass, a finger’s width more presence and a skoch less brilliance and super treble energy – relative to the DynamiKKs! Monitor 8.12 at least. Tonality is one thing, what seduces about a speaker often something else. With the Ascendo it’s very high resolution, quite extreme depth layering and a capacity to suspend very embodied three-dimensional performers within the virtual stage. All of this I really admire. With the 8.12 it was likewise for magnification power and—hello?—dynamics. I slowly began to appreciate the exclamation mark in the firm’s name. But more on that anon.