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The genesis of the Fantasia S were requests from Asian dealers who wanted a statement/reference floorstander of modest dimensions. While M+D's bigger monitors are popular there, high-end customers prefer floorstanders. Given that the company already had its two Apollo models to fill such demand [below], I asked Daniel Lee what aside from the changed cosmetics the Fantasia offered which neither Apollo did.

"From the beginning of this project I decided to explore what a modular speaker system would look like that was based on sound engineering requirements yet used the simplest possible structure to combine the various modules and retained our style from the previous product lines to integrate all elements into one unique shape which none could claim was anyone's imitation. For the core drivers we modified the new DM-5a's diaphragm and its modular structure over several versions until I was satisfied. The DM-5a and new 8" woofer took me about one year to finalize. The real headache was the functional super structure between the modules and most of all the speaker's final cosmetics. To make the Fantasia modular especially to isolate the crossover network into a separate chamber was important yet what about the final shape of the speaker as a whole?

"For the Fantasia we worked out a dozen conceptual drafts. Their varied shapes were derived from many wild imaginary journeys into Zen, Tai-ji, Chaos theory and impressionist shapes to identify an attractive aesthetic design which—very important!—had to be manufacturable. I personally see in the Fantasia-S speaker a king with a long-tailed tuxedo but a friend laughs and calls it more of a swallow. As long as it's considered an attractive and unique product, it doesn't matter of course.

"Why we consider that the Fantasia-S may be worthy of our new top spot has to do with its lead in modularization and better acoustic engineering over the more conventional Apollos. The Apollo models may sound more comfortable to listeners who favor their richer mid bass but the Fantasia-S in my opinion definitely has more resolution and transparency, a higher level of sonic clarity and faster bass transients.

"In the end people will hopefully also appreciate that for any sound engineer it is a far more difficult task to develop a smaller speaker with true full-range response and powerful output capabilities than big cosmetically challenged towers. It's obvious too that our factory spends far more man power on all the details that are involved in making a pair of the Fantasia-S than the less complex Apollo models. That's why this is our new flagship and statement effort." 

Giving such a racing machine a cold-bath christening in the kitchen whilst other speakers still held court in the living room seemed criminal. Instead it was enlightening. Modestly powered by Peachtree Audio's iDecco, domestic bliss was attained at 9:30 on the throttle. Bass boom with the speakers up against the wall was nil. Extension was thrilling. Resolution was high. Out of the gate the sheer quality of the low bass at very subdued volumes was shocking. That's the ultimate test. Whisper levels usually wash out low frequencies. They become indistinct and less and less perceptible.

Here it was as though our Cyprus kitty Blondie raced across the floor in one of her crazy attacks outfitted in Flamenco dancer heels. Bass pulses were ultra-precise little pitter patters perfectly scaled in amplitude to the rest. For a different image, think tiny heart beats clear as a bell over a stethoscope. That's what massive woofers would promise but hardly ever deliver.

First impressions thus were ultra promising. Getting this 6-piece affair out of its big flight cases inside cardboard outers proved easy too. Lifting the bass unit for a walk solo meanwhile was clearly mission impossible, oatmeal be damned. A visiting speaker manufacturer was kind enough to grab the lower rail of my dolly and help me heave these compact heavies up the steps in a manner that made for secure gripping. Once in place, a carved-out circle in their tops receives a hard plastic ring. Atop it seats the AMT head unit in an equal recess. This creates physical separation and the facility to turn the top assembly independently around the spacer ring.