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From the photos Pluto's two-way nature was dead obvious all along. With its 1.7" forward-radiating Aura tweeter sound kicks in via a 24dB/oct. 4th-order slope at 1'000Hz whilst the upfiring 5.25" Seas mid/woofer plays it omnipolar below 3kHz, hence from it listeners only receive reflections. As a sealed bass system LF roll-off subscribes to the typical 2nd-order acoustic function. Frequency response at -3dB is a claimed 40Hz to 16kHz. Relaxing this to -6dB is said to net 32Hz to 20kHz.

In the outboard enclosure's active crossover both drivers are equalized in the analog domain. Filtering thus precedes the 50-watt peak upper and 150-watt peak lower stereo amps whose outputs connect directly to their dedicated voice coils. This scheme eliminates a lot of reactivity. At 20kg for each speaker and 10kg for the 'integrated' amp, we're on solid turf. With an ovoid footprint of 8 x 12" and modest height of 42.5", the cosmetic load on the environment is very low.

Obvious from the active concept without user-adjustable features except volume is that sonics are locked in. The only means to season to taste—something most audiophiles elevate into an unalienable constitutional right—is choice of source and cables. As we read in the original application notes, "the wide angle of radiation and the distance independence of frequency response make near-field listening unproblematic as long as the speakers stand free at least 2 feet away from large surfaces. There is no real limit on room size. A large room probably allows placement far from reflecting surfaces which is ideal for most speakers no matter their polar response. If you plan to sit farther than the classic stereo sweet spot—as far from each tweeter as the two tweeters are from each other, i.e. at the apex of the equilateral triangle—you quickly give up on image specificity. Preferably you sit closer than the classic sweet spot. These can be very close to both each other and you because of their point-source like behavior. They simply should be at least two feet away from large surfaces."

To make a purchase decision from our brand-new direct-sell outfit painless, there's a 30-day trial privilege. All you pay in case of a good-as-new return is shipping. Looking at Pluto's strong primary lacquer colors and our living room d├ęcor, I requested a white sample for zero cosmetic clash. Since none was in UK inventory, Xiang Lin got one shipped from China. Two months later he emailed to say he was ready to ship a pair he'd already broken in for two weeks. With the looks of the original sewer-pipe design the butt of various online jokes (fugly covers those), I was curious. What type figure might this Pluto cut in his glossy metallic flesh? I'd spring this on Ivette without warning too for an uncensored spontaneous reaction. After all, to get into and stay in people's living rooms, agreeable looks do tend to matter. Just how modern or unusual one can get away with depends. Sometimes sound overrides everything else. Sometimes one never even gets to the sound when visuals have already slammed shut the doors. Would my curiosity kill this cat thus was the first big question.