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Did I say pleasing tonality? 'twas already so with all adjustments in bypass. With the adjustments most should manage to season to taste and room. This works subtly because the operating ranges are chosen smartly. The bass options weren't worlds apart. Otherwise anything but normal wouldn't be useful. In my ~40m² room a bit larger perhaps than Altan's average customer, I ended up with bass boost, treble a tad below center. Over my time with the loaner pair I was enthused over its unusual clarity, uncompressed dynamics, timing and propulsive power. Big drum: small world by the Dhol Foundation contains a torture track called "Drummer's Reel". A bevy of Asian drums encircle a Hurdy Gurdy melody of Indian flair. It reads off kilter but when a box manages to recreate a drummer's circle 30 strong (live Samba band listeners will relate) without shifting the peculiar slightly whiny Hurdy Gurdy into nervy turf, it really is a grandiose spectacle.

Here the Altan went places none of its size managed previously. The drums had kick and fury and even high levels didn't confuse. Transients remained clean and hard. This was super impressive even when speakers of greater cone surface could achieve still stouter levels without flinching to load the room more. Bass boost vs. normal or reduced gave up a bit sooner on the exemplary mid/treble clarity. Limits imposed by Physics. None of it implied only loud and violent. Au contraire. My better half loves Adele. Over the Quadrals "Someone like you" from 21 even got to me. The heart-rending sadness when she sings about visiting an ex hoping he'll see here to confirm it's not over... it's schmaltzy but good schmaltz of genuine emotiveness. Whilst the Altan didn't sugarcoat thick studio gloss of compressors, noise gates, gain riding and multi-tracking, access to Adele's voice with resolution and microdynamic finesse galore was truly brilliant. Ditto enunciation + diction. I didn't need high levels either. This box differentiated clearly already in the quiet sector.

To change feel I moved to a Buena Vista Social Club hero with Chanchullo by Rubèn González. His piano play has an instantly recognizable sound partially from the instrument itself but also from the microphones used and the lighter finger pressure of an 80-year old. The Altan really nailed that timbre very naturally. On tonal balance the Quadral played it essentially free of coloration like a superior studio monitor. This extended to dynamic envelope which zoomed in on Rubèn's finger power which has grown softer than younger players or those trained over the last two or three decades but nonetheless remains energetic and gripping during syncopated Latin chord hammering.

Another interesting feature were track origins, with some recorded in Cuba where the BVSC cut its sessions, others in 'normal' studios. The Altan really honed in on the special acoustics of the BV studio whose expanse became visible just as it was obvious how recording venues changed between tracks. Always the piano was outlined cleanly and of more physical gravitas than one thinks possible from this size box. With much praise there came minor shadows. On axis one could spot very minor hardness. I had this at Tom's where I explore a completely different system and space. Musically we never stop learning. Tom played me a band I'd never heard of before in a style I didn't know. Slim Cessna's Auto Club is a mix of Alt Country with goth elements called Gothabilly. Think fast punk guitars and banjos with much plucking and strumming, energetic percussion and off-the-wall lyrics