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Toe-in of about fifteen or twenty degrees, firing just to the outsides of my head, provided a seamless and coherent soundstage. As Dave points out in his setup guide, there is a wide listening sweet spot. I confirmed this as listening was very good across the entire width of my small listening couch.

Two types of floor-coupling discs were provided. One was a small metal disc with one concave pointed side to accept the speaker stand spikes. The other was a larger diameter rubberized disc. After experimentation, I found the best combination on my hardwood floor was two of the rubberized discs under the rear feet and two of my own Audio Points brass coupling discs that I normally use under my Audio Physic Step stand spikes. With all four Audio Points coupling discs in place, the sound was not as dense and slightly emasculated. The rear rubberized discs are also a bit lower than the Audio Points, allowing a slight backward rake of the speakers. Dave had suggested I try this slight backward tilt and this disc combination served all purposes.

As I am inclined to do for speaker reviews, I gave them some break-in time, playing them mainly as background music while getting a feel for their sound in a casual way. Dave told me this pair was partially broken in and probably only needed another 100 hours at most. Dave felt that the 40 watts per channel from my Red Rose 2A Silver Signature amp was enough to drive the speakers. His specifications list the sensitivity at 87dB, 4 ohms impedance, with a recommended minimum amplifier power of 15 watts. Dave said he had driven them with a single-ended amp with pretty good but not ideal results.

My initial serious listening detected what I first thought was some metallic colorations or ringing in the midrange, particularly on instruments rich in harmonics (e.g. piano). After playing a number of CDs (no LPs since I still haven't purchased a phono cartridge to replace my Roksan Shiraz), one CD in particular, Norah Jones Feels Like Home [Blue Note 724358480009] allowed me to put my finger on it. There was a distinct metallic rattling in the left speaker sphere when the guitar came in at the beginning of cut number nine, "Humble Me". Apparently this guitar riff was at just the right frequency and amplitude to make the rattling sufficiently loud. I emailed Dave and copied Srajan and Dave decided to fly out and troubleshoot the problem.

Dave arrived from Utah on the morning of April 5th with another pair of speakers in his rental vehicle. He picked up this other pair from his distributor in New Jersey. They had an older bass crossover alignment, so he switched out the crossovers late the night before. That's dedication! The new pair had no such problems. While Dave did not take apart the original speaker to determine the cause of the rattling, he hypothesized that it was due to a change in routing the wiring to the midbass driver for this pair. The new position of the wire was now vibrating against the inside of the metal sphere. Dave assured me this method would be discontinued and the wiring would be routed as before – suspended through a hole in the acoustic foam inside the sphere.

Dave also fine-tuned the speaker placement while here and the speakers ended up about a foot further back and about eighteen inches closer together than the placement with my Audio Physic Steps SLE speakers. With further playing, everything seemed to settle in and I began getting the same wonderful musicality that I heard at the Primedia show last year. The Norah Jones CD was close at hand so I played it all the way through. This is a particularly good recording and the T3s showed their mettle. On "Humble Me", her voice is limpid, although not quite as clear as with my Audio Physic Steps. It is very close, though. Norah's voice was projected slightly forward of the plane of the speakers, in a manner that is to my liking; especially when the speaker shows no signs of hardness or edginess as these. If anything, like my last review speakers, the Sonics Allegra, the T3s are difficult to fluster on even the toughest female vocals (e.g. Lucinda Williams - more on this later).

The T3s provide a harmonically rich presentation. The recording of Norah Jones' piano may err slightly toward overly resonant, however I still felt that the speakers were providing a little more richness than absolutely called for in this frequency range. You can hear it on acoustic guitar, too. My system is certainly leaning toward a rich sound as it is with the Audio Note tube DAC, Hovland tube preamp and Red Rose tube amp. If I were balancing a system around these speakers, I might opt for a hybrid or solid-state amp. Based on the designer's own use of his hybrid tube/solid state amp design, it is not hard to imagine that the speakers are tuned for a somewhat leaner front end.

The T3 tonal balance is deserving of very high praise. At no time did I feel like any one driver or frequency range was calling undue attention to itself. There is very little that distracts me more from enjoying music than a driver whose character or amplitude does not blend with the speaker as a whole. This is why I am often leery of speakers using sharply differing technologies or materials, such as cone midranges and ribbon tweeters, or paper midrange cones with metal dome tweeters.