As it happened, Gediminas also wanted one of his monitors reviewed. Thinking of it as an interesting exercise for our readers, I opted for the 8.5kg Overture model called O202B. In some ways it's half an O203F though on price and height, it's closer to a third. For a 34 x 19 x 31cm HxWxD box, 90dB sensitivity is higher than expected, likely because it's referenced against 6Ω as the nominal impedance. Its crossover at 1'950Hz sits just fifty cycles higher than our floorstander whilst its bass reach gives up 12 cycles for 48-26'000 bandwidth. The drivers are identical. So is the general cabinet and crossover construction.

Of course for equivalent in-room not bookshelf or low-boy placement, the O202B need a proper stand. That does eat a bit into the savings one enjoys over the O203F. Still, a pouncing punter ought to be able to loot the lot for about half. Given listening levels, room size and primary music choices, would one miss the floorstanders if one had heard 'em but couldn't afford their bill? Or, perchance, did the small boxes do anything better or different enough to be preferable? That was the "interesting exercise" I intended to stage and investigate. Even for reviewers, it's far from every day that this type of opportunity arises to juxtapose a given model and the next one up from the same catalogue and range, particularly when they share all the same drivers.

Salesmen love to sell up, especially if they're on commission. Smart monies might fancy buying down if for them other differences are irrelevant. Game afoot, dear Watson.

If you hadn't yet grasped the Zen of the non-grilled grill concept, with these speakers the entire pebble-coated MDF baffles with their beveled and round-over waveguides come off. This eliminates the usual differences of grill frames or full plates with holes sitting in front of the drivers. It throws out added diffraction/reflection issues which grill-off mode doesn't suffer. Here everything is equally baffled, thinly stretched cloth of the alternate version a non issue. A cosmetic fringe benefit is that the plug-in baffles conceal driver baskets and mounting hardware for a cleaner look, no trim rings or complicated mounting from behind a fixed baffle required. Back on anthracite pebble paint directly over MDF, it's how Gediminas shaves off finishing costs. His fancy bits limit themselves to the flat inset side panels. Just as it is for amplifier enclosures where case work/fascia and finishing are costliest yet have little to nothing to do with sound, so it goes for speaker finishing. Fancy veneers or automotive lacquers applied over curvaceous forms ring the till. If you order quantity cabs from China where lacquer is sprayed under deplorable safety and environmental conditions, you circumvent that issue. If you're a smaller outfit situated in the West, reducing labour fees and manufacturing complexity must step in to compete on price. AudioSolutions' use of textured paint even eliminates surfacing issues which telegraph through lacquer to enforce the application of numerous sealant and base coats. The slim-waist motif of the plug-in baffles becomes the final very basic but effective step to play down the dross of rectangular painted boxes. Clearly Gediminas thought long and hard about how to uncomplicate his Overture builds for reduced labour costs and higher end-user value but still look good.

Here now is Gediminas, on what prompted Overture. "Naturally the first reason was that I felt how during these past few years, I'd gained knowledge and better tools to make a far superior speaker. The Euphony line played and was balanced extremely well—we even received's Product of the Year award—but I felt that I could push it a lot further. To do so, I couldn't simply design a better crossover. It had to be a far more complete complex makeover. I started with computer analysis and blueprints. First I wanted to change the basic enclosure concept. I wanted higher rigidity without excess weight to ease assembly for my employees. We modeled enclosures with modern software to identify the bad spots in our old enclosures. Then we came up with the notion of a self-locking cabinet where all parts would slide into each other, then lock in. Such a concept exhibits great stability and once assembled, becomes monolithic. Weight increased 35% compared to the previous models but rigidity by more than 100%. That was clearly audible. I also exchanged the ScanSpeak tweeter for a custom SEAS silk dome. This change was minor but essential to work with our miniature horn loading. That small horn helps a lot. The Euphony models had small problems with high SPL. The tweeter would start to distort near the crossover region due to low sensitivity and a membrane that was too soft. When loaded with our mini horn, the tweeter in this critical area now has 5dB more sensitivity and lower distortion. The Peerless mid/woofer remains unchanged from the Euphony line. But a different crossover, more precise measurements and stiffer enclosures allowed me to push the Overture performance close to our Rhapsody range.

"The second reason for the new line was that I felt a bit ashamed about our entry range not looking as good as subsequent models. Finally end users and distributors pushed me for grilles. It was a very hard decision since I am very skeptical about grilles and their inevitable sonic degradation. But finally I agreed that cheaper speakers must have grilles because of children, cats etc. So I started to think about how to make a frameless grill because frames alone distort the sound with a high level of early reflections. We made some conventional trials, then decided to change the entire concept. We arrived at a detachable baffle, then covered it with acoustically transparent cloth. The customer gets two baffle pairs, one with and one without cloth. Measurements prove identical performance. We even demonstrated our speakers at various shows where one had the cloth grill but not the other. Nobody ever heard a difference between the left and right channel. Where the Euphony was a very good line for the price, Overture is a very big leap forward. Finally I'd like to mention our variety of finishes. Usually affordable speakers come only in black or white. We decided to give people 13 finishes to choose from. This raises domestic friendliness. Due to improved manufacturing technologies, we can make any colour very fast so there is no big delay on special orders. Our stock finishes include 7 options for the same price: white, ivory, red and black in high gloss and natural, stained and dark oak in soft-touch matte. For an additional 10%, we have exotic rotted zebrano, matured oak and entirely new textured black or white finishes with a lovely 3D effect. For an additional 20%, we finally have dark Olive and Ebony in high gloss."