The inner canary. Doing the gutsy walkabout past the red mountain of Toroidal Transformer, one passes in no particular sequence a very chunky 10'000'000MHz TCXO clock; an Altera Cyclone III FPGA; the twin ESS chips with their attendant op-amp drivers; four blue trim pots; output relays; 4 x 1.0µF/200V ±5% American film/foil yellow Musicaps; 8 x 3'300µF/50V Nover caps; assorted 3-pin regulators; the EH glass; and plenty of very small bits and bobs neatly aligned like military tomb stones for dwarves.

Given the deck's taller profile than Fore Audio's low-rider DAISy1, the two Russian triodes don't mount military-style on their sides but stand tall and proud like good marines.

Except for the incoming AC wire; the transformer secondaries terminating in proper screw terminals; various ground connections to the transformer cage and chassis; and the ribbon wire to the display; the deck goes not WiFi but still wireless directly to the royal-blue motherboard to avoid unnecessary cables and flying leads.

It's a distinctly tidy construction and a such, worlds removed from legacy valve kit.

For a final closeup, here we see one mono ESS ES9018, the metal-encased master clock and the FPGA. None of it is anything but techno porn. Only the designer really knows what it means; and how these parts come together and why they and not others were chosen. Still, spending money on mostly empty boxes feels more painful than seeing actual stuff. On that count, the KD-2000 should strike most prospective punters as properly stufft.

Attention to detail discovers that even the extravagantly red-painted transformer cover doesn't bolt directly to the chassis bottom but sits on thick Nylon bridges instead. For the quite substantial bent sheet-metal cover, one also notes the square punch-out vents on top and cheeks rather than the ubiquitous round holes. Squaring their holes has been a Canary trademark since I first crossed their path.

That said, one also admits that rather than pointing at Tomorrowland, the KD-2000's optics look at yesteryear. It's kin to Audio Research and McIntosh, i.e. old-fashioned kit. Forget attempts at nattier threads à la Ayre or Eximus. On cosmetics, Canary Audio play it like oldtimers. But hidden in the menu, things get rather more modern. The brightness of the OLED display is adjustable over 15 levels. The l/r channels can be summed to mono or switched. Each channel can be individually trimmed to change balance. Selectable filters are phase delay (over 15 stages), DPLL, IIR infinite impulse response and FIR finite impulse response. The DPLL bandwidth is variable across eight stages from lowest to highest. The FIR filter offers slow and fast roll-off. There's signal detection delay from 0-1'300ms. The output relay can be timed. Finally, there is a factory default. Whilst a Canary-branded remote wand isn't part of the delivery, the KD-2000 does talk to Apple's metal remote. Chirp, chirp.

That bird's language pecking away at the ripe apple is perfectly intuitive. Up/down adjusts volume, l/r toggles through inputs, the center button does select/mute depending on mode, the menu button enters/exits the main menu and Apple's play/pause button is coded to hibernate the unit or wake it from slumber. Absolutely nothing is lost in translation. No boutique hifi maker could ever issue as classy a wand as Apple for as little money. Riding these coat tails is crafty business! Resonessence do it as well. So do Fore Audio and others. It's a trend. How modern.