Since our conversation ended on looks, I decided to start my examination of the Resolution BE on that note. The shipping weight of 31.8lbs per box, while quite substantial, was easily manageable without the aid of family, friends or forklift. Packaging was practical and unboxing of the little rosewood beauties quick and painless. Revealed at last, what had Mr. Kunz wrought with his latest mail-order bride? The Clearwave Loudspeaker Design Resolution BE manages to be comfortably proportioned in practical terms. At 8.25" W x 13.5" H x 12.25" D, it retains sufficient internal volume to do respectable bass numbers without resorting to the dimensions of some monitor designs which are just short of full-scale floorstander dimensions. The designer already gave a good description of the cabinet construction and indeed, build quality was rock solid. Aesthetics are highly polished and adopt a "carved from solid" style with gracefully curved transitions to the front baffle. The veneer (available in Walnut or rosewood) is first rate and topped with an elegant satin finish. Drivers sit flush. The rear panel sports a silver-satin aluminium port ring and terminal plate both likewise recessed flush. The mounting plate is embellished with an engraved logo and individual serial numbers.

Internally Mr. Kunz backs up his premium promise with a healthy dose of quality components: ERSE air core inductors; Mundorf Supreme capacitors and resistors on the tweeter leg; Mundorf Evo and 10-watt resistors elsewhere; Cardas point-to-point soldering from binding posts to drivers; high-end Supra hookup wiring; Cardas gold-plated copper binding posts. For the auditions, I went with a three-stage approach. The first equipment match was with the Yamaha A-S2100 integrated, a 90wpc muscular Mosfet design that plays successfully in the lands of tubes albeit with huge bass power. The 85dB efficiency of the Resolution BE dictated two alternative amplifier pairings, one being high horsepower, the other a mid-power amp with tube like clipping characteristics. The Yamaha fell into the latter category. While the power-hungry Apogee prefer a little more power than the Yamaha delivers for full volume and dynamic scale, the Clearwave was quite content, taking full advantage of the increased detail the A-S2100's tubular style compression brought to the presentation. It was a gorgeous match.

The second session went to the Tortuga Audio LDR passive pre/Bel Canto EVO 200.4 combo. The Tortuga is a champion conduit, allowing full dynamics to emerge unbridled. Its lack of voltage gain never had issue when confronted by the Apogees and their 86dB inefficiency. The combination is also truthful, allowing me to see how components react in a situation of linear rather than compressed dynamics. Here the Resolution BE showed a preference for a little more initial volume to get up and run in prime form. From that point on, it acquitted itself well, achieving immodest levels with grace. The speaker could fill the room will dynamic aplomb and be heard throughout the house. I chose to use intelligence and not go past those output capabilities.

The third session brought back a familiar friend. For active preamplification, the AudioSpace Reference 2S, my reigning queen of 300B pre, made for a nice choice of tubular flavour mixed with high horsepower to see how the potent little BE would respond. It also served as a cross reference to the Tortuga to see if the inefficient loudspeaker demanded some active line-level gain. The match proved luscious. It allowed me to indulge in some interconnect swapping between Arkana Physical Research and Audio Arts to dial in small variations in balance and presentation. Here the Clearwave showed a slight preference for the silver hybrid Audio Art SE which offered a little more pronounced snap and air in the upper octaves. The Paradigm subwoofer was not employed. The BE managed sufficient bass that it was not required.

If music doth sooth the savage beast, it must also light up the heart with fire, seduce and jolt out of complacency. I try to go broad spectrum to renew my equilibrium. Here's a sampling of both old and new. "The Big Train" and "Vernice's Boogie" from Just for Today: Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters [Stony Plain Records] is a fabulous compilation of two live performances, one at the Regent Theatre in Massachusetts, the other at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Natick. Veteran blues guitarist Ronnie Earl and the rest of the band put together an intense and powerful set of tunes. The first cut highlights superb guitar work and the second rocks an infectious boogie piano rhythm. This is fun as all get out and well recorded. "Hey Now" from If You can Wait: London Grammar has Hannah Reid show big range and tremendous emotive capability fronting the English trio London Grammar. The album is atmospheric electric Pop that goes for large soundscapes and subtle dynamic gradation. Consider this alternative indie fare that is a refreshing change from the mainstream music-factory pap that graces the airwaves. Cut one makes for a nice introduction.

Disc 2's "Sonata #3 in F Major/Allegro Assai" from Johann Sebastian Bach Sonatas and Partitas: Markku Luolajan-Mikkola [Linn Records] is a lovely collection of baroque cello pieces done in fine purist form. Gramophone winning artist Luolajan-Mikkola pulls tremendous fire and nuance from his instrument and engineer Arne Akslberg enveloped him in the generously lively acoustic of the Church of St Catherine in Karjaa/Finland. This is a beautiful recording of top Bach material that delivers a perfect balance of performance and venue. It's now gone from Tidal but available direct from Linn in assorted formats from MP3 to stunning high-resolution studio master. "Shiny Stockings" from the Big Band Basie Reference Recordings CD has phenomenal dynamics to challenge any system. The acid test here is not how loud it gets but how loud you have to turn the system up to achieve good low-level detail. This masterpiece isn't some throwaway audiophile demo material but hot-blooded big band jazz courtesy of Clark Terry, Frank Wess and Bob Lark performing with the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble. Captured by engineering wizard Keith O. Johnson, it has all the requisite niceties of soundstage, timbre and exquisite detail.

"Mephisto Waltz" from Mephisto & Co. Eiji Oue/Minnesota Orchestra is another gem from the treasure trove of RR, featuring Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra having some serious fun with macabre orchestral pieces. Nicely recorded, it plays big, lush and sweet. It's great for the Halloween season and a worthy companion to the similarly styled 1958 RCA recording Witches Brew by The New Symphony Orchestra of London under Alexander Gibson. "A Little Symphony" and "Carrousel Prime" from the 24/88 download A Little Symphony: Dreamer's Circus is a lively trio which on first listen I would have mistook for a superbly gifted Canadian East coast group. Much to my surprise, its Danish folk done with a classical twist. On this recording, Dreamer's Circus teams with the European Brass Carnival and Danish String Quartet. The album is an unexpected little jewel in a delightfully different vein that's well performed and engineered. Whether you like your music done bouncy folk jig or intimate classical refinement, there's a bit of everything to satisfy. The above represents a hodgepodge sampling of material that put the Clearwave through its paces. All the familiars made the rounds mixed with an influx of the latest greatest. Now on with the show.

The Resolution BE marked a very different tonal character than my prior encounter with the Symphonia 72R. Where that loudspeaker had aimed closer at studio-neutral behaviour of detail and precision, the BE retained said detail and precision but applied it with a somewhat warmer stance. I suspect the difference between the two was their tweeter behaviour. By nature, the Raal is a somewhat cooler beast and dictates a similarly voiced driver for an ideal match. In the 72R, the Accuton was a masterful choice that remains the closest Raal match I've encountered to date. (I differentiate here between driver matching and driver blending. Blending is accomplished by allowing disparate driver characteristics to integrate over a given distance rather than take on identical character straight off the baffle.) The Resolution BE driver set spoke with a single voice and embodied a very different signature from the Raal/Accuton combo. With the ScanSpeak pair there was a near perfect match of character for frequency, dynamics and dispersion. The beryllium tweeter took no back seat to the Raal in resolving power but had superior dispersion. In his 2-way, Mr. Kunz managed a combination of articulation and bandwidth that replaced a bit of the inherent 72R leanness with a twinge of lush. It also did so with coherence close to a single widebander to operate at an exceptionally high pedigree worthy of tough examination.