First up to deserve scrutiny was the bass. The choice of 5½ inch mid/woofer predicted physical limits but Mr. Kunz bent those Physics quite skillfully. Clearwave's own bass spec lists a conservative 42 cycles but in my room the response went down flat to 30Hz, kicking with extreme power and good dynamics at more than respectable levels. Below that response fell off rapidly and cleanly. It may not have gone subsonic but came close enough to satisfy the needs of the vast majority of recordings. Progressively higher volumes were handled with grace, with compression setting in and port contribution stepping up to disguise the transition. Articulation was good, giving the speaker an exemplary combination of power and detail in this range. Kick drums, cello, piano, even organ had weight and scale representing the acoustic side. Synths had growl with room-filling mass on the artificial side of the instrumental spectrum. At any reasonable volume and down to its 30Hz limit, the Clearwave was directly competitive with the combined output of my Apogee/Paradigm Servo 15 subwoofer. In short, the Resolution BE packed a punch like a well-endowed floorstander.

The opportunity to play with different setups made for an interesting study of variations in bass character. All three combos consistently showed potency in the lower octaves and a demeanour voiced a touch warm. With the two Bel Canto combinations the system showed most linear and seamless. The Tortuga preamp pairing retained the mild warmth then contributed a little more attack and control. The pairing with the AudioSpace brought a little more tubular roundness to the mix. The Yamaha A-S2100 integrated, itself voiced into the warm and potent, hit with the authority of a muscle amp, kicking big and brawny with control and tubular character. On rare occasions, the Yamaha/Resolution combination could actually overload the room by contributing a major peak in the mid 40Hz range exactly around the port tuning mark. The rear output was prodigious so I treated the Clearwave in the manner of a dipole loudspeaker for room positioning. In this combination, a simple adjustment of seating position by a matter of an inch or so could eliminate the emphasis which did not constitute an issue, just an observation on specific room interaction.

The midrange was compelling and revealing without resorting to analytical. It accurately reflected the Tortuga preamp's unusual signature of transparency and density and basked in the glow of the Yamaha's intense illumination in that range. Its natural stance from the lower mids through the upper mids leaned slightly into the organic camp, embodying mild natural warmth with intense density in all combinations. Some may describe that as 'musical' but Mr. Kunz achieved it with no penalty in resolution or responsiveness and without crossing the line into euphonic. Ascension into the highs was seamless, keeping tonal character with what came below and never drawing attention to itself as a separate entity. The responsiveness of the Beryllium driver never came across as grafted-on information but rather unfolded as detail intrinsic to the instrument or event. In terms of driver transition, it hit absolutes and was reminiscent of the Duetta Signature ribbon. In terms of specific parameters, the highs were a wealth of information with little inherent driver character but voiced slightly to the sweet side of neutral. Those wishing to push that character further into organic territory or alternatively, into directions of greater airiness, should easily be able to accomplish the task with ancillaries. Mr. Kunz has managed to walk the tightrope between transparency and organic solidity with bravado and as a result guarantees relative ease of achieving a satisfying component match.

In the aspects of soundstage and imaging, Mr. Kunz went for big and bold. Despite the relatively small size and good dispersion, I found that the Resolution BE preferred to be treated like a large speaker in a midfield to farfield setup at least in my 12 x 17' room. Although it was quite immersive at closer quarters, it showed best focus and soundstage precision from a bit further back. When assessed from my normal seated position, soundstage dimensions, height, image size and placement were on a par with my Apogees; plus wide dispersion held those attributes rock steady across a generous area while maintaining consistent tonal balance. The BE also proved extremely adept at conveying lateral movement of objects within the soundstage. We take this for granted in the context of a multi channel surround setup so it was a welcome treat to hear the Clearwave parade such placement precision in a stereo context. Since the radiation pattern of the BE is functionally point source, perspective at a standing position shifted from eye level to that of overseeing an orchestra from above in balcony fashion. All other parameters of depth, width and instrument position remained unchanged and stable even when walking right up to the speakers. The BE themselves disappeared as sources, taking on the soundfield attributes of an omni rather than traditional monitor. Short of a full-fledged line or true point source, the Clearwave's handling of soundstage and imaging pushed as good as it gets from a well-designed compact. The handling of venue information favoured density and tonal weight above showcasing hall acoustics per se, putting the BE mildly into organic territory. The speaker focused attention onto performance and treated its surroundings in a supporting role.

Now it's time to talk dynamics and resolution. Both drivers on the BE were quick on their feet and the hi-rez abilities of the range-topping Beryllium driver didn't disappear as the driver mix descended. The choice of 5½ mid/woofer contributed consistent character not only in tonal balance and dispersion but also in resolution level and dynamic behaviour, particularly in the transition between drivers. This consistency allowed the two to perform lockstep across a broad range of playback levels even as the speaker approaches the limits of the woofer's output at high SPL. The progressive augmentation of the rear port maintained power and mass but with a calculated tradeoff of some absolute definition in the extreme low end. Mr. Kunz opted for brave and fearless in terms of bass depth and quantity so the rear port energy demands some intelligent attention to room placement (or treatment) to avoid conflicting bass arrival times from the front wall. This taken into consideration, Mr. Kunz's creation can achieve a compelling mixture of detail, dynamic range and density with very little penalty.

These qualities were maintained over a wide range. The quieter end of the playback scale required a little bit of push to reach optimal performance, thus raising the dynamic floor to a small extent. Once it hit stride, the speaker was lively on both the micro and macro scale. At louder volumes neither drivers showed obvious signs of discomfort or distortion along with minimal resonant behaviour. The BE kept its composure and maintained high detail. The Clearwave did a creditable job on dynamically challenging material like Dorian and Reference Recordings but shone with music that was 'tastefully' compressed, vigorously embracing a wide catalogue of modern recordings to showcase their available dynamic contrast. With a peak upper SPL limit of 105dB, the Clearwave could muster sufficient dynamic range and gradation to tackle delicate classical or punchy modern fare and demonstrated powerful low-bass kick that had to be heard to be believed.

One further factor in play was qualitative in nature. The Resolution BE played with the assurance of a much larger speaker, throwing out its dynamic scale with unforced and relaxed presentation. Normally that kind of performance is reserved for larger cabinets and drivers. Which hits the comparative portion of the review. There have been a number of excellent monitors which have found their way onto the premises (and of course many more that did not). The Clearwave fell into a middle price point of those I reviewed. By sheer serendipity a loudspeaker from the champion of the Heil air-motion transformer, the redoubtable Maximus Mini Monitor from Mark & Daniel, arrived partway through the review. Although it is the baby of their catalogue, it gave me an opportunity to compare. I have had direct experience with the older Diamond+ and occasional experience with some of their bigger models.