The more we saw and were told by the two men, the more curious we got to hear their speakers. Robert in turn was curious how the speakers would behave in our very large room. He walked around trying to locate any damping other than a few large bookshelves filled to capacity. Time to get wired up. From the Sound Galleries SGM 2015 server resampling Tidal streams to DSD512 via HQPlayer, T+A's DAC8 spit out a low-passed analog version to our Audio Note Meishu integrated with Western Electric 300B triodes. Crystal Cable transported this maximally 8-watt signal to the Jimi's binding posts. The preout of the Meishu fed the subwoofers' line inputs. Just to check that all was peachy, we cued up a few tracks from Avishai Cohen's From Darkness. Once more Robert checked speaker placement from the sweet spot, then from all over the room. While he first suggested to sit closer, his round through the space and our explanation that we don't just listen from the sweet spot but also from the dining table and elsewhere now fell in place. The effectiveness of the ASI resonators was evident. All over the room, there was a clear image. Our first impression without any fine-tuning of the subs yet or final speaker placement? Our Avantgarde Duo Omega finally had competition - real competition.


Though the lowest region wasn't yet present enough, the vital midrange was clear, articulate and powerful like a singers' chest voice powered by her diaphragm. The horn-loaded tweeter took very nicely to the upper region without being shouty or too upfront. Some tracks from Ibrahim Maalouf Live 2006/2016 followed. Here the need for some bass adjustment became obvious but mids and highs were enough already to show that the system worked fine. Assured, Armin and Robert picked up the packing materials, said goodbye and left us with their creation.


With the fresh impression of having just come off the Avantgarde Duo Omega, we started adjusting the subwoofers dials. As the midrange driver handles from 100Hz up, we started with a setting slightly above that. The crossover dial is marked from 40Hz to 180Hz in 16 steps. Each step is thus roughly 8.75Hz, making 12 o'clock 110Hz. This became our default start. For power, we began with 14:00. We listened throughout the remainder of the day. The longer we listened, in the sweet spot and from other places in the room, the more impressed we were. These loudspeakers had a sense of live-sound directness which otherwise only big hornspeakers deliver; at a price. What we also noticed late at night is how the Jimi favours its fair share of input volts. Listening at really low levels deprived the sound of its liveliness. Remember that our horn references are 109dB.


As we listened more and more at slightly higher SPLs than what is normal for our casual mode, we got the idea that perhaps another amplifier would be even better. Thus one night we swapped the Audio Note Meishu for our Trafomatic Reference One preamp and duo of Kaivalya EL84 push/pull power amps. These monos deliver 25 pentode watts over a wide range while their ECC82 triode driver stage is interstage transformer-coupled to the power stage to avoid degrading coupling capacitors. While rearranging the system, we noticed that one subwoofer, though switched off, emitted a 50Hz hum. Closer examination showed that it was the Mivoc amp itself. Disconnecting the power line killed the hum instantly. The other Mivoc amplifier was completely quiet so the hum had to be incidental. We notified Armin at Club-27 and he sent us a fresh amp right away. Just as with the Meishu, we used the Trafomatic's preout to connect both subwoofers.