One of the 'giant killers' touted in the media was the Goldenear Model One and its bigger sibling. It had sounded promising on several occasions and offered numerous advantages. The footprint was small in comparison to the Apogee, the design was easier to drive and it incorporated active subs. That was a plus because it would have removed yet another large box from the living room. The Goldenear One was priced tantalizingly in everyman territory by HighEnd standards and I anticipated that this might be the one. But…repeated listening in various setups succeeded in invoking my admiration for the accomplishment but failed to stir sufficient passion to pull the trigger. This actually surprised me and hopefully someday the manufacturer will show me misguided in the decision.

Another revolutionary design I contemplated was the Devialet Phantom. The integration of pre/DAC and streamer along with amplification and subwoofer in one small package was enticing. It would have been a perfect end-game solution to satisfy décor and financial check points if performance matched the many marketing boasts. Reviews had been stellar and even fellow 6moons alumni had positive experiences. Unfortunately my auditions once again leaned more to admiration than emotional satisfaction. Once again the wallet remained shut.

By this point the temptation to change my mind was strong. Alternatives were not shaping up as well as I'd hoped and the stalwart Apogee was still running in top form. The itch for something different began to look a little foolish. Then two smaller speakers gave me the inspiration to keep going and prompted a new prerequisite on my list of requirements: to be stand mounted. The Clearwave Loudspeaker Design Resolution B proved to be a remarkably high-resolution contender that kicked very full-range butt and threw an image at least as accomplished as the Apogee, in some ways even better. There was quite the temptation over this one. Its strengths were more than ample with almost no weakness save for the tiniest amount of over exuberance in the lowest region where the 5½" woofer worked to ridiculous depths with the aid of ingenious cabinet augmentation. I felt serious withdrawal pains when this one left the building because it appealed to both head and heart with a vengeance.

Then came the Mark & Daniel Monitor Mini. It was even smaller and although it didn't attempt to go as deep, its puny but long-stroke 4" woofer managed things to below 50 cycles, making it a wonderful subwoofer match. Although imaging didn't quite achieve the Clearwave's near omni ability, it did parallel the style of the Apogee, albeit without their full line-source advantage. Additionally, overall resolution rivaled both Apogee and Clearwave and proved so strong also on transparency that it derailed my pursuit of another contender, the Martin Logan Montis. That had ridiculously high performance to reset my standards of what a modern hybrid loudspeaker must achieve to be taken serious at any price. I bought the review pair of M&D and it continues to impress the hell out of me and has successfully taken over as benchmark up to this point.