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On my scheduled TNT delivery date four boxes showed up (each speaker and the stand columns and plates ship separately). Wei's parallel email requested a receipt confirmation. Then he'd call for a follow-up. That announcement was extra. It nearly never happens. I was thus very curious what else I might learn about the M1 or its recommended use. On my end the surprise was a new sound room which had made me a quasi member of what Marja & Henk on staff call the 100m² club. Their 2nd storey combines living and dining room plus kitchen in an open rectangular floor plan for enviably capacious listening conditions which support three complete systems. Our new digs on the mountain do a similar thing though the layout is more irregular with many non-parallel walls. But the Mythology 1 would certainly face a large air volume including a sizable mezzanine with a ceiling slanting to double height right above the speakers.

If these compact boxes were up to the task, they—very much unlike our 5-driver 3-way AudioSolutions towers—would cause minimal visual impact on our lovely views. Since our sound room doubles as living room, such cosmetic considerations do very literally enter the picture. Recording engineers of course could care less. As the left photo shows, this Hollywood sound mixer surrounds the heads of his B&W 802 with two Sopraninos in series, one suspended from the ceiling with fishing line, the other on a shelf. That so wouldn't fly at home.

To appreciate why I was looking forward to today's assignment, my 6th Keep It Honest installment for John Darko's site lays it out. It riffs over why I favour 2-ways over 3-ways, small over big speakers and infra bass from a powered subwoofer with basic EQ provisions, not from a floorstanding passive colossus. I don't expect you to agree. It simply clarifies my biases on the topic. Lastly the new sound room's twice-plus size over the last one meant that like in a concert venue, HF brilliance and sparkle were toned down, upper-bass/lower-mid boundary enhancements lower. Here Sopranino's contributions should both be more pronounced and desirable or necessary.

The direct lift to our new 2nd-floor flat is a real bonus for heavy deliveries.

Though spread out over four cartons, the petite Portuguese delivery girl still thought this a heavy bunch. Once unpeeled from their professional foam molds, this is what emerged.

Because the stand's top plate mounts off-center, all plates have a guide pin to assure proper assembly. Four bolts on top, four on the cast iron base with tempered glass top and shiny gold inlay made for a brainless quickie with the provided hex keys. 10 minutes later the kit sat upright ready for the chamois Windex treatment. Piano gloss may be nouveau-riche chic but in the real world it's also a seriously effective dust and fingerprint magnet.

As this naturally perfect stock photo shows but inspection confirmed, fit 'n' finish were as flawless as ambitions and sticker warrant. The exposed large fabric dome tweeter will attract some dust as well. Here the utmost care will be required to do anything about it that doesn't take wing with forcefully blowing at it.

As the most dust-prone surface, the tempered glass top is far easier to clean and unlike the usual lacquer not prone to swirl marks and scratches.

A thin mat between top plate and M1 makes for no-bolt non-slip coupling, not the conscious decoupling of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin in the recent celeb dailies.

Whilst floor protectors were not included, the lock rings of the adjustable cone footers can easily double for said purpose. Being duly slippery, those also were perfect furniture glides on our sisal mats. Now fine setup adjustments of the mounted monitors for precise distance and toe-in equality were child's play. On cosmetics my wife found these "old-fashioned", i.e. plain boxes.

Which they are. In an understated but elegant way. The only nods at flash are the gold accents on the plinths and small baffle decals. Whether you find the add-on Sopranino to slightly Frankenstein these clean lines or to enhance them shall depend on your point of view. An unexpected but useful little touch is a small line scale etched into the top plate from below. This allows one to set the Sopranino at various distances from the baffle edge and repeat one's final choice for both speakers just so. The company recommends to have Sopranino's baffle in line with the M1's baffle.

Even without Sopranino the M1 proved itself to have a stupendous treble driver. The mental image that presented itself without volition was that of a spider web in the morning sun bejewelled with captive dew drops glistening in the light. Gossamer finesse. That was the overriding quality: of a top-down sound that wasn't lit up in the conventional sense—which to me suggests an inside-out action—but suffused by light from above through and through. Though the speaker had very powerful bass slightly on the generous side, this didn't reverse the impression. Some speakers work from the bottom up. They're first chakra animals: vital, earthy and into the party. Others are friendly third chakra sluggers: punchy and feisty but warm and dense. These felt spiritualised. Sixth or seventh chakra visitors. Neither transcendental in a haggard spaced-out sense nor otherworldly aloof but supremely refined, smooth like seal skin, crystalline yet not abstract and amazingly detailed like huge headphones projected out into free air.

Into it for a few tracks, my wife had tears in her eyes. She confessed to feeling like being made love to (by the music). I'd not be able to top that expression with anything I could possibly come up with. Job over. But this intensity of in-room presence, vast space and the tiniest of details—like a circular object's rim being energized in a clockwise motion on a very familiar Mercan Dede track from Dünya I'd not made out before so faint is it at the far right way back—merely intensified when I added the, yes, ambient restoration device. Lest you mistake these descriptions as treble-centric... I had zero desire to power up the big Zu Submission subwoofer. It wasn't necessary. Neither was playing very loud. Though not of the hi-eff no/low-order xover sort, these communicated even better. And like very good open-backed headphones, there was no sense of boxiness, congestion or resonant problems with the small exception of a narrow band in a male singer's lower reach which I'd work on with placement. It sounded as though the M1 exhibited very low levels of mechanical distortion. And whilst the treble effulgence and illumination were far beyond what you'd hear in a live venue where our eyes tell us constantly about the spatial scale and the relative placement of the performers within in... it did a superb job of replacing our eyes in a tacit way of feeling inquiry. Hence again the 'spiritualised' pointer. That's about seeing things that aren't really there in a way that goes beyond blind belief or wishful thinking into the actual experience.

In short, something very different was going here - so much so that Ivette had quickly 'forgiven' the to her very sober cosmetics and quite changed her mind about them. And whilst she never reads any of my reviews, she very much wanted to read this one just to see how I'd describe a sound that so clearly had gotten under her skin.