What complications? For mechanical watches, complications are a draw; the more complex and outrageous, the better. In hifi, simple does it. Owner's manuals should be optional. Here that means petite dimensions of 12 x 19.5 x 18cm WxHxD and 3.2kg for the active right channel, 2.8kg for the left slave. Idle draw is 7 watts, max power consumption a stout 125 watts. That'll surprise those who expected class D efficiency at the bottom line. For connectivity, we get two digital inputs of 24/96 async B-type USB and Toslink; two analog inputs on RCA and 3.5mm stereo; and 3.5mm stereo outputs for a subwoofer and headphones. The umbilical link between speakers ends in mini XLR, the power cord finishes off as a 3-prong clover leaf to stop most rollers dead in their ambling tracks. Behind the grill sits a 4.5" Neodymium-powered coax with paper-cone mid/woofer and soft dome tweeter. For intended nearfield applications where vertical arrays often fail to cohere (they need more sitting distance to act as one), a dual-concentric à la Tannoy/KEF/TAD really is best. Its tweeter sits inside the mid/woofer's usual dust-cap location to approximate a point source. Claimed bandwidth is 48-30'000Hz. There's an auto standby function, a recessed volume wheel atop the right speaker and a multi-color mode LED. Delivery includes the power cord, a USB cable, a premium mini-XLR speaker cable, user guide, two velvet carrying bags and a micro fiber cloth to maintain the "durable powder coat in matte and glossy". From the lack of further tech detail—digital or analog volume, active or passive linestage, -3dB points, DAC chip, expected downfire port loading, reversible channels & Co.—one appreciates how, very appropriately, Eversound don't target hifi nerds. They appeal to a premium lifestyle audience which don't need to know such things. Our readers of course aren't the Home, Hearth & Hifi crowd. For their entertainment, they expect just a bit more. During the visit, I'd have to wear my inquisitioner's cap. What else would hard-boiled 'philes need to know before they'd give these boxes the proper consideration they surely deserved? I wound up my leetle grey cells to produce more complications. Tic toc, tic toc.

The most obvious one I'd not be able to generate no matter how tightly wound up is shown above. Despite its award-winning all-in-oneness, Vinnie Rossi's LIO here outfitted as a €5'000+ DAC, AVC, headfi and power amp combo—or my €2'500 April Music Stello MkII twins which spread similar functionality across two smaller boxes—would vanish in thin air altogether. And, for the same bandwidth, Coin Audio's €2'400 Mansion Compact in curvy MDF would still shrink to become an all-aluminium Essence. And, despite being priced nearly the same whilst being manufactured in Switzerland not Taiwan, the Essence would pack a DAC, analog line-stage functionality, amplification and headfi yet still only take up one AC socket. That's less clutter and lower box count from smart integration.

Put differently, think of the Essence as carrying an invisible mINT inside sticker on its skin. That would point at Wyred4Sound's $1'495 compact 60wpc ICEpower integrated with DAC and analog preamp at right. Once you look at it that way, Eversound's asking price falls straight in line. And with their feature set, there really is no other way of looking at it. Tic toc, tic toc.

Before Robert (right) and Tadeusz Kwolek—both of Polish extraction—arrived, a quick web search had shown Robert to have previously been part-time assistant to the architectural London firm David Kohn and a member of the Royal Institute of British architects. The Eversound Audio company was registered in Switzerland on March 9th, 2010, the same year that their Es-2 multi-media speaker system (left) became runner-up for digital and electronics devices in a domestic design competition. Clearly kicked off with strong in-house expertise on industrial design, I expected that they launched with the help of an outside investor. Which begged more questions. Why a 5-year launch cycle? Who was their acoustic/electrical consultant for the Essence project plus proprietary 4.5cm dual-concentric drive unit to not just talk but deliver on audiophile ambitions? Why not a bigger driver? How did the very similarly styled current product differ from the since discontinued Es-2? Another obvious nag relative to the TV speaker app already catered to with magnetic shielding and subwoofer output was the apparent lack of remote control. On the desktop, the mechanical volume wheel would be within easy reach. In the average video system, it wouldn't be. Surely a year 2015 smart product didn't expect users to forego creature features? But if a remote did exist, wouldn't the website say so? I spotted a potential complication and alarm bell going off. Binnnnng.