Take a good hard look. This is a very much a DIY affair; nearly too much so on cosmetics. What arrived in my digs looked seriously austere and bereft of any frills. That's because Łukasz wanted the basic P-17 to be as affordable as possible. It and presumably all upcoming Fikus Electric projects are based on the factory-direct model. It removes distributors, dealers and their margin layers from the equation. The plain vanilla P-17 thus has no finish whatsoever. It's raw very thick MDF without exotic veneers or paint job. Anything flashier drives up the price. An extra €500 buys you black or white paint, an extra €1'500 goes smoky dark, black or white oak veneer. All of that's satin but presumably gloss will still come. Xover upgrades get €500 to where a maxed-out P-17 hits €7'000/pr - €2K more than the basic. Obviously upgrade menus have been part of LampizatOr's MO from the beginning. It's unlikely that this will ever change.

Physically the Fikus Electric P-17 is big, intimidating even. Each measures 55 x 60 x 140cm WxDxH and weighs 50 kg. Response is 35Hz–30'000Hz, nominal impedance 8Ω. Sensitivity of 95dB/1m/1W seals the deal. The P-17 is a three-way dipole to be somewhat uncommon. The 18" bass woofer of 99dB sensitivity with paper cone and cloth surround is sourced from pro audio's ATS. It comes to life on a 2nd order filter at a high 700Hz. Above it a Dayton midrange segues in on a 1st order slope and remains active to 3'500Hz. From Taiwan, this cellulose widebander with pleated surround runs a Neodymium motor and a small whizzer which LampizatOr remove. Lastly a dipole Raal ribbon comes in at 7'000Hz on a 2nd order filter. Łukasz has always been crazy about Raal to accept that each P-17 tweeter sells for ~€900. His other drivers are far more affordable and he doesn't hide that fact. Still, a €1'800 spend on just two tweeters in a €5'000 three-way makes him either very smart or very unwise... but of course Łukasz has already proven his chops many times before.

On geometry, the P-17 is almost an open baffle. Yet 'almost' makes a big difference. Łukasz wanted to mate typical OB virtues to high efficiency for small valve amplifiers. Hence a necessary box twist. It's big, it's unavoidable and, most importantly, open in the back. Whilst this coffin makes the product very clunky, without it there's no bass. The deeper the box tunnel goes, the lower its woofer's reach drops. Here the P-17 proved far from overbearing. So embrace the box or pay no attention to it. If you can't, move on since it's here to stay. Again, our Polish designer prioritized sound and only that. He explained that for the P-17's ask, not much could be done with carpentry. Łukasz is neither a carpenter nor does he know one capable of doing better on his budget. Hence the very first Fikus Electric product will, to many people, remain one ugly SOB and justifiably so. I strongly believe that Łukasz doesn't care. His P-17 is very solid and really massive. The finish is rough, some joints are visible but the outcome is strangely honest. The product doesn't even try to hide its DIY roots, so absent are any fancy touches like even basic roundovers. If there's a plain vanilla flavour in audio, the P-17 surely tastes like it. Each box is damped with lots of bituminous mats and additional foam may be added. The manufacturer suggests to experiment since the outcome will vary from room to room. My loaners arrived with wheels instead of spikes. Those made life much easier. Double binding posts enable discrete woofer drive.

As per usual, the obvious source pick for the review system was LampizatOr's own Golden Gate with Psvane direct-heated WE101D-L triodes, a KR Audio 5U4G rectifier and TAIV VC-03 attenuator. Later on an AMR DP-777SE stood in. An Asus UX305LA served as transport either way. My main amplifier was the FirstWatt F7 but at some point the Trilogy 925 saw duty as well. While it might be redundant to experienced readers, we must revisit open baffle basics. Think directness, scale, effortlessness and lack of all box colorations. What's the price to pay? Must there be one? Density perhaps; lack of muscle tissue; gravity not from the Earth but of the moon instead? In many ways the P-17 behaved like a typical OB affair. It bore all of their usual virtues yet surprised in several ways. They say that big drivers make big sound and rightfully so. The obvious question was how big it really would be from an 18" driver - how deep it'd reach, how feistily it'd respond and whether it had some issues with saturation and textures.