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Cherry sonics. I’ll risk giving it all away and then with rather ‘soft’ descriptors but from the get I was rather extremely impressed by the SQ8’s ability to render the music unbelievably coherent, "easily digested" or "just feels right". This was regardless of the fact that the Berliner boxes didn’t always hit top figures when judged by typical hifi criteria which we’ll get to. In spite of that they expressed a special talent to connect with the listener over just a few bars and trigger a particularly effortless ‘self-revealing’ focus on the musical action. Sadly this ear-friendly trait proved difficult to pin to concrete music examples or a specific instrumental sound. I frankly wasn’t even perfectly certain just what made up this truly noteworthy trait.

To start with and at standard levels, one assumes exceptionally low distortion which creates great purity and something seemingly very undisturbed. Then one assumes that the time alignment Kirsch cherish so much adds its bits to add up to such cohesiveness. Whilst my equally time-tweaked seriously more expensive former Thiel CS3.7 played just as absolutely ‘on the dot’, they still didn’t exhibit this of-a-piece attraction. Here I would spot more parallels with my current Spendor SR100R² though from a measurement perspective those aren’t exactly stringently time-optimized.

Be that as it may, whilst the Kirsch boxes may exist under the studio monitor umbrella, it’s decisive fact that they have nothing in common with the presumed ‘heady’ distance one expects from such sound engineering tools. Which doesn’t imply that they’re not honest. Au contraire. I can well imagine that they hit their original monitoring raison d’être right in the bull’s eye. But let’s start at the beginning. Using formal performance criteria, precise imaging is a clear strength of the Kirsch SQ8. Instruments and singers are very location-specifically defined. This doesn’t mean a merely flat two-dimensional canvas but a frontally spilling three-dimensional space. Individual sounds where even quicksilvery transients underline this very nicely had exemplary embodiment and air. Somehow the combined effect—‘soft’ terminology alert!—reeked of a breathing sonic cloud. Cloud simply doesn’t imply that the stage lacked sorting or order. Quite the opposite in fact.

Take Treshold’s title cut "Black Wall Blue" from the British Avantgarde/Noise Pop formation Hula with a dash of Jazz. This album is already 30 years old and no weather-worn shiny audiophile pearl but a somehow very honest production.  It fascinates me not just with its experimental yet melodically accessible arrangements but also a very realistic cleanly elucidated venue in which vocals, sax, percussion, synths and bass arise. If a hifi’s standards are up to it, this creates an astonishingly vital I’m-there-live vibe especially when one steps on the gas. Though I’ve heard this cut over wildly costlier speakers, I’ve never experienced this sensation as strongly as over the Kirsch.