Physics are physics however. You won’t get much below fifty room-augmented cycles from a 5-inch mid/woofer; nor popup dynamics from a shoe box. A foot-wide cone should be another thing altogether. Yet the Heresy’s rolling and tumbling crossover curves put it in the same in-room ballpark for bass as the P3 even if its horn-born startle factor plays in another league entirely. As to fit and finish, the Heresy are quite satisfactory. Nothing slipshod here, excellent veneer (I don’t like lacquer on walnut though), good industrial paintwork, very nice arched plinths with useful sliders, removable period grilles with thoughtfully mirrored brass-stone badges. Terminal plaque mouldings are ordinary if branded. Biwire links must be tossed now, mine didn’t even work. I had a few anxious minutes thinking that a woofer was dead out of the box. I made some jumpers out of Skyline cable and slipped them into the plain Jane 3-way posts which in practice proved sturdy and accessible.

Finish and construction of the Harbeths are jewel casket grade, easy to do on such a diminutive object. The knurled brass terminals are a study in contrast with the Klipsch’s utilitarian knobs. By the way, the Heresy’s hybrid design would seem to recommend biwiring but the P3ESR is single-wire only so I stayed with the simpler solution. Now for the big boffola: our test recordings are Jordi Savall’s Folia for serious listening; and Cheap Thrills for, well, cheaper thrills on AIFF and Redbook respectively. Boomer recognition is assured, millennial not so much. Starting out with the basic setup (remember, both speakers are currently available at under €1'500), source and amps were as announced, Audirvana on Audioquest, the Trends TA10.2P SE daringly tweaked with an iMac blue-green power cord, and the TK 6EM7S-I REF integrated. The Tektron needs a brief introduction. Addicted readers may remember my review of the 6EM7S desk amp from Tektron’s Attilio Caccamo. I was so pleased by this tiny tot that I sketched out a reference version based on the same GEC double triodes augmented by oversized trannies, a twin choke power supply with Raytheon triple-mica 6x5GT rectifiers, Auricaps, twin Alps Blue pots, a single Neutrik RCA input and WBT Midline posts. Attilio obligingly built it for me and the results proved my concept and then some. Resident tweaks are three PB-9 Yamamoto ebony footers and one of my long-serving Eupen leads.

The Harbeths were placed on heavy 70cm Music Tools stands, the Heresy on their wooden plinths in a traditionally toed-in configuration in my ~50m² living room, which is bright, airy and woefully reflective. Unfortunate but there it is. Since both boxes are abundantly reviewed, I’ll concentrate on some core issues starting with sensitivity. I’ve owned Altec, JBL and a long line of Tannoy since the early Eighties so was ready for the Heresy’s holler. The Trends is actually a 6watt/8Ω amp but even with the Audirvana/Dragonfly level control set to zero, a faint whisper of music was perceptible a few inches from the speakers. -6dB on brought the volume to over 85dB on my iPhone meter, which is beyond my and the room’s comfort zone.

The Tektron’s 8Ω output with single-figure distortion percentages and tail wind should be around 2 wattsd. Even so, the 100kΩ Alps pots could be brought  to 13:00 at the most. Anything more resulted in room boom, window pane buzz and what have you (hum was marginal in any case). Unsurprisingly, the two amps showed no sign of strain whatsoever. The notion that the Harbeth are current addicted was easily disproven. Both amps, puny power pumps that they are, were quite unflustered as long as volume was kept under the statutory 85dB. Within this range and bearing in mind that my room is way too big for 10-litre speakers, no distortion or clipping intruded. The tubed Tektron, though emotionally more involving, was on direct comparison somewhat less surefooted on Janis' peaks.