Onto bass. This is a tickly subject. Both boxes are bass challenged by design. The question then is how this affects their overall performance. The Heresy is a curate’s egg in this respect (I lifted this charming expression from Keith Howard’s HifiNews March 2010 review).The good part of the egg is that whatever bass there is, a possible 70Hz in my room, is the opposite of one-note thump. It’s nimble, very well behaved (that’s acoustic suspension for you) and astoundingly well integrated with the horns. This must be taken as an engineering feat of some import. The bad part is that it just won’t go low. No matter how much power you throw at it, it will only grow a whole lot louder. Paradoxically, the Harbeth which even forsakes the LS3/5a's fake-bass hump, seemed to reach slightly lower with its CD-sized proprietary cone, quite likely because it is voiced to deal with unamplified harmonics rather than midbass-addled compression.

Since we are now transitioning from mere quantity to far more subjective quality, it should be noted that both the Trends' TA 2024 chip and the TK’s 6EM7S triodes work in single-ended mode. This makes them unabashedly load sensitive; plus the Tektron’s output impedance is probably that of a whale. Because of this, their interaction with speakers, freaky or friendly as the case may be, is serendipitous and the sonic results are mostly unpredictable. The following judgments should consequently be taken as influenced by circumstance as much as by individual taste. (For a completely different take on Heresy and Harbeth, consider Dudley and Lavorgna in Stereophile, November 2012, and Audiostream.com.)

Dynamics are obviously the Heresy’s strong suit and the Harbeth’s weakest. There is no denying that Cheap Thrills placed both musical and technical constraints on the Brits. Specifically Janis’ voice was heartrendingly powerful and expressive but Big Brother’s beat remained somewhat in the background. Overall sound levels obtained through both amps were adequate but volume swings were reduced in impact if properly registered. Conversely the Harbeth’s Folia, particularly when lightly fleshed out by the TK triodes, was altogether exemplary, to the point of stretching the unavoidable bounds imposed by the Dragonfly. By the same token, the Heresy pushed me in the mosh pit with the first watt (anachronism alert, there were no mosh pits in ’68). It was all there: punch, drive, drama, almost the war (that would be the unjust one). Differences between chip and tube were perceptible rather than significant, no ass-backwards audiophile autism back in the day when, as the doctor said, men were men and rock’n’roll was rock’n’roll. So Klipsch rocks and the Pope is catholic? The results with Savall’s period instruments were far more unexpected. It turned out that with both solid-state and vacuum tubes, the Heresy’s microdynamics translated into an unaffected agility which more than made up for the reduced transparency inherent in a 3-way design. Also, in the absence of butyl bass barbarisms, the archaic cloth surround and corrugated paper cone is left to do what it does best, namely free the lower harmonics of wood and gut into the listening space. To use a tiresome trope, the Heresy played the heart card to the Harbeth’s head trick whilst showing a greater indifference to power source limitations.