That said, this tuning struck me as clever. Rather than one-note dull or woolly, this was nicely textured exceptionally feisty bass which prioritized quality over quantity. By categorically refusing to boom, it never grew tiresome to become one of the strongest suits. I could listen to these speakers for long hours without fatigue precisely because of the things their woofers and tweeters didn't do. That was quite an achievement. So often, speakers groomed for crystalline clarity don't do so well in this regard. The Sweet Maxwell didn't boost the upper bass either to translate into increased speed, already being a very fast speaker in general. I don't mean a sense of thunder or ripped speed but being immediate, fit, snappy, effortless and—partially due to its unusual treble presence—energetic. There was a fine balance to all of this.


Instead of putting me to sleep, this Aussie speaker spiced things up yet remained perfectly natural and exceptionally smooth. Relative to tension or hardness, I couldn't name an amplifier which would push it over the edge. Though clearly groomed for clarity and cleanness, it remained perfectly palatable across my two-week audition. Obviously the midband fell in line to be precise and meticulous but also complex, well textured and vivid. To arrive at such a tuning requires serious know-how, trained ears and a clear agenda. The Sweet Maxwell soundstaged grand in all directions and with unusual complexity, pulling the so-called disappearing act with ease. The more space I gave them, the easier they pulled that off whilst simultaneously lightening up in the bass. Some tinkering will be needed to strike the ideal personal balance but the outcome was respectable already at no more than 50 centimetres from the wall. One of the best things about the performance was how fabulously everything in virtual space was showcased. The picture cast felt very precise though this was achieved not with artificial pinpoint accuracy but overall presence. The overall stage action behaved like one big moving, breathing and unusually coherent organism. The sensation wasn't one of individual sounds located somewhere in the mix but rather, of very much alive musicians being very much here. This was one feature that truly caught me off guard.


The Sweet Maxwell's balance also showed recordings as they are. With its tuning, there's no sugar coating. Recorded grain that's otherwise just mildly audible might get amplified and that's fair. Another positive surprise was that due to the overall smoothness and high performance level, all hardware on hand worked at least well. The best and most synergistic combo was the LampizatOr Golden Gate and Trilogy 925 integrated. Both contributed a fair bit of density, elevated imaging and boosted vividness and overall presence. The same attenuator-fitted DAC into the Job 225 stereo amp became even quicker but also leaner and spatially not as expansive. The AMR DP-777SE introduced the most ethereal experience. It did well though a bit more body wouldn't have gone amiss. At this point it was quite obvious what kind of companions the Sweet Maxwell would enjoy the most.


Summary. With new audio boutiques, the element of surprise can go either way to incentivize the curious journalist with a reviewing process that could turn into a real fun adventure; which is exactly what M8audio's Sweet Maxwell provided. Rather than barely beyond DIY, it looked unusually well made as though from an already well-established speaker house. Precise CNC mill work, interesting looks, attention to detail, quality components, proper packaging and a sterling overall impression made the Sweet Maxwell an exciting discovery. It's aimed at being very articulate, precise, unusually transparent and energetic, smooth across the board and agile downstairs without suffering even a hint of boominess. There's honesty in such revealing and insightful performance but because it was backed up by that fatigue-free enjoyable aspect, the job completed tastefully and simply felt right. Mark Thomsen might have only established his business very recently but already came across as a seasoned veteran. If you're on the hunt for a revealing bookshelf performer with 'humanity' and a quality finish that's not too heavy on your wallet, M8audio's Sweet Maxwell is one to get yourself acquainted with.

dawid @ hifiknights.com


M8audio website