The Aurora's 8-inch treated paper-cone Neodymium-powered Vifa NE225 mid/woofer with a resonant freq of 33Hz thus is mated to a Transducer Labs N26C-G. That's a 26mm pure AI2O3 ceramic dome tweeter with underhung voice coil and high-flux double-magnet motor. Both sit on a 10° raked-back baffle for physical time alignment.

3: the large tweeter waveguide was bound to produce a wider than normal sweet spot. That makes for better more social listening opportunities beyond the single-guy chair. If the stereo illusion comes off for two people at once, I'm all for it.

4: the base price of €3'495/pr with stands parked the Aurora right in my personal sweet spot for high-performance monitors like my €3'500 Boenicke Audio W5se or $2'990 trio of Anthony Gallo Strada II with TR-3D sub.

• 5: Except for its eight plainly exposed bolt heads, I found the Aurora's form factor exceptionally elegant. And it was equally compelling from an engineering angle. On paper then this model promised to be sufficiently bass capable to have most listeners feel perfectly set as is; and major in a rich meaty vocal range with good dynamic reflexes. I'd already encountered Vifa's equivalent 6.5" driver in a d'Appolito configuration in Grand Cru Audio's Horizon tower. I'd been impressed by this well-vented transducer platform and its seriously compacted motor which minimizes reflections and air compression behind the spider.
Like SB Acoustics, Vifa/Peerless the brand don't carry the snob appeal of Audio Technology and ScanSpeak nor their pricing. But they do make excellent mid/woofers. A different Peerless unit also shows up in the mighty W5 mini. Now you know why I was sold on the Aurora. It seemed perfect for the 99%ers. After Munich HighEnd 2014's showing of overpriced underwhelming vanity boxes, I needed a refresher course in real-world relevance. Ryan's Aurora would be my designated driver into that abandoned neighbourhood.

From Hifizine's interview with Ryan, here's more on the Aurora. "With the Aurora we wanted a near full-range monitor. That meant a woofer larger than 7". But a woofer larger than 7" meant crossover points of 1'500Hz or lower. Those low crossover points made the Raal a poor fit. At RMAF 2007 I showed a speaker that used a large 10" waveguide with a ScanSpeak AirCirc tweeter. That tweeter was crossed over at 875Hz and never showed any strain at all.

"So based on that experience we began developing some new waveguide profiles. We had six different profiles printed on a rapid prototyping machine and then tested to see what gain profile and dispersion pattern they'd produce. After we settled on the best, we began searching for the best dome tweeter to match. That was a challenge. Once you get used to the Raal ribbon, the vast majority of dome tweeters just sound boring. And for over a year we used tweeters in the Aurora that just didn’t excite us. Until we found out about Transducer Lab. In the US they produce tweeters by hand and without any compromise, similar to what we do. Their domes have low moving mass and extremely high motor force along with rigid pure ceramic membranes. They’re the best dome tweeters I’ve heard and I’m quite happy that we found out about them."

On waveguides: "A lot of times there’s a disconnect between the theoretical world and the real world. The Internet pundits will tell you that controlling the directivity makes room interactions less severe and placement easier. Compared to our Raal-based designs, that just hasn’t been the case. The wave-guided speakers are actually more finicky with respect to room placement. In my experience with waveguides, the benefit isn’t controlled directivity. I've never heard anything that made me say 'wow, listen to how controlled that dispersion pattern is!' There’s no controlled-dispersion sound that I can hear. The benefit the waveguides do provide is gain on the low end of the tweeter. When EQ’d back to flat in the xover, this results in lower distortion and less load on the tweeter. That can make the tweeter sound more dynamic and able to produce more output before showing strain. It also allows a lower crossover point. Those are all real effects you can apply to meet design goals."

The Aurora's very strong unmistakable form factor has birthed two large siblings, the Nimbus White and Black. That floorstander with its massive 15" Acoustic Elegance woofer comes in a choice of midrange drivers as suggested by the colour differentiation in the model name. The White gets Accuton C158 ceramic mids, the Black Wavecore paper cones. This stock option expressed as two versions of one model reiterates Ryan's ingrained belief. A one-size-fits-all approach neglects certain basics. As a DIYer gone pro, his roots are in one-up jobs. That's always about making the individual customer happy. It's not about a designer imposing his choices on everyone à la "my way or the highway". Back on the Aurora, Ryan promised to furnish some exploded renderings to highlight more of its internal build.

By now we were well outside the initial 6-weeks window. A few of my emails had gone unanswered. A repeat inquiry to Ryan's personal email whilst doubling up in his AudioCircle forum should my email be blocked by a junk-mail filter finally netted this. "The white pair we had been planning to send to you was to be returned from a customer. Then we'd refurbish and send it. However, that customer had a stroke a few weeks back and I haven’t been able to establish any communication with him since. That option might not happen. But then again, he could write back any day and get things moving. His wife did write me about 2 weeks ago. She said he’s doing much better and would try and write me soon. The other option is likely what we will pursue now: build a new pair. We have a pair of Aurora cabinets and stands completed. That could be finished off quickly. The reason why I didn’t offer that option initially is because that pair of cabinets is part of our inventory for customer orders. But at this time I’d say we need to get the process moving whatever it takes. I haven’t decided completely on upgrades (if any) to include in your pair. But my initial thinking would be Clarity MR capacitors, Duelund resistors and Jensen wax/paper foil inductors."