Though most of the audio show visitors seek the big mighty high-end systems, the ones most of us only dream of, there is another class of products that merits attention: the high-end compact monitor. Two of my favorites were on display in Athens and both performed in sublime fashion.
The Joseph Audio Pulsar two-way compact monitor has been receiving accolades like few other speaker in recent years and for good reason. If you were to throw a veil in front of them and ask bystanders how big the speaker behind the curtain is, no one would guess that that bass response comes from a 5.5 inch woofer. Here in Athens they were paired with the Gato Audio AMP-150, the top of the line integrated from the Danish company, Viva Audio’s Numerico DAC/ transport and Aurender’s amazing X-100L streamer. Cables by Vovox and Jorma completed the spicy set-up. On Fabrizio Bosso’s “You’ve Changed” (Blue Note records) a crisp trumpet and well-defined percussions created a stupendous atmosphere even inside the crowded hotel room.
The other little marvel of the show was the Engimacoustics M1 Mythology two-way compact loudspeaker with matching Sopranino super tweeter. Finished in red Makkasar this pricey exclusive speaker is a true piece of audio jewelry. Paired with a full stack of Auralic electronics, including the well-known Vega digital audio processor, Taurus pre-amplifier and a pair of Merak mono power-amps good for 200Watts/8Ohm doubling at 4. The recently introduced Aries wireless streaming bridge made things easy for music selection with a tablet in hand. A song new to me, “The Curse” by Agnes Obel, made me think what kind of delicate performance one might expect from such a refined speaker. The soundstage was unbelievably wide for such a small speaker; I “blame” the Sopranino super tweeter for this. I will be investigating on the virtues of the M1 a bit more as I managed to kidnap the demo speakers right after the show ended.