Essentiel Reference Monitor
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"The first word that came to mind was clean. The next word was seamless. After that came coherent. The sound was extremely smooth (pure & grainless) and clear throughout the audioband, with no obvious indicators of where the midrange-woofer passed off to the tweeter."
"...as airy and fast as the top metal domes, including those used in my $22,000 reference speakers…which have beryllium-dome tweeters."
"Overall, the Essentiel had some of the most exquisite highs I’d heard in a long, long time -- the sound of the cymbals sounded extraordinarily clean and extremely realistic. It really sounded like metal being struck."
"The strengths of Grand Cru Audio’s Essential include: a seamless-sounding integration of the ribbon and midrange-woofer outputs; smoothness and clarity through the upper midrange, the likes of which I haven’t heard from other ribbon-based designs; and very deep bass, given the modest sizes of the speaker’s cabinet and midrange-woofer."
"I was taken aback by the Essentiels’ topflight soundstaging and imaging, as well as by their high resolution, particularly their ability to convey spatial cues."
"...and a “smidgen” less incisiveness and immediacy in the mids than the best ($50k personal) reference-class designs."