Impressed with the Adamante's showing in Munich, I took the very earliest opportunity to advance their case. A Sicilian friend, via a translator colleague, asked for speaker brand recos to augment his current hifi import catalogue. I mentioned Apertura. The translator's first response was asking where they were from. France I said, thinking such proximity an added asset. He shook his head. As Italians, they didn't like or trust French product. Shy of possibly poor prior experiences, I thought it curious that such political bias should negate any further investigation. This seemed particularly silly when all it took here was a walk up a few stairs to seek out Apertura's room for an audition, hands-on inspection and subsequent chat with the designer and company representatives. Isn't that's why distributors attend hifi shows? But no, the Gallic thang interfered on basic principle. Sacre bleu!

I mention it only by way of the biases we all carry. It matters naught whether it be origin, MDF, wood, aluminium, Beryllium, Titanium, silk, 1st order, 4th order, no order, dynamic, planar, fusion or confusion, narrow, dipole or omni directionality, small or big woofers or any other spec one might cite. Prior exposure, beliefs, conceptual sympathies, cosmetic requirements, price, size and much more all become filters. Their mesh determines how we size the various particles and which we let pass and which we block by design. Reviewers are no different. We wear the same blinders. The best we can do is articulate them openly. On which subject, the Adamante loudly rang a number of personal attraction bells: compact-enough size for our domestic situation; becoming cosmetics and finish; sufficient bandwidth to be considered full range for normal applications; down-firing porting; and great prior brand experience. Potential hang-ups based equally on prior experience if elsewhere—plus conceptual leanings that simpler is better—would be the interracial marriage of ribbons to dynamics; and a very complex filter network. These were my things I'd have to be mindful of.

Relative to French origins, I'd always favour German or Japanese cars. Here I most definitely suffer nationalist biases. With hifi however, personal curiosity and hobbyist enthusiasm could care less where something's from. Practically speaking, I'd have to admit that appeal of actual ownership would still be informed by support infrastructure and brand stability. Where does one go for repairs? Will the firm still be around when that happens? Here Apertura's years in business were a big bonus. Ditto France's status as a direct neighbour to Switzerland. Naturally if one lived very far away and had no regional or local representation, the latter feature could flip and become a tall barrier. Ditto currency exchange rates and their impact on specific export markets. C'est la vie!

By mid June, Apertura's Laurence Poyer emailed to confirm that their show samples had returned to the factory and were ready to forward to La Suisse. For the temporary importation carnet, would two months be sufficient? Absolutely, replied I and so the stubborn super-hard game of Adamante was on. Delivered strapped to a single pallet, each speaker triple-boxed, it took some sweat equity and not Uhaul but Ihaul to finally have the gloss Maple finished beauts set up. One first bolts on a solid-steel plate to their bottoms with six longer hex bolts. This plate is just a bit smaller than the cabinet to create a narrow recess. Atop the now metallized end bolt two outriggers with another six shorter bolts plus the threaded post for the central drain footer. This scheme creates added cabinet mass and lowers its centre of gravity. The included spike footers with double lock wheels each terminate not in floor-piercing points but 5mm balls. Those slipped nicely into my Track Audio floor-protector shoes. Now I could slide the speakers into position without fuss.

An hour or so later, I had the two empty cartons back in the garage four floors below and the Adamante set up and playing, their veneer colour blending nicely with our d├ęcor and the similarly hued if darker wooden parquet flooring.

By fortuitous happenstance, Kazuo Kiuchi's mighty 200wpc Reimyo KAP-777 stereo amp was in residence just then to create a class A/B push-pull alternative to my usual 30wpc class A Pass Labs XA30.8 also in push/pull mode. For first proof of life, the Japanese was doing the honours with the Aqua Hifi LaScala MkII DAC and COS Engineering D1 preamp in the loop.

With extra efficiency over our usual speakers, these required less gas on the volume pedal. Within minutes of acclimating to being under signal again after their Schenker freight journey, our Frenchies predicted a proper energetic sound full of tonal fat, not a pale rehydrated likeness thereof. I was off to a good start.