Dress code: bespoke. Piano gloss lacquers are a questionable luxury. Once you remove their first dust with a cloth, swirl marks appear. Never again will the finish look flawless. Hence I've never understood the lacquer allure. Enter Audio Physic's premium glass finish. It's impervious. In the case of Elite Audio's gorgeous Ebony samples, their wood finish was encapsulated inside the glass dress panels. Looking like perfect gloss lacquer atop striped wood, any fingerprints or dust clean off easy with evaporating Windex. That leaves no trace. Neither will it scratch or ding like exposed veneer accidentally can. It'll look as flawless as it did on day one. In 17 years on the beat, I'd never seen such a smart solution to maintaining luxury gloss to perfection. It also was a first that a finish option would double as mechanical stabilizer. As with all truly great ideas, once seen, it's baffling how none had it sooner. Audio Physic also incorporate a better solution to typical grills which affix a cloth-covered panel atop the baffle. Such secondary baffles introduce diffraction issues. Here each Codex included two grills. For my loaner, one was black-backed glass sans cloth to match the other gloss; the other a cloth-covered substitute. This assures identical sound whether your drivers go nekkid or dressed. They see exactly the same immediate surroundings either way. For more good if sadly not common sense, there's no biwire nonsense with deleterious jumpers or splitting the cost of a premium single cable into two runs of inferior wire. And still there's more. Ask Stan Lee, Marvel Comics' iconic inventor, what the greatest power was he's as yet bestowed on any of his super heroes: control over their luck! Watch James Nesbitt's Lucky Man for details. This also applies to passive loudspeakers. Since they lack adjustments common to actives, their biggest power really is controlling their luck to sonically integrate with whatever room their owners put them in.
Luck: high. Time for another movie hero. Enter Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry with "you gotta ask yourself one question; do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" The Codex is that lucky punk. Its bass alignment not only aims down like earlier Audio Physic models. It's not ported. The first means none of the typical rear-port issues so often mistaken for room modes whose ubiquity makes them seem innate, ergo unavoidable. The second means no port-ly behaviour of bloat and ringing so endemic to traditional vents. Obviously even Audio Physic's engineered luck can't magically obliviate room modes. However, compare a rear-ported speaker of equivalent bandwidth, situated in your best spot, to the Codex in the exact same spot. Codex bass will be dramatically more linear and clean. What you thought were room modes but really were port crap disappear. What were actual modes remain. With the usual port debris cleared out, those modes now are far smaller road bumps. Because this woofer loading is taut like a high-torque sports car not softly sprung like a lazy family sedan, remaining bumps absorb better. This superior control with lower room interactions is uncanny and easily heard. If the core difference between big and small speakers is that the former go louder and lower, spending serious money on more quantity bass (lower/louder) only to suffer lower quality bass (ringy and boomy) is plain stupid. The Codex puts an end to such nonsense. If your room can support 30Hz, you'll get it at unusually high quality, without the unfortunate byproducts of ported bass overlaying resonant dirt on the vocal range; and with better extension from a smaller enclosure than sealed bass. If that was it, the Codex would already be a winner. But there's more.


Metal: civilized. All metal diaphragms suffer from break-up modes. Those can create tizzy sharp colourations. Those allergic to their bite favour silk-dome tweeters and cellulose mids and are happy to trade ultimate airiness and resolution for greater smoothness. Laurence Dickie's steep aluminium-alloy dome tweeter and upper midrange in the Vivid Giya models use irregular geometries and carbon dampers to push their first breakup well outside the actual bandwidth over which they're used. Clearly Manfred 'Manny' Diestertich and his metal drivers pre-stressed with silicon/rubber rings mine the same notions. Even when driven by DC-coupled ultra bandwidth amps like Ivo Linnenberg's Allegro monos (1MHz circuitry limited to 350kHz for universal interactions), these two Audio Physic drivers don't glint or glare on even potentially problematic fare.

Neither do they manipulate benign behaviour with a sly loss of bandwidth. Test this on subtle cymbal brush work which lesser tweeters obscure; or, on triangle strikes and decays, by how high they shoot and how long you can follow their wispy trailing edges. Navigating my usual test tracks, the Codex tweeter cleared them all to show how the unusual Audio Physic cone tweeter combines the reach, airiness and micro detail of ribbons with the dynamics of - well, bigger dynamic drivers with surrounds.

[At left: wood veneer under glass combines traditional looks with ultra-hard perfectionist finish which then adds mass and rigidity to the entire enclosure. You pay extra but get something that'll look the part ten years later; and still sounds better. And as you (should) know from
My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Windex has a lot more beneficial uses than just keeping your new Audio Physic Codex speakers in pristine polish. Incidentally, the latter makes them very challenging to photograph. For perfection on that count, we'll stick to the stock photos.]