That very costly computer simulation program also used by NASA was in fact directly responsible for the trademark Arabesque shape. Its cross section has most people see a comma or perhaps a stylized tear drop. As the lower photos show, the faceted models in both glass or aluminium use their spine (where the comma comes to a point) to conceal a vertical slot port. The Minissimo's corresponding area is sealed. Its circular port hides between two of its legs, all three of which have a different diameter. Having now covered enclosure geometry and construction, with the latter's composite nature explaining how it became the first Arabesque to accept paint finishes, we're down to the remaining two main pillars of loudspeaker design: drivers and crossover.

Crystal Cables' various Arabesque models have long promoted Audio Technology or ScanSpeak mid/woofers. That is also what the munchkin gets: a 6.125"/155mm paper-cone ScanSpeak Illuminator with its trademark cloverleaf ridging. The Serbian Raal ribbon of the top model of course was too dear and tall but what our Dutchies consider the next best thing rather goes to town: ScanSpeak's 1"/26mm Illuminator Beryllium dome. Their new network called Natural Science crossover sits at 1'800Hz and is described as an advanced form of 2nd-order symmetrical filter with improved phase coherence to minimize impedance wrinkles. Given compact size and an F3 of 48Hz whose -6dB point is an impressive 38Hz for an unusually lazy roll-off, sensitivity had to be a modest 86dB. Speakerdom's inalienable constitutional rights grant you small size plus low bass but not with high efficiency. Just how muscular of an amp that might want I would find out. I expected my Pass Labs XA30.8 to be fully up to the task just as it is on our 85dB EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1. With a low Ω limit of 7, the Minissimo reads like a paper tiger to drive, not bear. Meow?

To reiterate the Minissimo brief, we'll hand the microphone to Crystal Cable: "The original Arabesque concept was for a cabinet with continuously curved walls but it was impossible to achieve reliable results in glass. So we developed the facetted construction using the advanced Comsol modeling software to optimize its shape and dimensions. Later we tried to bring the benefits of the Arabesque cabinet down to more accessible price levels. Now we ran up against the cost of this time-consuming and complex construction. If we were to create a more affordable Arabesque, we clearly needed to think again. The result was the Minissimo, a radical departure from the previous plate-to-plate construction.

"Instead, the cabinet is milled from a single piece of metal-loaded polymer material. This fully automated process creates a monocoque enclosure for which we control not just the curvature of the walls but their thickness too. It further optimizes the resonant behaviour of the structure and the enclosed air volume. Combine that with the same drivers as in the Arabesque Mini, the new Natural Science crossover topology, an integrated stand and mono-crystal internal wiring and the result is a compact speaker of unprecedented performance at a lower price than even we thought possible. The milled cabinet also allows us to make use of automotive paint finishes, making the Minissimo as visually versatile as it is attractive."

To keep it real, a price lower than expected is as relative as a rubber band is elastic. Whistling dixie to the tune of $15'000 will have a lot of people lose their lunch. But in the realm of super monitors—think Enigma M1, Kaiser Acoustic Chiara and Wilson Benesch Endeavour for just three—the Minissimo is right on target. It is an unapologetic luxury product groomed for top performance from a pert package. As Francis Underwood of House of Cards might say, it's balls out, don't be gentle. The photos show that it clearly looks the part. For more Uncle Albert and relativity, Louis Vuitton hand bags might be the epidemy of the utilitarian product which has most men at a complete loss to comprehend its cost. Meanwhile if they're audiophiles, the same men will recognize where and why the money went with the Minissimo. Now it could be their ladies who lack all comprehension. Mars, Venus & Co. Armed with our Zu Submission sealed subwoofer to play a 100sqm room, might the smallest Arabesque be preferable to most $20'000 floorstanders? In the immortal teenage words of Sasa 'Trafomatic Audio' Cokic's son, "maybe yes, maybe no". It's just one of the questions my performance commentary will attempt to answer. Perhaps it'll prove to be the most provocative one? To set that scene, get out your tape measure to properly visualize 29x30x25cm without stand. Weight is 25kg. Now contrast that with a claimed 150w power handling. That promises quite aspirated levels. The specs also promote 0.3% THD between 200Hz and 20kHz. That indicates a low-distortion design when used within reason. Hence the top-range ScanSpeakers; composite enclosure modeled to optimize internal air flow and pressure evacuation; and integral stand to extend structural integrity down to earth rather than stop it in mid air with BluTak.