Our loaners were dressed in black but white cloth and silver, copper or wooden 'rings' are available. Très trick is their retrofitness. Should you grow tired of the looks, change the accents and/or cloth cover. Exactly when and for how much this will be offered remained open at time of publication. As to sources, the Tana is pure digital, hence LAN or WLAN to stay with the streaming concept. AirPlay is a go, Bluetooth a no. But there's optical or coaxial S/PDIF—you could loop your TV's sound through here—plus USB for external media. Our Viking designers are quick to stress that their wifi module is the top 802.11AC not 11g standard to support HiRes Audio streaming. The same streaming module factors in their €4'500 ECM-2 network player and their €5'900 ECI 6DX integrated. The ECI 6DS predecessor still featured an outsourced Audivo streaming module. Today it's all Norwegian pride.

In use. Initial setup is easy if one follows proper sequence with some patience. One begins by connecting the streaming speaker via Ethernet cable to a spare outlet in the home network's router, then plugs the power cord into the wall. Sip half a cuppa Joe whilst the Tana SL-1 logs in. Perhaps use this time to download the EC Remote control app to your tablet or smartphone. This freeware speaks Android or iOS. Once the streaming box shows up in your local area network, the app can launch the setup wizard which talks you through the installation procedure. All of that is perfectly self-explanatory. Post install, I'd quickly check whether a firmware update exists; activate WLAN where wireless is important; then access the local music library. Whether housed on a computer or NAS, the EC Living box scans for music over the network, even checks whether an external hard drive connects via USB. All sources are treated and listed equally. Simply select 'add' and the music gets indexed in a central library regardless of where various files might be stored physically. Depending on size and hard/software config, this indexing can take time but its progress is tracked in a status update.

An extra nicety is the ability to install and control the Tana SL-1 without app, simply via web browser. Scan your network machine with its data explorer for something not seen before, in my case "ECLiving-31". Right-click and open the device's web page. This accesses the same setup protocol already described, then controls the machine. This is sensible if the Norwegian streaming speaker ends up in the work room where one spends most the time in front of the screen and keyboard.

Got the hots for a threesome? Add a Tana L-1. This plays love slave to the SL-1 dominatrix. Connection is via wireless 24/96. The SL-1 instantly recognizes its mate and shows it in the app/browser. The user selects which box becomes left and right. Well played!

But never mind stereo. One can go up to 7.4. Thus even a wireless subwoofer will come to the EC Living range. Unlimited multi zoning (out?) is already here. Play the kitchen, living room and bedroom. Think big. Just buy the number of SL-1 you need and give each zone a sensible name. As of June 2016, synchronous play across multiple zones wasn't yet there but German importer Matthias Roth assured us that it's coming like the Terminator. Neither on sound nor stability could I discern any real differences between wired and wifi. Even HighRes wireless came off without hitch where coverage extended. Obviously lag time for command inputs is shorter via wired than wireless. And wherever the local router's wifi reach peters out or disappears, the EC Living speaker can't work miracles. Now you either need a WLAN repeater, a long Ethernet cable or PowerLAN which sends hifi signal across the resident in-wall power distribution cabling. Usability was as it should be: simple and intuitive. The box itself only changes volume by touch sensor. That elicits clicks for user feedback. The app is clean and well sorted – first zones, then 'now playing' with volume/skip/pause etc options, then library which scans like greased lightning, finally Internet radio and various services like Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify & Bros. Spotify Connect is integrated, allowing control via either the EC Remote or Spotify app. I didn't have to leave my customary music cloud at all. And I had all my usual features firmly at hand.