To learn more, I contacted designer Maurizio Aterini. "Essentially, I'm curious to learn what prompted this particular model. What were you trying to achieve? The basic technical stuff is on your website but there's of course always more to a product than that. Since this will be the XT7's first English review, it could be nice to tell readers a bit about the R&D behind it, perhaps even furnish some preliminary drawings leading up to the final design? How about some anecdotes about the voicing, the decision for certain parts over others; your ideas on driver materials, crossover slopes, dispersion; the reason to go with the AMT tweeter; ports vs. sealed vs. transmission line… in short, things that add up to the 'story behind the speaker'?" Something to that effect is my usual MO when dealing with an as-yet-unreviewed product. It represents carte blanche. It's a blank sheet waiting to be written on. How much intel such a query returns varies wildly from designer to designer. Some relish a global pulpit to proselytise from. Others keep their cards close to the vest. To encourage an unlimited download, I told Maurizio that as a web-based venture, we impose no word or picture limit. How would he decide to play it?

Early prototypes.

"You probably know that since our beginning, we were mainly a 3rd-party manufacturer working as an OEM/ODM supplier for international hifi companies. We collaborated with many different companies worldwide even though we also made our own products. But for years, those were not our main business. That’s the main reason why we went through different names for showing our own products and didn't pursue reviews. After the international crisis started in 2009 to also affect the high-end audio business, we understood that it might be the right time to really build up our own brand when we were so clearly perfectly positioned in the high-end audio business already. So five years ago we hired two more designers. Even our new speaker engineer Garlo Certini has very extensive experience in Italy working for B&C speakers and many other high-end audio companies."

More prototypes.

"Sharing our combined experience, we began the ambitious XS85 speaker project which took almost four years to complete. As a reference speaker, the XS85 very unavoidably carries a top class price. As a more affordable direct derivative of it, two years ago we began work on the XT range which will be composed of two floorstanders, the XT7 and the smaller XT5 three-way, then the XT3 monitor and XTC centre."

"Behind the entire line is always the XS85 philosophy. That's why the XT7 too gets a compound-slope QB3 filter. QB3 is a kind of mix between bass reflex and sealed to get what we believe is the best of both: great extension and excellent damping."

More prototypes.

"The filter network with our QB3 designs starts with a smooth slope of ~6-7dB/octave at the filter hinge before it increases to the ~22dB/octave typical of bass-reflex designs. This twin-slope approach integrates the virtues of different approaches. Our crossover is populated with all Mundorf and Clarity parts for a total of 30 components strictly selected for top performance."

"Our crossover acts as a true low-resistance filter network to allow most amplifiers of even moderate power to work well. This is in contrast to the typical majority of even expensive speakers which become difficult loads to stress the partnering amplifier which, as a result, performs less well than it otherwise would."

More prototypes.

"After extensive tests with our chosen drivers, we realized a way to optimize the response for great linearity even broadly off-axis."