This setup delivered a sound I still characterized as “warm,” but now in a euphonic sense. Familiar material like James Taylor’s “Line ’em Up” from 1997’s Hourglass—one of my all-time favorite short- hand evaluation tracks— was superbly solid and dense, but still retained satisfying timbral definition and transient presence over the track’s intensely gooey, over-rich bass. Taylor’s distinctive baritone, warm and chesty but with a nasal twang riding along the top, sounded as expected. Maybe the warmth was a trifle accentuated, but the details of his breath and articulation were so well preserved that I didn’t object. Imaging also was impressively tight but broad.
Any speaker that aces my “Line ’em Up” test merits further scrutiny. I continued with an oddly effecting acrostic upon The Rite of Spring (which called to mind Stravinsky’s own, oft-used aphorism: “This too is possible…”) by The Bad Plus. Track ten, “The Sacrifice: Intro- duction,” amply demonstrated the ability of the 3050i towers to reproduce natural instrumental colors. Plucked bass sounded convincingly woody and vibratory up and down the neck, while the ethereal piano and drum shimmers floated effortlessly above and around. The 3050i’s slightly soft balance did not seem to exact any penalty on treble detail or openness: piano attacks were still light and ping-y, and brushed cymbals and snare lively and natural.”