"I really wanted people not to say that the electronics are why the speakers sound good, so I brought a very minimalistic set-up," said Milwaukee-based Jeff Permanian of his very first display at an audio show. Granted, his imposing, Internet-direct JTR Noesis 215RT ($7000/pair), a 3-way loudspeaker with a claimed 95dB sensitivity and impressive frequency response of 18Hz24kHz, may not be a visual work of art. But in the company of an Oppo BDP-95, Adcom integrated, and Cardas cabling, its reproduction of Norah Jones' "Come Away with Me" exhibited sufficient warmth to make me want to hear the Noesis loudspeakers in superior company next time around.
The word noesis means the exercise of reason (in Greek philosophy), and the functioning of the intellect (in psychology). (Jeff defined it as knowledge, but dictionary.com says otherwise). Exercising same, I've attributed the bit of brittleness I heard in the room to a combination of the room itself, which had more than its fair share of echo, and Adcom electronics, some of which, at least in the old days, tended toward harshness.