MC Audiotech's TL-12 speakers at the Florida Show

What does the MC in MC Audiotech stand for? Marvelously Cutting-Edge? Master 'Coustician? I would've guessed Mark Conti; Conti is, after all, the founder of the Pennsylvania-based boutique brand. But the man himself told me—tongue in cheek, I reckon—that MC is actually short for Musica cordis, a Latin phrase that means "Music from the heart." Works for me, especially after I heard his latest loudspeaker, a blond beauty called the TL-12.

With this newcomer (the TL-12 made its debut at Capital Audiofest last fall), MC Audiotech has successfully married its wideband line-source drivers to a 12'' transmission-line woofer, creating a dipole in the 300Hz–20kHz region. Conti claims that his 117lb-each, 92dB-sensitive, $24,900/pair speakers are easily driven by almost any amp rated at 70wpc and above—but of course, more is often better. In the cozy MC Audiotech room on the 10th floor, the speakers were teamed up with Modwright Instruments' 150 Signature amplifier and LS 300 preamp ($11,000 each), and a PH 150 phono stage ($9750). Digital sources were a Weiss DAC501 ($9645) and a Wolf Audio Alpha 3 music server (starting at $5895). Rounding out the sweet-sounding rig: a VPI Prime Signature turntable ($8999) with a VPI Shyla cartridge ($2000), plus Audience AV frontRow interconnects and speaker cables.

There's nothing sculpted about the TL-12s' looks, but for all their 90° angles, they're hardly boring boxes. One attractive feature: removable grilles that consist of two dozen rubber strings the thickness of clothing line. Perhaps they're modeled after the grilles on Sonus faber's Guarneri and Olympica speakers.

Sonic purity was exceptional. The cello on Agnes Obel's "The Curse" sounded just like the real thing—no fluke, because I soon found that the same was true for Gene Ammons' tenor sax on "Close Your Eyes." I took his advice, concentrating mostly on the recording space that the TL-12s convincingly conjured. Absolutely lovely stuff.