Mmm...M Audio!

Tom Maker, formerly of Edge Audio, has something really good going with his self-powered Maker Audio/M Audio Model 10 loudspeaker ($24,000/pair, or $35,000/pair when equipped with a diamond tweeter, big subwoofer, and a bigger internal amp for the sub). For one thing, this speaker is remarkably compact for the huge sound it produces. Even better, it is able to play music streamed wirelessly from up to 33 feet. And best of all, it sounds great.

Coupled with an Olive 03H music server, unidentified $900 CD player, and ultra cheap cables, the system produced prodigious, perfectly focused percussion from a CD by Jim Keltner. Air, depth and height were all excellent, with no part of the frequency response overhyped, at least to my ears. Perhaps the internal, heavily modified class-D amplification from Bang & Olufsen's ICE-Power had a might of dryness to it, but there was no way to tell if that was due to the amps themselves or the associated components. The same goes for the lower midrange suck out I heard on my frequently played recording of Mahler's Symphony No.2.

I asked Tom why he hadn't coupled his Model 10 with higher quality components and cables. His surprising response was that so many people who were blown away by his system at his last show demo had cynically claimed that the $12,000 CD player and expensive cables he brought along were responsible for the great sound that this time around, he decided to prove how good the Model 10 can sound with entry-level components. My response was, hey Tom, cynical people are always going to be cynical people. Those of us who, after years in this hobby, are still in love with music and the equipment that makes it sing want to hear the best you can give us. That, I sense, is what we'll hear next time around.

Tom designed the Model 10 with the smaller floor space of European and Asian dwellings in mind. The speaker is selling so well overseas that a dealer network has still to be developed in the US. Hence, buying direct is the way.