Brian Damkroger’s recent review of the T+A Solitaire S 530 was laudatory. I was eager to hear it. On my first visit to T+A’s large Schaumberg G space that I opted for a Sunday pre-show listen. The S 530 wasn’t on display, but I did get the opportunity to hear the Solitaire S 540 floorstanding speaker ($59,900/pair), which sits above the S 530 in the T+A lineup and costs $12,000 more.

Jim Shannon and Dave Nauber explained that the speaker exhibits qualities of a planar loudspeaker by sending more energy toward the listener, with less energy dispersed to the ceiling, floor, and side walls. He therefore postulated an easier listening experience, with less room interaction. He also said that volume would not fall off as precipitously with distance—something I experience frequently when I move a single row back during a demo.

Although the speaker’s sensitivity seems low at 86dB, I was assured that it doesn’t require as much power as a conventional line source. The company considers the 1800Hz crossover point between midrange and tweeter significant because the tweeter has so much surface area. With the crossover to the two side-firing woofers at 180Hz, this arrangement allows the midrange driver to cover the human voice.

Speaking of: Powered by T+A’s PSD 3100 HV streaming preamplifier ($22,000) and M 40 HV mono power amplifiers ($31,425/each), the speaker excelled in reproducing the human voice. On Karl Böhm’s surprisingly slow, stylistically anachronistic recording of "Sull'aria" from Le Nozze di Figaro, with Edith Mathis and Gundula Janowitz singing, voice was the highlight. Ditto for guitar and voice on Orville Peck’s "No Glory in the West," played from a 24/44.1 file.