We listen to Thelonius Monk with his classic “Monks Dream” and hear a very nice rendition. Yeah, a nice rendition, we even dare say a ‘musical’ rendition. Oh, dear, what a deadbeat. But something really happens when we replace the Bryston with these little boxes after a few weeks. It may all be a bit looser and more playful and let this fit just right with this music. It swings that it’s not normal anymore. The saxophone on the right and the rhythm section on the left are nicely distinguishable. The soundstage is spacious and the whole is quite separate from the speakers.
Also in vocal work it goes very well because voices get a bit more humanity. On “For my Crimes” by Marissa Nadler we hear la Nadler’s voice vibrate more emphatically and cut deeper into our souls. It never gets sharp and details come through nicely. Instruments get a warm glow and sound less sterile than the Bryston. Everything sounds a bit rounder and fuller but with sufficient definition.
With electronic music we notice that the low sounds a bit fuller than with the Bryston. This seems like a conscious choice of Graham Sledge. This makes the beats sound a little less tight from time to time. However, the soundscapes are full of detail and complex structures are clearly rendered. “Bricolage”, Amon Tobin’s debut album, has been around for over twenty years now, but we’ve seldom heard the character of the album come through so well.
It is daring that Graham Slee does not unpack with the highest specs or most watts but on the contrary consciously chooses quality instead of quantity. The dac in the Majestic seems to go for maximum sound gain instead of ultimate resolution. With the Proprius monoblocks it is not the amount of watts that is important, but that all determining first watt. They can play quite loud without distortion, but they mainly serve to inject feeling and nuance into the reproduction.
Graham Slee doesn’t make it easy with these atypical boxes. The rather modest dimensions deviate from the norm and some functions seem a bit strange at first sight. But don’t let that scare you away. After all, there is a chance that you, like us, will be captivated by their engaging way of playing music. They probably won’t appeal to everyone, but those who make the effort to think a bit ‘out of the box’ will be amazed by the possibilities and especially the delivered sound quality. It’s not for nothing that Graham Sledge has a very loyal following.