Don't worry: I haven't suddenly acquired a taste for high-sensitivity speakers. It's just that I couldn't resist having a stab at a third Loth X product. Although its profile is odd-ball - a Singapore-based company making freaky amps and speakers - the brand has a reputation for making uncommonly good sounds; I was blown away by the flagship system I heard at high-end show last year.
As for the amp I was privileged to try - the JI300 - well, that's the stuff of which dreams are made, and I need a new car more than I do a single-ended triode amp hewn from solid. But the little BS-1 speaker was a knock-out, and I just couldn't say "no" to a slightly bigger sibling at only £750 per pair. Besides, I needed something with which to review low-power gear such as the Croft Cameleon, the Antique Sound Labs Wave AV8 and AudioValve's headphone amp.
At 96db/1W, the Ion Amaze was an obvious choice. (Who comes up with these daft names? I thought Frank Herbert was dead.) Enhancing its easy driveability is a sane load of 8 ohms. Like other Loth X products, it uses a driver made in-house, a full-range crossoverless tri-axial full-range design measuring 6in across, including the chassis; effectively, it's a 4.5-5in diameter speaker. (I erroneously dubbed it a two-way in my review of the Croft Cameleon.) Its paper cones are treated with a special proprietary coating which was initially so toxic that it almost cost the designer his teeth. Aaah, the price of audiophile bliss!
Fitted to a slim-line and compact enclosure - 7 7/8x12x15 3/4in (WDH) - the driver resides above a front-firing slot. As it turns out, the Ion Amaze is not a horn, as Loth X fans would suspect, but a hybrid like its kid sister: part-horn, part-transmission line. This explains the unfeasibly satisfying amounts of bass; Eminent Audio estimates its frequency response as 50-22kHz, and it sounds refreshingly robust for what would be a bookshelf speaker if it wasn't quite so deep. I ended up using it on Foundations, which brought them up to the right height: I found they sound best with the listener's ears just slightly below the level of the tweeters.