The Rebel Alliance sits upon a knife edge. In a briefing room, every last available pilot stands to attention, trying hard to look anything other than panicked. A moon-sized space station is moving silently through space, orbiting the gas giant Yavin, waiting for the moon identified as Yavin IV, the Rebel Home Base, to rise on its horizon. When that moment approaches... boom. The pilots, though barely able to realise it, have a sliver of hope. The briefing comes to the critical point:
"The target area is only two meters wide. It's a small thermal exhaust port, right below the main port. The shaft leads directly to the reactor system."
A young farmer from Tatooine, evidently a talented and capable pilot, wasn't phased. A whole two meters? Easy. "Like bullseyeing Womp Rats in Beggar's Canyon." Never mind that the two meters was somewhere on the surface of a moon-sized station, buried in a trench littered with auto-cannons all programmed to blow him and his small ship to oblivion. That two meters was all he'd need.
Brad Serhan (along with his Obi Wan, Morris Swift) is, in a handful of ways, a lot like Luke Skywalker. He doesn't need a vast canvas to paint his acoustic masterpiece; he doesn't need more than two meters to destroy the Death Star; just a compact little bookshelf speaker and a good ear for tuning phenomenal crossovers.
The newest version of Serhan + Swift's formidable Brigadier Mu2 is the ultimate expression of the design. It combines a timber exterior with a new point-to-point wiring crossover. The new timber exterior adds not only a cleaner, prettier look, but opens up the bass to a surprising degree. It almost defies explanation how much of a change in sound can be put down to changing the last centimeter or so of material in the cabinet, yet here we are.
A true side-by-side comparison with the standard (black) Mu2 would be very, very interesting. I had to make do with a very brief changeover period and a more serious listen to the new timber model over the following days.
The initial impression was, honestly, amazement. Brad had blown up the Death Star. A pair of diminutive cabinets were producing sound across a massive frequency range with an ease and fidelity I just didn't expect. I knew in my heart of hearts that there was a little extra bass at the bottom that these little drivers weren't quite getting to, but I just didn't care. Even having heard the Mu2 in its standard finish with the "Hotrod" crossover upgrade, I felt as though the change to timber granted the speakers a more engaging sound that drew me into the music and held me there, transfixed.
I couldn't help but try a broad spectrum of songs. From the solemn vocal and perfect mic placement of The Decemberists' "Carolina Low" to the finger-clicks and driving bass line of Arcade Fire's "Porno"; from the sparse and gorgeous instrumental soundscape of Jon Hopkins' "Immunity" to the noisy, despairing horns of Apparat's "PV". I threw on some current favourites: Miya Folick's "Thingamajig" and Archie Faulks' "It Rains" to round out the listen, and could find no fault. Nothing that pulled me out of that excellent soundstage.
The treble is present but never cutting or jarring. At any volume, I never felt the need to back off or change track, even when a piece was rife with sybilant hiss on the vocal due to cheap microphones or a deaf engineer. The mid tones are rich and involved and have a real sweetness that is a strength of the crossover. Voice was precise and the guitar, bass, piano and breadth of other instruments always fell behind the speakers, as though the stage was laid out before me. The bass (oh, the bass!) was realised with an ease and clarity that made you crave more music to try. It was both surprising in its depth (they really are a small speaker) and powerful but not boomy in the delivery. The porting is absolutely spot on - give them some breathing room and let them run free.
A handful of customers having an afternoon stickybeak tried and failed to "Guess which speakers are playing!", almost all believing larger, more expensive neighbours must have been responsible for the sound. It confirmed my suspicion that I wasn't alone in becoming an immediate fan of the Mu2 at first listen. There were more than a few converts to the Rebel Alliance on that day, and the several days that have followed.
The Mu2 is available now, made to order, in timber for $6,999 and the standard black gloss for $5,999.