So here are my impressions from Thursday and Friday. I'm still awaiting my desk (not to mention my ED A3S-250 sub, XLR cables, speaker stands, damping materials, rug, new chair, beanbag footrest, etc.).
Fed Ex guy hooked me up. I had left a note on the door with my signature and sure enough when I got home they were there. I still don't have my preamp, new chair, new desk, subwoofer, rug, XLR cables, etc. but I hooked up them up to an old Sony CD player on the floor to try them out. Played some Menomena, Oceansize, Three Mile Pilot, Beta Band, Cursive, The Autumns, Elbow, Catherine Wheel, Kino, A Perfect Circle, Leaves, Cooper Temple Clause, St. Vincent, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory soundtrack.
1. Okay, they're not ESS AMTs. But those had HUGE air-motion transformers, that went down to 600 or 800 Hz, and which were set up as dipoles. These don't quite have the inimitable "clear as light" sound the ESSs had. Not a big surprise, really.
2. The bass. Is this what things have come to? These perform a real magic trick as far as bass production. The bass is extremely tight and has really sensational detail, but it's the presence and authority I wasn't expecting. These rock. Am I regretting ordering the sealed sub? No, but I hope it can blend well enough and contribute. Of course, these impressions are with the speakers sitting on the floor.
3. The 3D. Granted I have to contort my body quite a bit to get my ears into a suitable sweet spot (they're on my floor), but the 3D effect, both the spread from left to right and the feeling of layers going back is really astonishing. And addictive. The separation between instruments is everything I could ask for. The ambient detail that gets teased out of the recording is wonderful. These AMTs are pretty directional, especially vertically, but if I can manage to get my desk set up advantageously, that shouldn't be a problem for personal listening.
4. There is a definite sense of hearing things in a different way than I have before. Many sounds and passages have already taken me aback. I'm noticing things all over the place that even with detailed headphones I never remember hearing like that. The sound is balanced but *extremely* energetic. Sounds appear to leap out of the transducers. This is also addictive and fun and very musical.
Overall I'm impressed so far and not regretting the purchase at all. I think these will fill the "desktop concert" nearfield concept nicely.