The Critical Mass Systems QXK Mk. III Rack in Four-Shelf Configuration, photograph courtesy of Critical Mass Systems.

The latest chapter in a story…

Some designs and products that I review are from new companies. This is a very good thing; it shows that the world of fine audio remains vibrant, creative, and open to innovation. New names; new faces; new products; new gains. Then again, there are people and companies who’ve been around for quite a while. I’ve got long-range experience with their designs. They’ve put in their time, have demonstrated long-term quality and staying power, and quite often represent benchmarks of excellence in their areas of specialty.

In that latter category, I would certainly include Joe Lavrencik and Critical Mass Systems. Joe has been in the high-end audio biz for a number of years now, and deservedly so. His carefully worked out designs and products take a different vector from those of his competitors, and show a willingness to do things patiently, in his own way.