E&OE Copyright 2010-
Loudspeakers between £4,000 and £9,999
The ‘SV’ in the name stands for ‘Silver Version’ and gives a hint about what makes this speaker special. Closely related as it is to the standard Huron 3 (featured elsewhere on the site) the changes are wide ranging and the result of a huge amount of time optimising the design when budgetary constraints were eased considerably.
Like the standard model these are still a highly efficient speaker which combine an easy impedance load with high sensitivity making them perfect for use with almost any amplifier. The changes include a much more heavily damped cabinet (which is very labour intensive to do), a substantially in house modified tweeter, seriously improved crossover components and to top it off all internal wiring (and there’s a lot of it!) is made from cotton covered pure silver wire.
Sonically the scale and bandwidth of the standard version is naturally retained, the improvements are however very wide ranging. There’s much less cabinet colouration, much greater transparency and delicacy and musically everything shifts up a gear.
Dimensions: Width 24cm, Depth 46cm, Height 104cm
Finish: Cherry or Walnut real wood veneer. Satin Black or Satin White paint. High Gloss Black or White paint for a premium.
Heretic Audio Huron 3SV speakers: £4,000/pair
High Gloss Black or White paint finish +£500
Living Voice Auditorium R3R
So much has been written in the hifi press about these remarkable speakers over the last couple of years that I don’t think I can add much more here. Suffice to say the glowing praise they have been receiving is easily justified as they are amongst some of the most effortlessly musical speakers I’ve have heard in a very long time.
There are three models in the range, the Auditorium is the most basic yet still uses high quality hand matched components which ensures superlative imaging when they are toed in appropriately (due to their offset tweeter).
The high 94db sensitivity is at the expense of a slightly low 6 ohm impedance but they can still be driven easily by most high quality designs irrespective of output . However we find they really get going with a good parallel single ended 300B design (18 watts) which is perfectly sufficient to exploit the designs bass power and expression in most normal sized listening rooms.
We don’t know of any other speakers that offers this blend of delicacy, sensitivity and bass extension in such a compact enclosure and its even quite easy to install in most rooms once some allowance is made to get them at least 0.5 metres away from the rear wall, due to their rather substantial rear port.
Finishes: See pricing below:
Living Voice Auditorium R2R in Black Ash, Cherry, Maple, Rosenut and Walnut real wood veneers: £5,000.
Living Voice Auditorium R2R in Sating White: £5,200.
Living Voice Avatar R3
The Avatar is a development of the Auditorium (featured on the previous page), and whilst superficially similar in appearance features many improvements beneath the skin. The changes start with the drive units, the tweeter is replaced with the excellent Scanspeak D950000 tweeter and the bass driver units are custom made and feature larger magnets than the standard Auditorium. The crossover is similarly uprated, both with improved quality parts but also in terms of layout by means of star earthing. Finally the cabinets feature refinements including additional bracing.
What all these technical changes do to the sound is quite stunning, the speakers have even more definition and openness without losing the inherent musical strengths of the standard Auditorium. The other key strengths of the standard design, primarily their tonality, is further improved, and the dynamics remain just as exciting and wide ranging as ever.
ProAc Response D30/D30R
Due for launch in mid June 2013, the D30 fills the gap between the D28 and D40 in their range. It is available in two versions, one with a soft dome tweeter and one with a Ribbon tweeter (the ‘R’ version). It shares a similar carbon fibre bass unit with the D40.
Two versions will be available, one with a soft dome tweeter and the other with a ribbon tweeter. Naturally we'll be having a listen to them as soon as they have models available to audition.
ProAc D30 speakers in Cherry, Mahogany, Maple or Black: £4,500
ProAc D30 speakers in Ebony and Rosewood: £5,400
ProAc D30R speakers in Cherry, Mahogany, Maple or Black: £4,750
ProAc D30R speakers in Ebony and Rosewood: £5,700
Living Voice IBX-
The fundamental basics of the speaker stay the same throughout, it’s a fairly large, two way, rear ported, stand mount design using an 8 inch bass/mid driver and 1 inch soft dome tweeter. The speaker proportions may seem quite different from modern fashion, being wider rather than deeper, but in most rooms this is far more space efficient, and is responsible for the speakers impressive scale and imaging.
With a claimed efficiency in the region of 94dB up to 98dB (with efficiency rising as you go up through the range) and presenting an easy load to the amplifier these speakers allow a colossal choice of partnering amplification, and although they naturally lend themselves to smaller zero feedback valve amplifiers they will work well with any amplifier of sufficient quality.
Great attention is paid to the design and construction of these speakers, the cabinets are made entirely of birch plywood (with the exception of the entry level AN-
One of the more recent innovations within the Audio Note range is the use of Hemp cones, which on some models are standard fitment and on others are available as an option (the alternative being paper cones). As you’d expect, the paper cones sound incredibly fast, clean and exciting to listen to. In comparison the Hemp cones have a slightly richer and more relaxed presentation (almost as if you are a couple of rows further back in the concert hall). The main benefit of the Hemp is the improved mid band texture, tonality and resolution. I am regularly asked which I prefer and hand on heart I find it difficult to say -
So what makes the AN-
As will all efficient speakers the dynamics are impressive and believable. What’s more bass extension is remarkable, especially considering their size and efficiency (the manufacturer claims a remarkable in room -
They are incredibly subtle and revealing devices too, and whilst they will reveal the limitations of poor matching equipment, paradoxically they have the ability to often get brilliant results even from poorer recordings. They pull off the trick that many Audio Note products manage, they effectively disappear leaving the recording and the performance right in front of you. Nowadays it’s very infrequent that I hear new things in my favourite recordings, but the AN-
As you go up the range transparency, dynamics, detail retrieval and musicality all increase.
Please note there are no grilles supplied with the speakers, but if this is a problem for potential owners we can always provide something to protect the drive units from small fingers! Once you see the quality of the veneers available you will not want to hide them away under grille cloth unnecessarily.
I have broken this large range down into the following 3 sections:
Entry level model
Internal crossover models
These models have cabinets made entirely of Russian Birch plywood which are fully veneered in a selection of stunning veneers (see lower down for the listing of finishes).
External crossover models
These models feature external crossovers and come equipped with additional wiring to run between external crossover enclosure and speaker. It is possible to purchase a stand with the crossovers onboard for an additional £1,500, but personally we would only recommend it for when space is seriously limited.
Above: Alnico tweeter
Dimensions: Width 36cm, depth 27cm, Height 79cm (plus stands).
The finish options available are: Maple, Curly Maple, Palisander, Olive, Tulip, Alder, Oak, Apple, Cherry, Walnut, Black ash, Wenge, Birch Burl, Birds Eye Maple, Makassar-
I’ve pictured a few of the finishes below, we have samples of these finishes viewable in store too.
A choice of stands are available including Audio Notes own design (a flat back stand that requires mass loading) and the fully welded skeletal Something Solid XF (please see speaker stands section) are suitable.
Living Voice RW Series
The RW series are the ultimate expression of the Living Voice Auditorium range of speakers. Two versions are available, the IBX with internal crossovers and the OBX with external crossovers.
Both show tremendous attention to detail during the design process, with every component fastidiously listened to leaving no stone unturned. They feature a Living voice internal wiring harness, superior in house wound inductors and capacitors, with resistors specially made for Living Voice to their specification. The attention to detail extends to the level where some (but purposefully not all) components are cryogenically treated (including the WBT Platinum plated binding posts), the result of hundreds of hours of listening and experimentation.
The prices for the IBX (internal crossover versions) are shown below:
The benefit with the OBX external crossover models is that the components are kept much further away from the vibration and magnetic influence of the speaker drive units, as well as allowing much increased spacing between components allowing minimal interaction between each other. The crossovers are housed in matching veneered boxes and naturally take up a bit more space and require more speaker wiring between themselves and the loudspeakers, but offer the ultimate performance.
OBX pries are as follows:
The Direkt Dreikland is a very substantial 3 way design from Heco. It features a paper 15” bass driver, an 8” paper mid range driver and a horn loaded 28mm soft dome tweeter. These ingredients when combined with a large volume box should produce both good bandwidth and efficiency, and with a claimed 98dB sensitivity they are certainly not lacking in this respect. The speakers are just under 70kg each, making them at least a two man lift, but their shallow depth and floor porting means that they should not intrude into the room quite as much as would be expected from other speakers of this ilk. At the time of writing I’ve not heard these speakers, but if the excellent 2 way Direkt is anything to go by then they will be dynamic and exciting listen.
Dimensions: H 115cm, W 70cm, D35cm
Finishes: Black or White Satin
Heco Direkt Dreiklang: £9,499.95