TAD Compact Reference CR1 loudspeaker Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment Digital Sources: Ayre Acoustics C-5xeMP & DX-5 universal players; Apple G4 Mac mini running OS10.5.8, iTunes 10, Pure Music 1.8; Shuttle PC with Lynx AES16 soundcard & dual-core AMD Athlon processor running Windows 7, Foobar 2000, Adobe Audition 3.0; dCS Debussy, Logitech Transporter, Bricasti M1 D/A converters; Halide S/PDIF Bridge, Empirical Audio Off-Ramp4 USB-S/PDIF converters.
Preamplifier: Ayre Acoustics K-5xeMP.
Power Amplifiers: Classé CT-M600, MBL Reference 9007 (both monoblocks).
Loudspeakers: BBC LS3/5a, Sonus Faber Amati Futura, Vivid B1.
Cables: Digital: DH Labs Silver Sonic. AES/EBU: AudioQuest Coffee, Belkin Gold USB. FireWire: AudioQuest FireWire 400 (prototype). Interconnect (balanced): AudioQuest Wild. Speaker: AudioQuest Wild. AC: PS Audio Lab, manufacturers' own.
Accessories: Target TT-5 equipment racks; Ayre Acoustics Myrtle Blocks; ASC Tube Traps, RPG Abffusor panels; Shunyata Research Dark Field cable elevators; Audio Power Industries 116 Mk.II & PE-1, APC S-15 AC line conditioners (computers, hard drive). AC power comes from two dedicated 20A circuits, each just 6' from breaker box.—John Atkinson
COMPANY INFO
Technical Audio Devices Laboratories, Inc.
US distributor: TAD Laboratories
2265 E. 220th Street
Long Beach, CA 90810
(800) 745-3271
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COMMENTS
mrplankton2u's picture

While Andrew Jones clearly designs great speakers (I've personally heard the Reference models), one has to wonder if all the exotic materials and extreme expense really produces a better sounding speaker. It seems like the TADs, Magicos, and Best Loudspeaker In The World company ( from the ever modest YG Acoustics) are living in a vacuum - at least where mini monitors are concerned. With speakers like the KEF 201/2 Reference offering in some instances better performance ( measured cleaner midrange/tweeter spectral decay, for example) at a fraction of the price ( $6000/pair), it would seem that some of the design parameters for the uber priced mini monitors are a bit misplaced. While Andrew's job with the 8 inch woofer in the compact Reference is commendable, one can achieve noticeably better performance with a properly integrated sub or a modest sized tower like the Revel Ultimas at a fraction of the cost.  Concentric beryllium speaker units are a wonderful thing but only if the end result and it's associated cost can be justified with improved performance. On that count, the verdict doesn't seem very clearly in favor of this uber pricey mini monitor.

tom collins's picture

don't forget the marvelous (IMHO) dynaudio c1.

emailists's picture

 

Being involved with musicians, I have the opportunity to hear live unamplified acoustic music (from up close in a variety of spaces)  several times a week.  To my ear the TAD's capture more of that original acoustic texture and detail woven throughout the spectrum than other technologies (save for large panel speakers)  

While on a 3-4 year quest for a reference speaker for my listening room/post production studio and to possibly sell,  I had an opportunity to hear most of the highly regarded, latest technology transducers available, some in my own system.  

In my extended evaluation of the TAD, I tried playing just one CR1 and another single (cutting edge) speaker, both being fed a mono signal.

Moving back and forth between the 2 different speakers, I could finally understand what the TAD's were doing.   That single CR1 playing a mono signal possessed an ease and a freedom in air the other speaker didn't.  There wasn't a mechanical nature to the TAD.  The other speaker sounded extremely good (a keeper hadn’t the TAD showed up), but in contrast, the music from the CR1 just flowed and imaged a 3d presentation that didn’t have that “reproduced sound”.  The impersonation of stand up bass was spot on (so thought a friend who owns a stand up) and a horn blast really emulates that bell sound I hear from horn players live.

The evaporated beryllium cones are so thin and in fact brittle to the touch (hence the grills) that they are highly responsive in a way that I don't hear with other driver materials.  In early TAD experiments it turned out that vapor deposited Beryllium sounded better for cones than even using diamonds.    Acuton does make a diamond midrange (to match their tweeter) but just the 2 raw mid drivers cost more than a full pair of CR1’s.   

The coincident design of the mid/hi driver allows one to hear phase information in recordings that is normally not as available.  Details like subtle movements in a singer’s position relative to the mic capsule can now be easily heard, and from many places from within the room!

The fact that studios like AIR and Bill Schnee chose  TAD’s means that what you’re hearing at home isn’t just stunning and beautiful effect, it’s a highly critical tool and an accurate transducer.

I’ve now used the CR1's on tubes and various solid state technologies with great results.

When you're in the New York area, you can hear TAD’s at our studio.

TriodePictureSound

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