TAD Compact Reference One Monitor

"We don't have a price yet, because the TAD Compact Reference One Monitor loudspeaker is a prototype," stated Andrew Jones, lead engineer for loudspeakers at TAD Laboratories, Inc., shown here in John Atkinson's photo. "I can say that it will be somewhere between zero dollars and $60,000, the cost of a pair of our full-sized TAD Reference One speakers."

Jones went on to explain that he had built the prototype three-way monitor just last month, using the same materials found in the Reference One. Thus, the enclosure uses laminated 1"-thick MDF, with an extruded-aluminum rear panel that acts as a base for mounting the crossover boards. Besides the company's concentric upper-frequency unit, which mounts a beryllium-dome tweeter within the midrange cone, the stand-mounted monitor employs the same 8" midbass driver that had appeared in the previous iteration of TAD's floorstanding, four-way, Model One loudspeaker.

Jones then paused to update the history of his company. TAD originated as a "skunkworks" enterprise within Pioneer to bring some of the practical designs of pro audio into the home audio marketplace. "Now we are becoming serious," mused Jones," for we just become a fully incorporated division of Pioneer, and have been renamed the Pioneer TAD Laboratories, Incorporated." In the companies new form, it will expand manufacturing to include electronics as well as loudspeakers.

The compact monitor was driven by TAD's newest product, a 150-lb, class-A, solid-state, 300W (into 4 ohms) monoblock, price and model number not yet available. This amplifier was designed in Japan by Katsuhiro Sasaki, lead engineer of TAD Laboratory Electronics. "Katsuhrio-san created a class-A amplifier that is efficient, so it doesn't have to dissipate 1200 watts of heat constantly." The amplifier is further stabilized by giving it ½"-thick aluminum side panels and mounting it on a cast-iron base.

Jones and Katsuhiro-san played a high-resolution digital file of Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, recorded by Keith Johnson for Reference Recordings. The TAD Compact Reference Monitor seemed every bit as dynamic as the larger Reference One in the next room, and played at very high levels with no sign of compression. However, the speaker is still a work in progress, and will benefit from the development plans Jones has in mind. "Perhaps next winter we'll have a preproduction model of the Compact Reference One ready. Stay tuned."