Affordable TAD Monitors

Relatively affordable at $30,000/pair, that is, given the cost-no-object construction featured by TAD's new CR-1 "Compact Reference Monitor," seen here with its designer Andrew Jones and compared with the company's original floorstanding and superb-sounding Reference One from 2006. (Across the corridor from TAD, Ray Kimber was using four Reference Ones to demo his new IsoMike recordings in surround.)

The CR-1 uses a similar coincident upper-frequency driver with a beryllium-dome tweeter as the Reference One, and marries it to a 8" ported woofer that uses a cone formed from woven aramid fiber and foamed acrylic. The enclosure, too, echoes that of the Reference One in comprising many layers of 3mm MDF with extensive plywood cross-bracing.

The CR-1s were being demonstrated with Pass Labs amplification and a Berkeley Alpha DAC fed hi-rez data from a music server fitted with a Lynx soundcard. Engineer Bill Schnee (a protegé of famed mastering engineer Doug Sax) played his own 24-bit, 192kHz-sampled files to great effect. Other than the very bottom octave, the CR-1's presentation lacked for nothing.