Audes Jazz loudspeaker Page 3

For completism's sake, I also tried the Jazzes with the Sonic Frontiers Power-3 monoblocks—another case of overkill, or so I thought. But this combination was wonderful. The tube amps made the Jazzes swing ever so smartly. From about 60Hz up to about 10kHz, the sounds emerging from the SF/Jazz combo were unerringly enjoyable; I spent many hours in the sweet spot with disc after disc, just grooving to the music.

The price of this, however, was palpably less bass extension and definition than with the eVo2s, and a loss of some clarity in the upper midrange that compromised spaciousness to a similar degree. This was particularly evident in excerpts from Britten's A Ceremony of Carols (Simax Classics PSC 1106), in which the chorus, and especially the treble soloist, were thrillingly present, but the sense of place was less evident than with the eVo2s.

But forget about dissecting the sound parameters—the tradeoffs were definitely worth it. True, with the Power-3s I could not play the Jazz any louder before they began to complain, but, as I've said, that happened only at levels beyond the bounds of reasonable behavior. In fact, I'd bet that Sonic Frontiers' Power-1, or any other quality 50-100Wpc tube amp, would be able to make the Jazzes sing.

Studio and Jazz
The Paradigm Reference Studio/60 v.2s are the main speakers for both stereo and multichannel sources in my weekend system. I'm very familiar and satisfied with the Studio, and it and the Audes Jazz are similar in configuration and price. Despite being slightly smaller, the Studio/60 has a more extended, tighter bass with the Bel Canto and Sonic Frontiers amps. On the other hand, the Audes Jazz sounded bigger and warmer. The Jazz filled the room with its generous (if not deep) bass, and, with its subjectively rolled-off treble, it was never fatiguing, even with quite raucous material.

One of the things I like about George Faber's voice is its often gutty edge. His new album, Blues (BAT), has that edge a-plenty, but the Audes Jazz smoothed it out noticeably. Not so with the Studio/60; its neutral balance from bass through HF retains all the grittiness but with a little less immediacy. The result was that the Jazz's presentation was close, comfortable, and involving, while the Studio/60's was more distant and cool, but wider and more detailed. Now all we need is BAT's Geoff Poor, who produced the recording, to tell us which sound, if either, is is more accurate.

In general, the choice between the Jazz and the Studio will hinge on your preferences and, to a degree, your experience. Those who need not analyze or qualify the sound will probably find the Jazz a great portal for any music. It's the kind of speaker that makes an immediate connection with the listener and doesn't fatigue with extended exposure. I, however, am obsessed with analysis, and couldn't do without the neutrality and transparency of the Paradigm Reference Studio/60 v.2s.

Besides its attractive appearance, the Audes Jazz offers a lot of loudspeaker for $1899/pair. With careful positioning, its sound should be reasonably full, warm, and spacious, with great presence. Despite its 4 ohm spec, the Jazz seemed relatively easy to drive, sounding equally good at low and high levels. Tube amps of reasonable output should definitely be considered as suitable mates. For the money, one can buy greater transparency and wider range, but the Jazz is more than competitive in terms of presence and untiring balance.

Early in my auditions, a friend said that, even though he preferred his present, much more expensive speakers, he might have resisted the upgrade bug a long while had his first serious speakers been the Audes Jazzes. I agree: One could live long and happily with the Audes Jazz.

US distributor: Audes USA
58 Winding Brook Drive
Matawan, NJ 07747
(732) 921-1241