Audience's The One ClairAudient

It was a pleasure to finally meet Audience’s John McDonald, who beamed with energy, pride, and happiness over his new Audience The One ClairAudient loudspeaker ($995/pair), seen here alongside Audience’s own A3 drive unit, which uses a relatively large neodymium motor structure and voice coil, suspension venting, and is said to provide 12mm of usable excursion with less than 1dB compression. This is the same drive unit found in Audience’s larger 2+2 ClairAudient ($5000/pair) and 4+4 ClairAudient ($12,300/pair), and the One takes its crossover-free, passive-radiator technology from those models. The One represents a single-driver version of Audience’s basic design philosophies, and though it lends itself nicely to desktop systems, its applications are “limitless,” McDonald enthused. As we listened to a piece of music, McDonald whispered, “It can play at 100dB continuous, no problem.”

For T.H.E. Show, the One was part of a system with a laptop source playing lossless files, an Arcam rDAC ($495), an adorable Virtue Audio amplifier ($449), and Audience’s Conductor “e” interconnects and cables. However, when I walked into the room, the system was mated to the shiny Devialet amplifier. The sound was tuneful and rhythmically assured, with nice air around voices and cymbals, and a lovely tone to woodwinds. The folks from Devialet seemed just as impressed.

In addition, I’ve been enjoying the construction and sound of Audience’s Conductor cables ($415/2m) in my own system, but feel that the price may seem high to younger audiophiles or those just beginning in the hobby. So I was especially happy to hear that John McDonald is considering a lower-priced version using the same materials. “I think I can do it,” he smiled happily. Awesome.