ProAc Response 3.8 loudspeaker Page 4

While the Response 3.8 had the same effortless dynamic range other reviewers found in other ProAc speakers, it did not share the exceptional freedom from compression of more expensive loudspeakers, such as the $15,000 Revel Salon. Signs of compression were evident when I drove the 3.8s with the Electrocompaniet Nemo monoblocks in my large listening room: David Hudson's didgeridoo lost some its raw, throbbing edge on "Rainforest Wonder" (Didgeridoo Spirit, Indigenous Australia IA2003 D); the timbales' explosive snap on Tito, from Arturo Sandoval's Hothouse (N2K-10023), was smoothed; and the throbbing, churning bass/synthesizer vortex was blurred on Emmylou Harris' "Deeper Wells." The good news is that I noticed this compression—and it was just detectable—only slightly below the level where the Response 3.8's midbass units bottomed out, which they did with minimal disturbance.

I found the Response 3.8 to be very demanding of associated electronics. The loudspeaker came fully to life only when I biwired it with PSC ribbon cable and drove it with a single Mark Levinson No.334 in stereo mode. The comparison amplifiers—Bryston 7B-STs, Electrocompaniet Nemo monoblocks, the Mark Levinson No.331.5—produced excellent, clean music that was just too polite. The Response 3.8/No.334 combo, on the other hand, had a special synergy: exciting, dynamic sound, neither edgy nor analytic, with a bass response that was both controlled and eminently detailed.

I'm happy to report that I now know what all the fuss was about: The ProAc Response 3.8 proved to be just as special as I'd hoped it would be. I know now why our reviewers—me included—have fallen under the ProAc spell. The Response's 3.8's many strengths made for an exceptional review experience. Driven by the Mark Levinson No.334, the Response 3.8 generated the "exceedingly rich-sounding sonics with a lush sense of presence" that MF heard from the Response 2.5. You can look long and hard for another loudspeaker that will create as clean and neutral a midrange and as neutral and open a top end, with the ability to resolve the most complex vocal passages.

The ProAc Response 3.8 is highly recommended, and with the same level of enthusiasm with which my reviewer colleagues have greeted Stewart Tyler's other loudspeakers with over the past decade. I'm nominating it for inclusion in Class A in "Recommended Components." Other loudspeakers may play louder, but, driven by the Levinson No.334, the Response 3.8 will reveal the beauty of choral music, small instrumental groups, and film soundtracks as will few other transducers. Am I bewitched? Go listen to the ProAc Response 3.8 and let me know.

US distributor: Modern Audio Consultants
112 Swanhill Court
Baltimore, MD 21208
(410) 486-5975