"What a refreshingly honest blog about listening to music through hi-fi. So happy to see views based upon the enjoyment of music rather than so-called sound 'quality'." - Peter Comeau, Director of Acoustic Design at Mission / Wharfedale

Saturday 3 June 2017


Canary Audio, Kondo and Living Voice with room treatment

A room that would be popular with Pandas this one.  Whilst quite a few rooms used live bamboo diffusers, Living Voice pushed the boat out here.  It did work quite well actually - at least visually, and probably sonically - in terms of softening the rather functional exhibition rooms. The room had substantial corner room treatment too.  Here we had a Canary Audio CD player, Kondo amplification and the Living Voice Palladians with their matching sub-woofers.  A 7.5k Euro (in Living Voice speak, there should be an "only" in front of that price) integrated CD player feeding 440k Euros of speakers?  Does that work? Apparently, aligning the subs with the side walls is the preferred positioning.

Now, generally speaking, I'm not keen on horn speakers - they often seem coloured to me (some of this is sometimes referred to as honk, as an example), and produce a "forced" kind of sound, but Munich has taught me this doesn't have to be the case - the Living Voice system being a good example. Perhaps the horns I've heard before just weren't expensive enough!

Even though this system is only passive, its 100dB+ sensitivity means that huge sound is possible from a small number of watts (although the subwoofers are driven by their own power amp, it still feeds a passive crossover). What we have here is a system that flows with a feeling of effortlessness. In some ways the bass was a little overpowering in this room - but it wasn't boomy as such, perhaps just needed turning down a little.  This system doesn't slam, nor does it produce much of an image, but it does lots of details, great vocals and there's a sheer presence to the way it fills the room - but there's no shoutiness (and, despite their physical presence that most definitely shouts "look at me") there is no "look at me" feeling about the music. The system gets on with it and gives a warm feeling to the sound - mellifluous might be the word.  There's the sense of a story being told with all the threads being aligned towards a conclusion, if that makes any sense whatsoever.  Jazz, classical, dub worked well - but it would have been nice to hear some rock - I returned twice to this room to check my thoughts and, if they were playing rock or electronic music, I managed to miss it every time.  Worth a listen, but only if you're interested in hifi or have the wherewithal to give them serious consideration, like the recent customer who's ordered 5 pairs...
A similar, but not identical, set of speakers can be heard all day every day at Spiritland near King's Cross in London - so you can listen to them for the price of a coffee, or a beer.

Full show reports here:

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