Audio Innovations Triode Monoblocks – Special Edition
Boxed Primare CD31 (inc remote & instructions)
Little Dot Mk III Headphone Amplifier
Audiophellio SPDiF/USB Convertor
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Kenwood Trio KHA-50 Moving Coil Head Amp
How It's Made - McIntosh Tube Amp
Mulidine Allegretto V4 Speaker Review
These award winning little two way French speakers seemed a little disappointing when I first lifted them from the box. Plain styling, small, and without any fancy plugs or flashy decals they seemed relatively light weight for a £2495.00 speaker. It took a while to notice the subtle chamfering of the front baffle and the way the covers are shaped to match in such a pleasing way. Thankfully their relatively low weight did not translate into fragility. The boxes are extremely solid with wonderful thick real wood veneer that is beautifully matched and polished to perfection. Like Uma Thurman, it takes a moment or two before you realise she’s beautiful.
“I don’t know why I like a particular wine but I know it when I taste it” I’ve heard that from many a drinker and had to try desperately to hide my own hideous wine snobbery. I’m not proud of it, but when I hear that I can’t help think whoever says it is a little lazy. There’s a whole lexicon of phrases and taste notes one can plunder to describe a wine, we can talk of tannins and structure, we can forget just how silly (and pompous) we sound and give it the full Jilly Goolden, talking about the taste of fresh tarmac and hedge row aromas. Wine people understand these phrases in the same way that Hifi people understand PRaT, dark, smooth, boom tizz, revealing, bright, warm, cold, harsh and edgy to describe sounds. That said, sometimes I find a bottle that has something unique about it, you have one of two choices when asked about it, you can go Jilly-Max and talk about the flavour of hedgehog toes on a rainy day or admit you don’t know why you like it, you just do. What choice do you have to describe a flavour that has no regular equal? This Rockford Estate “Basket Press” Shiraz for example. Outstanding, yet I am lost for suitable words to tell you why.
I find myself in a similar quandary with these Mulidines. None of my above list of “go to” words work here. Of course I am going to tell you about the technical aspects at work, the functional design and even some facts and figures for the measurebators, but what you really want to know is how they sound. And this I think is where I will struggle, it’s not that they lack character. It’s just hard to pin down, the character adapts to the music and the music just sounds good. Really good. So good I’m going to need a new sofa soon, hours just disappear when listening to them. A commode would be handy, and larger bottles of Rockford Estate… If I wasn’t scared of the ramifications of being caught in the act I’d give them a hug. They better almost everything I’ve had in this room so far. Why? Because after a while I get totally lost in the music and forget about the HiFi. And they perform that wonderful trick of totally disappearing. There is not an ounce of boxiness or colouration. They have scale WAY beyond their size, they unwrap each note, find each nuance and then deliver it in way that is just so pleasing. They are unflappable, bass is more than deep enough, the mid range has warmth and clarity, and the treble sings, sparkles but never strays into being uncomfortable.. perhaps its more a case of what’s not to like, but a review like that that would be selling them short I feel. A new bench mark has been set here for me, at this price point and beyond.
I have listened to so much music on these I am going to avoid picking any particular tracks, but I will say that from death metal, female solo vocals, German electronica and sacred choral music via Bach’s toccata and fugue in d minor all the way to a slightly boozy night of 80’s alt’ pop with friends, not once did they disappoint. Their diminutive size was just noticed once in three weeks, when a slight lack of ultimate scale came into play right at the raggedy edge of what any friendly citizen could put their neighbours through. I didn’t care. I still want to give them a hug.
Designed and voiced to be used with the grills on.
Hopefully many of you will hear them for yourself. I’d be very keen to hear your views. If you can put into words what makes these relatively low budget, small, room friendly speakers such a joy to listen to I will be impressed! I think it’s just that they are very very “good”.
Plonk em down
They didn’t take much fiddling with either. I put them down and listened. Got up, gave them about 5mm toe in, sat back, smiled and left them there until it was time to box them back up. The small form factor coupled with the front firing port makes them very easy to place indeed. Bass didn’t need any re-enforcement at all. It was deep and powerful, and tuneful to boot. the company’s patented double quarter wave transmission line takes care of this in goods style meaning one gets all the advantages of a smaller speaker without sacrificing ultimate weight and scale.
I had a good few grin inducing moments with the Chemical brothers and various dance tracks. They don’t need much muscle to drive them either at 91db at 1m, they can be considered high sensitivity. I did listen to a couple of different pre-amps with them, the Alnic I reviewed recently and my own Modwright and the comparison showed the speakers to be very revealing of even subtle differences in electronics, you could easily squeeze more electronic upgrades through them than I can afford, they’d see many of us right for many a year.
This is must hear HiFi in my view. If you don’t like them I would be very surprised indeed. I expect Jack at BD Audio will have trouble coping with demand once they have a few good UK shows under their belt.
- Sensitivity: 91dB (2.83V input at 1 Metre)
- Frequency range: 50Hz-22kHz
- Nominal impedance: 3.8 ohms
- Power handling: 60W
- Dimensions: 20cm (W) x 25cm (D) x 89cm (H)
- Weight: 18kg
- Finish: Cherry, walnut, maple or mahogany wood, or black or white lacquer
You can discuss the review here.
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