Kudos 707

naim_nymph posted:
Clive B posted:

The Kudos 707, together with the PMC Fact12, is on my list of possibles in case there is a need to replace my Naim NBLs. Currently I'm leaning more towards the Fact12s.

Just to add to the conundrum, ones better choice of speaker for ones; system compatibility, individual  listening room acoustics, budget, and ears, may also depend upon the decision on remaining in passive form, or to go active [perhaps at a later stage] with another amp or two. The best passive speaker resolve may come down to which one has the better passive performance characteristics, perhaps especially due to x-over design technology and construction.

I find the prospect of owning more than one NAP500 highly unaffordable without a substantial premium bond win : /

Debs

I would only consider passive. It's not only the prospect (and cost!) of one or two more NAP500s, NAXO, Supercap and Fraim shelves, but also the thought of all the speaker cables which I'd find unacceptable. 

Another issue would be getting to hear them at home. I don't know of any one dealer who stocks both PMC and Kudos and they would need to be reasonably nearby if I hoped to do home demo I guess.

Fortunately, touch wood, the NBLs are still sounding and looking fine. 

kevin J Carden posted:

Clive, a long way from you, but Signals in Ipswich have both. They are also looking to sell their demo fact12’s...

Thanks for that, Kevin, but luckily the NBLs are still the bees elbows. I'm just preparing a list of possibilities in the event they decide to misbehave.

Understood completely Clive. We seem to have several things in common in that we run similar electronics, are looking at the same speakers, but with no burning need to change. With you in Wiltshire and me in Exeter, perhaps we could persuade Alastair or Andy to bring them down to us for consecutive home demo’s! Hmm...

oh, and we have guitars in common too. delicious looking 335 you have there!

kevin J Carden posted:

Understood completely Clive. We seem to have several things in common in that we run similar electronics, are looking at the same speakers, but with no burning need to change. With you in Wiltshire and me in Exeter, perhaps we could persuade Alastair or Andy to bring them down to us for consecutive home demo’s! Hmm...

oh, and we have guitars in common too. delicious looking 335 you have there!

Off topic alert: ah yes, the ES335. That was a 1962 model which I owned for 25 years, having bought it in 1980 for £400 plus a Fender Mustang. I sold it to make way for several other guitars, mostly acoustic, which I have rotated a bit since. I do still have a 335, but it's a custom shop copy of Larry Carlton's skinny neck '68 - sadly not a patch on the '62.

My “mission” yesterday was three-fold.

Firstly, I needed to replace the cartridge on the Rega RP1 I bought for my Dad last year. He suffers from Alzheimer’s but still loves playing his old vinyl - it’s one of the few things we can still share together - but unfortunately he can be a little clumsy and managed to remove the stylus a couple of weeks back. Secondly, I wanted to (finally) hear a Tranquility and see what the fuss was about. Thirdly, of course, it was to compare the 707s with the new 606s, now that Cymbiosis’s demo pair have had a good time to loosen up.

To preempt things, it was a successful day on all fronts but I must particularly thank Peter for resolving the cartridge issue by establishing that an Audio Technica AT95 cartridge is within a gnat’s of the weight of the original Rega cartridge and, of course, has a replaceable stylus assembly. To make things even better, he located some titanium screws that, once fitted, meant the weight was identical. Brilliant solution and way beyond the service that anyone might reasonably expect for the £30 odd the cartridge cost. Earlier on today, I went over to reinstall the turntable and am pleased to report that my Dad was utterly delighted. Thanks Peter!

OK, so on with the speaker audition...

When I arrived, the 606s were playing in the background - strains of Agnes Obel accompanied a decent cup of coffee - and we decided that we’d start with the 606s and then “downgrade” to the S20s that I currently use before swapping these for the 707s. System was KDSM2 (that’s the latest Katalyst version that I use at home), 552DR, 500DR, ChordMusic power cable on the 552PS but everything else stock Linn Silver and Naim cables apart from SL speaker cables. As an aside, the SLs were better than when I last heard them and seem to work pretty well with the Titan speaker range but things improved further when we replaced them with an old set of Sarum speakers cables, which added a bit of life to things. After a couple of tracks, Peter also swapped out the Linn Silver i/c on the KDSM, which I’m sorry to have to say, I really don’t like at all, and replaced it with a Music (which I use at home) and the system took off.

Initially then, the 606s were tremendous, offering a level of sophistication, ease and coherence that you might rightly expect of any speaker at this sort of price to deliver, but it also just... clicks somehow. The tweeter, in particular, is utterly fabulous; there’s none of the glare that some refer to with the S20s, just wonderful airy, detail and it integrates just so well with the mid/bass drivers (isobaric remember, but not to the degree that anyone familiar with Linn’s Isobarik might expect) and there’s a sense of scale that transcends the fairly diminutive size of the cabinet. Wonderful stuff and I can quite see why Chris was so smitten by them.

So, then “down” to the S20s. There’s a clear family resemblance and they’re a lot more efficient but, whereas I had advanced the volume up to around 12 o’clock with the 606s and they loved it, the S20s were less obliging. They’re great speakers and terrific vfm (their inevitable rise in availability on the s/h market as a result of the appearance of the Titans means that some people will be getting some bloody bargains!) but the 606s do so much more and are clearly better in all departments. Quick change then to the 707s to see how much better they are...and...

Yes, they’re as good as when I first heard them.  They inevitably have more scale and a bit more low-end grunt than the 606s, but I don’t think they’re quite as sweet at the top end - vocal lines in particular are better on the 606s. Yes, it’s the same tweeter but I think it’s the integration of the units in the 606s that does something a bit special - Joni Mitchell was just wow. Several more tracks in and, to be honest, I’d happily live with either and, being in the very fortunate position to have whichever floats my boat highest, it was back to the 606s.

Was this a let down? No it wasn’t. They work really well at lower volume, which is important to me, and while there isn’t quite as much grunt as the 707s, they absolutely boogie and go deep when it’s there and it’s tight bass too. I’d imagine that they would be a very natural choice for those who love SBLs or SL2s but want more (and more bass).

Both sets of Titans are really fabulous speakers so, for me, it boils down to which is the best match for my listening room. The 707s would physically and visually dominate and I’d have to sit closer to them, whereas the 606s would slot right in where the S20s sit now. Perfect. So that seals it, I’ve decided on a pair of 606s. I would however say if I had had a much bigger listening room, I’d go with the 707s, probably. But actually, if I had the space and the budget, I’d go for for 808s, which are still at the top of the tree, in my opinion. In the meantime, however, I’ll be extremely happy with the 606s and will enjoy my next mission of finding out how they are best powered.

Oh and the Tranquility? Absolute no-brainer! After settling on the 606s, I spent the final hour listening to what it can do and, frankly, the only thing I can’t understand is why anyone with an LP12 wouldn’t want one. Only, get it fitted by Cymbiosis, I suspect those dealers who said they didn’t like it, were simply unable to fit it properly.

 

Very interesting Dave and thanks for sharing your thoughts. For some reason i'd assumed the 606's to be bigger than they actually are and having checked the dimensions and then measured my own speakers, i've found the 606's could pass the 'those aren't coming into the house' test easily. The simplicity of conversion to active operation makes them rather interesting too.

Looks like a visit to Harlow may be in order. 

Yes, James, they’re pretty compact really. Beautifully made too.

I’d anticipated going for 707s and had cleared the path as far as approval was concerned - although the listening room isn’t big, it is at least separate and gets referred to as “my” room.

Thanks, it’s the end game for me, so these last few bits are going to be very important. I’m looking forward to Naim releasing the active cross-over and then I’ll compare 300DR, 500DR, 2 x 250DR (no space for 2 x 300s) and Linn Exakt (oooh heresy!). It’ll be fun finding out.

Great news Dave that the 606's have ticked all of your boxes - I remember you expressing concerns about new speakers overly dominating your listening room when we met.  As they may be the end game (until the next time!), did you have any thoughts about borrowing Peter's demo set to try out in your room just to be certain that particularly the bass from the isobariks will work just as well at home as in the shop's listening room?  Appreciate that would be a bit of a faff, but maybe a sensible health check for a long term decision.

Peter

northpole posted:

Great news Dave that the 606's have ticked all of your boxes - I remember you expressing concerns about new speakers overly dominating your listening room when we met.  As they may be the end game (until the next time!), did you have any thoughts about borrowing Peter's demo set to try out in your room just to be certain that particularly the bass from the isobariks will work just as well at home as in the shop's listening room?  Appreciate that would be a bit of a faff, but maybe a sensible health check for a long term decision.

Peter

I would have thought a home dem.of both pairs is the way to go.Not trying to put doubts in your mind,the bigger brother might perform better to your liking in your room.

ayap1 posted:
northpole posted:

Great news Dave that the 606's have ticked all of your boxes - I remember you expressing concerns about new speakers overly dominating your listening room when we met.  As they may be the end game (until the next time!), did you have any thoughts about borrowing Peter's demo set to try out in your room just to be certain that particularly the bass from the isobariks will work just as well at home as in the shop's listening room?  Appreciate that would be a bit of a faff, but maybe a sensible health check for a long term decision.

Peter

I would have thought a home dem.of both pairs is the way to go.Not trying to put doubts in your mind,the bigger brother might perform better to your liking in your room.

Absolutely fair comments. Clearly I was taken by them and had heard the 707s a couple of times before, in different environments. I also had the opportunity to compare them with what I currently use, so have a decent view of what they may be like. I wouldn’t buy them from anyone else but Peter and I suspect that, if things don’t work out, it won’t be impossible to go to 707s.

 

BPW posted:

Thanks Dave. Great review You answered my questions. As I have a larger room the 707’s. Would probably work best for me. I believe they are actually slightly smaller than my S 600’s which I will replacing.

Totally agree, they’re fabulous. You should enjoy trying them out.

Ah, in which case you’re in for a real treat. 

No, I didn’t hear them with Music speaker cables. I had considered taking mine with me but they wouldn’t have been long enough. Nevertheless, I’m really looking forward to hearing how much better they might sound with them in place.

Chris Dolan posted:

For comparison - Titan 606 on left, Super 20 on right  

i prefer the look of the 606 vs 707 - visting next Saturday when I take in my 300 for DR,  love the 606 Chris

luckly I have my better half with me otherwise.....................................................

I’d be curious to hear from any 707 or 606 owners who are in to Classical Music. The 707’s sounded superb at Audio Show East, but there was no Classical of any kind played in any of the sessions I attended and just wondering if their strength is predominantly with Modern genres or whether they also ‘do’ Piano, Chamber and Orchestral equally well?

I feel your pain. At the Acoustica show last year, where the 707 were demo’ed in an active configuaration, the music taste of the wider audience didn’t really correspond with mine. But the kind gent in charge of music selection, upon my request, played a fair bit of Sibelius’ No. 5 — it nearly cleared the room... But I enjoyed it hugely.  Great speakers with awesome bass.  The double basses in the second movement, for instance, sounded superb. Marvellous speakers I thought. Sadly they are out my reach — financially and also in terms of fitting into our lounge. 

I've listened to a number of Kudos speakers (C20,S20,T88,707) but each time they fail to connect musically. Can't fault the level of detail, bass extension or overall clarity which is initially impressive but to me they sound too "hifi" in comparison to for example Naim SBLs, SL2s,DBLs which have their faults but always seem to involve the listener.

Pity Naim lost their way with the Ovators.

 

 

John missed out nibbles which also have their issues, but on their day can sound amazing!

It is a frequently recurring observation that speakers can be very subjective, so dependent upon what's feeding them and where they are situated, hence difficult to offer advice on.

Peter

Dave J posted:

Really? That’s odd, I’d say that involvement is the very thing that Kudos are best at, but as we know, speakers are so subjective.

Are there any other speakers that you’ve found involving or is it only everything made by Naim?

The Dynaudio Contour speakers at the aforementioned Acoustica Show last year sounded the most musical to me. The biggest let down were some big Focals at the end of  a Statement pre system which sounded like overblown PA speakers.

It does show how subjective speakers can be, and dependent on the room interface. I changed from SBLs to Kudos Super 20s, and in preference to (admittedly second hand) SL2s (and several others considered at the time), as I found the Kudos speakers the most involving and musical - and I am a huge fan of SBLs and SL2s (but not Ovators).  

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