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September 2018
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine


Audience ClairAudient 1+1 V2+
And The ONE V2+ Loudspeakers

These tiny loudspeakers are even smaller than an LS3/5a, so here's a review for those with a phobia of speakers.
Review By Paul Messenger


Audience ClairAudient 1+1 V2+, And The ONE V2+ Loudspeakers Review


  As far as many people are concerned, small is beautiful, especially when it comes to loudspeakers. That would seem to explain the continued popularity of the BBC's 40+ year old LS3/5a design. From that era I've long preferred the LS3/6 or Spendor BC1, but then I don't suffer from a phobia about large loudspeakers, though I do appreciate that many others do. I was therefore very impressed by a pair of tiny Audience loudspeakers from the USA, when I visited the High End Cable room at the recent Cranage hi-fi show.

Mindful of a widespread enthusiasm for tiny speakers, I subsequently contacted HEC's Dave Jackson and asked if I could borrow and review a pair. He turned up a few days later with said speakers, known as ClairAudient 1+1 V2+s (at £1995 per pair), plus an even smaller pair known as The ONE V2+ (£969 per pair).

Both these little speakers are based on a tiny full range drive unit, with a cone just 55mm in diameter. (The V2+ added to the names refers to an upgraded drive unit, codenamed A3S2-16.) However, some bass reinforcement is supplied by a 70mm diameter diaphragm ABR (auxiliary bass radiator).

The ClairAudient 1+1 V2+ has two of these tiny full range drivers, mounted front and rear, plus two ABRs mounted on the sides. The smaller pair of speakers are intended primarily for desk-top location are known as The ONE V2+. They have just a single driver on the front and an ABR on the rear, and come with desk stands.


Audience 1+1 V2+, And The ONE V2+ Loudspeakers Review


I decided to measure these two small speakers exactly the same as I've treated every loudspeaker for nearly 30 years. This is a far-field measurement of a pair fed with a fairly rapid swept sine wave, which is also averaged across the listening zone. Both models were placed close against the wall as they had such small drive units.

Inevitably perhaps (in view of the small drive units), both speakers tend to sound somewhat forward and bass-light, so they're bound to sound 'different' from normal two-way miniatures.

However, the frequency balance is actually held within +/-5dB (The One V2+) and +/-6dB (1+1 V2+) even though it's far from smooth. Sensitivities registered about 84dB (The One V2+) and 86dB (1+1 V2+), while the impedances are both very benign, giving minima of 16 Ohms and 8 Ohms respectively. All the ABRs were tuned to around 55Hz.


Audience 1+1 V2+, And The ONE V2+ Loudspeakers Review


Sound Quality
These little Audience speakers do sound distinctly 'forward', but that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially with speech, and particularly so because the lack of any form of crossover network adds a 'direct-coupled' quality that's its own strength and difficult to ignore.

Music material lacks some warmth and weight, but it is available down to 50Hz (helped by the room-coupling), despite being somewhat uneven along the way. There's also a distinct lack of loudness capability, due in part to the low sensitivity, but also the limited power handling of those tiny drivers. Here the 1+1 V2+ clearly has the advantage in power handling and loudness capability, though in fact the One V2+ delivered a slightly better tonal balance overall.

Ultimately, these little loudspeakers are nearly perfect for TV documentary use, as their reproduction across the speech band is truly excellent, and arguably rather better than that achieved by an LS3/5a. Hi-fi music and TV movie reproduction is another matter, however, and although they're certainly capable, I wouldn't put them in the top class.


Audience 1+1 V2+, And The ONE V2+ Loudspeakers Review


These tiny Audience speakers do make some sense, especially for anybody with a phobia about speakers, as their intelligibility is without equal. Their frequency balance might be very different from the normal two-way miniature – in a sense they represent an opposite. While they do favour speech over music, their ability to reproduce speech – and indeed vocal material in general – is arguably greatly superior to the competition, which I think is due to both their frequency emphasis and a lack of any crossover network.



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