Ku­dos Au­dio X3 Loud­speak­ers

NOVO - - PRODUCT REVIEW - Ge­orge de Sa

The word ku­dos comes from an­cient Greek, mean­ing praise for ex­cep­tional achieve­ment; no doubt then that Ku­dos Au­dio has a high-bar set for its prod­ucts. The com­pany had its start back in 1991 and orig­i­nally fo­cused on loud­speaker stand man­u­fac­ture; how­ever, in 2006, Derek Gilligan, a well re­puted de­signer from Neat Acous­tics, ac­quired Ku­dos Au­dio and took it in a new di­rec­tion – from build­ing stands to build­ing loud­speak­ers.

Derek’s vi­sion for Ku­dos Au­dio was the in­tro­duc­tion of a range of loud­speak­ers that em­ployed the high­est lev­els of tra­di­tional and well-proven en­gi­neer­ing, while avoid­ing un­nec­es­sary com­plex­ity and ex­otic ma­te­ri­als. The prin­ci­ple that Ku­dos lives to to­day con­tin­ues to be pro­vid­ing its cus­tomers with the abil­ity to “en­joy their mu­sic as much as pos­si­ble, with the best en­gi­neered prod­uct at a given price point.”

Ku­dos works very close with the Nor­we­gian driver man­u­fac­turer SEAS to de­sign driv­ers for their var­i­ous loud­speaker mod­els. When it comes to tweet­ers, Ku­dos be­lieves in us­ing wide-dis­per­sion tweet­ers with even re­sponse, in all its speaker mod­els. Crossovers fol­low the “sim­pler is bet­ter” ap­proach and there­fore, the crossovers are min­i­mal­ist, low or­der de­signs that pro­vide lower phase dis­tor­tion and pre­serve har­mon­ics, min­i­miz­ing time smear­ing. Cab­i­nets are all of high-den­sity fiber board (HDF) verses more com­monly used MDF and are well-braced, us­ing spe­cial com­pounds to dampen the ma­te­ri­als and min­i­mize cab­i­net res­o­nances, and coloura­tion. All Ku­dos loud­speak­ers are cov­ered in high qual­ity real wood ve­neers with fur­ni­ture stan­dard fin­ishes.

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There are a num­ber of speaker mod­els within the Ku­dos Au­dio fam­ily of loud­speak­ers. These mod­els, from bot­tom to top are: the X2 tower ($3,249), X3 tower ($4,579), C10 book­shelf ($6,269), C20 tower ($7,394), Su­per 10 book­shelf ($7,569), Su­per 20 tower ($9,249) and fi­nally the flag­ship Ti­tan T88 tower, priced in the tens-of-thou­sands.

This X3 loud­speaker, re­viewed here, is the latest model in the Ku­dos fam­ily and had its Cana­dian premier show­ing in late-Oc­to­ber 2014 at the TAVES Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show. The X3, like its smaller sib­ling – the X2, is a two-way, dual-driver (woofer and tweeter) de­sign that uses the same 25mm high qual­ity tweeter as the smaller X2 but em­ploys a larger 18cm woofer. The woofer cone is a blend of pa­per and reed that pro­vides im­proved trans­parency. The woofer’s voice coil is cop­per-clad alu­minum with a cop­per short­ing ring that pro­vides an in­crease in tran­sients and dy­nam­ics, with re­duced dis­tor­tion. Both the tweeter and woofer are man­u­fac­tured by SEAS to meet Ku­dos de­sign spec­i­fi­ca­tions. The X3 uses a low or­der cross­over to min­i­mize sig­nal im­pact. In­ter­nal wiring is all The Chord Com­pany’s Sarsen loud­speaker ca­ble.

The X3’s cab­i­net is built from 18 mm HDF and uti­lizes brac­ing and tun­ing that min­i­mizes res­o­nances and coloura­tion. The speaker is a bass re­flex de­sign with a bot­tom port that is vented via a gap be­tween the cab­i­net base and the af­fixed plinth. The X3 comes with a set of floor spikes to min­i­mize in­ter­ac­tion with floors. Cab­i­nets are cov­ered in real wood ve­neers with fur­ni­ture grade fin­ishes that in­clude: Black (oak), Cherry, Rosenut, Oak (nat­u­ral), White (high gloss), and Wal­nut. The cab­i­net di­men­sions are: 845mm (h) x 190mm (w) x 250mm (d). Stated spec­i­fi­ca­tions are: 8 Ohm, 88dB sen­si­tiv­ity with a fre­quency re­sponse of 30Hz – 25kHz (av­er­age in-room).

The re­view sam­ple was a long-term demo, in fact, the same one that was played at TAVES in 2014. The aes­thetic of the X3 fol­lows the tra­di­tional Bri­tish

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