Kudos Audio X3 Loudspeakers
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.
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