We’re always on the lookout for real-world speaker solutions to mate with low-powered tube amps. Precious few speakers can do more than sputter with the flea powered amps which have achieved cult status in the past 15 years—try putting a three-watt monster amp in front of the speakers most of us have in our living rooms. Wouldn’t be a pretty sight, sparks maybe, crappy sound for sure.
Well, at a recent foray through the wilds of audio insanity at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I found an enjoyable—no, totally satisfying—solution to this dilemma of high efficiency speakers that actually sound good.
Teresonic (www.teresonic.com), a small company based in the Silicon Valley, has built a name for themselves producing speakers that can really scream, or better said, sing loudly, with those same three watts. In addition to this rare quality, the boxes themselves are nearly art objects—the shapes are unique and the finishes are second to none. They achieve such high efficiency ratings using a single driver in each enclosure to span the entire sonic spectrum, in contrast to more typical designs employing tweeters and woofers to cover the same spectrum.
I spent an extended time in a Las Vegas hotel room with Teresonic’s Mike Zivkovic listening to his Ingenium Silver($14,500) and went away lusting after a pair of the smaller model as well, the Magus ($5,000), for my 3-watt bedroom system.
The operating word is naturalness. The Teresonics produce a natural sound which is just not found with most other speakers. Music possesses something special through these speakers, a particular coherence and ease peculiar to single-driver systems. It is just spooky real. And though some complain of missing bass with so-called horn speakers, with proper placement, bass is actually more than good, maybe not window rattling, but certainly plentiful and satisfying. But who cares? With the other qualities this speaker possesses, you don’t really pay attention to how much bass is present, however, these Teresonics are just not lacking in that regard.
Listening to Chet Baker’s “For All We Know” was a joy, there was lots of space and air around the instruments, his voice was full of that special character he projected with his very special vocal instrument, and nothing was congested or choked. Each and every instrument sounded real, timbres were real and extremely accurate in their portrayal. His trumpet was clean, clear and brassy, with no tinge of any thickness or smudginess to the tone. Just like a live trumpet. Uncanny for sure.
On a Ben Webster tune I could hear the reedy quality of his tone, I could even hear the reed vibrating. Nothing in the playback was sluggish or muddy, but instead, clear as a bell. In fact, I am sure I could even feel the air coming out of the bell of his horn. On a Ray Brown Trio selection, the drums came across as drums should, punchy, sharp and percussive. Ray’s bass was deep, tuneful and fully present.
The smaller Magus shares most of the qualities of the larger model, with a slightly reduced level of perceived size. But most importantly, they are equally natural, equally musical. For smaller rooms begging for a high-efficiency speaker, the Magus is a great performer well worth auditioning.
The Teresonics have managed to pull off the difficult task of making one lonely driver perform the work of two or three. And they have done it in high style. If you love the sound of tubes, especially the low wattage single-ended triode amps with only a handful of watts to share, Teresonic just might be what you need to make beautiful music long into the night.
I found myself returning to the Teresonic demo room several times, spellbound and enchanted by the realism of this musical experience. Now you can call me a believer, Mike!