Any experience with TAD speakers ?

Listened to TAD 2401 speakers the other day and they really blew my mind.
One of the best sounding speakers I've heard.

Hello Foxtrot,

I haven't heard the 2401, but I've heard (and built) several speakers using TAD drivers. Yup, they're superb! Classic Audio Reproductions also uses TAD drivers in their speakers, and Westlake uses TADS (or so I've been told). I've yet to hear (or build) a speaker with a configuration like the 2401's.

Just curious - were the 2401's sitting on the floor? If so, were you aware of the sound source being below ear level? Subjectively, how was the top end extension? Did they seem to have a reasonably wide sweet spot? Did the tonal balance change significantly as you moved off-axis?


Hi Duke, thanks for your reply.

First of all I was wondering how much did you spend building the speakers and how do they compare with ´´brand´´ speakers with same or more price level.

As for your questions, I can say that these speakers could go way low and have a big sweet spot, you could move around and still be in it.
Tonal balance remained quite constant as I moved off the axis.
The associated equipment were krell monoblocks, krell cd player, ML Dac and Tranparent reference speaker cables.

Foxtrot -

Thanks for the information on the sound quality and presentation of the 2401's.

So far I'd have to characterize my own work with TAD drivers as "prototyping" - I have yet to build an identical pair of loudspeakers using TAD components. If I ever do "get it right", hopefully a commercial product will result. Unfortunately it won't be cheap, but it won't have a ridiculous markup either.

I would think you could build an excellent home-brew speaker using TAD parts. Unfortunately, TAD does not sell the crossover network for the 2401, so it would be difficult to clone that speaker. On the other hand, they do sell the crossover networks for the 2402 and 2404, which are similar single-woofer speakers. Actually you can probably do a bit better than the originals - I think there's some room for improvement in the cabinet itself. If you're interested in purchasing some TAD parts I might be able to help you get a pretty good price. I can't pass along my crossover designs unfortunately because I'm sharing this project with a couple of other people and that would be proprietary information, but the Pioneer crossovers would probably work better with their horns anyway (I've been experimenting with alternative horns to get different radiation characteristics).

Best wishes,


I have experience with TAD 2001, 2002, 1102, 1201h, 4001. 4002, TSM-300 and the large TAD 4001 horn.

All Tad I've heard is very very good, but you have to treat it right due to very low internal loss. Sound will when depend on your skills and gear. Tube amps are mostly needed - we do need some distortion and TAD do not offer much of that in their speakers.

The TSM-300 is a great speaker really for a very low cost. On this speaker you can hear what your system is really worth. Harshness and you'll know for sure.

However, all TAD are NOT typical audio equipment, but studio high performance units. If you want decent audio sound, try out the TAD 2001 and the 1102 for a small two way. Very very smooth and great soundstage. The 4001/2 are very hard to work with and need direct small tube amps and biwiring for optimal performance.

Have fun, The Tadman
"Tube amps are mostly needed - we do need some distortion and TAD do not offer much of that in their speakers."

This statement indicates a fundamental lack of understanding about not only tubes and the way they sound, but about audio in general.

Beryllium has 3-4 times higher stifness/weight than titanium and aluminium. Very hard to work in audio due to high internal loss. I've never heard a smooth solid amp on such - sorry, that's it.(they might excist???)

Solid amp has third harmonic distortion and SE amp high 2 harmonic. Test based on humans, seems that we, humans, prefer 2 harmonic distortion. Some claims that this distortion is similar to the distortion from regular air.

All sound is distorted due to airs molecyles. Regular tweeters is extremely distorted, whether it's expensive or not. I worked many years with almost all speakers availebly(not ALE or Goto and WE), but almost all others famous JBL, Altec, PHLs, ribbons, Audax, Scan Speaks, Vitavox, Coral, Goodmans, etc etc......

After I heard TAD beryllium, I sensed that something was wrong with all other equipment.....

Afterwards, I've been very fast to detect cones material constructing and I feel that a speakers sounds depend up to 95% of the cone design.

I know a guy who constructed a Stereophile class A speaker and he claims as well that we, humans, need distortion in some terms.

Well, it's true that I do not know much about audio, tubes and speakers - but I have never ever met anyone who really knows what audio/sound is about....

Sound is still one of sience most unanswered questions - take a look at any forum and you'll see who much people disagree. Moreover, most of these people has never played an instrument for real or made recordings in a pro Blue Note studio....

I built some tube SE amps myself and heard many SE with all kinds of trannies. I prefer permalloy and amorphous cut cores myself. Triodes are prefered for output. This combination gives very high distortion - and I need that distortion for my TAD stuff....

For Foxtrot - I do not know your budget, but if it's low, I would go for the TSM-300, a Vincent SV 233 which you can bias to almost class A and I think the new Cambridge Azur 640 is great though I've not heard it yet.

Well, for Kevinkwann, any experience with TAD or similar????

It seems that you a real hardcore audioman and you might have got some tricks or info for share....

Anyone who need a pair of NIB JBL K2 1400nd or Sony sub 11 spaekers???

Altec 515A Hollywood???

Vitavox S3???

TAD 1602????

Thanks, Tadman
I've owned a pair of TAD 2402's for 3 years. I run them with Audio Research gear and a Rega DAC, Thorens TD-245, etc. I built sturdy bases for the speakers that set the at ear level in my 20' x 30' listening room. I've been listening to hifi for 42 years and have owned everything that I considered interesting at one point or another. Over 50 systems is a guess. This is a system I just sit down and listen to every night, without the need to pick it apart. It just plays music. Sure, it's fun to change out wires, and roll an amp or tubes once in awhile. But the speakers aren't being sold in my lifetime. I've heard the current half mil $ systems out there. They haven't made me want to consider a trade. I'm fat and happy, after a life of seeking this very thing.
Doesn't TAD license some driver tech from KEF.
TAD doesn't license technology from any other manufacturer. However, TAD designs may be described as a more refined JBL. In the late 1970s, when Pioneer created the Technical Audio Devices Division, they hired an ex-JBL transducer engineer, Bart Locanthi, to design that first generation of TAD drivers (TL-1601 & -1602 woofers, TD-4001 compression driver, TH-4001 wooden horn). Subsequent designs were created by Japanese engineers, but they're all further refinements of the original JBL-inspired designs). Very roughly speaking, the TAD TL-1601 series correspond to the JBL 2225, the TL-1602 to the JBL 2235, the TAD TD-4001 to the JBL 375/244* series, the TL-1801 to the JBL 2245, the TAD TD-2001 to the JBL 242* series. However, TAD horns seem to owe more to the larger format Altec horns from the 1960s and 1970s than to JBL designs, with hard maple replacing aluminum as the horn material of choice. I'm currently working on an all-TAD DIY system: TAD TM-1201 mid-range driver with TD-2001 HF compression driver and round DDS horn in a 2 cu.ft. cabinet, with frequencies below 160 Hz handled by the massive TL-1801 subwoofer in a separate 9.5 cu.ft. reflex cabinet. An MC2 Audio S1400 will power the subs via a Bryston 10B crossover, with a passive crossover between the MF and HF drivers designed by Steve Kranis at Audio Hardware here in Toronto. Hope to have everything up and running by the end of next month. . .
Coincidentially, I'm designing a DIY high-end speaker for myself and was interested in finding what midrange drivers TAD offered these days. Anybody knows where I should look for such info?
Their website send me to a finished speakers page if I choose "consumer", and to a page with either compression drivers or 16" drivers if I choose "professional". Maybe these days they only offer compression drivers to be used in midrange horns? Yet their finished speakers do have direct radiator midrange drivers.

I'm looking for a 6 to 8" midrange with sensitivity of at least 96dB/2.83V, to work between 400 and 2500Hz.
They sound wonderful jump on a pair ASAP!!

TAD's prosound division is pretty much a separate entity from their home audio division, and the latter doesn't sell drivers directly to the public.

Andrew Jones of KEF went to work for the TAD home audio division and brought his concentric driver topology with him. He now works for Elac.

You might need to look at other companies such as Faital Pro for high output 6" cone mids.

BTW, in the years since my posts from way back in 2003, I did indeed become a speaker manufacturer and used the TL-1102 woofer in several of my models. The internal geometry of their compression drivers is not a good match for the type of horns (waveguides) that I use.

I've owned a pair of TAD 2402's for 10 years. I don't know of a better 2-way horn system. When you realize 2-way is as good as it gets (as you will inevitably do when you become a snotty pants speaker junkie), you know the x-over point needs to be set as far outside the mid-range band as possible, on either end of the spectrum. IMHO, IMHO... yadda yadda. I find that I will keep these for ever as long as I have a pair of Prodigy Martin Logans to remind me that they kick ass on the TADs with an x-over down at 250 hz. If I sold either pair, I'd simply lose my mind trying to find a replacement. My 5 YO prefers the TADS. My 18 YO Princeton kid prefers the MLs. They're both smarter than me.
@audiokinesis --

Just curious - were the 2401's sitting on the floor? If so, were you aware of the sound source being below ear level? Subjectively, how was the top end extension? Did they seem to have a reasonably wide sweet spot? Did the tonal balance change significantly as you moved off-axis?

Curiously, these were among the core aspects other I sought addressed when I decided for my current speakers. The speakers I used previously, Simon Mears Audio Uccello's (wonderful speakers, despite some caveats), could feel to emit a slightly "low ceiling" presentation due to the way they're physically designed, and moreover one needed to be centered quite precisely in front of them for the sonic image to snap into place. Once there however and sitting fairly low in the seating position, they soared.

My current, actively driven speakers have a higher acoustic center (when seated my ears are level with the point between the upper edge of the top 15" woofer/mid and bottom edge of the 90 x 40° coverage CD MF/HF horn above it), a wider sweet spot, a more uniform dispersion coverage pattern at the cross-over, and only one cross-over point (@ ~790Hz) vs. two with the Uccello's. A smidgen of extension is subjectively sacrificed at the very top end, but it feels cleaner and better resolved - no doubt also due to the active configuration. 

The TAD 2401's are most likely fantastic speakers, and I'd probably have them lifted off the ground some 12-15" perhaps.  

@dangerisland --

When you realize 2-way is as good as it gets (as you will inevitably do when you become a snotty pants speaker junkie), you know the x-over point needs to be set as far outside the mid-range band as possible, on either end of the spectrum.

There are no doubt different schools and pros/cons on the matter of the preferable cross-over point with a 2-way design. As an outset I would go with a XO-point that has the low frequency driver cover the entire "power region," which puts the XO at somewhere between 650-750Hz - perhaps better so nearer the lower end here rather than the higher ditto, or just somewhere in between. From what I can assess the XO-point of your TAD 2402's (congrats) is set around 650Hz, which could be close to ideal with the choice of drivers and horn. At XO at 250Hz might have other advantages, but as a 2-way horn design would be difficult to realize.   
I recently heard the Ref one tx. They sound good but not lifelike. They don't do anything wrong but on the same token they don't elicit emotions. I give it 👎😊