Final Speaker Decision: TAD R1 vs SF Strad


Final decision coming up.... I have listened and auditioned and hemmed and hawed long enough.

Narrowed down from Wilsons Alexia/Sasha 2, Vandersteen 5A Carbon, Martin Logan Summit X, Magnepans, and BW 800 Diamond to these final two.

Both sound good to me, but I am unable to audition both back to back, nor in the same room.

Would like to get some opinions on the two from the group. I am looking for a speaker with longevity. Really hate to change up speakers prematurely from here.
joey_v
I have the TAD Ref 1 for 4 years now and I am very happy with them. I have a large room with a high ceiling and get a huge soundstage. The speakers are 14' apart measuring from the drivers and they are 6' from the side walls. The concentric drivers seem to give one a predicable sound as you move from side to side.
I have the TAD Ref 1 for 4 years now and I am very happy with them. I have a large room with a high ceiling and get a huge soundstage. The speakers are 14' apart measuring from the drivers and they are 6' from the side walls. The concentric drivers seem to give one a predicable sound as you move from side to side.
That's easy, TAD R1. I have TAD E1 and working on a RATIONAL reason upgrading to R1. LOL! I know R1 is final speaker for many. Andrew Jones is a character and GENIUS!!!
Yep, heard the Ref1 twice in very good conditions. I even had teh dealer move them to sort of mimic my room - moved to 8.5 feet tweeter/tweeter and 11 feet tweeter/ear. Sounded lovely and recreated stage well.

My only problem is that I had no goosebumps. But I could sense that it was a great speaker.
What amps did the dealer use with the TADs? I ask because I heard them with a solid state class D amp (admittedly an early one) and was impressed but not moved, but when the dealer put a tubed (I think; might hsve been a hybrid) amp on them they gave me the goosebumps you're looking for.
Joey_v, what electronics used in the demo? Does the Strad gives you goosebumps? You can't go wrong with either.

Recently I replaced a SS amp and dac with tubes so now running all tubes driving my E1 and it's a huge improvement. More musical, 3D, decay, and especially the timbre. After 2 months, I sold the SS amp. Was planning to use in summer but can't imagine rotating it back in the system again.
TAD's without a doubt.
Love the TAD'S. Keep us posted and Good Luck
TAD do you have to ask.
Goosebumps are hard to find in audio sometimes...its a personal thing. And at the end of the day, all audio systems are a compromise in some form or other...so we all pick our personal choices.

In your case, i would ask a few questions:

1. What equipment do you already have? That makes a big difference here. Both are very capable speakers...imho, they are also very different

2. i owned the Strads but have only auditioned the Tad Ref Ones in Tokyo at one of TAD's main rooms.

3. The Strads can sound beautiful with a mid-powered tube amp...BUT in my own system, i found they woke up (a lot) and maintained their beautiful tonal character (and it is a character)...but with far greater clarity, delineation and most of all propulsive bass power/depth

4. I think with the right amount of power/current, you will the find the TADs a more straight up player more 'linear' sounding if that is the right description. I cannot say how they would react to mid-powered tubes...i suspect not so well? Cannot say.

5. In the end, you can get either speaker to sound great...if you like the SF sound to begin with, you will find it easy to have that sound from most setups...and then if you have a very very high current, powerful amp with good quality source...you will be able to keep that SF voicing...but drive the overall delivery back to the middle of the road in terms of linearity, bass extension/clarity, etc.

That was my own experience with Strads when i had them. Fantastic speaker and if a mint pair of Wilson X1Slamms had not come along, i would still own them today. I have managed to 'customize' the Slamms a little over years of work and remain happy. But the Strads were special.
Sorry guys, didn't respond for a while. The TAD Ref 1 were powered by some top shelf pass lab amps... the XS 300. The preamp, I forgot. The source, I also forgot, but I can assume that they were all top shelf.

I passed on the Ref1. They sold for around 29K if I recall from the last listing, but they just didn't do it for me. I tried to convince myself that this was the speaker for me, but it just wasn't in the cards.

Today, I am looking at the SF Strads or the BW 800 Diamonds. Both are good, Strads have an ear popping image effect.
joey v, I wold go for the SF strads!, very nice indeed, though spec's do not mean all the sound, however, the better the Tad refence 1 speaker's!, with the exception of the khz, which by the way, you would never hear!
Just to complete my thread.

I ended up with the Strads during this debacle.
there is no comparison, tad r1 wins big time. if you do not believe me, hear this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KkD6kEm-vw

now, hic rhodos hic salta, show me your shyte pardon what's the name?
Just to complete my thread.

I ended up with the Strads during this debacle.

Awesome !!!  Congratulations. I had TAD CR-1's and while they were impressive in some areas, they were ultimately too forward for me. I have Strads now as well, and boy do they have soul. Amazing speakers that draw you into the music.