Review: Lenehan ML-1 Monitor
The gushing that will drip from my pen in this review could certainly arouse the suspicion that I have some commercial or other interest in Lenehan Audio.
Let me assure you that this is not the case.
The only interest I have is the joy of finding such a marvelously affordable (relatively speaking) loudspeaker that is made right here in Australia.
The first thing that you notice when pulling them out of their flight cases is how tiny they are. The finish is an exquisite paint job, deep and lustrous, with beautifully rounded edges. It reeks of quality.
The next thing that surprises you is the weight of these little boxes and the sense of density. You get the impression that nothing can and will rattle these surfaces.
Pride of ownership is an important factor for many and the sheer quality of these little speakers will offer plenty of that.
You can see what they look like by hopping onto the Lenehan Website. However, pictures don’t do the fit and finish justice. You can only really tell when you are holding them and looking up close.
But that’s enough of fit and finish. What do they sound like?
Now to the sound.
Remember, these are almost shoe box size.
On second thought, forget about their size.
Because tiny the sound is not. And that is without doubt the first thing that strikes you, the sheer size and volume (I don’t mean sound pressure hear but space) that they produce.
A lot of small speakers image well and produce wide and deep soundstages, but, and this is a common but, the musicians and instruments within that soundstage are usually smaller than real life. A kind of shrunken version of reality. In the Lenehan’s case this does not hold true. They produce a large, deep open soundstage populated by far more realistically sized and shaped people and instruments. Small they are not.
The other big surprise is the depth, weight and quality of the bass. Now I am not talking Organ tones down to 20hz or monstrous kicks in the stomach from Bass Drums. Yet these little beauties posses more than enough gravitas to give music the bass foundation that it needs to be believable and enjoyable. The other good thing about the bass is that it is tuneful and controlled. It doesn’t have that built in over emphasis in the upper bass that many mini monitors have built in to give the impression of bass.
As they say, the mid range is where the music lives, and here the Lenehan’s don’t disappoint.
They have a most natural midrange, full of detail, transparency, and tonal purity. And for all that they do not sound sterile or cold but musical and truthful, a rare combination in the Hi Fi world.
Oh, they do have a top end as well. However it doesn’t draw attention to itself. It’s just there, natural, with enough extension to add the air and openness that makes listening to recorded music enjoyable.
I have owned ProAc 1SC’s and Sonus Faber Cremona Auditors for an extended period of time and dappled for a very short time in a pair of Usher Be717’s.
Now audio memory is not to be trusted that much but I am willing to state that the Lenehan’s are significantly superior to both the ProAc’s and Usher’s and somewhat better than the Sonus Faber’s.
In summary, these are fantastic little speakers and deserve to be treated as a genuine competitor to any other small speaker I have heard and owned.
Accuphase DP500. Pre Amp: Xindak XA8250; Power Amp: Xindak XA8800MNE Monoblocs; Rack: Spider Rack; Power Cables: Eupen; Interconnect: Stereovox Calibri; Speaker Cable: Stereovox Firebird.
Sonus Faber Cremona Auditors