KEF Blade 1? If so, how big is the room and how much space to the side walls? Love the Blades and have heard many TAD's though not the CR1. I liked the Blades over almost all speakers.
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Wow - great question. If you’ve heard ever TAD’s and like the sound, there is no way you will disappointed with CR1’s. Like other very high end speakers, perhaps even more so, the CR1’s are going to deliver dependent upon what amp is powering them and the upstream components.
I’ve found an amazing match for my CR1’s with PS Audio BHK300’s, but the stereo version 250 will work very well. My speakers are essentially a different animal than when I first got them back around 2010, simply because the ancillary gear around them got so much better.
What I find the CR1’s do extremely well is inner detail and leading edge.
These are the two qualities I identify when listening to live acoustic music played in home settings or small venues, which I hear quite often. So my reference isn’t the best HI FI available, its live music.
Many years ago I went to the launch of the Magico Q1 speaker. It was immaculately set up in a dealer’s showroom, and with the unfamiliar audiophile tracks they were playing it was astounding. Fireworks astounding. I requested some "real world" tracks I knew, one from Bill Evans and another Rickie lee jones. They demo then fell flat, with one of tracks so lackluster, it was taken off before it was over.
Less than an hour later, I was back home and played the same tracks on CR1’s. One was even the same pressing as was played. These same songs now sounded shockingly like audiophile recording, with so much inner life and detail it was hard to believe. And this was a long time ago with when my TAD’s didn’t sound anything like they do today, as the ancillary gear got so much better.
As far as the Blades, I have never heard them in what I’d consider a proper setup. Being interested in concentric designs, I took particular interest in hearing them any opportunity I could at local audio shows. I believe I heard the Blades at two different years shows, and the Blade 2 at another show. I know people speak highly of them, so perhaps they were a poor representation all 3 times. What I can say is that I heard nothing that sounded anything like the lifelike sound I hear from the TAD’s, and I was extremely disappointed in the demos.
I have extended the range on the low end of my TAD’s with a pair of Velodyne DD10+ subs. I don’t use always them late night so as not to disturb neighbors, but there are times when the subs (I run them 40hz and below) really extends the palpability and I suspect are closer to what the much larger Reference one would sounds like in my room.
At one time I became enamored by the Raidho’s and felt they offered more air up top than the TAD’s. I added an Enigmacoustics ’stat super tweeter and regained some of the sparkle I felt I was missing at the time (which was a very different setup than I have now) I currently run the super tweeters as rear facing ambience, but will soon try them again facing forward once again since getting the EtherRegen in the system and the massive improvement on the digital side of my system.
Some day I would love to own a large SoundLab electrostat or even perhaps the new PS Audio line source speakers when released.
But I will never sell the TAD’s. I do have the Andrew Jones designed Adante Center channel, but I have this fantasy of finding a single orphan CR1 whose mate was destroyed in shipping or perhaps another CR1 owner to go in with me and splitting a pair up to use one as a center channel.
Sciencecop is right in that I tend to gravitate to highly resolving systems that can be forward sounding. I also pair them with tubes (Atmasphere tube pre and tube input section off BHK300 amps) so it’s not what I’d call hard sounding.
I found the best way to calibrate one’s ears is to attend live acoustic music, preferably in a domestic or intimate club and literally close ones eyes and then pretend to evaluate it as if it were a stereo. I heard a stand up bass at Mezzrow jazz club here in NYC and it left an indelible imprint on my brain of what a real bass sounds like, unamplified and from up close.
A friend used to host bluegrass jams (Dave Grisman came and played at one) on a regular basis, and I used to walk around his apartment, listening to how the acoustics changed, just as they would with a stereo.
While the star of the CR-1 show is that eggshell thin, brittle vapor deposited beryllium mid/tweeter combo, TAD’S studio heritage gives the CR-1’s modest 8" ported woofer a character that renders bass in a manner I really love. It’s just the right combo of extemely articulate and loose enough to slam when the recording has good bandwidth and dynamics.
Since only the massive Reference 1 and Compact Reference 1 have the full beryllium larger concentric driver, its the reason to have the CR-1 over other speakers in The TAD line.
@emailists Yep, I guess I've grown to join your take. I have increasingly gravitated toward high resolution, with tubes used to temper things. I used to be very solidly in the tube/forgiving camp, and it just renders too many recordings sonically boring to me. But as they say, there's no accounting for taste, or ears for that matter, and we all get to pick what floats our personal boats.
I, too, attend a large number and wide variety of live concerts each year, and I find my CR-1's to be uncannily like live music with really good recordings. And I even like listening to pretty crappy ones on them, too! (Been listening to the Number One songs from 1953 forward, via Tidal, and there are a lot of poorly realized recordings - - but just a blast to hear them as the music evolved over time!) You get such a clear window into the crafting of the tune, which I find enchanting.