In his interview with Ultra Audio’s Peter Roth (refer to the links in the Part 1 post), Andrew Jones, Chief Engineer and Director of TAD, told how the TAD name came about, “Going into the professional field as "Pioneer" wasn’t going to work, so TAD was established as a separate group. It was named Technical Audio Devices because it was producing technical audio devices.” I like that, no mumbo jumbo, I think this statement embodies the solid engineering approach that goes into all TAD products. I get the same impression surfing TAD’s website and reading its brochures. Sure, there is some marketing talk with acronyms thrown in (which you'll come across a few in this post) but the overall impression is still that this is a solid engineering company.
The specifications of the TAD-CR1 are as follows:
Model: Three-way bass reflex compact speaker
Driver units: Bass: 20cm (8.0 in.) driver / Midrange/Tweeter: concentric 16cm (6.5 in.) cone/3.5cm (1.4 in.) dome
Frequency response: 32Hz to 100kHz
Crossover frequencies: 250Hz and 2kHz
Appropriate amplifier power: 50W to 200W
Sensitivity: 86dB (2.83V @ 1m free space)
Nominal impedance: 4Ω
Weight: 46kg (101 lbs.)
Dimensions: 341mm (13.4 in.) (W) × 628mm (24.8 in.) (H) × 444mm (17.5 in.) (D)
If you are more technically inclined, refer to the measurement page of Stereophile's review of the TAD-CR1 (click here), which John Atkinson concluded with “Summing up the measured performance of the TAD Compact Reference CR1 is easy: This is textbook behavior!”
(Well, some may come up with repartees like, “Sure, it measures well, but good measurement does not always translate into good sound”, or “It measures flat, but flat usually does not sound good”. I agree that measurement does not tell the full picture of a component’s performance in real life. However, properly done measurement does tell what the equipment is doing right and what it is doing wrong. One can compensate for the things not done right and still get good sound (for example in an over-damped room, a loudspeaker that tilts up the highs may sound good while others sound dull). However, I am of the belief that every component must ‘first, do no harm’, then it will be easier for the owner to get quality performance out of his/her system. This is especially important for loudspeaker, I believe, as it is the component that has the most variation performance wise. Just my 2 cents).
The TAD-CR1 is a 3-way loudspeaker, but outwardly it seems to have only 2 drivers. That is because the midrange driver and the tweeter are combined into one concentric driver which TAD calls Coherent Sound Transducer (CST).
The CST is mated to a 8 inch bass driver which uses a TLCC (Tri-Laminate Composite Cone) aramid diaphragm. The magnetic circuit features its “unique short voice coil OFGMS (Optimised Field Geometry Magnet Structure). With a long gap of 20mm (0.8in), it linearizes the magnetic flux density along the gap. This stabilizes driver performance from small to large amplitudes, achieving high linearity and consistently accurate waveform reproduction”.
TAD manufactures their own drivers and these are found only in TAD loudspeakers.
The cabinet has a nicce piano finish of natural Pommele Sapele wood, a veneer that I have so far not seen in other loudspeaker manufacturer’s offerings (Note 6/3/2012: I stand corrected on this point, Joki informed me that the venerable Rogers LS3/5A Classic Limited Edition has the same Pommele Sapele veneer too). The cabinet’s teardrop shape was designed to minimize sound diffraction and unwanted resonance from internal standing waves. In fact, the entire cabinet is rounded (similarly the stand too) there is no one sharp edge to be found anywhere.
The matching TAD-ST1 stand is made of wood and comes in at 16kg (35.3 lbs). It brings the TAD-CR1 about 54cm (21in) off the ground.
The inner, smaller platform is the top plate of the stand. There are 2 portrudung stud on it, which fit into two holes underneath the speaker's base plate, the speaker is further secured to the stand with a bolt, as can be seen at the centre of the photo.
The outer, bigger platform is the 1-in thick aluminium base plate of the speaker, which is bolted onto the speaker body
The left is the carpet piercing spike that comes with the stand. The next two come with the loudspeakers.
The middle one has a blunt tip and the one on the right has a rounded contacting face. All are interchangeable as the thread sizes are the same.
The rounded one makes speaker positioning easy on wooden/hard floor, since the speaker+stand can be moved around more easily. Once the optimum poition is found, one of the other two can be swapped in.
Next, my experience living with the TAD-CR1.
(to be continued...)
Contact James Tan of AV Designs at 03-21712828 to listen to TAD