First, let me detail how and where the 1+1 bests its smaller sibling. Near the end of the review period I managed to destroy both drivers on my review pair of “The One” speakers when they received a dose of ABBA at full level from my Accuphase P-300 power amplifier. Replacing the blown drivers with new ones was an easy job that took less than 30 minutes. But since that experience I’ve been more careful to check output levels before choosing a source when using “The Ones.” With the 1+1 speaker’s greater power-handling capabilities I feel a bit more comfortable turning them up to 10 or even 11. And while I never heard “The One” speakers show any audible signs of distress when playing loudly at my desktop, I do feel that on big, dynamic musical selections the 1+1 speakers have a bit better control and finesse during triple forte passages.
Where else does the Audience 1+1 best “The One?” Listening to my live concert DSD5.6 recordings I noticed the 1+1 speakers had slightly better dynamic contrast, principally on peak levels during triple-forte passages. Using the SPL meter in the Audiotools app I noticed that when the low-level outputs were matched between the two speakers the 1+1 produced, on average, a 1.5dB increase in peak volume during the loudest passages.
In imaging precision the 1+1 and “The One” speakers were equals. The 1+1 duplicates “The One’s” uncanny ability to disappear while creating a seamless three-dimensional soundstage. And not only do the 1+1 speakers disappear when you’re sitting in their sweet spot, their sweet spot is large enough that no amount of chair-based gyrations will alter their imaging. The only “tricks” needed for optimum soundstaging are that the two speakers should be equidistant from your ears and raised up off your desktop so that the center of the drivers is at or very near ear height.
The 1+1 do deliver more midbass energy than “The One” speaker, and for some listeners they may have sufficient bass ex- tension so that they could be employed without a subwoofer. But for anyone who requires a true full-range desktop or nearfield system, a subwoofer is recommended. I used a Velodyne DD+ 10 subwoofer crossed over at 65Hz into the 1+1 speakers. Be- sides the additional low-frequency extension, using a subwoofer also relieved the 1+1 speakers of low-bass duties, which allowed them to play louder than they could when fed a full-range signal.
1+1 = 3
When I finished my review of the Audi- ence ClairAudient “The One” I was convinced it was one of the best nearfield monitors I’d ever heard. My time with the larger Audience 1+1 speakers hasn’t reduced my positive impressions of “The One,” but it has induced me to place the 1+1 above the “The One” at the top of my own personal “best” nearfield loud- speaker list.
Just like “The One,” the Audience 1+1 creates a three-dimensional soundstage that allows an audiophile to easily listen into the subtle low-level nuances of a mix or live performance. Also, like all Audience speakers, the 1+1 provides a seamless, phase-coherent, crossover-less, sonic presentation that makes it very hard to go back to listening to a conventional multi-driver speaker without hearing the sonic discontinuities caused by the crossover design and its components.
If you are planning to assemble a high- performance nearfield listening system I urge you to audition the Audience 1+1 (or if your budget is tighter, “The One”). They are both superb transducers that show that the right technology in the right application creates magic.
SPECS & PRICING
Impedance: 8 ohms
Maximum RMS continuous output per pair: 104dB
Maximum RMS continuous power per speaker: 50 watts
Dimensions: 6" x 8" x 9.75"
120 N. Pacific Street, #K-9
San Marcos, CA 92069
Source Devices: MacPro model 1.1 Intel Xeon 2.66 GHz computer with 16 GB of memory with OS 10.6.7, running iTunes 10.6.3 and Amarra Symphony 2.6 music software, Pure Music 1.89 music software, and Audirana Plus 1.5.12 music software
DACs: Antelope Zodiac Platinum DSD , Wyred4Sound mPre, April Music Eximus DP-1, Empirical Audio Off-Ramp 5, Mytek 192/24 DSD DAC
Amplifiers: April Music Eximus S-1, Accuphase P-300
Speakers: ProAc Anniversary Tablette, Role Audio Kayak, Aerial Acoustics 5B, Audience Clair Audient “The One, Velodyne DD+ 10 subwoofer
Cables and Accessories: Wireworld USB cable, Synergistic Research USB cable, AudioQuest Carbon USB cables. PS Audio Quintet, AudioQuest CV 4.2 speaker cable, AudioQuest Colorado interconnect, Cardas Clear interconnect, Black Cat speaker cable and Interconnect, and Crystal Cable Piccolo interconnect, Audience Au24SE speaker cable