ProAc Anniversary Tablette


Equipment report
ProAC Anniversary Tablette
ProAc Anniversary Tablette

Speaking of the tweeter, if you do plan to use the Tablettes in a nearfield setup, it’s imperative to raise them up off your desktop to the point where the tweeter is between one and three inches above your ear height. I used closed-cell foam squares with an ultimate support’s adjustable speaker platform on top to raise the Tablettes to the correct height. If they are set up too low the harmonic balance changes and you lose some upper-frequency energy. According to the distributor the speakers should be mounted on heavy metal stands rather than the foam squares for the best bass response, but that setup isn’t practical on a desktop.

Well-recorded vocalists through the Tablettes take on an almost supernaturally solid and three-dimensional character. Listening to any track with an unprocessed human voice through the Tablettes, whether male or female, bass, baritone, tenor, alto, soprano, or even countertenor, the Tablettes got high marks for both the naturalness of their timbre and the absence of speaker- added grain. At the end of February I recorded the Boulder Philharmonic performing Richard Danielpou’s A Woman’s Life with mezzo-soprano soloist Angela Brown. The piece, which was written for Brown, has seven movements, each with its own unique sonic texture. The sixth movement, “My life Has Turned To Blue,” features a “bed” of struck chimes and gongs behind the soloist. You can clearly hear the power and velocity of the soloist when her voice expands as she leans into her notes.

How often have you heard someone drone on about how the midrange is where the music resides? While redundant, it’s still profound. The Anniversary Tablettes get the midrange right. I spend a lot of time listening to unamplified acoustic guitars, mandolins, acoustic bass, and fiddles, live and in-person. Many of my reference tracks focus on these instruments. On Bryan sutton’s sublime 2006 album Not Too Far From The Tree, the Tablette’s ability to correctly capture both the attack of a flatpicker’s pick, as well as the bloom of a note emanating from the guitar’s body, is testimony to its midrange prowess.

With some speakers used nearfield, the ideal listening area is so small that it’s easy, even when seated, to move out of the speaker’s optimum listening window. The Tablettes definitely do not have this problem. Their listening window is as large as any speaker I’ve used on my desktop. No matter how much I gyrated or swayed to the music, the image remained rock-solid with no shifting or frequency-domain changes.

Bass extension through the Tablettes is rather limited. While they do produce bass down to 30Hz (according to ProAc’s specification sheet), they don’t produce very much bass near their frequency limits. The good news is the upper-bass response is quite smooth with no midbass humps or augmentation, so blending them with the Velodyne DD+ 10 under my desktop, or the pair of Jl Audio Fathom f112 subwoofers in my mid-sized room, was a snap.

One of the reasons I much preferred the Tablettes in a desktop rather than room-based system is that on a desktop the Tablettes provide enough heft in the upper bass and lower midrange to be convincing. In a room the Tablettes remind me of the otherwise excellent Emerald Physics Cs-3 speakers, which when placed in a mid-sized room, couldn’t deliver enough meat and potatoes in this critical frequency range to be completely satisfying, even though they could produce pristine high sound pressure levels easily.

I’ve already written about the Tablette’s superb midrange, but I found their treble to be equally enticing. I’d be the first to admit, I’m one of those “old audiophiles.” When I last tested my hearing, which was less than two weeks ago, my upper limit hovered around 12kHz. That’s considered “average” for a fifty- year old. so, if a speaker does something especially weird at 15kHz or higher, I’d never know it. But neither will most other audiophiles of my age. Within my age-limited treble hearing range I found the Tablette’s upper frequencies to be just right. Going back to Richard Danielpou’s A Woman’s Life, the struck percussion instruments in “My life Has Turned To Blue,” contain a cornucopia of upper harmonics. Through the Tablettes I could track the high-frequency energy bouncing off the side and rear walls, especially on my 64X DSD recorded version.