TAD Labs brought a show-stopper room, featuring their new Compact Evolution One (CE-1) loudspeakers. This system was, in a word, dominating.
The speakers, shown here in an olive finish, are elegant and quite robust — but somehow, like the name suggests, do not appear to be as big as they are. Part of their “not just toys for boys” aesthetic, I think TAD is really on to something with their newest designs. They’re not just “good-looking”, they’re bespoke furniture. Take the hand-made “urushi” finishes , each are unique, and to my eye, the two on display here were just stunning. There was a display that was roped off; I was outraged as I just wanted to rub my hands all over them. Honestly, I can’t think of any other major brand with this level of artistic presence. Just wow.
The CE-1 ($24k/pair) are stand-mounts, where the stands ($2k extra) are about as integral as you could ever want, but don’t let the “bookshelf” form-factor fool you. A 3-way design, good for a 32Hz reach, these speakers are more than enough to make you sh*t yourself in terror if driven appropriately. I was stunned — the sound coming out of them was devastatingly percussive, and fronted by the all-TAD electronics, the speed and accuracy left me hot and spinning.
Unfortunately, I believe that this speaker is the last of the Andrew Jones designs that will be coming from TAD, and if so, the CE-1 will cap a remarkable set of offerings. Given how amazing it sounded here, this strikes me as the equivalent of a mic-drop.
Very well done.