DENVER (PTA) — Lu Kang Audio, COS Engineering, MusiChi, VAC, and Sanctus Cable put together one of the most pleasantly surprising rooms of the show. A simple and elegantly crafted system of seldom seen products and pairings. For this day, our group of young audiophile bandits were tamed into submission.
When I first saw that Lu Kang Audio was on the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019 show schedule my interests were peaked, the name alone has cultural significance in the USA, so most people under a certain age would find themselves wondering about this hi-fi company from the far east. Knowing that there aren’t many surprises in life, I avoided doing any deep-dive internet searches into the company, instead opting to walk into the Lu Kang Audio room fresh and open-minded.
The day came, and I rolled-up to the Lu Kang Audio room with a possie. Jameson, Grover, Marc and myself were geared up, ready for anything. We’re immediately greeted and welcomed by Lu Kang Audio’s new owner of the family business, Cheng-Chien “Rox” Shih where he took the chance to tell us a little about his family’s company.
Lu Kang Audio has been in business for forty years, started by his father, who now takes an advisory roll now with Rox Shih running the company. It should be noted that Lu Kang Audio isn’t just a speaker manufacturer with a strong and respected history in Taiwan, but also in Asia as an importer of many solid brands from Europe, including names like Graditech, ETI Research, Audio Technology, Transducer Lab, Linnenberg, Black Pearls Audio, Dayens, Lector, and Odiosis.
More recently Lu Kang Audio has seen itself building a solid reputation as a seriously good sounding speaker brand in Europe. The European market has been kind to Lu Kang Audio as they are recognizing the brand for what it truly is. As to what that is… more on that later.
This trip to Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019, marks Lu Kang Audio’s first trip back to the USA in over twenty years. And this time around, Rox and Lu Kang are here to do some serious business, as the Lu Kang brand is looking to establish itself through value pricing and direct sales here in America.
It’s Rox’s thinking that the Lu Kang Audio brand wouldn’t (and maybe couldn’t) do well in the states at a deserving price that is fitting for the quality of sound his speakers produce, due to the lack of brand recognition here in the states. Instead Rox is opting to sell direct in America hoping the brand will catch on for what it can do sonically at any price. So, the word is out. Lu Kang Audio is here, and boy do they have a deal for you.
On active display at RMAF 2019, was Lu Kang Audio’s largest flag-ship stand-mount loudspeaker, the Spoey230. Of interesting cultural note, Lu Kang Audio only makes three loudspeakers, and all of them are two-way stand-mount models. Starting at the top with the Spoey230 ($5,500 pr USD), Spoey200 ($4,500 pr USD), and Spoey155 ($3,800 pr USD).
The reason for making only stand-mount loudspeakers, with what I can tell is larger volumes than most we encounter in the west has a lot more to do with Asian architecture more than anything else. In the Asian market, the Spoey230 is the company’s most popular model, whereas in Europe the smaller Spoey200 is a more commonly recognized stand-mount size, and its sales reflect that.
The Spoey230 like all Lu Kang Audio models are two-way loudspeakers, that feature a hand-made Lu Kand Audio designed crossover-network, the use of truly premium driver components, and heavily braced 1-inch thick cabinets matched specifically to the size woofer that comes with each design. The Spoey230 on display uses a 230mm customized Audio Technology woofer and Hiquphon three-quarter-inch OW4 tweeter. Impedance is a stable 8-Ohms, sensitivity at 86.5 dB, and suggested amplifier power is rated at 100-Watts.
The other Spoey models not shown at RMAF 2019, the Spoey200 and Spoey155 both use Hiquphon (Denmark) three-quarter-inch tweeters (OW2-FS for the ‘200 and OW1 for the ‘155), along with customized Audio Technology (Denmark) woofers. However the woofer sizes are — you guessed it — 200mm for the Spoey200, and 155mm for the Spoey155. Both Spoey’ speaker models are 8-Ohm, 86dB, and suggest power of 50-Watts or above.
Lu Kang Audio also builds stands for the Spoey230 and Spoey200, which retail $800 pr USD and are sold direct just like the loudspeakers.
It’s true, the Spoey230 is larger than what I consider a stand-mount bookshelf speaker to be. It looks a lot like a big Harbeth on the stands. The music begins and it sounds big. Considering the air volume of the cabinets, the Spoey230 do play a lot like floorstanders. The bass is full, rich, and deep. The front mounted bass-port remains free of chuffing as we climb the volume ladder, I know this, because I got in close for a listen. The treble is smooth as silk, and it should be as the Hiquphon soft-dome tweeter is well regarded for its smooth extension, which it displays here handedly.
What is remarkable for a speaker with a front baffle is three things: one – they disappeared very quickly as the music started playing, and two – the driver coherence was reminiscent of point source designs, three – the attack, speed, and time of this driver combination was snappy and impactful. Furthermore the tone of these speakers was enjoyable and fun, while also being slightly laid back, reserved and precise, with enough insightful micro-details. Mid-range is where these speakers bloom, and so it is that I am a fan of them. These aren’t exactly a “bicycle kick to the chest” kind of loudspeaker, but they do play loud with great control and ability to maintain character.
To answer the question I asked earlier, what are these? They come at me like Taiwan’s Harbeth. Not to say they sound alike, because they don’t. More to say that in a parallel universe, like Taiwan, this is the kind of speaker that architecturally took domestic hold of the “Harbeth market position” in Asia. The Spoey230 is an absolute charmer, and I can’t wait to experience more from them as they engage the new western markets.
Lu Kang Audio
– Spoey230 Loudspeakers
– D10 DAC + Preamp
– SRV-01 Music Server
– 200iQ Power Amplifier
– AC Inlet