Kudos X2 - £1,350

This compact floorstander is Kudos' first attempt to offer its sound quality at a lower cost

A relative newcomer on the British loudspeaker scene, the Kudos range has rapidly become popular, despite quite substantial pricetags. The reason behind the new X-series is to provide comparable quality at rather lower prices, though nobody could really consider £1,350 per pair particularly cheap!

A simple two-way floorstander with a small 150mm bass/mid drive unit, the X2’s power handling and bass extension will inevitably have some limitations, though it should be more than adequate for normal listening levels, while its simplicity and high-quality ingredients (English cabinetwork, Norwegian SEAS drive units and crossover components from Clarity Caps and Volt) can provide their own reward. The bass/mid unit has a 95mm-diameter flared and doped paper cone, the tweeter a 25mm fabric dome.

The 18mm MDF enclosure comes wrapped up in a wide choice of real wood veneer finishes – black, cherry, maple, oak, rosenut and walnut, alongside satin-white. Edges are sharp and the whole thing sits on a pretty black- painted plinth, cunningly shaped with some chamfering, and usefully extending the footprint for good stability. The spikes have nylon lock-wheels that proved very effective at keeping the spikes tight without damaging the threaded sockets. Small optional grilles are magnetically held in place and signal is applied to a solitary terminal pair.SOUND QUALITY

The X2 was well received by the listening panel and if its overall score fell just a little short of that registered by the top model, the margin was small. This Kudos is also considerably less costly. The X2 might not be the best in the test, but it’s probably the best value for money, which must pose any reviewer with something of a dilemma.

Its main strength is an impressively lively demeanour, with a vibrant, open and coherent sound quality that seemed unusually convincing with acoustic instruments in particular. Although its warmth was praised, a couple of the panelists did complain about a lack of true bass weight and extension, as well as a slightly ‘thumpy’ character which tended to mask detail here. Image depth and height both received some mild criticism too, but lateral positioning and separation was good, and plenty of fine detail was evident on the textures of instruments.

Extensive subsequent hands-on listening did reveal a mild degree of nasal coloration on speech, presumably related to the measured dip at 1.5kHz, close to the crossover, but it seemed subjectively quite innocuous. However, playing the speakers at high levels did reveal some lack of sweetness and a mild tendency to become a bit aggressive, especially at the top end of the band.However, at normal listening levels, the midband and top end are really this speaker’s strong points, delivering both music and speech with fine temporal coherence and plenty of enthusiasm.

This attractive speaker might look a little understated, but that’s surely a point in its favour and one that certainly doesn’t apply to a sound quality that’s invariably entertaining and musically informative, provided the volume level isn’t pushed too hard.

LIKE: Attractive presentation alongside a lively sound makes for an involving experience
DISLIKE: That measured 1.5kHz dip remains a worry
WE SAY: It might not deliver the smoothest sound, but is always lively

WEIGHT: 12kg
DIMENSIONS: (WxHxD) 166x780x206mm
• Separate plinth enhances stability
• Spikes secured by polymer thumbwheels
• Reflex-ported through base
• 10 year guarantee
TELEPHONE: 0845 601 9390
WEBSITE: kudosaudio.com