Welcome to the new Kudos T808 Titan loudspeakers. The ones with ‘808′ on the alloy slab at the front.
Our demonstration examples rolled up just in time for Christmas 2015 and, as with our first time round with their T88 predecessors, the initial bedding in phase has been a tiny bit fraught. In our world at least, these are pretty damned expensive speakers and expectations run very high indeed. They are also, in relative terms, a tiny bit ‘crap’ when you first get them.
The Titan is a two box system comprising an upper full range two way speaker and the lower isobaric sub woofer. Both are driven by the host amplifier and, for single amplifier passive use, there is a cable linking the upper and lower boxes. Historically, we’ve found that the best results come from connecting the amplifier to the upper box and using the link wire to get the signal to the lower one. Bi amplification has proved very worthwhile in the past and, on the T808, the crossovers can be disabled entirely for fully active operation.
For now at least, the only active option is with Linn electronics and we already have the means to do this at Klimax level.
We have this thing about using Naim SuperLumina cabling with our Naim system and the link between the upper and lower boxes really needs to be compatible with this.
The upshot is that the Titans on the end of Naim Super cable don’t really sound right until the link cable is at least a piece of Naim’s NAC-A 5. One day Naim will make us one from SuperLumina and we suspect it’ll be joyful. Still, it’s only just over a year since we asked…
Anyway, at time of writing, we’ve had these new speakers for just over two weeks. We’ve had them running for a high proportion of this time just to get some ‘miles’ on them. A design change over the previous model means that this link cable now needs spade termination, something we don’t generally use and could not order over Christmas. So, we’ve simply used the supplied link.
A visit by a customer gave us the required shove to do something because, horror of horrors, he wanted to hear them and we knew they were not really performing optimally. Being painfully critical, and knowing the previous versions well, he picked up on the issue instantly. At his behest, we revisited connecting the signal to the lower box first and linking upwards. This helps the bass but simply transfers the problem to the rest of the frequency range.
Saturday morning, a makeshift cut piece of NAC-A5 was inserted and, flipping heck, what a difference! Truth be told, deep down we’ve been slightly rueing their arrival, doubting that the link cable could be having this level of impact. Now, we’re seriously chuffed with them. The difference is that great.
The interesting thing is that the cable change should only be affecting the sub bass yet the subjective benefits are at least as obvious in the upper spectrum of the sound. IE they sound faster, clearer and more open. Better integrated too. From the ‘off’, the T808 was always quite obviously a tighter, cleaner, more refined version of the T88, but now it sounds properly better too. Funny how these two factors can be separate things.
So there you go, the new Titans are finally here and on permanent demonstration. They are clearly incredibly capable, as indeed any products priced north of £20,000 should be. More importantly, they play music utterly magnificently. With our NDS / Naim S1 pre / NAP500 DR system and a loom of Super Lumina the results are what we hoped for, which is actually rather gob-smacking and considerably better, incidentally, than we had at Audio Show East.
From previous experience, we still have some way to go and will also need to try out the full active operation with the Linn Klimax system. The plan so far has been to run in everything including the internal crossovers. Next week, we will activate. Apparently, the Linn Exakt software running at ASE was wrong too, so we should have a treat in store. Gulp.
If these are on your radar, we are nearing serious demo time!