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TAD Evolution 2 Speaker Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 65 15.6%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 196 47.0%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 144 34.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 12 2.9%

  • Total voters
    417

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the TAD Evolution 2 tower 2.5 way speaker. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $20,000.
TAD Evolution Two Tower Speaker Review.jpg

Sorry for the cellphone shot of the speaker on Klippel NFS. I have not had the time to test it in the house.
The fit and finish is impeccable. The binding posts is likely representative of the quality inside:
TAD Evolution Two Tower Speaker Binding Post Review.jpg


It is full custom with a level of precision that makes it a pleasure to tighten the screw on the terminal. The fit is so perfect against the threads that make you feel there is fluid/oil in the thread but there is not! An example of very high precision machining.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

Reference axis for the measurement was the center of the tweeter. No grill was used. Measurement axis is parallel to ground plan. 1500 measurements were performed in 3-D space (50% higher than my normal standard) generating 1.2 gigabytes of data.

I have shared my results with the company representative. Alas, I have not heard anything back despite checking a couple of times.

Here are the company specs:
TAD Evolution Two Tower Speaker specs.png


TAD Evolution 2 Speaker Measurements
As usual we start with our CEA-2034 frequency response measurements:
TAD Evolution Two Tower Speaker Frequency Response CEA-2034 Measurements.png


Great to have good bass extension. Alas, the rest of the response is somewhat variable which is likely due to interference from multiple sound sources. Here is the near-field response:
TAD Evolution Two Tower Speaker Frequency Response Driver near-field Measurements.png


Nice to see port/cabinet resonances being suppressed well. Company specs the first crossover point at 90 Hz. I am not seeing that effect so perhaps the near-field measurements are polluted by the other woofer?

Anyway, here is our early window reflections:
TAD Evolution Two Tower Speaker Early Window Frequency Response CEA-2034 Measurements.png


Nothing to add other than the comment on the graph. Here is our predicted in-room response:
TAD Evolution Two Tower Speaker Predicted in-room Frequency Response CEA-2034 Measurements.png


Horizontal directivity is good so we should have good luck with EQ:
TAD Evolution Two Tower Speaker Horizontal Beamwidth Response Measurements.png

TAD Evolution Two Tower Speaker Horizontal Directivity Response Measurements.png


Here is the vertical:
TAD Evolution Two Tower Speaker Vertical Directivity Response Measurements.png


Benefit of 2.5-way design kicks in lower distortion, at least at 86 dBSPL:
TAD Evolution Two Tower Speaker THD Percent Distortion Response Measurements.png


TAD Evolution Two Tower Speaker THD Distortion Response Measurements.png


At 4.5 ohm minimum, lowest impedance point is slightly better than average which is appreciated:
TAD Evolution Two Tower Speaker Impedance and Phase Response Measurements.png


Here is our waterfall and step responses:
TAD Evolution Two Tower Speaker CSD Waterfall Response Measurements.png


TAD Evolution Two Tower Speaker Step Response Measurements.png


As I noted, due to lack of time, I do not have listening impressions for you.

Conclusions
I guess I can state the obvious that given TAD's stellar reputation in speaker designs, I walked in expecting perfection. We did not get that. I let you all vote with what you think of the measured performance. I am delighted about the quality of the speaker though.

I should also mention the incredible support and generosity of the company to work with me and send me these samples for testing. No other company has offered such expensive speakers for testing.

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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YSC

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Neutrality is unimpressive in the price point but then it’s not terrible either, in room with the extension and domestic reflections I would expect it to actually sound quite nice with some bass treatments
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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What is that?
EEAC0FDE-D7F4-468F-B799-F740C6D80F53.jpeg
I *think* it is due to Styrofoam rubbing against the finish. It is only visible at one angle where the light shines on it.
 

Webninja

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I often struggle with how the price should impact my panther rating. I’m not sure how to weight the cost as a factor of the score, especially at the higher and lower ends of a product category price.
 

digicidal

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The measurements are definitely far from awe-inspiring, however I would guess that it sounds "pretty good" regardless. Not close to $20K worth IMO - more like $1-2K maybe. It's definitely strange to see a straight "monkey coffin" for that price. Especially considering some past designs (even the Evolution One was largely devoid of parallel sides outside the stand mount models). Considering the prices of past offerings however, I guess $20K is technically a mid-range offering for them. :rolleyes:
 

Waxx

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Tad should do better for their reputation and priceclass. But it's hard to call this bad. It's just not as good as I would expect.

Expericallly the crossoverseems to be a bit problematic, wit the woofer used to high so we are getting into it's resonances, and the crossover does not blend the two drivers like it should. There is a dip in the response that is way to big, and it looks like there are also phase issues between the tweeter and the woofer. I guess with some thinkering with the crossover you could solve a lot of issues and make it looks a lot better in the measurements, if both drivers are fit to be matched. It could also be that it should have been a 3 way, but that they tried to stretch the response of the woofers and the tweeter untill they matched, with resonances in the response as result.

But on a larger scale, i'm fussing about small things, it looks like a quiet decent speaker, only too expensive for what it is. But as the name says TAD, many will buy it anyway. TAD never really fails, and not now also. It's just it could and should be a lot better i think.
 

martijn86

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It is fine if I don't consider the price. You know. If this was a $250 mass market Boston acoustics speaker, it would be great, likely with EQ. If this was a $2000 hifi tower, I'd say that almost all of the budget went into build quality and the sonic properties are fine, with EQ. For $20000, there is no excuse for such an uneven response. It feels like a work in progress prototype.
 

digicidal

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It is fine if I don't consider the price. You know. If this was a $250 mass market Boston acoustics speaker, it would be great, likely with EQ. If this was a $2000 hifi tower, I'd say that almost all of the budget went into build quality and the sonic properties are fine, with EQ. For $20000, there is no excuse for such an uneven response. It feels like a work in progress prototype.
That was my exact thought. Aesthetics are inherently subjective of course, but it definitely looks like a prototype. However, I thought the same thing when the new BMW M2 was introduced, and I'm sure it won't hurt their sales either. Perhaps the new design definitions for multiple products will center around "boxy but functional"?
 

JiiPee

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Looking at the estimated in-room response, I'd say it does not really look that bad. Those two obvious peaks should be fairly easily taken care of by EQ, and the shelved bass response could mean that the speaker can be placed near the wall, which is often quite nice opportunity in many normal listening rooms. Of course, it can be argued that at this price point, there should be no need for EQ...
 
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