TAD Evolution Two Review: Great-looking speakers with a small footprint


Many audiophiles are familiar with the TAD, Technical Audio Device Laboratories, an upscale imprint of Pioneer Electronics, the Japanese mass-market firm that seemed to be everywhere. But many audiophiles might not realize that TAD was launched in 1975 to develop speakers for professional use, that is, horn-loaded PA systems and the like. It was not until 2003 that TAD began to market speakers for consumers. Their first model was the TAD M1, which sold for about $13,000. I’ve never heard a pair, but I read quite a few positive reviews of this three-way bass-reflex stand-mounted speaker. 

When I heard that I was chosen to review these $20,000 per pair speakers, I was thankful for the opportunity to review them because that meant I’d be able to hear them in my home system! TAD speakers have been on my reviewer’s radar for quite some time.

The TAD Evolution Two is a 2.5-way, floor-standing speaker about 3.35′ tall while wearing spikes, a bit more than a foot wide, and about 16″ deep. They have two 6.5″ woofers and a 1″ beryllium dome tweeter. There are two pairs of hefty speaker posts, meaning one can use a bi-wire speaker cable. A pair of short wires terminated with spades are provided to bridge the speaker posts for a single run of speaker cable. Woofer grilles are provided, but I did not use them.

Because it hasn’t changed since my last review, I’ll do my best to condense the description of my review system:

I auditioned the TAD Evolution Two in a dedicated, acoustically treated listening room. This medium-sized room has two AC power lines, but I use battery power supplies for the line stage, phono preamplifier, and DAC. During daylight hours, the power amplifier’s AC is provided by a larger battery power supply. This still leaves many parts of the system that are AC-powered and connected to power conditioners, one of which is a Chang Lightspeed ISO 9300.

The analog front end includes a Basis Debut V turntable, Tri-Planar 6 tonearm, and a Top Wing Suzaku Red Sparrow phono cartridge. The turntable’s power is supplied by an AC regenerator that also controls the turntable’s speed by changing the AC’s frequency. The phono preamp is a two-chassis Pass Laboratories XP-27.

My reference digital-to-analog converter is an EMM Labs DA2. The other components that comprise the digital front-end include a computer-based music server that uses Foobar 2000 or JRiver Media Center software to play files stored on those drives. Tidal and Qobuz streaming services are loaded on the computer.

The line stages I used for this review included a Pass Labs XP-22 and a vacuum tube-powered Nagra Classic Preamp. Since October 2020, my reference power amplifier has been a Pass Laboratories X250.8. I occasionally use a pair of SVS SB16-Ultra subwoofers to augment the very lowest frequencies. I connected the speakers to my reference Pass Laboratories X250.8 power amplifier using Kimber’s Carbon 18 XL speaker cable. It’s a rather long 4-meter run because the equipment racks are not located between them but to the left side of the two speakers.

Many of the interconnect and power cables were from Kimber’s Carbon series, but I also have a few interconnects from Ansuz’s A2 line. An Accusound Digital Link connects the digital coax output of the Oppo to the EMM Labs DAC’s coax input, and the USB cable that runs from the computer to the EMM Labs DAC is Wireworld’s Starlight Platinum 7. The walls of the listening room are painted with Sherwin Williams “Sky Fall” blue indoor acrylic-latex, positively affecting both cognition and comfort.

Read the complete article: https://www.enjoythemusic.com/superioraudio/equipment/1122/TAD_Evolution_Two_Floorstanding_Loudspeaker_Review.htm

Let's talk

Have our HiFi specialists call you today.