Audiovector’s popular core SR range has been with us for some time, but things move on. Although upgradable, the SR models had reached a point where the next generation of technology developed in top-end models like the R8 and R11 simply couldn’t filter down into the more practical and affordable models in the range, so the ‘SR’ series has morphed into the ‘R’ range.
A surface reading of the R1 might make you think it’s identical to the SR1 that precedes it. Appearances can be deceptive, however, as the cabinet and baffles are both redesigned to be 25% stronger, with a deeper and more solid rear baffle in particular. This means lower cabinet coloration.
The deeper you dig, the more you realise there is a lot new in this loudspeaker. For example, the carbon-fibre sandwich cone mid-bass driver is more than just a refinement over old models, it features trickle-down technology from the lighter, stiffer, and more acoustically ‘dead’ materials found in the cross-woven Sandwich Carbon Driver developed for the R9 Arreté, and the result is a bass driver that delivers more detail and better soundstaging than its predecessor.
As ever, there is an upgrade path on Audiovector’s R Series. You can start with the good (Signature), and upgrade over time to better (Avantgarde) or best (Arreté, tested here). Each step features changes to the tweeter, with concomitant changes to the crossover. The step up to Arreté also introduces cryogenic (NCS Freeze technology) and internal shock absorption, alongside the move to the Arreté version of the hand-made, open-backed AMT tweeter designed specifically for the R series. These changes combine to extend the frequency response of the R1 concept considerably, from 42Hz–28kHz in the Signature version up to 38Hz–53kHz in the top Arreté design, all the while retaining the same 87dB, eight-ohm load.