At the Bristol show in February the Guru distributor had pictures of a girl ‘chillaxing’ with a pair of Guru Junior speakers under the slogan ‘Swedes have more fun’. I guess if Ingmar Bergman had had these speakers at home he might have made less miserable movies; somebody should get some for Lars von Trier and see if that helps! However the Swedes at Guru clearly do have more fun if these little boxes of audio dynamite are anything to go by, because they sounded good in the room at Bristol and a whole lot better in my room.
The original Guru QM10 and current QM10two are extremely appealing and entertaining speakers that combine remarkable bandwidth, image scale and timing in a way that few other standmount speakers match. But the QM10 requires a special stand or top plate to support its widely spaced foam feet and it sounds best with carefully selected amplifiers and source components, and the current QM10two is also out of reach for music lovers who have a limited budget. The Guru Junior offers a lot of what the QM10 does in a considerably more affordable and easier to accommodate package. It also has more classically Scandinavian style than its big brother; the combination of clean, straight lines with gloss lacquer or real wood veneer and anodised aluminium place it in a very select group of aesthetically desirable contemporary stand mounts.
Junior has a reflex port that is slot shaped on the front much like the QM10two. This efficient use of space means that you can fit two drivers and a port on the front baffle, which allows the speaker to sit close to the wall, in fact that’s the way it’s intended to be used. The drivers are very similar to those of the QM10two, in fact the tweeter is the same 20.5mm unit soft dome but the main mid/bass unit is the one used on the original QM10 with a coated paper cone.
Controversially Guru recommends that you try to decouple the speaker from the stand; the polar opposite of what most speaker makers suggest, which is usually spikes or Blu-tack. The Junior is supplied with foam feet that you stick onto the base of the cabinet for this specific purpose. However this does mean you need a stand with a bigger support area than average (Junior’s footprint is 18cm by 23cm). But having separate feet means you can attach them to the top of a stand that’s smaller than the speaker and achieve the same decoupled result, so that’s what I did.
The cabinet is extremely well finished, I had a white lacquered example with white anodised aluminium on front and rear baffles that went down very well with visitors and co-habitees alike. There are no grilles with this speaker, it’s pretty enough not to need them but the parents among us may find this less relaxing! Cable connections are via 4mm plugs only because the rear panel features a pair of sockets only so no bare wire or spade connectors. Junior is also available in black with gun metal grey metalwork and the same thing with walnut veneer. Somewhere between Junior’s pre-production debut last autumn and the finished thing the silver aluminium and walnut option has been dropped, which is a pity.
I set up the Juniors close to the rear wall and toed them in so that the outside edges of both were just visible from the listening position, this makes for a tighter toe-in than many speakers but it works for Gurus.
Despite the smaller size and smaller price, there are a lot of similarities between Junior and QM10two; this presumably is how it got its name! I started out listening with a Naim SuperUniti amplifier/streamer and a UnitiServe media server, a combo that while a little OTT gives any speaker a good chance of showing what it can do. And what Junior does is deliver a remarkable sense of scale and bottom end welly for such a compact design. In my experience, the latter is harder for small speakers than the former. But it’s lovely to have both, especially in the context of a great sense of timing, this is achieved because it’s fast, there is no discernible time smear to blur the leading edges. In some speakers this means a forward or lean balance, but when you have bottom end to back it up like Junior does it produces a tremendous sense of engagement and a whole heap of fun.