You can’t help loving a speaker that lets you hear the playing and songwriting skills of your favourite artists as well as the Junior does. The more you listen the more it gets under your skin, I got totally carried away with one album even though there was work to do and deadlines to meet. But sometimes such details have to be cast aside so that you can get back to what living is all about.
This stylish little speaker is good enough to let you realise that this is the best way of spending your leisure time, that all other pursuits are mere diversions. But I may be getting carried away. That’s the problem with good products; you stop listening to the speaker and get distracted by the music. Being a professional however I knuckled down and tried a different amp, the Rega Brio-R to be specific. This has less muscle than the SuperUniti but very similar skills in the timing and engagement departments to the Junior. The result wasn’t quite so well articulated in the bass but there is still plenty of weight. In fact, the imaging is palpably solid in the room, instruments and musicians are placed in the soundstage in a remarkably realistic fashion. This is not merely a musical speaker; it’s also a precise and particularly coherent one.
In an attempt to produce a well-rounded review, and as an excuse to listen to the speaker some more, I pulled out a third amplifier option in the Leema Tucana. This is the most powerful of the three and delivered the most low frequency weight, surprising amounts of it to be honest. Junior made me double take more than once by producing bass that was way too low for its size, I played a CD single of
Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’, which has a Mad Professor mix on it and discovered that this speaker is truly dubworthy. You have to hear it to believe it, but I ain’t making it up; the scale that all that reverb produces is astonishing, and this from a wall mount speaker.
I also tried subtler material including Andras Schiff’s take on Schubert’s ‘The Impromptus’ (Moments Musicaux, Decca). This is a slightly thin recording, which doesn’t play to the speaker’s strengths, but the music is a delight because the timing is so good. There is a slight emphasis on the voice band, which makes lyrics more intelligible than usual and plucks out details that are not always obvious. This, combined with the prodigious bass quality, makes for a result that stirs both the loins and the soul. It’s just not natural!
Matters only get more engaging when vinyl is brought into the picture, I hooked up a Rega RP6 turntable with Dynavector DV-20X2H cartridge and a P75 MkIII phono stage and plugged it into the Leema. Playing Leo Kottke’s ‘Great Big Boy’ proved a wholly involving and revealing experience despite the repeat playing that I give this LP. The zing of the new strings and the subtle fretless bass work were presented with clarity and cohesion, but it is the timing that keeps you welded to the listening seat.
There must be something in these foam feet; I’ve heard a lot of compact two-ways in my time, but none that have this much low-end power and scale. The wall mounting plays its part to be sure, but the fact that this is a similar result to that achieved with highly isolating equipment supports like the Townshend Seismic Stand makes me think that I should try these feet under other speaker to see what happens.
To get back to the subject in question however it occurs to me that what makes the Guru Junior impossible to resist is its musical honesty. Some speakers have a particularly charming tonal character that lures you toward beautiful sounding recordings, but this speaker cannot be so easily fooled; if the music isn’t good enough you know all about it, and if it is then this is doubly the case. There is no danger of being diverted from the musical truth; that is where the beauty of this art form is to be found and this modest speaker delivers it in spades. It would be hard not to recommended the loudspeaker, but as it doesn’t cost a small fortune to achieve all this, it should be at the top of your ‘must hear’ list!
Dimensions (H x W x D): 290 x 180 x 230mm
Crossover: 2-7kHz non-textbook function
Sensitivity: 87 dB (@2.83V, 1m)
Nominal impedance: 8 ohms
Enclosure material: MDF/aluminium
HF driver: 20.5 mm soft dome
LF driver: 102 mm coated paper cone
Finish: anodised aluminium with black lacquer, white lacquer or oiled walnut
Guru Audio UK
Tel: 01727 858989