Kudos Titan 505 stand‑mount loudspeaker

Kudos Audio Titan 505

The first and most obvious point of the Titan 505 is its bass. For a stand-mount loudspeaker and a loudspeaker of its size, the bass is prodigious. Not overpowering or overblown, just that ‘where did you hide the subwoofer’ bass power and drive. This comes across on almost every piece of music played, but surprisingly showed up with the exposed click-track at the end of ‘Georgio by Moroder’ from Daft Punk’s 2013 hit album Random Access Memories [Columbia]. The end of the track slowly decays to a synth bass drum and then a click track, and the heft of the drum fades almost imperceptibly, but with the Titan 505 the delineation between the two is easy to hear and you know when the fade out takes place. Other loudspeakers also do this, but all that do are invariably larger designs. It’s at once a dry, taut bass and a ‘phat’ deep bass, largely depending on source material, which means it doesn’t get in the way too much; using Trentemøller’s ‘Chameleon’ [The Last Resort, Poker Flat] as a deliberate test of a port choking up and making ‘chuff’ sounds – and overall speed of transient attack at the low end – the Titan 505 behaved admirably well, and while it didn’t exhibit the absolute lack of overhang of a sealed box, overhang and port choke-up were chuffin’ minimal. In short, bass is deep, powerful, and very well handled.

I don’t want this review to focus on bass alone; although it’s the Titan 505’s signature dish, there’s a whole musical menu to be sampled and enjoyed. The loudspeaker also has a dynamic range and shade far beyond that of most conventional two-way standmounts of similar size; just play any powerful orchestral piece, such as Mahler’s Eighth symphony [Solti, LSO, Decca], and you are met with a loudspeaker that belies its size once again when the orchestra, organ, and choir go for it in the first and last movements. It’s also a subtle performer, with sufficient detail and dynamic shading and contrast to pick out delicate string noises on a DG collection of Segovia’s guitar playing. On a Bach Partita, the string squeaks are there, but at a far lower level than the playing; they should meld into the music like surface noise on vinyl on a good replay system. In effect, they make the track sound alive, but less dynamically precise loudspeakers make these squeaks sound too up front and become a distraction. Once again, the Kudos is all about the balance.

The treble is refined and extended too, without exaggeration or strong emphasis. This can be a problem with loudspeakers that deliver good bass for their size; the designer often can’t resist adding a bit of zing to the top end. Here, the treble is both well-balanced and extremely poised, staying in the Goldilocks zone between ‘strong’ and ‘rolled off’. Granted, we have become so used to a ‘hot’ treble these days it takes a few moments to remember what accurate and honest treble sounds like, but it sounds like this. The natural examples to show here are female vocals, which also highlight the ‘do no harm’ nature of the treble reaches down into the midband, too; the purity and simplicity of Joni Mitchell’s voice on ‘Help Me’ from Court and Spark [Asylum] was left entirely untouched making the record exceptionally moving and extremely easy to follow. 

Stereo imagery and separation are outstanding too, although ‘outstanding’ set in the context of an ‘excellent’ performance elsewhere. Sounds within the soundstage are exceptionally well rooted in place and image stability holds throughout. However, if you are looking for some kind of three-dimensional hologram of the stage, the Kudos Titan 505 get you about 85% of the way there. The image is wide of the speakers and has excellent depth, in the manner of good wide-baffled classic British loudspeakers, but pin-point precision to the soundstage is a little illusive. My new go-to recording here is Joyce DiDonato singing ‘Tu sola, o mia Giulietta... Deh! tu, bell’anima’ from Bellini’s Capuleti e Montecchi [Stella Di Napoli, Erato]; as the song concludes, the orchestra fades into the background just leaving her voice centre-stage and a French horn behind and slightly stage right of her voice. In the best imaging products, the two are precisely delineated in a three-dimensional space; here they blend slightly. That being said, to get a loudspeaker that improves on this without sacrifice elsewhere is only possible at nearer twice the price of the Titan 505.

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