Living Voice Auditorium R25A floorstanding loudspeaker

Living Voice Auditorium R25A
Living Voice Auditorium R25A floorstanding loudspeaker

Longevity is an increasingly rare commodity when it comes to audio equipment. The lifespan of high-end digital products can be measured in months, while product revisions are seemingly now an annual event – or in some cases necessity, if only to attract renewed press attention or churn the products sitting, stagnant in the retail pipeline. Which is ironic, given that long-term satisfaction should be every customer’s goal, as well as representing the best possible return on investment. So what are we to make of Living Voice’s Auditorium R25A, a loudspeaker that has remained conceptually and outwardly unchanged for a quarter of a century? Not only has the Auditorium enjoyed uninterrupted production for 25 years, in that time it has spawned the Avatar, IBX, OBX and OBX RW3 derivatives – not replacement models but a carefully calculated range, offering clearly defined steps in performance, yet also outwardly all but indistinguishable, one from another. If ever you wanted proof of concept, then the Auditorium delivers in spades and that concept was established, all those years ago, with the original Auditorium design.

Like any great product, the success of Living Voice’s entry-level loudspeaker depends on its balance of virtues. It is big enough to deliver convincing bandwidth yet small enough to be easily accommodated in real world rooms. It offers pleasing proportions and a lack of strong styling cues that combine to create a timeless appearance. But perhaps most critical of all, it is both efficient and an easy load, making it as versatile as it is musically engaging. Combine that easy drive characteristic with a £5,100 price-tag and you’ve got the lion’s share of a seriously high-value amp/speaker pairing. Of course, despite appearances the specifics have remained far from constant, with comings and goings when it comes to suppliers and the availability (or discontinuation) of parts, along with the evolving knowledge gained from developing the various, higher-performance variants all mandating change. In fact, in mechanical terms, I’m not sure that this R25A has anything in common with the original Auditorium save the basic dimensions of the cabinet, the driver topology and the M8 spikes it stands on. The cabinet material has changed, as has the height and construction of the stand. The mid-bass drivers were discontinued by the manufacturer, which meant that Living Voice had to have them re-tooled as a proprietary unit, taking the opportunity to refine certain aspects of the design. The tweeter has changed to a more recent model while the crossover has undergone a complete revision for the R25A, of which more later…

But the key ingredients remain the same. The combination of 94dB efficiency with a flat 6 Ohm load makes the Auditorium an obvious choice for those who use low-powered, single-ended or push-pull tube amps – whether that’s the sort of low-priced, Chinese or Eastern European-built integrated of which there are so many, or something way more exotic (which is where the higher performance variants come in). What is less obvious is that the easy load and sensitivity are just as useful when it comes to getting the best out of solid-state designs, again be that a high-quality but low-powered integrated or the likes of DNM, the Pass Labs Aleph amps or any number of small, Class A designs. At 215mm wide, 270mm deep and a shade under 1200mm tall, the small footprint, narrow baffle and rear firing reflex port all contribute to room-friendly aesthetics and performance and if the form factor’s not that unusual these days, it certainly was 25-years ago! 

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