The Aspara Acoustics HL-2 Loudspeaker

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Aspara Acoustics HL-2
The Aspara Acoustics HL-2 Loudspeaker

I honestly can’t remember the last time I reviewed a pair of loudspeakers. It was almost certainly a decade ago - probably more. Why? The main reason is purely practical. I’ve lived happily for the best part of twenty years with a set of Impulse H-1 horns. They’re pretty big, and not easy to move. So – with space at a premium – it’s not been easy to accommodate extra speakers for review purposes. But, there are other reasons. When you live with a pair of big speakers, and get used to the way they do things, it’s hard to go over to something smaller (however good) without feeling a wee bit disappointed. There’s a distinct difference between the size and scale of sound produced by small speakers and larger ones. It’s a different quality of sound. Once you get used to a bigger speaker, it’s hard to downsize… Although some good small speakers seem to punch well above their weight, to me they’re always flattering to deceive - creating an impression of scale and weight by forcefulness and aggression. You have to play the music loud to get it to fill the room. And while this can be quite impressive in one sense, it’s worlds away from a big speaker that effortlessly fills the room, even when the music’s quiet.

Actually, to be fair, we’re talking degrees here. All speakers flatter to deceive. No speaker can fully recreate the massive breadth and scale of (say) a large orchestra and chorus in a big hall. The apparent recreation of vast forces in your living room is an illusion – an acoustic con trick. But some speakers are better liars than others. And big efficient speakers are invariably more convincing than smaller less efficient types.

Aspara Acoustics are Brian Taylor and Julius Hyde, the team responsible for the original Impulse H-1. So there’s a certain kinship between my old speakers and this new design. Although Brian and Julius have generally designed fairly large and ambitious loudspeakers, they wanted to see if they could come up with something smaller and cheaper without sacrificing too many of the qualities that distinguish their bigger no-compromise designs.

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