With the Modwright the midrange was a little more forthright than could be considered neutral, but the timing was excellent. This is a very fast loudspeaker thanks to the stiff light paper cone and effortless definition of the horn tweeter. Henry Threadgill’s ‘Bermuda Blues’ from You Know the Number [RCA Novus] is a jazz piece with some serious bass, drums, and horn action that the Primes delivered in spacious and dynamic fashion. There are acres of headroom for dynamic peaks to expand into, and this means every gram of vitality is extracted from the signal, in which dynamic instruments like drums really revel. You can sometimes hear the box – that much undamped panelling will never be able to totally disappear – but it easily blends in with acoustic instruments. delicacy the Prime delivers through the mids, as on some Haydn piano played by Jean-Efflam Bavouet [Piano Sonatas Vol 1, Chandos], where the speakers revealed all the micro-dynamics of the playing, with both the speed and subtlety of touch given full exposure in the context of delightful immediacy.
This quality is also evident with voices. Paul McCartney’s on ‘Mother Nature’s Son’ [Capitol box set] reproduces so much of the room, the mic, and the recording technology that you are transported back to the late sixties and Abbey Road, just with his words to the engineer. It’s worth noting that the Primes need to be on-axis for best results. The dispersion from the drivers is not terribly even, but this is true of many horn designs. It’s worth bearing in mind there is always a compromise in design; you get high sensitivity and all the benefits that accrue, but the trade-off is some tonal unevenness. A good modern speaker is a lot more linear in terms of tonal balance, but it’s debatable whether they are as much fun. The strange thing about tonal variations is that because rooms themselves have a big effect in this respect, we are pretty good at hearing through them. After a while, they are less obvious.
The Tune Audio Prime is a balanced horn speaker that will really sing with the right amplification. There are surprisingly few such speakers available at this price and, while not exactly discreet, this will not be obtrusive in larger than average rooms. If you want to hear the life in your music they provide a powerful distraction from modern life.
Type: two-way, horn loaded floorstanding loudspeaker
Driver complement: 1x Fostex FE168EZ 168mm full range driver, 1x Fostex FT96H supertweeter
Inputs: gold-plated brass connectors
Crossover frequency: 6.3kHz
Frequency response: not specified (varies with room dynamics)
Impedance: 8 Ohms
Recommended Amplifiers: Low-mid powered tube or solid state with low or no feedback.
Recommended Placement: Near wall or room corner placement is desirable.
Preferred clearance between speakers: >1.5 m.
Listening Distance: >2 m.
Dimensions (HxWxD): 1160 x 280 x 490mm
Finishes: Range of standard veneers, custom finish
Price: £5,995 per pair
Manufacturer: Tune Audio
UK Distributor: BD Audio