Usher’s three-way Dancer CP-8571 II is a dead-serious high-end speaker that offers innovative design, Rolex-like construction, exceptionally high-performance drivers, and—most importantly—sound so good that it easily competes with American and European speakers selling for thousands more.
Founded in 1972, Usher Audio Technology has become well-known throughout Asia for its speakers and high-quality OEM driver units. Usher drivers feature a proprietary technology called Symme-Motion, which is said to give the company’s speakers highly symmetrical long-throw excursion capabilities and the ability to play with low distortion at both high- and low-output levels. Usher’s president, Lien-Shui Tsai, hired Dr. Joseph D’Appolito as product design and development collaborator. Tsai defines the overall speaker configuration, chooses drive units, and oversees enclosure design, while D’Appolito takes responsibility for crossover design and speaker voicing. This melding of the minds yields products with a magical sound.
The Dancer is highly focused, thanks largely to its Beryllium tweeter that supplies gobs of high-frequency and upper-midrange detail without a trace of edge or glare. Similarly, the speaker’s 7" mid/woofer can resolve extremely fine textures and nuances, yet offers enough power to capture explosive transients and enough reach to handle upper-bass frequencies with authority. I wouldn’t have thought a 7" driver could sound so agile and versatile, but this one tracks complex waveforms more faithfully than most. Finally, the Dancer’s low-resonance/low-diffraction baffle plates contribute to the sense of focus by allowing listeners to hear exactly what the drive units have to say.
On recordings such as Philip Hii’s acoustic-guitar transcription of the Chopin Nocturnes [GSP] that capture natural hall ambience, air, and fine details, the Usher presents delicate overtones, subtle instrumental resonances, and small finger and string sounds so realistically that you would swear the performer was standing directly across the room. On closely miked recordings like Patricia Barber’s recent Blue Note CDs, the Usher has a deliciously intimate, personal quality; musical details just appear as a natural and balanced part of the performance. But the Ushers also have sufficient resolving power to handle large-scale orchestral works, remaining composed even when orchestration becomes dense and complicated (on Mahler symphonies, for example). Together, these characteristics allow you to savor fine details in recordings much like the way a magnifying glass lets you appreciate small textures you can’t ordinarily see in everyday objects. The only downside is, once you grow accustomed to the Dancer, most other speakers sound either out-of-focus or etched and exaggerated.