The bass is surprisingly deep for a standmount of this size, and yet is capable of both texture when playing Simpson’s fast open-string runs and also showing up the one-note woody quality to Public Enemy’s drone tones. Couple this with a very good ability to project deep bass on ‘Teardrop’ from Massive Attack’s Mezzanine [Virgin] and it’s clear this is better bass than you might expect. Especially as the bass on ‘Chameleon’ by Trentemøller’s The Last Resort [Poker Flat] sounds distant, until it hits you like a brick wall.
There’s a fairly major part of the Darius presentation that makes a lot of sense. Roksan’s new Oxygene line of electronics is an ideal partner. We were supplied an Oxygene amplifier to accompany the Darius S1 for the purposes of the test. I think as a package, it’s one of the most important UK high-end products in many years, because it manages to tow a pragmatic line between high performance and absolute ease of use. But the sound of one meets the sound of the other perfectly, and the resultant synergy is not ‘two wrongs make a right’, but ‘two rights make a righter!’
The acid tests of any good system from a reviewer’s perspective are two-fold. First comes ‘would I buy this for (insert saintly old relative here)?’ and if that one is passed, then the ‘if I lost all the reviewer magic powers, and this were the only system I could buy, would I be content?’ question jumps out at you. The simple answer to both is a resounding ‘yes!’ – I’d be happy with the all-Roksan system and I’d be happy with the Darius hanging off the end of something very good indeed. There’s something just ‘right’ about the sound here.
I can’t help listening to the Darius without drawing the Raidho C1.1 into the fight. The C1.1 is an expensive, but outstanding, loudspeaker that demands the best and gives the best. The Darius observes the same rules, but with two pivotal additions: it’s nowhere near as expensive as the C1.1 and it doesn’t make the same uncompromising demands on room and install. In a straight fight, there would be no clear winner, but as the Darius is so much cheaper, it’s not a fair fight. Granted, if you were to partner up the Darius with the sort of mind-bendingly high-end equipment commonly seen hanging out with the C1.1, the Raidho’s ability to extract the last degrees of detail and focus wins out. But in the real world, where people don’t put £30,000 CD players and £40,000 cables on the end of standmount speakers, the differences between the two speakers are more blurred. Indeed, the Roksan’s less uncompromising take on placement and partnership might make it the better sounding design in many rooms.
In many respects, the last thing the world needs is another loudspeaker. But as soon as you season that sentence with the word ‘good’, suddenly you begin to see why the Roksan Darius S1 is a welcome addition. It does that difficult thing: balance. It’s not just a matter of tonal balance, but of balancing between the demands for detail and imagery from the audiophiles and the demands for just a good, unfussy sound from music lovers. Roksan claims the Darius S1 is the best loudspeaker the company knows how to make. It’s absolutely right. Highly recommended!
Type: 2-way, two-driver stand-mount monitor with rear-ported
bass reflex enclosure.
Driver complement: One sealed Aurum Cantus G2N ribbon
tweeter, one 125mm mid-bass driver.
Inputs: Bi-wire terminals.
Frequency response: 47Hz – 30kHz (-3dB)
Crossover frequency: not specified
Impedance: >4 Ohms
Dimensions (HxWxD): 376 x 200 x 376mm
Finishes: Piano Black, High-Gloss White.
Price (including stands): £5,250/pair
Manufacturer: Roksan Audio Ltd
Tel: +44(0) 208 900 6801
UK Distributor: Henley Designs Ltd
Tel: +44(0)1235 511166