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I could cite many examples but I take just one: Skip Sempé on cimbalom playing Buxtehude's "Abendmusik' on DHM. That's a great test CD because it ruthlessly reveals differences in tonal balance between speaker systems. One evening I decided to have a dose of Buxtehude's cimbalom sonatas before finishing my listening session for that day. I still had a very fresh recollection of how the music came out in my system over the Tound T.04s when next morning I inserted the same CD in Ensemble's Dirondo CD player connected to Ensemble's Fuoco integrated and Figura speakers. I was shocked. I hardly recognized it as the same music. The sound through the Ensemble system was super fast (much faster than with my system and the T.04), sharp and the tone was more metallic and bright. More importantly, the gestalt of the music had undergone a complete transformation.

Through the Tound T.04, Buxtehude's music was flowing like a river, one note overlapping the other in a lasting limpid continuum. Through the Ensemble system, Skip Sempé suddenly abandoned all legato and music became bouncy, playful and brilliant. Which one was better? Which one was more truthful to the intentions of the composer? No trivial questions, these. Both had advantages and in my opinion, the Tound T.04 made a strong argument. Its presentation made Buxthehude's music more spectacular, more of a straight-to-the-heart thing. I'm serious about this. I'm not desperately searching to say something complimentary about the T.04. There were many instances when I realized that what the T.04 did to the sound -- or rather not -- was not according to the generally accepted rules and conventions. All the same, given the music played, the T.04's made a very strong case for its way. Experiences such as this confirm my growing belief that high fidelity should be about sound manipulation in a multitude of subtle ways rather than about slavishly reproducing the original sound.

Given the size and volume of the T.04, its bass output was great. Somehow the bass managed to be more believable and credible and certainly different from the bass of a volumetrically similar sized standard ported 2-way speaker. I couldn't resist the thought that the bass had that appeal precisely because the total balance was what it was. Like the well-known principle says: if the highest notes aren't completely developed, neither should the lowest notes be.

I had an opportunity to listen to the Tound T.04 in an alternate surrounding, which is always useful (thanks to Kimmo Niinimäki from I tested the T.04s in two different setups: first with Accustic Art SS electronics (CD player and integrated) from Germany and secondly with Tri's tube electronics (CD player and integrated with NOS tubes) from Japan. Both did good work with the T.04 but like at home, I preferred tube electronics with these speakers. The Tri gear appeared to open up the midrange and make it more transparent, more tangible. Piano recordings especially benefitted from Tri's treatment. I think with the T.04 it really pays to experiment with different amplification. According to the manufacturer, the Tound T.04's sensitivity is 86dB (2.83 V/1m) and the nominal impedance 8 ohms. Despite the sensitivity, I'd encourage to experiment with small-powered tube amps.

Finally, it's no secret that some drivers and speakers go especially well with an analogue source. Something in them (e.g. a paper cone) compliments the signal coming from the turntable. My experience is that many widebanders fit this category. Maybe the reason is that the vinyl format excels in the midrange and that therefore speakers that give preference to the midrange manage to better reveal the realism of the vinyl sound. Be that as it may, the Tound T.04 certainly is a speaker that compliments an analogue source. The last ten days or so of the review period, I just played records and had so much fun!

The Tound T.04 is an unusual speaker in many ways. To become an owner of such an unusual combination of ambitious cosmetics and personal sound requires resources: a pair of T.04s (gloss black) costs €7900 (other finishes €6900) and the stands are €1390. With that kind of money, it wouldn't be unfair to demand certain technical features the T.04 lacks, such as a heavier overall construction, in particular more rigid and massive stands with proper spikes. Knowing what high quality speakers are on offer for 10,000 euros, it wouldn't be unjust to hope for a slightly more correct tonal balance either - just to cater to more universal matters of taste within some reasonable limits despite the fact that with many music choices, the sound of the T.04 as is made much sense.

At some point, it occurred to me that the Tound T.04 could be a great party speaker! It could be proudly shown off and the sound is such that the speaker could be allowed to play in the background without breaking up the conversation and getting on anyone's nerves.

Tound website