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The Comp 5 knows how to deal with impulses. She's quick out of the gate without hesitation but doesn't foreshorten decays. A piano is attack and ring-out, a guitar not merely pluck but tone. Is rhythmic balance a hifi term? Its definition could be music flow without flood. Then what would be flood? Take a really soft valve linked to a watt-sucker speaker with softly hung woofers and voilà, deep sauce. Not here. The Audium Comp 5 clearly marks the musical progression with its transients but connects their dots. There's not skipping as I suspect certain 'super-fast' components are guilty of.

Two specific items about rhythmic fidelity beg attention with this speaker. Surprise, there's a small fun rise in the upper bass. It's purely virtuous and not used to fake up warmth or fullness. Rather, a kick bass goes bham, bham, bham and is gone as quickly as it arrived. Thankfully, nothing booms. Two, the speaker is quite the omnivore and handles valves as well as transistors. Of course it depends on the tube. Certain combos went too soft down low but particularly in the mids where the widebander reigns, the glowing bits served up superior flow. Rhythm isn't merely brachial (though certain folks favor the disco) but most the time, more about accentuated flow with an innate (elegant) swing. Well, whatever...

The counter strike with SAC's il piccolo solid-state monos and their extreme, full bandwidth >20.000 damping factor wasn't merely a shooting-starlings-with-cannons price mismatch (€4.800 amp on a 2K speaker, preamp extra) but it was really questionable why one would serve up 5-figure damping factors to a bare handful of cone surface. Music snapped to military salute like a line of ramrod sergeants and I wanted to cry out "At ease, people!" Moral of this story? Don't damp the living daylights out of the Audium's mid/high bands. The bass did perk up nicely though.

Another forté of the Audium box is completely convincing soundstaging. Everything projects freely without sticking to the enclosures and not only is there width, depth layering isn't merely solid but considering price, darn phenomenal. This could be due to the point-source concept which, remembering the punificence of the driver, does quite literally approach a point. It also renders the Comp 5 fit for small-room or close-up duties. After all, point source is relative to listener distance. A 6cm diameter covering 6.5 octaves shrinks what's necessary for the latter to work. Admittedly, I didn't schlepp the speaker offshore to a second, far smaller room. Yet I deliberately moved her far away from the front wall to get within 2 meters of my seat. Even that close, the soundstage didn't suffer.

Image focus and localization lock are very good. There's no ambivalence and voices and instruments are properly sited and clearly separated (if the recording allows). But this isn't razor-edged nor a euphemism for nearly. Rather, it's an additional bonus, i.e. a tendency I personally favor. Instead of full-on holography with highlighted outlines, the Comp 5 bestows a certain bodily roundness or plasticity which I find far more natural. Perhaps this borrows from millimeter-obsessed accuracy but when someone bursts into song or plucks a string, it's more of a realistic physical experience.

That such audiophile refinements would be within the providence of a €2000 speaker was unexpected. Ditto for the hall sound of many albums. Be it artificial as on Cat Powers' Jukebox where a studio exec must have said, "some reverb puhleeze or things go flat"; or real ambiance (say Zappa's Yellow Shark), the Audium doesn't merely transmit amorphous atmosphere but clearly differentiates between recording venues.

Tonally, Audium's Comp 5 appears very balanced and coherent despite that small upper bass emphasis which, as mentioned already, is a rhythmic asset rather than flab liability. Just don't expect much at the very bottom. There she fades as suitable material makes obvious, particularly if you've previously heard it on heavy-caliber bass-endowed boxes. Something is missing there but one responds to that far easier than ill-fated attempts at faking up hot air where one is clearly out of breath. The Comp 5 is neither a full bandwidth design nor poseur.

Mids and highs mesh so seamlessly that I have no appetite for verbal fencing. Next to rhythmic élan and staging chops, this is the central celebration: balance. Which tends to sound boring considering our endless pursuits of extremes: "stupendous bass", "lively fast mids", "unbelievable treble resolution". None of those fly here 100%. Scale things back a bit, then add 'em all up to approach the Audium's character. You want to know what is, 1, a virtue; 2, where she's more mature than many highly specialized dazzlers; and 3 and most vitally, how she's predestined for long-term satisfaction.

Two weeks into proud ownership, there's little chance of silent confessions, of speakers sounding as though parked in an empty bathroom; suffering hyper presence; sporting a nice treble sheen but no foundation and such. The Audium sounds integrated and transparent, never frazzles the nerves yet avoids all sad reluctance. With her it's the music, not hifi-approved test records with gnarly sound effects.

What else?
Microdynamics impress, intimate song doesn't go stale when all finely nuanced fluctuations of output levels are so astutely tracked. One remains involved. This naturally goes for instrumental passages too. Macrodynamics are in line with size and price. This doesn't mean poor, just not core strength. High drama entries with forceful scale are unrealistic and accordingly turn out one size smaller. This is a medium-size speaker for medium-size rooms after all. There's nothing wrong with a 40m² spread if that's where the party's dance floor happens to be. Just be ye dancing and not tied to the sweet spot, paper and pen at the anal ready to critique audiophile effects at civilized SPLs.

It's rare for a product to ace things from every which angle but Audium's Comp 5 is one such beast. Literally, she looks good from all sides. She's suitably petite and curvy to enjoy broad acceptance well outside hardcore criminal circles - er, audiophiles. Fit & finish are beyond reproach. Be it lacquer, terminals or gap tolerances, everything's top notch. Most vital for the hifi and music lover is of course the sound. It's here that the Audium goes beyond really good into truly extraordinary relative to asking price. Most entry-level boxes are good here, adequate there. Crossing off the audiophile check list, they embark on one wild roller-coaster ride. Such speakers are suitable only for specialized listeners who focus hard on their pluses and willingly overlook their shortcomings. Nothing wrong with that. The Audium Comp 5 however is simply not an Alpine roller-coaster proposition but a high plain. Perhaps one or the other peak remain out of reach but most everything else lives on a lower level.

The Audium Comp 5 is characterized by:
  • Excellent rhythmic agility which minds the flow between each bar's accents.
  • Very good spatial illumination. The stage starts on the ground line between the boxes and extends far behind them. Image focus is high but sounds have body and plasticity rather than laser-trimmed silhouettes. Separation is very good and not artificial.
  • Lively quick bass with a slight upper-bass emphasis that's fun, not ponderous. True sub bass is mostly MIA as it is with nearly 100% of all speakers in this class.
  • The widebander travels from the lower mids to the highest highs without a breach and covers this range in an informative, natural and open manner free from harshness. Treble resolution is good but not fantastic.
  • This speaker isn't unconditionally SPL stable. It'll play respectably loud but beyond that, loses its charms bit by bit.


  • Model: Audium Comp 5
  • Concept: 2-way bass reflex floorstander with widebander above 200Hz
  • Finish options: hi-gloss white or black, Wild Cherry, Macassar or Zebrano veneers
  • Sensitivity: 90dB/2.83V/1m
  • Nominal impedance: 4 ohms
  • Weight and dimensions: 215 x 920 x 290mm (WxHxD) / 15 kg
  • Website
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