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Chris Redmond
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Source: AMR CD-77
Preamp: Music First Passive Magnetic Silver,
Power amps: E.A.R 509 valve monoblocks, AMR AM-77 in power amp mode
Cables: Kimber Select KS-1030 silver, Kimber Select KS-3035 silver/copper, Artisan Silver Dream
Power cords: Kimber High Current, JPS Kaptovator
Power delivery: PS Audio P600 multi-wave power regenerator, separate Kimber High Current-wired mains spur
Stands: Single sand-filled column Atacama for Dynaudio Contour 1.3mk2s, Finite Elemente SpiderRack for components, Townsend isolation platform
Room Size: 70 cubic meters
Room treatments: Acoustic System Int. acoustic resonators and sugar cubes
Review Component Retail: £3999/pair including VAT.

It's Saturday, October 18th. I'm walking the three or four hundred yards from the car park to the  Renaissance Hotel, venue for 'Sound & Vision – the Manchester Show.' As someone with an avid interest in home theater as well as audio, this was a 'must attend' event especially considering the barely 13 miles drive. Perusal of the exhibition programme revealed four floors and over 90 exhibitors. As expected, there were plenty of new products for the HT enthusiast due to video technology and the associated audio codecs/processing progressing at a remarkable pace. For basic stereo listening though, it was the usual suspects providing the best sounds by using tried and true technology combined with sound engineering and superior components.

Audio Note's room was my favorite followed by Sugden's who had a very impressive new two-way speaker. One system which also caught my interest was using a very elegant and surprisingly compact single-driver speaker, the Curvi Model 1 Version 2. Being used to seeing quite extravagant enclosures utilizing single Lowthers, this obviously didn’t. Neither did the narrow folded enclosure flare into a horn, having me wonder which driver created such coherent musical sounds. A look at the Curvi Hifi flyer revealed it to be a Ted Jordan widebander, specifically the JX92S. Combined with the TL cabinet, it claimed to provide an almost 10 octave in-room bandwidth (35Hz to 25kHz) which Curvi suggested was the widest of any "SDL of domestically acceptable dimensions".

The way the 2.4m long tapered-line enclosure had been created was impressive in its brilliant simplicity. Basically, Simon McLay of McLay Furniture in East Sussex cut sheets of Birch ply by CNC router to form perpendicular cross sections which thereafter were stacked and bonded. This meant that while the enclosure sides would be flat, it was possible to manufacture virtually any line shape efficiently and with great accuracy, by transferring drafted blue prints to templates. With the Curvis, my reasoning assumed two templates, one to form the two 18mm ply sides and another to form the cut-out of the tapered line consisting of six 18mm sheets and one 24mm sheet in the center to achieve the correct width needed to leave 12mm between driver and cabinet edges.

This mental reverse-engineering of the manufacturing process is how my brain works. Still, I was enjoying the music without feeling the urge to move to the next room. A few minutes later I'd heard enough to convince me that here was a very nice-sounding attractive and  compact speaker which I'd like to review. Fortunately designer Chris Liauw was present and after a brief conversation, wheels were put in motion - specifically those of my van the following weekend in the direction of local retailer Audio-T run by David W. Speirs.

Half an hour after arriving at the Audio-T store in Warrington, I secured with Bungie cords a pair of boxed Curvis serial numbers 0001 and 0002 in the rear of the van. Back home upon opening up the first single-layer cardboard box, I was presented with a solid side of white foam, not Styrofoam or polystyrene which tend to disintegrate over time. Lifting up the foam, there was Curvi numero uno curled up like a fetus within its cradle. Also secured in its own cut-out alongside was the slate plinth and on the underside of the bottom foam in a small cardboard box four spikes and four screws/washers to connect the plinth.

All very neat, very reusable and the boxes themselves weren't unduly large. Lifting  the speaker from the snug friction fit of the bottom foam was easy as it's not heavy though it was initially awkward deciding where to grab hold due to the shape and lack of straight edges. After removal, I laid the Curvi on its back driver facing up before removing the plinth and discovering the box with the spikes and screws. To fit the plinth, I placed the speaker in my listening chair back against backrest, bottom facing up. This allowed the plinth holes to line up, screws insert and finally spikes to screw into place. 

The enclosure is 164mm or just under 6½ inches wide while depth is around 460mm or 18 inches. The plinth is 350 x 230 x 28 D x W x H and wider than the wooden cabinet to add stability though the cabinet does extend beyond the plinth front to back. The whole assembly stands 970mm or 38 3/16"tall minus the spikes. Those add another 34mm or 1 3/8".

Fully assembled with the not insubstantial plinth, it was very easy to maneuver each 24kg speaker around holding it just behind the driver. After spending considerable time and effort positioning the resident Audio Note AN/E Silver Signatures, I was reluctant to remove these if at all possible so the Curvis were positioned in front of them – at least until I had a chance to see if they had any adverse effect on the newcomers whose lack of rear-firing port meant there was a good chance they'd be okay. So it proved. [This was faulty procedure. To check adverse effects, the Audio Notes had to be removed first. Even without negative audible effects, at the very least the Audio Notes had to be shorted out. Still, it should become standard procedure to only have the review speakers set up. The usual residents must be removed to another room or closet. Anything less is laziness and not acceptable – Ed]