This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below
Immediately noticeable with the Sarabande is an ability to express the music in a manner that brings back emotions usually experienced at a live concert. This is a lively-sounding speaker in the literal meaning of the word; a speaker that invokes in the listener a sense of tense excitement and a speaker that effortlessly expresses scale and magnitude.

Emotive connection to an intangible musical event is the culmination and collection of a number of reproduction elements. Dynamic range is just one and here the Sarabande speakers excel, no doubt due to the perfectly-matched amplifier and driver combinations.

Togneti's violin soars above the backing quartet, its inflections and minutiae cutting through the mix and shooting its arrow straight to the heart. Via the Sarabandes, what his instrument lacks in absolute timbral accuracy (a property of exotic drivers and much more expensive products) is made up by sheer extension, dynamic contrast, presentational scale and musical detail. This complete control and extension continues on to the double bass of Maxime Bibeau. At the price, there's very little on the market that can compete with the Sarabande's level of bass power, depth and attack. This is what comes from using two 12-inch drivers working in tandem in a large enclosure and with a specifically tuned amplifier to match. From stroke to pluck, the transient attack on bass notes can be paralysing, with the Lenard speakers capable of wallop that almost equals my Wilson WATT/Puppy System 6, itself an industry reference.

Another essential element that ties emotion to reproduction is a transducer's (and system's) ability to convey details that mirror a real instrument or voice. Not to be confused with timbre, these details include a speaker's handling of micro-dynamics, small transient inflections and the accurate tracking of the input signal. One of my most-used CDs for the exploration of this property (as well as many others) is Curandero's Aras. The Sarabande speakers are very adept detail retrievers, giving the listener the impression that whatever is on the plastic disc (black or silver) gets presented unconcealed and unrestrained.

As matched with both my valve Supratek Sauvignon and solid-state NuForce P9 preamplifiers, the Sarabande was a model of balance, poise and control. Spatially, it can throw a large and deep soundstage, no doubt due to the circular enclosure and reasonably narrow baffle. Image focus was tight and instrument placement accurate within the large soundstage. However, not being the most extended of tweeters, the impression of a venue's acoustic reverberation or ambient signature (recording permitting) was slightly less obvious or recognizable than with higher resolution drivers.

Well-produced rock à la Tool or Porcupine Tree fared extremely well. The Sarabande is a superb rock speaker that controls the bass, slams the midrange and, in a most positive way, sizzles the top end. And here's where the EQ controls come into their own, encouraging one to leave behind audiophile obsessions with ultimate accuracy to simply add an element of fun and enjoyment.

Similarly, jazz and chamber ensembles are easy fodder for the Sarabande. Their control and razor-sharp separation here aid in presenting instruments that are cleanly delineated and present.

Infinite Elements
In the heady world of high-end audio, the Sarabande from Lenard Audio represents quite an achievement in terms of hardware for the dollar. Here's a speaker with an enormously stable enclosure platform, skilful design and engineering that is a powerful statement mirroring the designer's sonic priorities; that of the desire to capture the magic and emotion of the live event - romantic ideals backed up by solid engineering that even includes its own amplification. At the asking price in weak Oz dollars, these speakers represent outstanding value.

The Sarabande speaker from Lenard Audio is not an all-out audiophile speaker; the Sarabande's other iteration will cover that ground with its blend of high-end drivers and hand-made valve amplification. This speaker is not about utter transparency or the absolute in timbral finesse. But as I explored the design and dove deeper into the character of this extraordinary speaker, I discovered what I believe to be the essence of the Sarabande. It is a transducer that is unyielding in its desire to offer sensory pleasure and musical delight. And is that not a parallel to what the experience of live music is about?

Audiophiles who don't get the Sarabande will continue on to seemingly unreachable pursuits of perfection. Lovers of live music will be eternally blissful. And it's that lucky lot that may find eternity is just not long enough...

Quality of packing: none - delivery/installation by designer
Reusability of packing: N/A
Ease of unpacking/repacking: N/A
Condition of component received: demo unit
Completeness of delivery: N/A
Quality of owner's manual: none supplied
Ease of assembly: connection panel underneath speaker limits accessibility
Website comments: informative and comprehensive
Warranty: 12 months on electronics
Human or web interactions: supportive and helpful
Pricing: fantastic value

Lenard Audio website