The people who work in the specialist hi-fi industry are notoriously hard to impress. So when we started hearing good things about the Kudos Cardea C30 from a number of different sources, we couldn't wait to have a listen. You know what? They were right. Kudos' range-topper is a real gem.
A small company such as Kudos could never hope to match the technological might of industry majors such as B&W or Focal, so you won't find tweeters that use diamond or beryllium domes, or exotically shaped cabinets made of extravagant materials.
Kudos, like most small speaker companies, has to work differently.In-house manufacture capability is limited, so drive units come from an OEM supplier, in this case Seas of Norway.
These are top-quality drivers and, in the case of the paper/Nextel-coated mid/bass and dedicated bass unit, modified to Kudos' specification. And it's all housed in 18mm-thick MDF boxes covered by a rather classy wood veneer.
Do everything we wantOnce up and running the C30s are a wonderful listen. They do everything we value in a top-class speaker. They're dynamic, they time well and they combine refinement with plenty of bite.
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Give them a complex piece of music, say, Atlas Air from Massive Attack's Heligoland set or Schubert's Symphony No.9 and they deliver a solid, full-bodied sound that is as revealing as you like, but never sounds overly analytical or sterile. It's a neat trick few rivals manage to emulate.
There are no obvious weaknesses here. Yes, there are speakers out there with greater transparency (Quad Electrostatics), tonal purity (ATCs, Quads and Spendors) or even weightier bass (take a bow, PMC), but the Kudos don't exactly lack in any of these areas either, and combine it all to produce consistently musical results.
If you've got a large room to swallow all that agile bass performance, you'll discover the Cardeas are fit-and-forget speakers of the highest order.
Provided your other electronics are equally talented, you'll end up with a system that focuses all the attention on musical enjoyment rather than simply the mechanics of making sound.