Old British hi-fi brands never die – they just hang around in limbo, waiting for their name, logo and reputation to be purchased by an adventurous overseas investor.
It happened to Wharfedale and Rogers, with notably different results, and now it's happened to Onix, formerly of Brighton, East Sussex.
The Concerto 1s certainly look like a confident return. They're expertly finished in glossy black, with smooth curves and chunky speaker binding posts at the rear.
Behind the grille, both tweeter and driver feature substantial phase plugs, the bigger of which sports a gold Onix logo – it's just the right side of vulgar.
Good communicationsPlaying Radiohead's Videotape, the Concertos impress with the direct, immediate nature of their midrange delivery: it's not the cleanest we've heard the vocal sound, but it is certainly among the most communicative. They are similarly assertive dynamically, too, and are quite comfortable handling anti-social volumes – despite the quoted 30 watts power-handling ability.
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Radiohead can also, though, fairly ruthlessly expose the Onix's limitations. The same album's 15 Step is a pitiless test of timing, and the Concertos simply aren't up to it – there's no rhythmic sense to the clattering and rattling. Low frequencies, though not short of extension for a speaker of this size, are lacking in conviction. Indeed, they sound, like a punctured football, only half-inflated.
These drawbacks, plus a strangely two-dimensional soundstage, are enough to condemn the Concerto 1s to also-ran status.
It has to be said that they're not without charm, and the standard of build and finish is approaching the top of the class. That, though, is simply not enough. There are many more compelling sounds to be had from a £600 pair of standmount speakers.