What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Mon, 5 Jan 2009, 5:00pm

Aurousal VS

Tested at £1650
80100
4

The Aurousals have all of the advantages of a single-driver speaker, with fewer of the disadvantages

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For

  • Flawless timing and focus
  • excellent small-scale dynamics and detail
  • superb bass and treble

Against

  • These Aurousals struggle with big-scale dynamics
  • tonally a bit uneven
  • fussy over positioning

These Aurousals are very unusual indeed. We entirely understand if you don't believe us when we say that – after all, these speakers do look exceptionally unexceptional – but allow us to explain…

The two normal-looking silver drivers are actually full-range units that are connected in parallel.

This way you get the benefits of a single driver (faultless timing and speed), but with added bass extension being provided by the cumulative effects of the combined soundwaves, as well as a carefully tuned bass reflex port.

The other general flaw of single-driver speakers, an overly focused treble, is also overcome by a manually adjustable separate tweeter.

To ensure this clever design works optimally, you must toe-in the speakers far more than usual, so that the output of each meets at a point just in front of the listening position.

This may all sound like hassle to some, but make the effort and you'll be rewarded with a sound that in many ways is stunning.

To say the Aurousals have good timing is a massive understatement.

Play Kate Bush's exceptionally challenging Watching You Without Me, and the VSs make perfect sense of the eccentric madness, placing all of the vastly varied, peculiar sounds with pinpoint precision.

Bass and treble are impressive
More surprising is the bass, which is solid and substantial. What's more, with the tweeter set at halfway, treble frequencies are fast and sparkly.

When placed correctly you also get an unwaveringly focused soundstage, and it has surprising width if positioned with care.

Throw in rather terrific detail levels and you've got the perfect speaker, right? Well, not quite. The problem is that they're tonally a little uneven, with some noticeable troughs in the frequency range.

It's also fair to say that although the Aurousals are dab-hands at small-scale dynamics, when asked to reproduce an epic like Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, they struggle to convey the full extent of the dramatic crescendos and peaks.

The other thing to bear in mind is that the sweet spot is still fairly narrow, but if you value timing over all else, you simply must hear these excellent floorstanders.

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