What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Tue, 16 Mar 2010, 9:00am

Tangent Evo 4

Tested at £135
60100
3

The Evo 4’s dimensions and finish beg you to love them, but the sound makes a second date unlikely

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For

  • Small and perfectly formed
  • choice of colours
  • jaunty sound

Against

  • Need a rocket up them to reach decent volume levels
  • they get hard and shouty at any level beyond reasonable

You'll need to glance at the technical specifications of these Tangent loudspeakers to properly appreciate just how small they are.

In the meantime, be assured that even against their leading competitors, these standmounters are definitely the smallest around.

Add a lustrous, curvy finish (available in five glossy colours), an infinite baffle design that promises easy positioning and a bundled flush-mount wall-bracket, and you've got a recipe for success. Haven't you?

Fortunately for such small speakers, the Evo 4s are usefully relaxed about their position in your listening room.

There's a touch more assertion to the overall presentation when backed against a wall, certainly, but moving them out into free space doesn't compromise sound to any big degree.

Upfront presentation
On the whole, the Evo 4s are reminiscent of some of the bigger representatives of the Evo range we've listened to in the past.

They have a peppy, upfront sound, ever eager to snap through testing tempos and always keen, like the Godfather of Soul, to get on the good foot.

A listen to Shout Out Louds' Normandie confirms their uncomplicated modus operandi: poised, attentive to transients and able to describe the information-packed leading edge of notes with confidence.

Separation and focus is good too, and there's decent speed and variation to the low frequencies.

The midrange is clean and communicative, and there's an enjoyable crispness to the highest frequencies.

Holes are picked
A switch to Happy Mondays' woozy classic Pills ‘n' Thrills and Bellyaches picks a few holes in this good news, however.

For all their efforts, the Evo 4s are an undeniably lightweight listen, the alacrity of their bass reproduction far more impressive than the body or extension they can muster.

And only modest raising of volume levels results in a palpable hardening of the sound, the Tangents becoming pretty fierce through the treble frequencies and the midrange getting a little glassy.

We'd also question Tangent's sensitivity figure of 89dB/W/m – the Evo 4s demanded more gain control input than most other rivals before playing at a comparable volume.  
 
Tiny, colourful, delightfully finished? Certainly. But a real contender at the price? Afraid not. 

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