About a year ago, we cast a beady First Test eye over the Aurousal A1s and found them to be outstanding in places and rather compromised in others. Three stars was the all-too-predictable result.
Now the Milton Keynes firm is back with a Mk2 version – and a sizeable price hike – that supposedly addresses our concerns.
Happily, all the likeable aspects of the original A1s are carried over. The Mk2s are as well made and finished as anything at the money, and certainly aren't giving anything away to rivals where perceived value is concerned. A quick spin of Regina Spektor's On the Radio is enough to confirm that the Aurousals haven't lost any of their considerable sonic charm, either.
Dynamic, smooth presentation
The single driver guarantees a stepless journey from the bottom of the frequency range to the top and, unlike the original A1s, these Mk2s are able to summon adequate low-frequency presence and tonal modulation.
They don't provide the last word in bass weight, but any track from the thumping new Radiohead album is plentifully punchy. In fact, the overall presentation is impressively dynamic and smooth, while the lack of a crossover means the midrange (where more traditional speakers are handing over from one driver to another) is sweetly uncorrupted.
What a single driver can't guarantee is complete representation of the frequency extremes and, while the Mk2s certainly have a manful stab at low-end stuff, they can struggle to fully explore the top end. Treble sounds a little captive and inhibited, and the Aurousals don't have quite the extension of some rivals.
However, we think many people will find this shortfall an acceptable trade-off when stacked against the Mk2s' impressive stereo imaging and effortlessly communicative midrange. While the price hike hasn't made them any more attractive, the improvements in adaptability and overall sound quality certainly have.