MAD 1920 review

Conventional and compact, but unusually big on quality Tested at £1350

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A distinctive but hugely appealing sonic balance makes these speakers well worth considering


  • +

    Full-bodied and expressive presentation

  • +

    impressive bass power for cabinet size

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    fine build


  • -

    Lacks a touch of agility and rhythmical precision

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The initials MAD stand for My Audio Design, but there’s far more of interest here than just an odd name. Despite a conventional configuration – two way with a reflex port – the MAD 1920s deliver anything but ordinary performance.

To get the best from these 28cm-tall speakers you need to take a little care when setting up. Unlike most rivals, they prefer to be placed relatively close to a rear wall – around 25cm away worked well in our listening room.

Add a pair of quality stands, such as Custom Design’s FS104 Signatures (£200) and the 1920s turn in a performance that belies their compact dimensions.

MAD 1920

MAD 1920: Sound quality
This is especially true with low frequencies, where their 15cm mid/bass delivers an impressive combination of depth, power and solidity for a speaker of this size.

Move up the frequency range and you’ll find a surprisingly full-bodied presentation. The highs sound a little restrained, but not to the point of being lifeless, and the midrange shows-off the speaker’s fine integration by sounding both seamless and expressive.

This combination of varying talents is more than enough to produce a speaker that’s as capable with bass-loaded tracks such as James Blake’s Limit To Your Love as it is playing Kate Bush’s wonderfully intimate Snowflake.

Flaws? These MADs aren’t particularly pure, tonally, nor do they have the agility and rhythmical precision of the very best at this price level. Yet sit back, relax and stop analysing the sound and we’re sure the 1920’s confident presentation will appeal.

MAD 1920: VerdictWhile appearing to be entirely conventional, these MADs turn out to be unusually charming performers with a solid and expressive sonic presentation.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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