Kudos Audio is a small but well-respected British speaker-maker that's been flying under the radar since 2006, when it released its original Cardea models. Founded by Derek Gilligan, one of the co-founders of Neat Acoustics, Kudos Audio prides itself on designing and building its speakers entirely in Great Britain – and the results are now available in Australia. Locally, they're being imported and distributed by well-known audio specialist Audio Magic.
Until fairly recently, the Cardea models have been continuing in the range with very few modifications, but although they look similar to the originals, the latest 2021–22 versions are according to Gilligan “totally different”, with all of the new changes exemplified in the Cardea Super 10A (which earned a five-star review from us a few months ago) and Super 20A.
“The Super Cardea models deliver significant improvements over their more classic siblings and are Active Ready,” said Aleksandar Maksimovic of Audio Magic. “This means they are configured to allow simple bypassing of the internal crossover for active operation with leading electronics, including Linn Exakt, Devialet Expert and Naim SNAXO crossovers. Active operation opens up a wider upgrade path and enables a variety of performance and personalisation enhancing capabilities.”
Both models feature improved crossover components and both networks are first-order electrical for the low frequencies utilising a zero-distortion low-resistance Mundorf air-core inductors. High frequency filtering is via a second-order network using a high-end 400V ICW CMR capacitor, a small Mundorf air-core inductor, and a Mundorf Supreme resistor.
Both loudspeakers use a custom 180mm mid-bass unit with a die-cast chassis made in Norway expressly for Kudos. It has a coated paper cone, and either a 39mm voice coil (Super 10A) or a 26mm voice coil (Super 20A). Both drivers include a copper ring for reduced distortion and increased linearity and a metal phase plug to aid directivity and increase heat dissipation.
The tweeter on both models is a customised version of the famous SEAS Crescendo K2 29mm fabric dome. Both models are available in Black Oak, Natural Oak, Satin White, and Walnut.
“As Kudos’ owner and designer, Derek has pursued an alternative methodology, using music as the primary tool in loudspeaker design and assessment,” said Maksimovic. “This departure from traditional approaches takes confidence and a wealth of experience and contributes to what makes Kudos different and had made it one of the fastest-growing UK loudspeaker companies in recent years.”