The X2 is the first product in a new range of Kudos loudspeakers designed to bring as many of the attributes of the Cardea range as possible to an entry level product. During development of the X2 it was quickly nicknamed the MC2 (Mini Cardea 2) partly due to its looks of a scaled down C2, but also due to its remarkable ability to deliver many of the sonic hallmarks which have set the C2 apart from the pack.
The cabinet is constructed from 18mm high density MDF specifically chosen for its acoustic properties and is carefully tuned to minimise cabinet colouration and time smear. The cabinet is beautifully finished with real wood veneer, and using experience gained with the Cardea range, the reflex port is situated on the bottom of the cabinet; the plinth then provides a fixed boundary gap for the port to work optimally, as well as providing additional stability.
The drive units are manufactured exclusively for Kudos by Norwegian specialists SEAS and have been specifically designed for this application. Both drivers are of exceptional quality and the main driver uses a cast chassis for optimal stability. These drive units and cabinet are woven together with bespoke crossover components from specialists Clarity Caps and Volt to produce one of the most musically rewarding compact loudspeakers ever.
"The Kudos X2 eloquently makes the point that you shouldn't pick on the little fella."
Hi-Fi News Jan '11
"Its main strength is an impressively lively demeanour, with a vibrant, open and coherent sound quality"
Hi-Fi Choice, Oct '10
Main driver: Kudos 15cm coated paper cone and 26mm voice coil
Tweeter: Kudos 25mm soft dome
Impedance: Nominal 8 ohms
Dimensions: 780mm x 166mm x 206mm (hwd)
Frequency response: 30Hz – 25kHz AIRR (Average In Room Response)
Kudos Audio at a glance
A bit of History...
Following on from the S100 the lower cost S50 firmly established the company for first rate performance and high quality engineering. Indeed the S50 continues to win awards for its performance and is a highly respected product many years after it was introduced.
In 2006 the company took a change in direction when it was re-launched by Derek Gilligan, the renowned loudspeaker designer, by moving into the design and production of a range of high performance loudspeakers. Derek is a true audiophile who demands the very best.
Coming from a family of skilled cabinet makers, hi-fidelity enthusiasts and professional musicians, (as well as having worked as a music / sound engineer in the demanding world of professional audio) and after years of designing for other companies, Derek wanted to bring a range of loudspeakers to the market based around exemplary engineering without gimmick, or artifice.
This is outlined in more detail in the 'Our Philosophy' section, and is the underpinning ethos of everything the company produces. The loudspeakers have already gone on to win awards and establish themselves as some of the best sounding available, with each model setting a standard at its respective price point.
Kudos is not standing still, continuous development and the desire to improve is a given and new ideas and products are always being worked upon.
The Kudos range of loudspeakers are designed with the overriding principle of allowing our customers to enjoy their music as much as possible, with the best engineered product at a given price point. A simple statement to make, but one which involves a lot of hard work to achieve, especially as we are our own worst critics and never release a product until we are fully satisfied with it.
A great many of the hi-fi loudspeakers on the market today utilise mass-produced components and styling techniques to make them appear more impressive and to hit key price points. This has unfortunately become a common practise and can lead to quality and consistency issues, severely compromising the end product. Instead, we at Kudos use traditional well-proven engineering techniques, the highest quality components, and the time-honoured method of voicing our loudspeaker by ear to produce inspiring results.
Some may wonder why not use a more complex solution but we prefer to follow an old an well proven piece of advice put forward by a Franciscan Friar and logician, William of Occam - entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem. This statement is often known as “Occam’s Razor” and translates as “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity” – we take this to mean “keep it as simple as can be, but do it as well as you can”.
At Kudos we work very closely with SEAS of Norway on the design of our drive units which means we can draw on their vast knowledge of drive unit behaviour. SEAS provide us with a bespoke service and unparalleled build quality allowing us to have customised drive units for any application, so we always have the right driver for the job.
All of our Cardea models use 18cm main drive units, but the units used in the compact stand mount models are very different to those used in the larger floorstanders, although they look very similar. These different drive units have been designed to work in different cabinet volumes so we are able to use a unit ideally suited to its job in each model. For economic reasons this is something which many loudspeaker designers are not able to do and they are forced to use identical drive units throughout a range, compromising the overall performance.
In case you are wondering, the C30 uses a whole other set of units as well, just to make sure it too has the best of the best!
The tweeters we use throughout all of our loudspeakers are of exceptionally high quality, the “Crescendo” unit used in the C10, C20 and C30 is almost certainly the finest treble unit available today. Its only downside is that it’s also one of the most expensive! Similarly the other tweeter units used in the C1, C2 and X range are very high performing units with excellent detail, dynamics and harmonic accuracy. All of the tweeter units provide excellent dispersion characteristics and a very even response.
Kudos strongly believes that one of the keys to a truly musical performance from loudspeakers is a minimalist, low order crossover. To allow us to implement this we work very hard to ensure superb integration between the drive units. Our mid bass drivers are designed to have a very smooth and predictable roll off characteristic and match the treble units so well that minimal electrical compensation is necessary.
Low order crossovers have the benefit of lower phase distortion and energy storage so they are better at preserving the harmonic structure with less time smear and “ringing” (the storage and release of energy within the components).
Our crossover components are of true audiophile quality from suppliers such as Volt and Clarity Caps and are made specifically for us to stringent tolerances. The capacitors in the C10, C20 and C30 are silver wired and all internal wiring is done with quality Chord Company cables.
There are many theories on cabinet design for loudspeakers and each has its own advantages and disadvantages, at Kudos we use a relatively simple design but ensure it is executed as ably as current technology allows. Our cabinets are made from a high density MDF with internal bracing, they are damped with a variety of specialised compounds to control resonance and ensure minimal cabinet colouration interferes with the reproduced music. Externally, high quality real wood veneers and lacquers are used to provide a furniture standard finish.
Single and Bi-Wire
The reasons why single wire operation can sound better are many and a book could probably be written about the subjective pros and cons for both single and bi-wiring. It has always been our intention that the bi-terminals on a Kudos loudspeaker are intended for bi-amping and the removal of any links between terminals on a single amp system could only ever be a good thing.
Within the context of certain manufacturers’ systems and the painstaking attention to detail they put into the earthing arrangements, the improvements can become much easier to understand and hear. With the single wire arrangement we are essentially continuing the star earth principle all the way down the chain to the drive units themselves. For this type of system it is not surprising therefore that this is the configuration which sounds the best.
The sonic advantages are mainly in the time domain and harmonic structure; this is where the key elements that string the separate parts of music together are held. The result is a more cohesive and believable rendition of a given musical performance.
Rather than just make bi-wire loudspeakers and supply them with a wire link, we ensure each of our Cardea loudspeakers can perform to its best by making them available in two versions: one with a single amp configuration crossover, which is our standard supply, as well as one with a bi-amp configuration crossover to special order. This way we can ensure the loudspeaker can operate in the most sympathetic way possible to suit the system in which it is being used.