“With Living Voice I completely reach my maturity after years of research and listenings. It's a magic design.”
Gerardo Ventura, Playstereo, 2017
“It no longer really makes sense to talk about the sound itself but rather how absolutely wonderful the music becomes. I’ve never had such a completely revelatory and unexpected experience in my home audio life.”
“I felt it was extraordinary to listen to music in this way and come away in awe at the sheer emotional and connective power these speakers possess.”
6Moons, Edward Barker, OBX-RW
“What is most alluring about these speakers is that they bring out so much in your record collection - great music becomes fantastic, addictive and totally engrossing.”
Jason Kennedy, HiFi Choice, UK
Auditorium Series 4th Generation.
AS OF SEPTEMBER 1ST 2020, THE AVATAR, IBX, IBX-RW AND OBX-RW WILL BE IN R4 VERSIONS.
While it’s only an incremental change in nomenclature, we believe the R4 models deliver a significant increase in attainable performance levels. Along with the R25A Anniversary model, these are, by some considerable margin, the most rewarding Auditorium Series loudspeakers yet.
Design Rationale: Auditorium Series.
The model line-up now comprises the R25A Anniversary, Avatar R4, IBX-R4, IBX-RW4 and OBX-RW4. Changes are predominantly, but not exclusively, to the crossover circuitry & components, and are a logical development of the work done on the R25A model, which effectively ‘opened a door’ and subsequently embodied a new approach to our crossover design.
All share our favoured MTM (mid, treble, mid) driver configuration, which offers performance advantages over both a simple 2-way design and the more complex but less elegant 3-way option. The MTM topology possesses a more symmetrical polar and more even power response, as well as superior phase characteristics. Factor in higher sensitivity and lower intermodulation distortion and you have an elegant solution even before you design the crossover – a true Occam’s Razor approach. Presenting an easy load and a genuine 94dB sensitivity, each Auditorium model allows class A valve electronics to shine, bringing music to life with verve and vitality.
The elegantly proportioned cabinets and small footprint of the Auditorium Series conceal a meticulous, obsessive approach to the complex problems of loudspeaker design. The Auditorium’s unobstructive natural qualities cut straight to the heart of the musical performance. There is a common DNA from the Avatar R4 up with degrees of refinement, precision of component tolerancing, and overall component quality increasing significantly as you ascend through the range.
In 30 years of loudspeaker development, Living Voice has evolved to the point where around 90% of our crossover components are proprietary. Should we fail to find components that exactly meet our needs, we design in-house and have them engineered to meet our specific objectives – these include film & foil capacitors, non-inductive wire-wound resistors and precision air-core inductors. In this way we can temper the ‘voicing’ to meet our critical musical standards. Most recently, we have developed our own HF unit in conjunction with Scanspeak, a driver which preserves the elegance and filigree of the renowned Revelator but relieves it of a broad energy dip between 10kHz and 15 kHz.
Two 6.5” bass-mid drive units (again a proprietary design made for us by Scanspeak) are used in parallel to produce the equivalent surface area to a single 10” driver – but with half of the excursion and 50% lower intermodulation distortion. Our driver can work cleanly above crossover, facilitating seamless integration with the HF system without the need for steep electrical filter slopes or the use of notch filtering to counteract stop-band break-up modes.
Each Auditorium is ideally suited to exploiting the inherent advantages of class A valve amplification, and has been designed and voiced with the output impedance (and damping factor) of zero/low negative feedback direct-heated Triode designs in mind. In smaller rooms, the 8 watts offered by a single-ended 300B design can be fully realised, however we recommend the use of amplifiers with 15 watts or more to exploit the full dynamic potential available on a broad range of music programme. The dispersion characteristics of the Auditorium Series are such that they create a coherent soundstage even for listeners sitting significantly off-axis. This is emphatically not a ‘hot spot’ design.
The RW loudspeaker is the ultimate expression of our Auditorium design.
The only difference from the IBX-RW4 is the use of the external crossovers for optimum performance (OBX variant), with a small gain of ultimate performance level.
Developed with the insight afforded by our Kondo KSL electronics, the RWs benefit from almost four years of meticulously painstaking auditioning, re-considering every detail and part of the loudspeaker from cabinet construction to component choice.
The result is a speaker which simply lets more music flow through, offering a palpable performance of coherence, scale and musical significance irresistible to a true music lover.
Deepening of the differences with respect to the IBX-RW model
Regarding the differences between the IBX / OBX, the IBX (inboard) versions have the sole advantage of a closer coupling of the crossover filters to the drivers. This gives a slightly tighter presentation and a slightly more determined, urgent feel. Living Voice has worked long and hard to reduce the consequential disadvantages of an inboard crossover and in our IBX models we are very happy with the results we have achieved. However there is a commercial consideration with the IBX, in that it requires less boxes, less cabling, and less expense and therefore possibly more domestic harmony!
However, for the very focused music lover the OBX is the way to go. The outboard crossover iteration (OBX) allows the capacitors, inductors and resistors to be isolated from the high levels of mechanical energy inside the loudspeaker cabinet. All crossover components are microphonic to a greater or lesser extent, so citing them externally minimises this microphonic feedback and provides appreciable benefits. Furthermore, an external crossover facilitates a more generous physical separation of the crossover components. Even when components are laid out with mutually orthogonal orientation, there is still a degree of inductive and capacitive coupling which disturbs the crossover's behaviour. Generous physical separation eliminates this parasitic coupling. These two techniques benefit the OBX iteration in the following musically valuable ways: The background is quieter, and hence the acoustic in which the performance is recorded is more distinct and naturally legible - irrespective of programme density. This quality contextualises the musical performance adding to the easy suspension of disbelief. The outboard crossover has further benefits; tonal colours are more radiant; textures are more distinct and unambiguous; the presentation is calmer with more time and poise; there is more expression in the playing with the grammar and syntax of complex musical arguments easily and elegantly resolved. Perhaps most importantly, dense, complex passages are unconfused and dynamically unforced.
It's important to anyone with a passion for music that their hi-fi system has a natural tonal balance and more importantly an even and consistent dynamic balance. Many people, and technophiles in particular, believe that this balance can be achieved through objective quantitative analysis.
At Living Voice we have a different outlook. We develop our products using our musical sensibility, and we measure our progress against the artistic expression and emotional communication that we are able to realise in recordings of significant musical performances.
The Auditorium Series consists of 4 models with the option of inboard (IBX) or outboard (OBX) crossover electronics on the two top models.
Living Voice products
At the high-end of audio design, art and science merge. The most revered audio designers are no longer strictly concerned with the objective world of measurements and specifications. Instead they explore the world of human expression and human sentiment as captured in the recorded musical performance. This is an exploration guided not by machines and technology, but by tacit knowledge, intuition and musical sensibility.
There is a vast legacy of music captured on recordings dating back to the beginning of the last century. These recordings allow us to see into the times and the minds of the music’s composers and performers with a remarkable sensitivity and clarity. Music conveys the subtlety and fathomless depths of human experience and is one of our most profound and affecting art forms.
All Living Voice products reflect our desire to provide the committed music enthusiast with a coherent, artistically convincing and emotionally engaging experience.
This approach originally led us to develop the Auditorium loudspeaker design. It remains the case today — if we can’t find a product we consider resolves a particular issue to the performance level we aspire to, then we’ll examine the possibilities of creating it ourselves. This is rarely driven primarily by cost or marketing considerations in the conventional sense. We prefer to think of it as a refusal to compromise (or enthusiastic bloody-mindedness, if you prefer).
Living Voice was established in 1991 and is based in Derbyshire, England.
You can find out more about us by downloading our ‘Book of Products’
Technical Specifications & Available Finishes
- High sensitivity, wide dispersion MTM driver topology
- 750-density hardwood composite enclosure
- Stiff internal triple bracing
- Proprietary hand wound air core inductors
- Mechanically isolated crossover
- Optimised crossover layout
- Star earthing
- Crystal oriented internal wiring harness
- Hovland discrete film and foil Musicaps
- Proprietary non-inductive wire wound resistors
- Scanspeak D2905/990000 Revelator tweeter
- Proprietary 6.5” doped paper bass/mid drivers
- Platinum WBT binding posts
- Select components cryogenically treated
- Premium furniture grade, book-matched grain-filled veneers: Cherry, Walnut, Maple, Santos Rosewood, Black Ash, Satin Walnut, Burr Oak, Ebony, Gloss Ebony, Bamboo, Flat White
- Sensitivity: 94 dB
- Nominal Impedance: 6 ohms
- Loading: Reflex port to rear of cabinet
- Power handling: 100 watts
- Frequency Response: 35 Hz - 30 kHz
- Dimensions h/w/d: 103 x 21.5 x 27 cm
- Gross Weight per cabinet: 20 kg per unit
- Crossover dimensions: 45 x 27 x 12 cm
- Crossover weight – 5 kg each