AV77 Review, Home Entertainment, January 1998

Reproduced from a review in “Home Entertainment” published in January 1998.

Royd AV77 Centre Speaker

Why’s it here? Royd is an established specialist loudspeaker company that has concentrated on mainstream hi-fi. It has now put its expertise to work on this rather up-market, heavy and rather bulky centre speaker.

Any Unique Features? Absolutely, unless you can think of another centre speaker designed to sit on the floor below the TV. The designer’s view that its weight disqualifies it from use in the conventional position may seem naive, given some of the other speakers you will find out there, but this doesn’t invalidate the wisdom of their thinking.

The enclosure has thick MDF walls and a steel lining, to provide a measure of magnetic shielding. The two main mid/bass drivers could have been larger, with a greater bass extension, but Royd designed small doped pulp units optimized for their midrange voicing, which is little short of exceptional, and built the (acoustically) right size box around them. The tweeter is a small Vifa dome in a flared faceplate, which sits just above the plane of the bass drivers.

How does it perform? In one respect, the AV77 performs badly. Magnetic shielding is appalling, but it hardly seems fair to criticize a speaker for not being magnetically shielded when it was never intended to sit close enough to the TV to effect the screen. It is, however, possible to place it on a shelf a few centimetres above a TV. The use of a corner shelf was also mentioned, but if the issue of screening is critical, look elsewhere – though you will then miss out on one of the better centre speakers.

Its vocal quality is particularly fine; not just for its intelligibility, which is the usual factor singled out, but in its vocal articulation and natural tonal colouring. These are qualities in which the Royd is nothing less than exceptional. Musical performance is also unusually refined, brightly lit and colourful, with far less deterioration than expected as the volume is racked up.

Our Verdict. In musical and speech terms, the AV77 is quite simply top-notch, and this certainly excuses the rather blunt, dumpy aesthetics on our personal check-list. The poor magnetic screening, however, is something that must be taken into consideration. Nevertheless, as long as you have room for it below the TV, or on a separate shelf, this should not be a problem.

Power: suitable for amplifiers rated 30-100 watts
Sensitivity: 90dB
Impedance: 6 ohms
Drive units: Two 95mm Royd doped pulp cone bass drivers, one 19mm Vifa polymer dome tweeter
Cabinet: Reflex loaded MDF steel lined enclosure
UK retail price £250

From, “Home Entertainment” January 1998

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