Doublet Review – HiFi Choice

Manufacturer: Royd
Telephone: 01952 290700
Price: £485
Reviewed in issue: 160

Lively dynamics and fine timing; very informative and lots of fun. A bit treble-bright for some; some unevenness adds a bit of coloration.

Power output (W) 120
Size (W x D x H cm) 18,93,19
Impedance (Ohms) 4
Sensitivity (volume for a given input, dB/W) 90
Bass rolloff 28

Of the half-a-dozen Royds Choice has reviewed over the past half a dozen years, the vast majority have been so-called miniatures, with small bass/mid drivers operating into seven-litre enclosures. Such speakers normally require stands, but not the radical little Minstrel (a Best Buy in issue 135), which is probably the smallest floorstander ever to grace my pock-marked floorboards. And where the £250 Minstrel led, this £450 Doublet follows as a double-dose variation.

It’s a slightly curious shape, being narrow, quite tall, yet very shallow, and if it does look a bit odd at first sight, the fact that it’s so slim from every direction brings a measure of elegant discretion to the party. The shape has much to do with finding room for the driver array, and getting it off the ground. There are two of Royd’s tiny but classy main drivers here, mounted above and below a high-quality soft-dome tweeter. Each main driver uses a cast frame held by eight bolts, and a heavily hand-doped paper cone. The inside of the box is divided by a horizontal steel plate below the tweeter, the back of which is met by a vertical panel up from the base, creating a separate seven-litre chamber for each driver, port loaded from the side. The whole thing sits on a chunky little laminated MDF plinth, fitted with three even hunkier (M8) spikes. Build is quite exceptional throughout, and real-wood finishes are an optional extra.

The in-room balance suggests that the Doublet should be kept clear of walls, whereupon it delivers a decent overall balance, with considerably more bass output than the Minstrel. The balance is not particularly smooth, though, peaking up around 1 – 15kHz and then becoming decidedly uneven over the next couple of octaves. The relative treble level is higher than average.

Sound Quality

My own reaction to the Doublet was rather unpromising, but the rest of the panel was there to set me right, voting this a joint ‘best of the day’. Like the balance, the sonic performance is a bit uneven, and the mixture will never win universal acclaim, but happily, the plusses easily outweigh the minusses.

The bass end is mostly impressive, with fine timing, differentiation and power, but some unevenness and limited genuine weight. Dynamic range is good, and the sound is commendably free from clogging and congestion, so stereo images are well formed, with good depth and fine resolution of subtle musical textures. Voices are a bit coloured and uncouth, which can be a mite distracting, and the brightness is not always welcome, but the whole thing remains lively, very informative and busy, if a bit untidy, too.

Conclusion

With fine engineering and value for money, this is the best ‘bigger’ Royd to date, retaining the charm of the familiar babies but with added dynamic zest and bass weight.

PMe