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Review January Issue Audio Video Magazine

Royd The Abbot 




Religious inspiration

Royd The Abbot

VERDICT Good value from these British floorstanders. Outstanding dynamics and a classy sound. More for conventional stereo than for integration in home theatre.


SUPPLIED BY Royd South Africa (021) 704-2885

Theyíve had rave reviews overseas and it is easy to hear why. The Abbots have a charm and persuasiveness that entices the ear to spend some more time with them. Music effortlessly floats out from the speakers and surrounds the listener in a tapestry of easy listening.

Not to push the magic carpet ride theme too much further, but Royd have got everything right with this speaker. It sports a time aligned front baffle, with the speakers being customised for left and right channels, with a finish that looks almost too good to be true. The blunt choppy edges around the cabinet give them a look that belies their refinement Ė but frankly after the first ten minutes no-one is going to give two hoots about their squared off appearance.

Kicking off with the specs, cabinet construction along with a 6Ĺ-inch cast magnesium mid bass unit ensures that the Royds account for a deepish 35 Hz low end bass response, although I felt that this was perhaps a bit ambitious of the manufacturers. Upper end is a standard 20 kHz and is provided for by a 19mm dome tweeter that features a secondary chamber, said to aid sonic performance. Sensitivity is rated at 90 dB, whilst impedance is a standard eight ohms. Crossover is at an even four kHz with a simple crossover design (to eliminate any artificial input to the music).

Royd manufacture their own drivers and there is surprisingly little hype about them. After all, with all the high tech offering available from the Dynaudios, the Scanspeaks and Vifas of this world one would have thought that perhaps the temptation was there for Royd to nab a few of these and bang them into their own boxes, since admittedly, their drivers are fairly low tech by comparison.

But if ever there were an argument for low tech, the Abbots would be it. There is absolutely nothing low tech about the kind of musical magic that the Royds pump out and it just goes to show how great technology really has to be special to surpass older proven technology manufactured with todayís quality controls.

In a nutshell the thing that grabbed me about the Royds was their ability to pace music with zeal and vigour without letting it become artificial. The zip put into the music rates the speaker as fast and the bass is super punchy right down to its lowest reaches. Positioning the speaker is tricky Ė not too close to the back wall or things fall out of kilter a bit, but also donít put them too close to the side walls either. Itís a fine juggling act helped by the decent sturdy spike supplied with the speakers to gain a firm coupling to mother earth. I toed them in slightly although on wider sound stage music, such as classical show pieces, I preferred to run with the speakers flat.

Their pace and punch is so transparent with the speakers performing so effortlessly that itís only when you see your foot tapping that one becomes aware of the effect that the Abbots are having. The music is never presented forwardly or overbearingly and instead it envelops the listener, washing around one in waves of textured sound. The speakers do a remarkable job of preserving a sense of realism from the music and they benefit enormously from as much power as you can give them.

In fact, more power adds more transparency to the speakers which disappear as point sources. Try listening to some difficult music on them, something with lots of piano and violin and my favourite, female vocals. Good old Tori Amos is simply outstanding whilst the other end of the spectrum with the more upbeat Pink Floyd and even a bit of Metallica goes down unexpectedly well. There is something for everyone from the Abbots and this does not mean that they should not be taken very seriously indeed.

At the asking price of   R 11000.00, the Abbots donít come cheap. But no serious loudspeaker does these days and with the kind of performance that you can expect for a lifetimeís worth of enjoyment, I donít think that the Abbots are at all expensive. Rather the contrary they are well recommended for a close audition, and donít be shy to spend some time with them doing so. You may just find as I did, that time just becomes that little less important when music as enjoyable as the Abbots make it is there for the listening.

William Kelly

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