The Japanese brand TAD we know pretty well at Alpha Audio. Well before we started using our own TAD E2s in the reference system, we enjoyed those (sort of) wacky speakers with their famous coax drivers a few times at shows and demos. We now have the ‘Compact Evolution 1 TX’ in the listening room. Although TAD calls them ‘Compact’, you should take that with a large grain of salt…. they are anything but small.
TAD stands for Technical Audio Devices. It is a Japanese manufacturer of speakers and electronics. The brand stems from the founder of the well-known Pioneer brand. The TAD project was established in 1975, which makes the brand almost 50 years old now. During those years, TAD has refined the coaxial driver and has also taken a firm grasp of beryllium technology. Look at models like the R1 or the E2 that certainly don’t show any sharpness in the treble area. Provided the rest of the chain is clean and controlled of course.
The TAD CE1TX – supplied for this review by Audiofeel – is the “Compact Evolution series 1” monitor. Above the Evolution is still the Reference series. Now, at some point we too get the feeling, ‘how can this be improved?’ Well… that definately applies to this monitor from TAD: the speed, transparency, ease and sophistication is undoubtedly impressive. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.
The TAD CE1TX is a monitor model with a coaxial driver for the mid and high – the TAD CST driver (Coherent Source Transducer) and a MACS II woofer for the bass. Thus, it is a three-way model. The tweeter is beryllium. It extends to an impressive 100 kHz. The mid driver is magnesium and the woofer is created from five layers of woven and non-woven aramid fibers. The reason they are non-woven and woven is the improved damping characteristics.
TAD does not directly use a bass reflex system, but it is vented. TAD calls this a bidirectional ADS port. These are behind the metal panels on the sides of the speaker. This bidirectional system is supposed to counteract port noise. The E2 has partially adopted that system, but there it is in the base of the speaker.
The finish of the heavy cabinet (29Kg each and a mixture of MDF and plywood) is, in a word, sublime. It is absolutely a work of art. It fits seamlessly into many an interior and will also be a positive eye-catcher. The high gloss finish fits this speaker beautifully and gives an incredibly luxurious feel. Which it should, considering the price. The color scheme is also very successful, with the metal side plates fitting beautifully. Top notch.
TAD also has a pair of (19Kg) stands that you can order with it. These obviously fit perfectly and offer the possibility of securing the monitors, which is nice. The stands also have spikes and cups. Mount these, as the difference is definitely audible in more air in the imaging. Experimenting with other decouplers is also possible, of course. Our experience with AAI is good with the TAD E2s.