There are reviews that change your perception of your hobby and everything around it. They are products that pry your ‘ow so safe’ anchor points loose and leave you floating for a moment. Lost. It’s frustrating at times, but it also forces you to keep going. To pick yourself up and improve. Away with the safe boxes and fixed values…. on to new standards! We have the TAD Evolution 2 in front of us.
Those who follow us know that we are working on a radical update of our reference system. We started with the beautiful Sonnet Pasithea NOS dac. That one made us realize that an update was really needed. Then came the Pass Labs X150.8 (review to follow) which opened a whole new window on hifi. But also showed that some of the balance in our system needed to be found again. That led to the welcoming of the Grimm UC1. (Yes… the bottom of our bank account had long been reached, believe us). Anyway… is the Focal Sopra No1 still the right partner in this system? Hmmm…
TAD Evolution 2
We could first start writing a whole story about the technology of this Japanese creation. Think of the brand new designed, 1-inch Beryllium tweeter (apparently our ears are very sensitive to Beryllium) with a precisely calculated, newly designed waveguide. Or the also completely redesigned, Aramid Composit woofers – with a kind of paper pulp cone glued to the back for damping – which are in 2.5-way configuration with the tweeter (crossover at 90 and 2800 Hz). Is it important to mention that the woofers have a new, particularly strong magnet? And that these can have a particularly long stroke that is also very linear? Ow… who is curious about the bass reflex port: it is at the bottom and looks like a horn that is split in two, so that energy goes forward and backward. Partly because of this, the TAD Evolution 2 really reaches 30 Hz and it stops at the top of the spectrum at 60 kHz. Almost full range so. And that in a relatively compact cabinet.
Anyway: we now still summarized a bit of technology. But if we are honest, during our listening period, we have not given the technology of this loudspeaker any thought. Only at the time of writing we started to look things up. The TAD Evolution 2 (supplied by Audiofeel, Netherlands) is one of the least technical sounding speakers we have tested in 15 years. This pair just makes music. Time and again we are drawn into the music and sometimes we notice that tears are forming… that’s how pure and real it sounds. Nothing distracts… everything comes at us as a whole. Flowing, pure and unforced. It’s just… wow…
The weird thing about this speaker is that it looks totally unassuming. Where quite a few manufacturers apply all sorts of bells and whistles to make a speaker look ‘impressive’, the TAD Evolution 2 is, simply put, a wooden cabinet with three units in it. The beauty can be found in other things (spoiler: especially the reproduction of music).
The TAD Evolution 2 is, of course, very nicely finished. No seams, beautiful real veneer and who looks more closely, sees that the units are indeed very special. They are developed by TAD itself and made by TAD. They didn’t purchase from a large manufacturer to then make a speaker. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but we think a producer deserves extra points when they make their own units. We realize that this is incredibly complex – and therefore expensive. TAD does go the extra mile. And when this is done with Japanese precision and discipline, the result is really incredibly impressive. As it turns out.
The base is a very heavy metal plate with spikes at three points. Spikes and cups are included. The speaker is – at some height to give the port space – fixed to this foot. Those who want to improve stability a bit, or apply a tilt, can screw additional supports into the foot. We played on three spikes without any problems.