Audience ClairAudient 2+2 Bookshelf loudspeakers (Black)
Note: Black Ash pair available
Description: One-way, crossoverless, stand-mounted loudspeaker.
Drive-units: four 3″, proprietary, aluminum alloy-cone units (two fire forward, two fire rearward); one 6″ passive radiator (fires to the side facing the other speaker).
Cabinet: 13-layer Baltic Birch with CNC-machined aluminum front and rear plinths.
Nominal impedance: 4 ohms. In-room sensitivity: 90dB/2.83V/m.
Maximum continuous output per pair: 110dB.
Maximum RMS continuous power per speaker: 100W.
Dimensions: 14.5″ (368mm) H by 7.875″ (200mm) W by 10.25″ (260mm) D. Weight: 16.5 lbs (7.5kg).
Finishes: Teak, Black Ash, Dark Cherry, Maple, Wenge, Piano Black.
Price: $5000/pair. Approximate number of dealers: 20.
Manufacturer: Audience, LLC, 120 N. Pacific Street, #K-9, San Marcos, CA 92069. Tel: (800) 565-4390, (760) 471-0202. Fax: (760) 461-0291. Web: www.audience-av.com.
The Audience ClairAudient 2+2 is an ambitious undertaking. Its designers have tried to bend the laws of physics along two different axes, and have largely succeeded. The speaker is a unique and thoroughly modern take on a full-range, crossoverless design. The ClairAudient 2+2 sounds dramatically different from a “normal” dynamic loudspeaker, with a purity, a freedom from distortion, and an organic ease that are addictive. The 2+2 makes it hard to accept the tension and internal “churning” that we’re used to hearing multiway speakers weave into the music.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Audience ClairAudient 2+2. I was taken aback at first by how different it sounded from the other speakers I’d been listening to, enough so that I wondered if there were actually something wrong with my review samples. As time went on, however, I grew more and more convinced that the 2+2s were doing something very right, and that it was the other speakers that were erring. I was sad to see them leave.
$5000 is a lot of money for a pair of small, not-quite-full-range speakers. But it’s not a lot to spend for a loudspeaker that makes listening to music as enjoyable as does the ClairAudient 2+2. Plus, it’s small enough for even the tiniest spaces, and an easy load for even modest amplifiers. Don’t seriously audition it unless you’re equally serious about buying new speakers. Once you’ve gotten used to not hearing the distortions created by crossovers and multiple, different drivers, it’s awfully hard to go back. Very highly recommended.