The Audes 111 Mini Monitor Loudspeaker
|Champagne Taste? Beer Budget!|
|5 January 2000|
Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohm
Max. Long Term Power: 100 Watts
Frequency Range : 52-200
Crossover Frequency: 2200 Hz
Sensitivity /2.83v, 1m// 87
160 mm (6.5″) cone type
25mm (1″) soft dome
Address (marketing office):
58 Winding Brook Drive
Matawan, NJ 07747
“The look and feel of the 111’s would make one think that two times the asking price is an excellent value. At $599, it’s hi-fi robbery!”
Estonia, formally a Soviet Republic, is the place from which Naum Dorkhman, president of Audes USA INC., imports an exciting loudspeaker, the Audes 111, the newest addition to his long line of affordable Hi-End and Home Theatre loudspeakers. Naum is gearing up to make a big impression on the US market, and I think he’ll succeed. His new Audes 111 mini-monitors appear an all-out success, and certainly a sure winner in the under-$500 range. They’ve serenaded a StereoTimes listening panel consisting of Lew “Left Channel” Lanese, Bill “The Brass Ear” Brassington and me, your ringside announcer. It’s an understatement to say that we were all pleasantly surprised by these “little engines that could” linked to an expensive front end.
Here’s the Skinny
Overseas manufacture and in-house parts has kept the price of Audes 111 low. It’s a relatively small (stands come as standard), handsomely built, well-designed 2-way, bass reflex mini-monitor (2nd order crossover for bottom, 3rd order high pass) in an impressive grey metallic finish that offers a superlative sound. The design features a one-inch domed proprietary tweeter supported by a five-inch midrange/woofer. Now read this carefully, it’s not a typo: the Audes 111 retails for $599. When considering the bread one usually has to lay out for this level of performance, that’s quite some bargain! I had guessed them to retail in the $1000-$1500 range. The look and feel of the 111’s would make one think that two times the asking price is an excellent value. At $599, it’s hi-fi robbery! With a nominal impedance of 8 ohm, and sensitivity of 85dBs, the 111’s are rated to handle 100 watts comfortably, with short peak bursts to 120 watts. Decent enough specs, but it’s the listening session that does it. I strapped these little giants up to both the Sim Audio W10 mono’s as well as the Sunfire Cinema Grand, with alarmingly good results in either configuration.
First, since SACD is basically the talk of the town these days, it didn’t hurt to see whether the 111’s were up to the exemplary resolution of the new DSD release of Billy Holiday Lady In Satin (Columbia CS 65144) played through the Sony SCD-1. This hauntingly vivid portrayal by one of jazz’s finest women of song is one for the ages. The quality of this recording is markedly enhanced by DSD technology: quieter, cleaner, and sweeter. Billy’s voice is startlingly real and the 111’s prove a lot better than merely than competent. Track one,”I’m a Fool to Love you,” sends memories flashing through my mind of a period when music was so much more involving. Those old numbers do that to me. The 111’s never impeded communication. Nary a slow-down or stutter. All right, the 111’s won’t give you the exquisite low level detail and dynamic of big floor-standers, most notably my reference Von Schweikert VR6’s. However, they won’t allow much of the music to get away either. Moreover, what they omit I’ll take any time over speakers that want to intrude into what you’re playing. Know what I’m sayin’?
If you like blues, then look no further than the new SACD compilation from Audioquest aptly named Bluesquest. It features songs that’ll make your mouth water, they’re so damn good. Another nice thing about this disc is that it’s a hybrid, playable on SACD along with regular CD players. Wanna cry? Play track six, “The Prowler,” by the Bruce Katz Band and tell me if this isn’t the pick of the litter. A do or die must-buy. Not to lose track of what we’re about here, once you settle in and listen, you forget that it’s a little $599 loudspeaker sounding so damn good.
Another favorite is John Coletrane’s “My Favorite Things” from the John ColetraneLive Newport ’63 (Impulse GRD-128). Here’s a standard 16/44.1 recording that still manages to show how a very good speaker gets out of the way of the performance. The 111’s do a wonderful job at extracting the emotion of a great recording. The Coltrane disc features Eric Dolphy, Reggie Workman, and Roy Haynes doing a version of this Rogers and Hammerstein song. Simply ‘Trane at his very best.
Great performance at this price level is a difficult trick to pull off. Very few manufacturers can boast the performance-at-price offered by Audes. The brand has an long line of interesting products coming aboard and I hope to review more of them. One thing’s certain. The price of admission into the halls of Audiophila has taken a significant downturn thanks to these Audes 111’s.
Stereo Times Masthead
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