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December 2012 Issue
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World mail December 2012 issue


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Your experts are -
Noel Keywood, publisher; PR Paul Rigby, reviewer; TB Tony Bolton, reviewerRT Rafael Todes, reviewer (Allegri String Quartet);  DC Dave Cawley, Sound Hi-Fi, World Design, etc.



My partner and I are confused over how to upgrade our old amp and speakers, a Pioneer A400 and Acoustic Energy Aegis 2 loudspeakers. A Pioneer PL12D/Ortofon VMS20E turntable/cartridge combo will be the last to retire.

We were very impressed with the Sugden A21SE you recently reviewed but don’t know which 90dB speakers to audition. We mainly listen to acoustic music and our first choice was the Martin Logan Electromotions at 91dB/6ohm impedance but you advise amplification of at least 50 Watts. Then we thought the Spendor A9 would suit at 90dB/8ohm but your review of last year advises at least 40 Watts

We realise the issue of amp/speaker matching is crucial and need some help.

Yours sincerely,

Dave + Debbie 






Sugden A21 SE is a very unusual Class A Single-Ended transistor amplifier.

It has gorgeous sound quality but produces little power, so what loudspeakers

to use, ask Dave and Debbie?



The Sugden A21SE amplifier is a real beauty. I am almost shocked at how good it is - and it uses transistors! It has the most fabulously detailed sound, one that is dynamic, full of vivacious life and enormously engaging as a result. I continue to use our review sample and am quietly addicted to it for reviewing purposes, because it makes the most of loudspeakers, due to its sweet tonality. 

But you do need very sensitive loudspeakers for a specialised Single-Ended amplifier like this, that produces just 25 Watts. Happily, a stream of really good and appropriate loudspeakers for your purpose have passed through HI-Fi World towers recently. 

First came the lovely Epos Elan 35 that sounded smooth as silk, but was whoppingly efficient, producing 92dB from just one measly Watt. At £1200 it is a big bargain. 

Then came the lovely Usher Dancer Mini-Twos (£3000) and in this issue we have the Tannoy DC6T SEs (£995). All are efficient floorstanders that suit the A21SE. 

Currently under review are a pair of brand spanking new KEF R500 floorstanders (£1500) and they are measuring and sounding very impressive indeed; KEF have returned to utter accuracy, putting the new R500s up with with the best. However, the R500 has a super high technology midrange unit (it’s a three-way) so expect great midband lucidity. They will appear in our next (Jan 13) issue. 

In all then, you are suddenly spoilt for choice!  I cannot easily decide between these loudspeakers for you, and you state no budget (Martin Logans are beautiful but more expensive). I hope you can audition from my short list. I know you’ll have fun. NK


Below are the latest floorstanders to hit the market that need very little power to go loud.

All of them deliver around 90dB from one Watt, meaning 104dB from the Sudgen's 25 Watts

(at 1 metre). Three metres away you will get around 92dB – and that is loud.

They are well engineered and accurate, our measurements show, and all give great sound quality.


Epos Elan 35  92dB

October 2012 issue






Usher Dancer Mini-Two  89dB

November 2012 issue




Tannoy DC6T SE  90dB

December 2012 issue



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