In a crowded professional speaker market, the Truth Audio TA-1P is significant in that it is not another active monitor, but an old fashioned, passive speaker – the kind that you connect to speaker cables and an amplifier. As an avid passive speaker fan, I find it admirable that companies, such as Westlake, Truth Audio, Tannoy, Dynaudio Acoustics, Yamaha and others bring out new passive models and not abandoning the passive genre for powered.
The TA-1P, priced at $599 each, is a compact closefield monitor that sports three drivers and is designed for horizontal mounting on a console. The 14.5-inch wide by 10-inch high by 10-inch deep cabinet houses two five-inch polycone woofers and a one-inch cloth dome tweeter. Rated frequency response is claimed to be 51 Hz – 22 kHz, plus or minus 2 dB. Nominal impedance is 4 ohms; power handling is listed at 140 watts. No sensitivity was listed. (See Carlos Beltran’s bench tests for actual test measurements.)
The rear-vented design has its woofers mounted below and to the left and right of the center-mounted tweeter. The rear-mounted, five-way binding posts complete the Truth physical package. Using 3/4-inch MDF (medium density fiberboard), the speaker weighs in at a solid 24.5 pounds.
The horizontal placement is designed to complement console placement, but Truth says the speaker can be used vertically as long as the tweeters are positioned to the outside.
I installed the Truth TA-1Ps in my home studio. I connected to my current rack amp, the Pass X-150 Class A FET amp, which does a good job driving low impedance speakers. Speaker cables were Alpha-Core Goertz gauge solid copper. I ran a whole bunch of sources through the system including a Sony SACD-777-ES DSD/CD player, DAT, hard disk, etc., routed through a Mackie mixer and a Legacy high-current preamplifier. I installed the Truths on stands behind my console rack and sat in the sweet spot for an extended listen. The monitors were about five feet away from the listening position.
First, to get a sense of how well the Truths relayed the space of a stereo recording, I played a 24-bit, 88.1 kHz recording of my Martin D-35, miked with a pair of the Audix SCX-25s. On my high-end far-field monitoring, setup using Legacy Classics tower speakers, I know that the D-35 recordings have a pleasant presence boost with excellent detail and string harmonics.
Though not as detailed as the Legacys, the Truths delivered an impressive nearfield sound: a smooth, spacious rendering of the guitar recording with tight bass, and midrange clarity that showed the TA-1P’s well braced cabinet.
On voice using a number of high resolution recordings of different mics I had on hand, the Truths were well balanced without excessive sibilance or boominess.
I then played a number of Tom Jung’s DSD recordings, including a recent release by the Tom Mintzer Big Band. With fuller instrumentation recorded via high resolution DSD, the Truths maintained their clarity and the two 5-inch bass drivers handled the kick drum quite well for a small speaker. In fact, these speakers have impressive bass response – even in the middle of the room, which I placed them at one point during the listening.
Piano is always a good test for cabinet coloration, and I found the Truth to pass that exam easily – without the muddy quality of lesser speakers. On female voices and violin, I appreciated the cloth tweeter’s lack of edge and sibilance. My notes said: “smooth” and “easy on the ears.”
In fact, the easy-on-the-ears impression is a strong selling point of this speaker. Even cranking it up, the speaker does not sound harsh, and it should be a monitor that can be used for extended periods of time without premature ear fatigue.
One other point: I did try the speakers vertically, and they did okay. However, in my placement setup, I thought the stereo definition was better when mounted horizontally.
It’s refreshing to see a new, high quality passive speaker like the Truth TA-1P hit the market. If you use a good amp and properly place the speaker pair in a good-sounding room (which is more than half the battle for good speaker sound), it will play clean and accurate without ear fatigue. And it won’t break the bank.
Contact: Truth Audio/Wave Distribution at 973- 728-2425, www.wavedistribution.com.