If you have been reading up on some of the speakers made by TAD, you would notice how pricey they are. Excellent sounding they are but definitely pricey beyond mere audiophiles. Until Pioneer released the S-1EX, the more “affordable” TAD speakers. The S-1EX is an outrageously well built speakers. Looking at the specs, its like reading off the who’s who in materials and technology and how they all culminate into the S-1EX. Highly raved about when they first hit the market, they continue to stand up to many of the newer challenges for sub-$18,000 reference speakers. We compared them to B&W’s newest 803 Diamond ($10,000 MSRP) and the Pioneer has a slightly smoother and more neutral tonal balance. Its LF was a bit tighter but less weighty than the 803 Diamonds. The HF is sharper on the B&W but the S-1EX is more relaxed sounding. The S-1EX is impressively neutral and almost void of any coloration. Running them through Audio Research’s Ref250 amps and they warmed up to the sound of tubes. Match them with the Pass Labs X350.5 and they became tighter and slightly faster sounding.
When you first listen to the S-1EX, they almost sound “nothing”. And that’s because they are so transparent, so uncolored. But listen 30-60 mins and you will appreciate its revealing nature. It will readily expose the innards of your system, so system matching is very important to bring the best out of the S-1EX. They demand the best and when they are paired with the best, they will sound their best.
The pair you see here are former dealer demos. Grill covers (not pictured) and original boxes (a bit beat up) are included. Minor scuff marks common with a demo pair but nothing major. These speakers are very heavy and are shipped in large oversize boxes. Pickup is preferred but will ship with speakers strapped on a pallet.