Audience The ONE Speakers
These Might Be the Perfect Small Speakers
Forget everything you know about small speakers. Forget everything you know about small drivers. The ONE is absolutely unique. Based around the Audience A3S full range driver, there's no crossover; only a single driver with a passive woofer in a lightweight cabinet. This is no ordinary 3" driver, this is Audience's powerhouse A3S Titanium alloy driver with 12mm of linear excursion, total moving mass of only 2.5 grams and a magnet structure powerful enough to drive a nail; electrostatic panel speakers should be quaking in their boots. There's no life-sucking crossover, no circuit to siphon away acoustical energy from the amplifier, nothing to distort phase or impulse perfection. The lightweight cabinet is surprisingly rigid, keeping resonance to a minimum. The passive driver is tuned to stay out of where it shouldn't and only helps where it should. The ONE might just be the perfect small speaker.
"Audience's ClairAudient One is an extraordinary speaker with superb resolution of detail, excellent dynamic contrasts, and subtle articulation of transients. It's capable of providing satisfying, involvingly uncolored long-term listening over a broad range of music. For $1000, I can't imagine obtaining significantly better sound than from a pair of ClairAudient Ones properly set up and used within their dynamic range low-frequency extension limitations."
– Robert J. Reina, Stereophile
The first time we heard The ONE loudspeaker was the prototype at RMAF in 2011. John McDonald ushered us over to a small pair of single driver speakers coupled to a modest system. Having just heard his big speakers with massive amps, we weren't prepared at all for what happened next. These tiny little speakers put out sound that was so huge, so liquid and so involving we were blown away. The ONE had presence and resolution comparable to his best efforts, scaled down to a diminutive trapezoid. What they lacked in absolute power and deep bass, they made up for with unparalleled intimacy, presence and attack. Just as the first electrostatic speakers revolutionized the way people listened to music in their living rooms, the ONE will revolutionize the way you listen at your desk, in your bedroom and in your smaller listening room.
"Is that sound really coming from those diminutive speakers? I hear a full and expansive sound that doesn't gel with what my eyes are telling me! Whether desktop or stand mounted, these little speakers provide a big sound. If space is at a premium The One should definitely be high up on your audition list."
– Neville Roberts, HiFi Choice
Audience really pulled out all the stops to create the ONE loudspeakers; this is an all-out attempt to create the finest small loudspeaker possible. All parts are the highest quality such as low mass binding posts and Audience Ohno (mono crystal) Auric internal wire. The best crossover is no crossover and with the A3S full-range driver, the ONE doesn't need one. The ONEs are direct coupled to the amplifier, which means the full power and control of the amplifier is applied directly to the voice coil. By allowing the amplifier, wire and driver to act as a single coherent system, there is no impediment to the signal, no energy is lost, giving the ONE a level of transparency and dynamic control simply unattainable with any kind of crossover-based speaker system. The benign electrical load of the ONE results in very wide compatibility with many tube and solid state amplifiers, even low-powered or single-ended designs. The better the equipment used with The ONE, the better it performs; this is a unique speaker, although it sounds great with just about any amplifier don't be afraid to use it with vastly more expensive gear.
The ONE loudspeakers are a point source consisting of a single Audience A3S 3″ full range driver and a 3.5″ passive radiator on the back side. The ONE loudspeakers are a true high performance product. Like all ClairAudient loudspeakers the sound delivered by The ONE is highly resolving, dynamic, ultra coherent, seamless and low distortion; essentially the Holy Grail. A little known fact is that Audience was established in 1997 with the primary vision of developing a world class loudspeaker. The vision was to design a speaker that was free from the conventional compromises; primarily referring to the ubiquitous crossover. The proprietary Audience A3S driver is at the heart of all ClairAudient loudspeakers. The A3S sports an extraordinary 12mm of usable excursion, 2.5 grams total moving mass, powerful XBL2 patented motor, "S" surround and large ported vents all adding up to true state of the art performance.
The ONE has tremendous sonic capabilities and will play surprisingly loud and clean up to its fairly high dynamic limits, however, there is no cheating the laws of physics; a 3" driver can only push so much air. The ONE was designed for tonal purity in an intimate environment, e.g. Desktop system, small listening room, bedroom, office etc. If your room is mid-size or larger, if you tend to listen to at high volumes, have a taste for big bass or sit far from the speakers, Audience makes larger speakers based on this exact same driver and technical principles that are better suited to those requirements.
A word on burn-in: normally we don't talk about burn-in on speakers, but The ONE is so unique we felt it necessary to comment. Out of the box, The ONE requires about 150Hrs of play time at moderate levels to come into its own. Although exceptionally good out of the box, during the burn-in time the bass curve flattens out, the midrange opens up and the high frequencies (already good) sweeten up and extend considerably.
The ONE is shown with optional The ONE Speaker Stands, available here.