Nirvana is a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor a sense of self.
I have a Michell GyroDec here that is absolutely singing, and a Moor Amps pre and power amplifier, all I need to do is just sit back and relax and listen. The key to relaxation with music, though, is not listening but getting lost in the moment that only you have created. With these Titans, I’m there; nirvana, heaven, paradise, Shangri-la, Elysium, Arcadia. Call it what you will, this is it.
These Kudos Titan 505 loudspeakers have a 2-way design with an isobaric bass reflex configuration. The isobaric bit has another woofer behind the forward facing mid/bass driver unit, that improves the overall bass response from the loudspeaker.
The Kudos Titan 505 can be driven both with the internal passive crossover, as in this review, or with an external active crossover. The active setup is considerably more complex and involved but can yield stunning outcomes, as revealed in the sibling Kudos Cardea Super 20A review last March (’22).
The drivers feature a Kudos custom 29mm fabric dome tweeter from SEAS. It is based on the well-known motor system of the tweeter from the SEAS Beryllium HF unit with the dome from the Crescendo K2 driver that is in the Super 20A and C10. This same tweeter features in the larger Titans, the 606, 707 and the imposing 808.
There are two Kudos custom mid/bass driver units from SEAS that are 180mm in diameter that feature a double-coated paper cone, a 39mm voice coil with copper shorting ring and an aluminium phase plug. When you have two drivers placed together, the arrangement is called isobaric (meaning equal pressure). The idea of an isobaric arrangement was first introduced by Harry F. Olson in the ‘50s as a way of improving the low-end response without increasing the size of the cabinet.
Kudos’ isobaric arrangement has the two mid/bass drivers backed onto each other, magnet to magnet, with ‘out of phase’ wiring which apparently cuts out 3rd harmonic distortion from the bass response. With the porting of the cabinet, this isobaric configuration claims to offer a more agile, textured, and detailed low-end response.
The cabinet is substantial and made of multi-thickness HDF. It is very deep too, housing the opposing isobaric arrangement. There is a small slot/port at the base of the cabinet about 4 fingers wide allowing the air to flow.
Crossovers are another Kudos custom affair, this time with Mundorf’s MResist Supreme resistors with associated components.
The binding posts at the rear will take only a single pair of banana-style plugs and if you have spades, you’ll need an adaptor.
The quoted frequency response is 40Hz – 30kHz in an AIRR (average in-room response), and the 505s are rated 6 Ohms nominal impedance with a sensitivity of 87dB @1W/1m.
…by the time the music is playing they disappear altogether.
Everything about Kudos exudes a finish and feels befitting of the price tag. The finish is exquisite, the external angles seem to fold the loudspeakers into the rear wall and by the time the music is playing they disappear altogether.
The form of the 505s is contemporary and functional but it passes the ‘partner’ test with ease, with my wife commenting on the understated presence in a positive way.
With this review sample, I was provided with the matching stands, this is now standard with Kudos. The top plate on the stands is tailored to the loudspeaker and offers a solid, ‘screwed in’, base for the loudspeakers. The stands could be mass loaded if you were so inclined.
Stand assembly was a fairly simple affair and took about 20 minutes per stand. The stands are 60cm high, 27 cm wide and 34cm deep, making the 505s stand 108cm tall on the stands.
There are several finishes to the 505 range including the new liquid amber sustainable finish that replaces the old Tineo wood finish. There is also black gloss, black oak, natural oak, walnut and white gloss available. The dimensions of the actual speakers are 45cm (h) x 25.6cm (w) x 32cm (d), they weigh in at 18kg each.
Price £10,200 with stands included. You could buy the stand for something else at £1,150.
Most of the listening has been with the Moor Amps Angel 6 power amplifier supported by the matching Angel preamplifier with Tellurium Q XLR Ultra Black II cables between them. As a source, I’m using an iFi Pro iDSD as a DAC (only) and I’m using a USB B input from my DELL XPS laptop. I have an Atlas Mavros USB A-B cable with their GRUN independent earthing system to manage excess electromagnetic and radio frequency noise. Because I am not using the streaming platform in the iFi Pro iDSD I have the Chord Company GroundARAY in the Ethernet slot to reduce HF noise.
I’m also using the Chord Electronics 2Go/2Yu combination as a streaming transport, BNC into the DAC. Separately, I have a Michell GyroDec with a Rega Phono stage into the preamplifier.
I have Atlas Eos power cables to the Moor pre and power as well. I’ve been using Tellurium Q Ultra Black II loudspeaker cables to the Titans from the Moor Amp.
For a few weeks, I had the Titans driven by a Naim NAP 250.2 with a streaming Naim NAC-N 272/XPS source. Towards the end of the review, a rather nice REL Carbon Special subwoofer arrived, see below!
The Titans are a wonderful package, and they are very easy to accommodate, move about and play with. They are understated. The Titans are very cool to look at and the angles and styling are a frequent talking point with new guests, who, almost to a person, look around the back at the angles and pass a hand on the liquid amber sides.
Moor Amps Angel 6 power amplifier
This is Premier League stuff…
This is Premier League stuff, I’m an Auralic Streaming Transport or a Vega short of a near-perfect system here but the laptop, USB Atlas with Grun, and the iFi are offering a fine source. With around 200+W/ch of class AB muscle into these 6 Ohms and very little to contain the signal thanks to the Tellurium Q cables, I have an excellent system here.
I’d characterise the Titan speakers as taut, meaning nicely controlled, but not constricted or stiff. If it is not a contradiction, they are clearly free, agile, and fast with excellent resolution and resolve (detail).
From the outset I’m totally engaged in the bass response, for example, with the track Falling in Love by Cigarettes After Sex (Qobuz 24-bit, 96kHz) the bass line grips you, and the languid vocal is a pure dream. I excitedly line up Arooj Aftab’s Last Night (Qobuz 24-bit, 96kHz) and here too the double bass resonates around me and fills the room, it is a surreal experience. The vinyl version of this track takes the honours in a slightly childish A-B test.
Taylor Swift’s exile also has a beautiful bass line and Justin Vernon’s baritone vocal resonates well with these Titans. Indeed, it is the vocals that I really do notice and enjoy, from Taylor Swift to Roberta Flack to Arooj Aftab.
Pianos similarly are absolutely beautiful, it is not just Nils Frahm this time, listen to Lang Lang’s Liebestraum No. 3 in A-Flat Major, S. 541 / 3 (Qobuz 24-bit, 96kHz). This piece of music is simply essential, the trickle down the scale is just sublime.
It is time to up the pace with U2s Wire (Kevorkian 12” Vocal Mix, Qobuz 16-bit, 44.1kHz)). This is a great piece of music and it has a remixed wide-open introduction to the original version, it also appears to have a slightly tighter presentation, particularly in Mullen’s drums that come through perfectly in these speakers.
Looking for more crack and punch, it is time for Malcolm McClaren’s album Waltz Darling (Vinyl, Epic) and here Deep in Vogue is crisp and delivered with pace and bounce. Colourbox’s eponymous album (Vinyl, 4AD) similarly bristles with energy in these speakers. There is no weak track on this album.
Naim NAP 250.2 power amplifier
With the arrival of the new Naim Classic range, I’m giving my Naim NAP its rightful name now, 250.2. It is also worth half as much as it was with this new range coming out, but it is not going anywhere.
Kudos MD Derek Gilligan, who joined Neat in 2001 and left to take on Kudos in 2006, lists a NAC 252/Supercap, NAP 300, NDS/555 PSU as well as a Uniti unit as his home HiFi so it is unsurprising to read Kudos has an affinity to Naim Electronics. Fortunately, my N-272/XPS, NAP 250.2, with 80+W of Class AB hunk, is up to the job.
With the NAP 250, the Titans retain their poise and tight delivery and all the detail I need is here. All is not quite as tight though and I personally prefer the Moor amplification to the Naim in my lounge, this poses an interesting existential dilemma for me.
Everything does feel a fraction looser and edgier. I’m unclear in my mind if it is the difference in the room layout. My listening space is long, and the lounge with the Naim equipment is sideways relatively with a fireplace in the middle of the speakers. Either way, the Titans just thrill with every beat.
T+A PA 2000 R integrated amplifier
The T+A amplifier, around 150W/ch into the Titan 6 Ohms, serves a slightly different beat to the Naim NAP 250.2. Being that bit more analytical the T+A suits the Titans well, though the Moor has the more revealing platform; the Titans deliver well with these varied amplifiers.
There are now four Kudos Titan Musical Interlude Playlists, the first playlist is going to be a goto source of favourite tracks I’m familiar with that will be recognisable if you’re a regular reader, like the amazing Arooj Aftab and Fleet Foxes, Ryan Adams, etc.
The second playlist is the more upbeat version dominated by Colourbox and Malcolm McClaren which has a very 80s nod to them. The third is a collection of classical favourites. The fourth is my whole jazz-inspired collection.
REL Carbon Special
The arrival of a REL Carbon Special reminds us all that if you are going to upgrade your HiFi system with accessories, maybe a subwoofer is the most cost-effective option on the block. The REL has a three thousand eight hundred pounds price tag and it is well matched to these Titans. The Carbon Special adds a dimension to the presentation that no speaker can get to and the platform it creates for these amazing speakers reminds you of the pure joy of music.
There’s Tunnel Under Ocean Boulevard, according to Lana Del Rey (Qobuz 24-bit, 48kHz, very explicit!) and the Titans deliver every nuance to this beautiful track. The subwoofer simply lifts the soundstage to a new level, it is a stunning sound with the quietest piece of music. The strength of this, and similar subwoofers, is in the quieter pieces of music and the Titans and the REL combine deftly.
… if I had even a modest lottery win, this is the choice I would go for…
This HiFi system is just about it for me, if I had even a modest lottery win, this is the choice I would go for, I really do not need much more than this. With the fairly average lounge I have, the 505s are perfect. I guess if you had a stadium-sized lounge you could go bigger in the Titan range with the subwoofer.
It is quite hard to believe this loudspeaker can go up a notch in active mode, I’m sure it can though. That is a big lottery win!
This is as good a HiFi system as I have heard in the ten years of HF&MS…
This is as good a HiFi system as I have heard in the ten years of HF&MS at nowhere near Whittlebury Show mega money! If this is near your budget and you love music, there is possibly nowhere else to look. Get yourself a decent source, and a proper amplifier and just do it.
High-end performance, compact footprint
Stands (they are probably essential)
Six good lottery numbers
Full details are on the company’s site.