The Mandolins' finish and build quality are at a high level, and their physical appearance is quite unique and attractive.
The Mandolins produce natural and beautiful timbres and tonality on all types of music.
This speaker is a very easy load to drive, so many different types of amps
, including low-watt models, can be used with the Mandolins.
Even though the Mandolin is a small two-way stand mount, it will play quite loud for its size and offers very good low-end extension. It also sounds flat down to around 40 Hz, with no artificial hump to give the illusion of more bass. This makes it is very easy to blend the Mandolin with a subwoofer to get a seamless match.Low Points
Because the Mandolins have a see-through level of transparency, it will show up any weak links in your upstream gear. Be sure to balance your system to the performance of the Mandolins.
The Mandolin is a relatively small stand mount, so it performs well in small to medium-sized rooms, but will not be able to excel in large acoustic spaces.Competition and Comparison
There are a couple of two-way stand mounts in the $5,000 price range of the Mandolins that I have auditioned that I believe are its major competitors. These are the Vivid V-1.5
, valued at $7,650, and the Bowers & Wilkins 805 Diamond
at $5,000. Personally, I have never really enjoyed my time with the Vivid V-1.5. I found its tonality, regardless of the amps used, to be too cold and clinical for my personal listening preferences. The Bowers & Wilkins 805 Diamond is much closer to the overall sonic perspective of the Mandolin regarding overall timbres and tonality. However, the Mandolin goes deeper, with greater dynamics and more precise micro-details, because of its remarkable transparency.
For more on these and other bookshelf speakers, please visit Home Theater Review's Bookshelf Speaker page
My introduction to Lawrence Audio speakers began with my reviewing their large floor-standing model, the Cello. I was curious if Mr. Lawrence could at least give a good taste of that speaker's performance in a very small two-way stand model. The house sound is present in the "baby sister," with the Mandolin having rich, natural tonality and timbres and great liquidity. Its ease lets the music fill the room. It has great clarity, details, and very good dynamics for a small two-way monitor. The Mandolin sonically performs at a much higher level than you would expect from such a speaker with such a small footprint. Recently, my friend and I went to a wonderful high-end store to listen to Sonus Farber
's new two-way speaker that retails around $20,000.00. After a short period of time, we both agreed that it was a wonderful-sounding transducer. The next thing we both said simultaneously was that it sounded just like a pair of Mandolins. For a small to medium-sized room, I recommend putting the Mandolins on your audition list.