Living Sounds Audio (LSA1) Statement Monitor Reviewed

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Living Sounds Audio (LSA1) Statement Monitor Reviewed

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Living_Sound_Audio_LSA1_bookshelf_speaker_review.jpgRecently, I have had many of my friends who are serious music lovers ask if I could recommend a stand-mounted speaker that would provide excellent performance and fit two criteria: first, the pair would cost less than $2,500 and, second, the footprint of the speaker would be minute enough to fit in a relatively small acoustic space. I listened to five highly regarded mini-monitors that fit the physical requirement along with the price point, but none of them really impressed me with their sonic performances. Then I finally auditioned the LSA1 Statement Monitor at $2,149, which simply performed at a much higher level than the other two-way stand-mounted speakers I had auditioned to date.

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The Statement measures 13.5 inches tall by eight-and-three-quarters inches wide and 14.5 inches deep. Each speaker weighs 24 pounds. The pair I reviewed came in a very attractive Rosewood veneer, though Black Ash is also a standard option. Each speaker has rounded sides, so there are no parallel surfaces, as well as a rear port to help augment its low-end performance. Dual binding posts are provided for bi-wiring. The reported frequency response is 42Hz to 40KHz, with a rated sensitivity of six ohms with an efficiency of 88dB.

Living Sound Audio produces three different versions of this monitor, with the statement being the reference model, which is the most expensive in the line. In the Statement Monitor, the upgrades include the following: a massive 12-gauge flat wound air core inductor in line with the six-inch midrange/woofer, a folded ribbon tweeter from Aurum Cantus, a totally rebuilt crossover with Auricaps, Mills wire-wound resistors and, lastly, an unspun lamb's wool thread for internal damping. The Statement Monitor uses very high-quality parts, and a lot of creative engineering went into the design of this speaker.

There were three aspects in the sonic performance of the Statement Monitor that impressed me very much. For a small speaker, the extension, along with the impact and tonality of the bass frequencies of the Statement Monitor, was quite amazing. When I played Rimsky-Korsakov's The Snow Maiden: Dance of the Tumblers (Telarc Digital), the foundation of the orchestra was there, not just a thump, but a deep and clear representation of the lower octaves of the orchestra. In many speakers that try to integrate a ribbon tweeter and cone driver, there is often an apparent audible difference in the speed between the two drivers. In my opinion, the Statement Monitor's two drivers worked in a totally seamless relationship that led to a beauty both in micro details and accurate timbres. This is one very transparent speaker that offers clarity and liquidity to the music. In listening to Peter Gabriel's "Don't Give Up" (Geffen Records), it was easy to hear the background singers whispering behind Gabriel's lead vocal. The tonality and timbres of all the voices were rendered in a very natural and easy way. When I listened to other highly-regarded two-way monitors, I was often aware that the soundstage appeared big and layered, but the players on that stage seemed to be miniaturized compared to what they sounded like in real life. Lastly, the third superlative aspect of the Statement Monitor's performance was the images and players that it created, which were quite life-sized and three-dimensional. An excellent example of this would be Ike Quebec's Soul Samba-Bossa Nova (Blue Note Records) and his big tenor saxophone's rounded tone and size on this record. Unlike other mini-monitors that shrunk him down in size, the Statement Monitor kept Ike's saxophone the right size and the right dimensions. Yes, like all great-performing small two-way stand-mounted monitors, the Statement Monitor provided a big soundstage with excellent layering. Center fill was deep and dense, and the speakers just disappeared. The LSA1 Statement Monitor offered what all other high-quality monitors had to offer, along with the other sonic virtues that I mentioned above.

Read about the high points and low points of the LSA1 Statement Monitor on Page 2.

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