Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
Yamaha Soavo 2
Taking the term 'bookshelf' to new lengths, widths and depths
- Exacting build quality, polite and measured sound
- Slightly bass-shy, quite large
Yamaha’s bookshelf-sized Soavo 2 speakers have a very measured sound. You won’t be floored by the amount of bass produced, but even at high volumes audio remains very composed and distortion-free.
Price$ 2,299.00 (AUD)
The Yamaha Soavo 2 speakers have a bookshelf design, but you'll need some very spacious shelves to accommodate these monsters. They sound very balanced, and, while they may not be the best choice for music lovers, they would excel as part of a surround sound setup.
Yamaha is a company generally best known for the quality and quantity of its audio/video receivers, as well as producing products as diverse as pianos and motorbikes. Its latest attempt at enthusiast-level home audio is a solid one with the Soavo range of speakers. While it hasn't dabbled actively in the output side of home audio for a little while, there have been a few models from Yamaha that floored audiophiles in the 1970 and 1980s.
With this in mind, we approached the Soavo 2 speakers with great expectations. They're very imposing, measuring 38 centimetres in height. They're 35cm deep and 22cm wide, making them the largest 'bookshelf' speakers we've seen — they seem like behemoths next to the diminutive JB3 from boutique manufacturer JohnBlue. As a pair, the system weighs a full 10 kilograms, so they would certainly benefit from dedicated stands.
The Soavo 2 speakers don't use symmetrical enclosures — instead, they are trapezoidal, tapering towards the top. This is further accentuated by the design on the speakers' front, with shaved corners. These monolithic speakers have two drivers — a one-inch tweeter and a six-and-a-half-inch woofer. With four wire terminals on the rear, they're built to accommodate bi-amping — so if you have several thousand dollars and multiple power amplifiers you'll be right at home. They're rated at 30 Watts nominally, and can handle a frequency range of 45Hz all the way to 50KHz — even though the standard CD can only handle 20KHz.
When it comes to sound, the one word that can best describe the Soavo 2 is 'polite'. These speakers have a very balanced and unimposing sound, and this measured attitude is maintained even at higher volumes (and the speakers are able to fill a large room with sound).
Treble is spectacular. There's a massive amount of detail to be found in music, with a lot of ambient and background notes audible. The Soavo 2 speakers do a good job of uncovering all the flaws within music, however, so if you're playing back compressed MP3s be prepared to be unsettled by compression artefacts.
Mid-range is equally well represented. We were able to notice a lot of intricate detail in guitar tracks — individual notes were easily picked out and identified.
The lower frequency ranges were where we were a little surprised. Granted the Soavo 2 speakers are only bookshelf-sized, but the 6.5-inch woofer should be capable enough to pump out lower registers with ease. Instead, these speakers start to roll off at a relatively high frequency, which means they'd be well matched to a dedicated subwoofer but they won't be too thrilling for bass-heavy music on their own.
All of these elements were well weighted against each other, giving the speakers a very composed nature. Even at the lower and higher extremes of volume, sound was even and balanced with no frequency ranges abnormally loud.
Combined with the impressive frequency balance, stereo imaging is an area where the Soavo 2 excels. Positional audio is incredibly easy to distinguish and allows for an extremely immersive audio experience.
The Soavo 2 would be excellent as a monitor or surround effects speaker. They are still more than capable for most music and will faithfully recreate even the smallest nuance in your recordings, though bass response would best be bolstered with a dedicated subwoofer.
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