Kudos Audio's apartment-friendly tiny towers

The Kudos Audio X2 stands a mere 31 inches tall, but it's a sophisticated audiophile speaker.

I don't know how I missed Kudos Audio before, but the company has been in business for more than 20 years. When I heard Kudos' little X2 speaker at Sound by Singer in NYC I knew it was a serious high-end contender, but one that can easily fit in the most cramped apartments. Andrew Singer knows his market, and even fairly wealthy New Yorkers live in small spaces. The X2 is a mere 31 inches high, unusually petite for a tower speaker.

The Kudos Audio X2 towers Kudos Audio

Though the speakers are made in England, the X2's 6-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter are manufactured exclusively for Kudos by Norwegian driver specialist SEAS and were designed for use in the X2. I didn't see a bass port on the speakers' front or rear panels, but Singer told me the port is on the bottom of the speaker, which rests on a dedicated stand included with the X2. Bass is nicely fleshed out, so there's no need to add a separate subwoofer.

The high-density fiberboard-constructed cabinet, specifically chosen for its acoustic properties, is carefully tuned to minimize cabinet resonance. Rap your knuckles against the side of the cabinet, and you'll see this is one rock-solid design. The X2 is beautifully finished with real cherry, walnut, "rosenut," and maple veneers; build and sound quality are definitely commensurate with the $2,690-per-pair M.S.R.P.

The X2s' sound made a powerful first impression, but as I listened I was totally caught up in the music. The lively dynamics are remarkable for a speaker of this size; the X2 is a welcome alternative to more massive audiophile speakers that will never be a comfortable fit in an apartment.

If you're in or near New York City, come listen to the X2 at Sound by Singer. Kudos speakers are distributed in the U.S. by Fidelis AV, and it has dealers in Rochester, N.Y.; Detroit; St. Louis; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Austin, Texas; Denver; L.A.; San Francisco; and Seattle.

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