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Verity Audio Tamino x2 Floorstanding Speaker Review

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Verity Audio Tamino x2 loudspeakerI’ve been treated like royalty. My ears have been treated like royalty. John Quick, Verity & Nagra’s North American marketing rep, drove down from Massachusetts to deliver the Tamino x2’s, Verity’s entry-level loudspeaker, to my Philadelphia home. What a gentleman. He did all the unpacking… from those awesome protective foam-lined luxurious flight cases. He placed the speakers in the typical room location, put in some of the music from his case holding about 20 discs. He asked me for some of my favorite music, and in about 5 songs, he was happy with what he was hearing.

The system consisted of my Rogue Stereo 90 amplifier, the Rogue Magnum 99 preamplifier, the Original CD-A8T CD player, and my Rega P25/Dynavector 10×5 cart through my Gram Amp IIse phono stage.

We ended up with the speakers a little wider out than I normally have other speakers… about one to two further feet out each side, and about one foot farther out from the front wall into the room, and toed-in towards my shoulders. Both John and I were very happy with what we were hearing. John broke these speakers in at his place prior to bringing them down, so they have sounded excellent from day one… and I’ve had them in my system for about two months.

Let me just say this right out of the gate… these speakers have gotten the most favorable responses of any pair I have had in my house ever. My stereo set up is in my living room, and my living room is just to the right of our front door. If you stand in our entry hallway and look right, you see through an open archway into our living room.

It is quite the common occurrence that a guest or guests come in, take off their coats and are invited to a seat in our living room. Music is almost always playing. With the Verity Tamino x2’s, more than any other speaker I have had, the response was consistently positive. Everyone remarked on how beautiful these speakers are… with their slim and medium-height truncated pyramid shape in their deep shine of silver lacquer. They are of this perfect physical mix of size, shape and color that adds a touch of modern sophistication to the room without overwhelming it.

The next thing folks consistently said was how these speakers sounded better that any others I have had. Non-audiophile and audiophiles both reacted similarly. Of course, the audiophiles would explain in detailed audiophile-ease what they were hearing and why they “approved”. But even more interesting to hear was what the non-audiophiles would say… especially the music fans. They talked about how the speakers sounded “real” and it’s like you were there. They talked about how amazed they were that so much sound could come from such small boxes. They were amazed at how these two little boxes filled the room with sound. Best of all was when they said it’s like they were in the room with the performers.

One thing I especially loved about these speakers was that although they had detail beyond any other pair of speakers I have had… they were nice to all kinds of music. From my latest and greatest audiophile recordings, like Eric Bibb, and my father’s old Trini Lopez vinyl from the early 60’s. Do you know Trini? He became famous in the early 60’s for his pop-rock, latin-tinged renditions of mostly well-known folk songs. His album, Live at PJ’s, sold 1.5 million copies back in ’63, and he became an international star, eventually going on to movies. But never mind that, his follow-up to Live at PJ’s, titled aptly Live at PJ’s Pt. 2, is my favorite album of my father’s. It’s him on guitar, a drummer and a bassist. They’re a rockin’ trio and the song selection is less folky, more rock/blues. His delivery is so smooth, the songs swing. It is really a ton of fun. Well, with the Tamino’s you can really enjoy the music. It is more fun than with any other speaker I have had. There’s more ambience deep down and around. There’s great texture and tempo. The ambience and the tempo are what add up to make this more exciting and real. Think of it… all this enjoyment from a forty-three year old piece of plastic.

Another great find from my dad’s record collection is In The Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra. Not only did I listen to this in the wee small hours… many, many times, I also listened to it quietly. Why? Cause in the wee small hours, my wee small children are sleeping in their wee small beds just upstairs from my not so wee small but not so gee big living room. Gotta tell ya, another #1 ranking for these Verity Tamino’s. They are the best low volume speakers I have had in my house. It’s a combination of their detail, texture, tone, ambience and fantastic bass output. They make for extremely satisfying musical enjoyment at low volume levels. Later I’ll describe how they can crank without strain. But for now, I will tell you that I got big enjoyment out of the Tamino’s when listening to Frank’s, …Wee Small Hours LP.

Back to the Tamino x2’s detail, plus an analogy. I went through a flurry of CD auditions/reviews last year. The most expensive CD player I had for a while was the Sim Audio Moon Eclipse. Immediately after I installed that CD player, I heard details from my CD’s that I never heard before. I heard realism from instruments I never heard as real before, and I heard impact and dynamics like never before. Well… these Verity Tamino x2’s immediately reminded me of that same experience, just this time it was a change in speakers that provided the same effect. The Tamino x2’s brought out more detail, texture and dynamic contrast from my reference system. I was hearing things from recording I had not heard before. I personally feel that sometimes too much detail and texture can move my experience from musical enjoyment to critical musical dissection. The Sim Audio Moon Eclipse did that; but not the Tamino x2’s. They managed to deliver the detail, texture and contrast while still delivering a musical soul that allowed me to relax and enjoy the song and the performance. My preference.

Visitors are always amazed so much bottom-end can come from such a small cabinet. Yep, it’s true; the Tamino x2’s have fantastic bass output. But it should be about both quality and quantity, and in my room both are perfectly rendered. With my wood floors suspended over my basement, bass output can get tricky sometimes. Too much bass can easily overload my room. I am pleased as punch that I can get this kind of even and tune-full bass that one can feel in their body without overloading my room. But to me, the best part is how flat and tuneful the bass is from the Tamino x2’ s. There seems to be no part of the bottom-end output that is emphasized over any other part. It is very controlled and even across the range. Lastly, the bass is there even at low volumes; absolutely adding to the enjoyment when listening that way.

Can’t have fantastic bass without a matching mid and treble. Wait, yes you can, I’ve heard that from other loudspeakers which shall remain nameless, but that would stink. Thankfully, that’s not the case at all with the Tamino x2’s. Their excellent musical and appropriate bass is matched extremely well by their mid and upper frequency range output. These are two ways… you have the 6.5” woofer and the 3/4 tweeter. Together, they are a match made in heaven. I found the treble and midrange to sound sweet, liquid and detailed as described before.

I was initially introduced to Verity Audio at a Montreal Audio show back in 2003. I was immediately impressed with the quality of the mid-top frequency range emitting from the Fidelio’s. The Fidelio’s and the Tamino’s use the same 3/4” tweeter. And bingo… I was hearing the same quality midrange and tweeter with the Tamino’s under review as I remembered with the Fidelio’s from the audio show.

John helped set up the Tamino x2’s, and in the end, they ended up pretty toed-in and pointing to my shoulders. Usually when I set up speakers this way, there is a very tight sweet spot that doesn’t allow for much enjoyment outside of that sweet spot. With the Tamino x2’s, that experience was not what took place at all. There’s a great, solid stage in the sweet spot, but enjoyment could be had well outside that sweet spot. Folks sitting on either side of that sweet spot and even off the main couch out in the room got great enjoyment from the Tamino x2’s. These speakers have a way of creating a lively and rich sound that enhances musical enjoyment throughout the room. One day soon I would like to try Omni-directional speakers, but for now the Tamino x2’s created more musical enjoyment throughout the room than has been experienced from other speakers I have had.

When I had the Tamino x2’s, besides running them off my reference Rogue gear, I also listened to the Heed Audio equipment: amp and preamp. The Tamino x2’s were a complimentary match for the Heed gear. They enhanced the sound of the Heed gear, bringing more quality and musicality to the sound of that system, and they also really jive visually. Would make an awesome, cool, stylish set up for the clean modern home/apartment.

In general, I would think the Verity Audio Tamino x2’s would be a great “keeper” speaker for me… they’d be great for musical enjoyment and for gear evaluation. They stroke a fantastic balance of revealing detail and portraying musical soul and environment…musically speaking …

With these albums listed below, I experienced: discovery, character, emotions, impact, clarity, ambience, drive… some of the characteristics were new, and some much better then with any other pair of speakers I have had in my system/room.

I played in my first band in college. We were called the Stinky Bovines. We were three guys who alternated between bass and acoustic and electric guitar, with a drum machine we call Dr. Rhythm (actually that was its name from the BOSS company). We played a few artsy parties, and had a blast. One of our biggest influences was the early 80’s Hoboken NJ band, The Feelies. Their sound was very Velvet Underground influenced… repetitive driving textural rhythms… the vocals very pushed back in the mix. But one aspect of the sound I had not heard before listening to their album, The Good Earth on my original 80’s vinyl, was the depth of the bass. What I WAS used to was the bass being so in sync with the acoustic guitars and bass drum, but on the Verity Tamino’s, the bass guitar was tuneful and musical and added a new feel to the music, a more melodic one than I had experienced before. The whole album, each song, took on new melodic richness and depth (both literal and figurative).

So would you say that the band Blur’s collective output over the years has been varied? I would say so. But with most artists you might say varied from album to album. Listening to Blur’s Parklife album with the Verity Audio Tamino x2’s, I felt the album itself to be more varied from song to song than I remembered. It’s interesting that a speaker can cause that reaction… it’s fantastic! In my opinion, it means the speakers are letting more music, emotion and character to come through. It must be a combination of the detail, clarity and dynamics I mentioned earlier. Combine that with a sense of getting-out-of-the-way and letting the song shine, is what a great speaker (or any other piece of gear) can do to help enhance our experience listening to music.

Jeff Buckley’s album Grace, an all-time favorite of mine, can sound harsh sometimes, with some gear. The music and performance is so strong and gripping that you want any annoying sonic attributes of the recording to go away. I would not say that the Tamino x2’s masked anything in the recording, but they certainly have a way with delivering the music in a manner that makes it much more pleasurable to listen to. They kept the energy and urgency of the music found in the treble, while somehow controlling it so that it never sounded harsh or exaggerated. The deep bass output created more impact than I had heard before, again enhancing the urgency and genuine delivery of story.

Man, when I graduated college and moved into NYC in ’89, it was a real time in my life when recorded music meant a lot. Trying to understand my surroundings, my future, the meaning of all things grown-up… I was using music to help me cope, relax, get going… for all sorts of emotional and mental balance. The two biggest albums for my early days in NYC were The Sunday’s Reading, Writing and Arithmetic and Teenage Fanclub’s Bandwagonesque. Listening again to the Bandwagonesque on the Verity Tamino’s brought all those great memories back. That’s what great, timeless (or time-specific) albums are supposed to do. And this is why I love really fine audio replay equipment… great equipment just makes that sensation much more intense. The Verity Audio Tamino x2’s did that. They brought back all the color and character of the time of the album, and my time in NYC fresh out of college, making my way.

I had often though of Teenage Fanclub’s Bandwagonesque as a dull sounding recording. I was wrong. It’s not dull at all, and what I thought of as softness in the highs was actually subtlety in creating an environment reminiscent of their Scottish surroundings. With the Tamino x2’s, there was now clarity and air that I had not experienced before. The overall sound quality of the album was raised quite a bit through the Tamino x2’s. OK, enough of that walk down 80’s (and early 90’s) memory lane. What great memories though… and thanks to the Verity Audio Tamino x2’s for helping bring them rushing back in great realism and freshness. That’s why I’m a huge fan of the Verity Audio Tamino x2’s. They have a very special way of reproducing music that at once relays more information and at the same time enhances your emotional connection to your music. They glow with more detail, air, ambience… tuneful lows and refined highs. They have rhythmic pace and energy across the entire frequency range yet always sounds coherent and never unbalanced. They create a wide and open yet precise soundstage that’s shareable with others. They’re also shareable with your living room… giving it back to you with their small size and at the same time adding a sense of modern style and aesthetic with their form design. I can’t find a single flaw in the Verity Audio Tamino x2’s. They’re not inexpensive, and certainly there’s not a cheap aspect about them; but they are extremely well crafted in every way and worth every penny. To me, they’re just perfect.

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