We have been able to play with the De Kudos Cardea Super 20A for the past few weeks. This was convenient, as we had to wait for our new pair of reference speakers. Fortunately, the Super 20A has proven to be a faithful companion; it plays surprisingly complete and manages to put down a beautiful stereo image: big, generous and precise enough.
Complete and airy
The first thing we noticed when playing with the Kudos Cardea Super 20A is that it paints a very complete picture. The bass is round and goes deeper than you might think. The Super 20A is compact, but the Kudos just manages to reach 30 Hz ‘in-room’. And yes: it certainly goes deeper than the Focal Sopra No1 which has long served as a reference at Alpha Audio.
At the top end, Kudos has tweaked in some extra air. You don’t need to see measurements to hear that; the treble is fresh and open. Anyone used to a neutral speaker will hear it immediately. It’s not distracting or as much boosted as another British speaker-builder, but it’s audible. It is comparable to the Sonus Faber Lumina II from the monitor-speaker test, we estimate. Just that touch of sparkle. Many enthusiasts will appreciate it. We spent most of our time playing the Pass Labs XP-12 with X150.8. And that works incredibly well. The bass is then round and defined with a delicious kick. The mids are super defined and the treble remains silky. In short: technically it’s all right with these Kudos. The power of simplicity, we guess.
The result of the above combination is that we can play practically anything. From the wonderful spherical soundscapes of Atom Heart Mother and Echoes by Pink Floyd to Royksopp’s Profound Mysteries. Or the new album by Rammstein – Zeit. The Kudos really don’t care. And that’s how we like to hear it. A speaker should not have an obvious preference. We do have to say that some s’-sounds and high-hats come through the SEAS-tweeter a bit too prominent for our taste. This can no doubt be tuned away with a cable or other dac filters if your dac allows it. However, we know that this is not directly in our reference set. It’s the high boost that we hear here. It’s also not direct sharpness, it’s just that 3db boost. So in a way, it’s a matter of taste.