ProAc Response D18

£2145

Almost everything about the Response D18 speakers screams ‘ordinary’. They’re fairly slim compared with some, and the optional ebony veneer (£400 extra) is a bit fancy, but no-one’s going to fall in love with the looks of these angular towers.

There’s nothing in the specification list that hints at greatness, either. So how did such a conventional speaker win our 2011 Best Floorstander £1500+ Award? By somehow sounding very special indeed.

A beautiful balance of abilities

As is often the case, it’s all about balance. These ProAcs sound sweet, smooth and refined while still delivering plenty of punch. They’re warm without being overly rich, and that gives you a beautifully expressive midrange with treble that sparkles while always remaining well-behaved. Integration between the drivers is particularly impressive — these are tonally cohesive speakers from top to bottom.

Add to that a soundstage with superb stereo imaging and impeccable organisation, precise timing, strong dynamics and a willingness to go very loud while staying composed and you’ve got a speaker of rare quality — not to mention one that will happily turn its hand to all genres of music without breaking so much as a sweat.

Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the ProAc Response D18s — they may look ordinary and they may be pretty low-tech, but these speakers are a bargain at two grand, such is the supreme quality of the sound they make.

TECH SPECS

Type Floorstander • Sensitivity 88dB/W/m • Impedance 8 ohms • Max power 180W •

Biwirable Yes • Finishes 6 • Dimensions(hwd) 93 x 19 x 27cm

Rating ★★★★★

FOR: Balance between refinement and excitement; build; happy with all genres; play loud with ease

AGAINST: Not the most stylish units around; some (bigger) rivals produce more bass

VERDICT: Conventional looks and design disguise a sonic presentation that’s really rather special

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