One obvious feature that the R25A does bring to the party is a satin paint finish option. It might have been the German market that demanded the rather swanky white paintwork of the review pair, but there’s no escaping the sharp, modern edge it brings to the speaker’s appearance. You can opt for black or a range of standard or premium wood veneers, if you want something more traditional, but the white definitely does it for me.
When it comes to set up, the Auditoriums proved even more tolerant of positioning than their predecessors – testament to their low-frequency linearity. It’s not that they require less care. Rather that they give you more positional options – meaning that they’re much more likely to end up where you want them or be happier where you can actually place them. The R25As are bi-wirable and benefit from being bi-wired – but not at the expense of cable quality. If you already have a decent set of single wires, some quality jumpers made from the same cable probably make more sense than swapping them out for something else simply because it offers the four wire option.
As with any speakers, getting them both the same height off the floor, with symmetrical attitude (especially rake angle) and stable placement on four equally loaded spikes will pay serious musical dividends. I prefer to use a minimal amount of BluTak to attach the plinth to the speaker: a petit pois sized ball placed half way along each top edge of the base element and then firmly pressed into place seems to deliver the right results. Substituting Track Audio M8 spikes (and footers if required) for the stock items will give a nice and very cost effective lift in performance. It cleans up the bass transients with a related gain in midrange clarity and focus – as well as making the adjustment of attitude and locking it in considerably easier, with its own set of performance benefits. Otherwise, beyond the normal care and attention to detail, the R25A is a joy to work with.
Stood amongst the competition in your average audio store, the R25A is going to look plain, even prosaic. No flashy, sculptural plastic mouldings or separate tweeter housings, no shouty graphics and no massive, visible spikes on awkward, ugly outriggers. But for all its understated, composed and self-contained appearance, it’s music that really brings this speaker to life. Listen to the competition first and once you reach the Living Voice, the musical difference will shock you. Unforced, rhythmically and dynamically coherent, naturally engaging and subtly shaded, this is a speaker that disappears behind the performance, rather than standing between you and it. Unobtrusive it is also un-obstructive, with a sense of dynamic response, phrasing and musical flow that makes many speakers at even twice the price sound clumsy, mechanical and ‘gated’ – both in dynamic/rhythmic and expressive terms. It’s this ability to step away from the process of reproduction, allowing the performers and the performance to breathe, that elevates the R25A above the crowd and out of the ordinary.