REVIEW: AURIS AUDIO POISON 8 LOUDSPEAKERS
Serbian-based Auris Audio boasts an impressive range of products and is no stranger to high-end hi-fi shows. StereoNET has had the pleasure of giving a pair of their Poison 8 loudspeakers a London home for a few weeks.
Auris Audio has a varied portfolio of high-end products that includes headphone amplifiers, pre- and power-amplifiers as well as a range of loudspeakers.
Milomir Trosic and his team are continually striving to bring new and exciting products to market. However, it is the brand's distinctive look that initially catches your eye; especially their use of wood and leather.
Auris Audio was founded in 2013 with a philosophy rooted in superior design, the use of natural materials and manufacturing skills summed up products they say are "handcrafted with soul."
The Poison 8 loudspeakers were officially premiered at the Audio Visual Show in Warsaw, Poland last year. The speakers are a four-way design encased in a walnut and leather cabinet measuring 153 x 390 x 1102 mm (WxDxH). This makes them appear deceptively tall and thin from the front with the black leather strip running up the centre bookended by solid walnut. Each loudspeaker weighs 30 kg and arrives in a foam-lined wooden packing case.
The Poison 8 uses a side-mounted 8-inch bass driver from Spanish speaker maker, Beyma. On the face of the cabinet, you will find a ribbon tweeter and a custom mid driver that is made to Auris Audio's specification by Fountek.
All the crossover parts come from renown German manufacturer Mundorf. Incidentally, the crossover frequency is at 250Hz and 3500Hz.
Rear bass ports I am familiar with; however, at the back of Poison 8, you'll find a dedicated backloaded tweeter. Also, while we are around this side of the speaker, it is probably an excellent opportunity to point out the switch marked '3D'. Activating this further expands sound dispersion. There is also a downward firing bass port.
The official recommended power handling ranges from 10W -100W. Poison 8s can be easily driven with lower watt tube or pure A class solid state power amplifiers. As you can imagine, with those side-loaded drivers, placement is critical. Auris says that the minimum space needed for one speaker is 600x800 mm. However, they recommend 1000x800mm. The speaker outriggers already demand a fair chunk of that space as they have to keep these tall and narrow blocks of wood steady.
In my little London home, I had to pull the speakers into the middle of the room for the review. They did seem to be OK at the minimum distance from the wall, but this is indeed something to consider before buying.
Auris Audio Poison 8 speaker review
Once in position, they looked like they had always been there. I was curious to discover what my other half would make of the speakers though as they were both taller and deeper than anything else I have had to review. But, thanks to their rather narrow face, they manage to do a great magic trick of appearing smaller. We both agreed that the sumptuous expanse of walnut wood looked particularly lovely, especially when the sunlight hit it just right.
After allowing them a while to settle in and get warmed up, it occurred to me that they have quite an even treatment across the bands, even with the 3D switched on. Music was presented with full tonality and, moreover, with dynamism and impact when required.
However, these Auris speakers really play their strongest hand in the midrange. This is no bad thing when you consider most vocals and instrumentation require that frequency range for definition. That said, I am not dissing the highs nor their low-end treatment. Far from it.
The acoustic duo Rodrigo y Gabriela were the first to put the Poison 8 speakers to the test with their track 'Diabolo Rojo'. Both guitarists came through with vibrancy and enthusiasm that really brought the piece to life. Even during the most frenetic part of this explosive performance, the Auris Audio towers remained in control not only in regards to the guitar's dynamics and clarity, but also resonance.
I don't think I've used a Pink Floyd track in my reviews thus far so I could not miss the opportunity to spin my favourite album 'Wish You Were Here' while having the Poison 8s at home. Track one, side one and 'Shine on You Crazy Diamond'; Floyd's expansive sound really did enjoy the side-loaded width that these speakers create.
As the intro started, I commanded Alexa (that's Amazon's cloud-based voice-controlled assistant, not a servant I employ) to dim the lights to 20% - I could tell almost immediately that it was going to be one of those immersive moments. The 3D setting really does do what it promises. At 3:54 it was a 'tingles down the spine' moment when Gilmore's guitar rings out those famous individual notes before Mason's drum breaks the still. The weight of the toms can really be felt and then, when Waters joins in, bliss. All the while, the blanket of organ gives everything a firm foundation and is perfectly placed.
Up next was Lewis Taylor and 'Bittersweet'. The furtive piano and playful flute in the intro really do appear from an extensive black background. Then a swell of sub-bass and bass guitar hits. Synth lines and samples intertwine above the low-end layers. A manic distorted guitar solo cuts through it all, up-front and direct. Everything then leans back against the rhythm to allow the soulful vocals to move and groove. This track could easily come through as a messy mishmash; however, the Poison 8 speakers have so much capacity to direct the sound and keep the musicality of the piece it becomes another room-filling experience.
It has to be recognised that much of the clarity in detail comes from the ribbon tweeter as well as the mid driver. Cymbals and strings especially are given the edge, shimmer, and harmonic treatment they deserve.
My experimentation continued with cuts from Massive Attack, Portishead, Leftfield as well as some Motown greats such as Marvin Gaye, The Marvelettes and The Contours. The Auris Audio Poison 8 speakers were consistent in delivering fluid vocals as well as a rock solid rhythm section. Pianos and strings were handled delicately and expressively but, when things needed to get heavy, the Poison 8s delivered without ever faltering.
As you can probably tell, these speakers are equally happy to rock out with some classic Maiden, Mozart or Madonna; no matter whether live or studio. The voicing of the Poison 8 is so well balanced I was unable to find anything that sounded uncomfortable or underwhelming through them.
Auris Audio Poison 8 speakers are a captivating prospect.
Trosic and team have worked their magic to create speakers that not only stand out from the crowd aesthetically but also in sound quality.
Despite their slender appearance, the side-mounted bass drivers deliver great, room-filling, open low-end. Instrumentation has good weight as well as clarity of definition, thanks to the great mid-range. Vocals are also similarly well-treated.
Needless to say, at this price point, there is plenty to choose from. However, I do believe that the Auris Audio Poison 8 speakers have enough individuality, as well as class, to carve themselves a healthy niche in this arena.
To that end, if you are in the market for excellent performing floor-standing speakers and design is also a significant factor, you owe it to yourself to seek out an audition of the Poison 8 loudspeakers.
Poison 8 speakers can be ordered in either black or white leather and walnut wood and cost £8,561.
For more information, check out Auris Audio.
StereoNET UK's Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He's captained the GadgetyNews good ship for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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