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LOUDSPEAKERS ⸜ floor-standing

ART Loudspeakers

Manufacturer: ART Loudspeakers
Price (when reviewed): 8000 GBP / pair

Contact: 3 Dukes Road House of Vanex
Troon, KA10 6QR ⸜ SCOTLAND


Provided for test by:


translation Marek Dyba
photo “High Fidelity”

No 230

July 1, 2023


ART Loudspeakers is a Scottish company headquartered in the town of Troon. It was founded in 1998 by brothers Derek and Ramsay Dunlop. It specializes in the production of loudspeakers, and its sister companies offer Systemdek turntables and Dram cables. We test loudspeakers from the middle EXPRESSION series. This is their press PREMIERE.

RT IS ACRONYM FOR Acoustic Reproduction Technology, which is why this part of the name is written in capital letters. This is the company where the Dunlop brothers tried their hand at, after being apprenticed to their father at Systemdek. It's a small, specialized family business, so back in the day, when I reviewed the Stiletto 6 in 2007, and today, its catalog wasn't and still isn't extensive. However, the design of their loudspeakers features solutions that you would have to pay much more in other brands’ products.

The speakers that I would like to resent to you are an introduction to the new lineup. ART Loudspeakers will currently offer three lines: Expression, Emotion and Impression. Older models, i.e. Deco 8, Deco 15 and Deco 20, as well as DRAM 8 and DRAM 15 - are available on request. The concept of preparing a specific version from higher series, depending on customer’s budget - a "custom built", if you will - also remains in force: i.e. the crossover specification and possible upgrades will still be available.

It is a small manufacturer, but - similarly to other undertakings of this type - the prices of its loudspeakers are not low. But we are in the world of specialists, so it has to be presented differently: it's a small manufacturer, a specialist, that's why the prices are not low. The price of most loudspeaker models in the Emotion line oscillates, depending on the quality of components in the crossover, in the range of 10-20 thousand £. One of Impression models will cost you over £20,000. £8,000 for the Expression 8 loudspeakers that we are testing is therefore extremely wallet-friendly and is the most affordable offer from the Scots at the moment.

Expression 8

The EXPRESSION AND EMOTION SERIES include two-way loudspeakers, while the most expensive, Impression one - three-way. Remember, that their names appeared for the first time in 2000. However, the new Expression uses all the experience gained due to the Deco series. So we have a cabinet with rounded side walls and a top, referring to the art deco style. Let me remind you that it was an extremely decorative style popular in the years 1919-1939, being a response to the earlier Art Nouveau trend.

The design of the cabinet, now made of successive layers of plywood milled inside with the front and back made of material that calls Richlite also benefited from it. It is a very rigid and vibration-resistant structure, because the front and back are screwed together with fourteen long screws. I have to say that the speakers look very nice. They are nothing like the classic "black boxes", which, even if they are white, because white is the new black, are usually quite boring and bulky. They are also relatively small, measuring 1020 x 230 x 260 mm (with 310 mm feet), but heavy - over 35 kg per channel. In a word - a solid work.

These are two-way, bass-reflex loudspeakers; b-r’s outlet, made of plywood, is located on the back panel. The treble is reproduced by a 28 mm soft dome with an elliptical waveguide. The Dunlop brothers set the waveguide vertically, and not - as usual - horizontally. Low and mid tones are the domain of a 220 mm driver with a paper, coated diaphragm, rubber suspension and a solid, cast basket. According to the manufacturer, the loudspeakers have a frequency response of 32 Hz - 25 kHz, sensitivity of 89 dB (1 W/1 m) and a nominal impedance of 8 Ω. The company recommends an amplifier with more than 8 W output. Generally speaking, these speakers are tube friendly, at least on paper.

The manufacturer declares that the crossover uses high-quality components, such as air coils, polypropylene capacitors and twisted-pair copper cables. The silver-plated speaker terminals from Great Britain also look great, mounted on a solid, engraved aluminum plate. The Expression 8 loudspeakers are placed on Richlite feet, with spikes screwed into them, and the divers can be hidden under magnetically attached grilles.


˻ HOW WE LISTENED ˺ The ART EXPRESSION 8 Loudspeakers were tested in the HIGH FIDELITY reference system and were driven by Soulution 710 solid-state amplifier. They were connected to the amplifier using Siltech Triple Crown cables. I conducted a separate audition using Leben CS-600X tube amplifier, with EL34 pentodes working in push-pull mode. In this case, the signal from the Ayon Audio CD player was led via Crystal Cable Absolute Dream interconnects, and to the speakers using Art Series Da Vinci cables from the same brand (review → HERE ⸜ PL).

The loudspeakers were placed 10 cm closer to the listening position than the Harbeth M40.1, 230 cm apart and 230 cm from me. They were placed 100 cm from the back wall, counting from their back baffle. They were aimed directly at the listening position.

I determined the distance between the speakers and their leveling using Bosch PLR 50 C rangefinder. More about setting the speakers in the article Micro-tuning, i.e. setting up the speakers, HIGH FIDELITY № 177, January 1st. 2019, →, accessed: 08.03.2023. More about the acoustics of the HF listening room in the article High Fidelity listening room in the eyes of Mariusz Zielmachowicz, HIGH FIDELITY № 189, January 1st. 2020, →, accessed March 8th. 2023.


⸜ PATRICK NOLAND, Peace, Naim Audio naimcd065, CD (2002).
⸜ CHARLIE HADEN & CHRIS ANDERSON, None But The Lonely Heart, Naim naimcd022, CD (1998).
⸜ CHARLIE HADEN & ANTONIO FORCIONE, Heartplay, Naim naimcd 098, CD (2006).
⸜ LAURIE ANDERSON, Homeland, Nonesuch Records 524055-2, CD + DVD (2009).
⸜ DEPECHE MODE, Enjoy The Silence, Mute/Alfa Y-12-3B, Maxi-SP (1990).
⸜ JEAN-MICHEL JARRE, Electronica 1: The Time Machine, Columbia/Sony Records Int'l SICP 30788, Blu-spec CD2 (2015).


I DON'T KNOW HOW IT WORKS, I REALLY don't, but there are audio products that immediately inspire trust in me, and there are those that create a kind of resentment between us. It's a subconscious reaction to a certain engineering choices, that's clear, but what and when will affect me in one way or the other remains a mystery to me. It is often the case that products, seemingly perfectly designed and beautifully made, leave me indifferent. But there are also those that make mainstream engineers shrug and even grimace, and which turn out to be great intermediaries between me and music.

The confidence I am talking about in my case expresses itself through the selection of recordings for the test. In short, I reach for the most natural-sounding productions, confident that nothing bad will happen to them. Therefore, when at the very beginning of the listening session of the Expression 8 loudspeakers I pulled out as many as three Ken Christianson's productions made for the Naim label, it meant that this design switched something in my head (more about the True Stereo technique → HERE).

And they didn’t disappoint. Recorded at Union Church, a town in Hinsdale, Illinois (USA), PATRIC NOLAND's Piece is a tribute to Naim founder Julian Vereker MBE (1945 - 2001), who died a few months earlier. The material was recorded over one day using two microphones, without editing or additional effects. Even though the church where the recording was made is a large stone building, the piano was shown close to me and without the long "tail" of the reverberation. Which is why these, after all, small loudspeakers resembled the sound I knew from my Harbeths.

So: warm, dense, full and very fast. And also natural. After all, Noland's instrument sounded different than CHRIS ANDERSON’S, who on the None But The Lonely Heart is accompanied on double bass by CHARLIE HADEN. Same sound engineer, same AKG 414 microphones, same Nagra IV-S recorder, and completely different sound. To balance the sound of the soft double bass and the expansive piano, Christianson placed the former on a podium and placed it closer to the microphones. As a result, the sound of the piano is more distant and the reflections are more audible, even though the room is much smaller.

The changes I am talking about have been shown by the Scottish speakers in impossibly endearing way. Soft, without striving for super clarity, but still nicely differentiated. Which shows that the Expression 8 are designs with a well-balanced frequency response and high resolution. The soundstage was very deep, but it was not extended beyond the outer edges of the loudspeakers.

To check how the scene is created with multi-track multi-mono recordings, I reached for the track Falling from the LAURIE ANDERSON’S Homeland. It turned out that the loudspeakers did not exaggerate the events on the listening axis. This means they showed large scale, perfectly focused bodies. But the out-of-phase sounds came to me from the sides, from the back, in a full "bubble" of sound. In terms of focus and imaging precision, this was one of the better reproductions of this recording in my room. ART Loudspeakers situate the events in front of us very accurately without separating too much of the details. It's smooth, continuous sound, but with incredibly clear sound sources.

Also with Enjoy The Silence, probably the most important track from DEPECHE MODE's Violator album, the loudspeakers remained completely calm. And although the recording itself is not particularly stereoscopic, it was shown so nicely, so well that focusing the sound on the axis didn’t bother me. By the way, if someone would like to listen to this album in a more spatial way, they should refer to Kevin Paul's remix from 2007 - I listened to it from the Japanese "not for sale" maxi-single by Alfa.

The Expression 8, although large and "on paper" extending down to 32 Hz, do not dazzle with lowest bass. I would say that the low sounds are used to build scale and space rather than to generate strong frequencies from the bottom of the band. To be clear - the speakers sound full and dense. They beautifully fill the listening room with sound, because they are fast, expressive and perfectly time-aligned. But they also do not pump the bass, reminding me more of closed designs.

Lang Lang in The Train & The River, recorded together with JEAN-MICHEL JARRE, sounded in a large-scale way. The effects of the storm were massive and large. And when at 3:40 a strong kick of electronic percussion and effects known from the JMJ’s album Oxygen entered, the sound was additionally filled. Importantly, even in the loudest passages, where the compression is high and the air pressure is high, the loudspeakers remained perfectly stable in what they presented. It was something like fulfilling the manufacturer's promise regarding an inertial, vibration-proof cabinets. As the sound got louder, it wasn't brighter or more edgy, it just had a larger scale and was more intense.


I KNOW LARGE ART Loudspeakers and I value them very much for their sophistication. The cheapest Expression 8, however, offer so much joy, so much energy in their sound, that they gave me even more pure fun. Their presentation is large, full and focused, as well as extremely balanced in terms of timbre and timing. The soundstage is centered on the axis, but its precision is above average, and therefore natural.

The timbre of the loudspeakers gravitates towards the lower midrange, although it would be hard to call them "warm". The lowest bass is only outlined and not particularly full. And yet these are loudspeakers that deliver a big sound with a rich timbre, so I have never missed anything in their sound, and thanks to that they will be much easier to place in the room. I really liked this design. It turned out that they do not need to play with a tube amplifier to show everything I wrote about. Way to go!


The EXPRESSION 8 LOUDSPEAKERS are nice, neat two-way bass-reflex designs. The high tones are reproduced by the 28 mm Sonomex driver with a soft dome with a thick suspension fold and an elliptical waveguide, and the low and mid ones by a 220 mm SEAS CA22RNY driver. The latter features a paper, coated diaphragm and a powerful magnet. For the system to function properly, it was mounted on a rigid, cast magnesium alloy basket. In this design, the coil is longer than the magnetic gap. The dust cover is made of textile material.

The crossover is mounted on a large printed circuit board, which is screwed to the back panel at the height of the drivers. The manufacturer says that there are air coils and polypropylene capacitors there. An interesting fact is that the crossover was covered with a large anodized aluminum plate, which is supposed to - I assume - protect the components from the influence of magnets and electromagnetic fields. The plate is engraved with the words "Factory calibrated precision crossover".

The wiring features a solid-looking twisted-pair of copper conductors, and the signal is routed to British-made, silver-plated copper terminals in a plastic cover. They are quite convenient to use and the Siltech and Crystal Cable spades matched them perfectly. The cables are soldered to the drivers.

The cabinet is a particularly refined design. Similar to Audel (test → HERE), Penaudio or Closer Acoustics (test → HERE) it was molded from Finnish plywood. In ART Loudspeakers, it is extremely rigid, because it consists of many layers from front to back, in which internal chambers have been milled. This is why the inner baffles are not straight, but folded, which prevents the formation of standing waves; a stiffening rib is placed below the drivers.

The front and back panels are material that calls Richlite screwed to the inserts glued into the proper cabinet. The feet one screws the spikes into and the frame on which the masking material is stretched are also made of Richlite. The whole thing looks extremely aesthetic and really nice.

Technical specifications (according to the manufacturer)

Frequency range: 32 Hz-25 kHz ⸜ +/- 3 dB
Sensitivity: 89 dB (1 W / 1 m)
Nominal impedance: 8 Ω
Recommended amplifier’s output: >8 W
Dimensions (W x H x D): 230 x 1020 x 260 mm (depth including feet: 310 mm),
Weight: 35 kg/pc.


Reference system 2022

1) Loudspeakers: HARBETH M40.1 |REVIEW|
2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

AC Power

Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

  • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|


Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

Record mats:


Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC