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Price (pair): 7499 zł

Distribution: Audio Klan

ul. Szkolna 45
05-270 Marki k/Warszawy
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WWW: ProAc

Text: Wojciech Pacuła
Translation: Krzysztof Kalinkowski

The British ProAc, a manufacturer of loudspeakers, is Stewart Tyler – its founder and leader for over thirty years. First he sold his products under the name Celef Audio, later, in 1979, he founded ProAc. Its main offering is the Response series, which the tested D1 (or D One – depending on th e source) loudspeakers belong to. Those are tiny, two-way speakers, with a 130mm mid-woofer and a small, 19mm tweeter. The first driver mentioned has a solid, cast spider, with thin arms, which facilitate airflow, with the ProAc logo embossed all over it. In reality it is a product of the Norwegian SEAS, just modified to suit ProAc’s needs. Also its diaphragm is characteristic – it is a black coated, woven glass fiber with a transparent, acrylic phase plug. The finish of those loudspeakers is plain perfect. And it is the first test of loudspeakers from that company in “High Fidelity”. How is that possible? I am not sure…


  • Dead Can Dance, Spiritchaser, 4AD/Beggars Japan, Audiophile Edition, WPCB-10078, SACD/CD; review HERE.
  • Depeche Mode, Sounds Of The Universe, Mute/EMI Music Japan, TOCP-66878, CD+DVD; review HERE.
  • Wynton Kelly, Kelly Blue, Riverside/JVC, JVCXR-0050-2, XRCD2.
  • Frank Sinatra, Only The Lonely, Capitol/Mobile Fidelity, UDCD 792, gold-CD; review HERE.
  • The Beatles, 09.09.09 [sampler], Apple/Parlophone/EMI, 6844142, 2 x CD, review HERE.
  • Cantate Napoletane Del’ 700, Capella della Pietà de’Turchini, Eloquentia, EL 0919, CD.
  • King Crimson, Lark’s Tongues in Aspic, WHD Entertainment, IECP-30006, HDCD/HQCD.
  • The Modern Jazz Quartet, Pyramid, Atlantic/Warner Music Japan, WPCR-25125, CD.
  • Ariel Ramirez, Misa Criolla, José Carreras, Philips/Lasting Impression Music, LIM K2HD 040, K2 HD; review HERE.
  • Barney Kessel, On Fire, Interplay Records/Pony Canyon, MYCJ-30538, HQCD.
  • Carol Sloane, Hus-A-Bye, Sinatra Society of Japan, Muzak, XQAM-1031, CD.
  • Carmen McRae, Carmen McRae, Bethlehem/JVC, VICJ-61458, K2HD.

The ProAc loudspeakers are really tiny. But their manufacturing quality is absolutely flawless, what makes them a real jewel. It is enough to look at them, touch them, pick them up, to gain faith in them. Those are worked out constructions, with a solid enclosure and nice drivers. The used soft tweeter is a widely known one, used by ProAc and many other companies, which praise its unobtrusive, completely non-metallic sound. And this is true – D1 sound in a very open, completely not muffled way. We know immediately, that this is not the best tweeter available in the market, but other things count as well, like how this driver composes with the others. And here everything is sewed nicely together. Returning to the treble – there is a lot of it, but there is no impression of overflow in that matter. This is due to the fact, that the loudspeakers sound in a very behaved way, never crossing the borderline of good taste. Maybe the very broad and deep stage is a result of that. This is incredible, how nicely, for the given money, the acoustics of the interiors from the disc Hush-A-Bye Carol Sloane could be shown – really a very pleasing effect: the voice was shown a bit deeper than with the Spendor SP1 and was placed in clearly differentiated, while being a contiguous whole, environments. Also Carmen McRae vocals was shown equally well by the little “tablets” – with vigor, live articulation and yet without underlining the upper midrange. Differences in recording, between this artist and Julie London, who’s pieces were placed on that disc as bonus, were clear, not only because they are clear (true), but because the D1 showed their character, kind of voice, etc. And that all without any brightening, what is really an achievement, especially with the low voice of London.

As you can conclude from the previous paragraph, the midrange is very nice. And it really is. But it sounds substantially different from that, proposed by the mentioned Spendor, probably the main competitor of the D1. The latter have an incredibly warm, dense timbre. To achieve that, a part of the resolution and precision was sacrificed. Here it is exactly the opposite – those are rather precise, more resolving, more transparent loudspeakers. They are not brightened, we should remember that, they are also coherent, they seem also a bit warm, but they reproduce everything precise, are a bit more true to the music. And this is why I liked so much recordings from the 50. and 60., like Pyramid The Modern Jazz Quartet, On Fire Barney Kessel, or …the way it was! Art Pepper. All those discs have a strong, really, for the given time splendid treble, with natural timbre and brilliant articulation. The ProAc showed that especially nice. There was no such precise attack as with the metal SEAS tweeter in my Harpia, or such a worked out treble. But within the boundaries of that, what was reproduced, the ability to play back the timbre, energy, the aura of the cymbals, the top range of the brass instruments, voices, guitars, etc, was very good, all those elements were tasty, and were just fun to listen to. And how nice the vocals from Sounds Of The Universe Depeche Mode were reproduced! My friend, who visited me to listen to the ProAc, told me, that such a good vocal is probably not possible from larger speakers (although he owns quite large, floor standing Danish Physics loudspeakers). I would not concur fully with his opinion, I think, that good floor standers can do much more, but yes – the impression of being there with a living human being was stronger, than with most other loudspeakers for the given money, regardless of their construction.

The Response D1 are small loudspeakers, actually mini-bookshelves. Two of them would fit inside the midrange chamber of one of my Dobermann… This is also the reason, they have limits. First of all, they do not reach far down. This is a truism, something normal, but we have to bear in mind, that non-colored loudspeakers of that size cannot reproduce anything below 50-60Hz, like bigger constructions can. And this should not be attributed to their “character”, to the fact that those are bookshelves, this is a normal flaw – music (sound) means full spectrum and that is it. Of course I do understand the requirements of some systems, housing problems, etc, and in such conditions loudspeakers like the D1 can perform very well. But we should not consider them being full-range! Small size means small bass. But the ProAc sound really nice, despite not hearing the base of the contrabass, or the bass guitar, and the low synthesizer sounds from Sounds Of The Universe Depeche Mode were quite light. But in all those recordings the structure of the sound, a specific climate, characteristic for the given piece, was preserved. Yes, it would be nicer, if we could hear the bass hums from Song Of The Stars, a piece from Spiritchaser Dead Can Dance stronger, with more mass, but we cannot circumvent the laws of physics. A second limitation, the D1 designers must have faced, were the boundaries put on dynamics. Those were nicely adapted to the overall character of the sound – due to the live, not muffled treble, we have the impression of lightness in reproducing contrasts. In reality it is not so big, and to “extract” as much as possible from the D1 we will require a powerful amplifier. Although the technical data tells about 8Ω impedance, and not so low efficiency, yet in reality we have to supply power, to not allow dynamics to plunge. Jose Carreras vocal was toned down, and not so expressive as I was used to. It was shown precisely, the timbre was as it should be, but the expression abilities, captured so well by the sound engineers and returned to full glory by Mr. Winston Ma, were rather limited. That’s life…

Anyway, the D1 sound with a bigger sound, than it would seem looking at their size and the size of their drivers. Those are extremely sublime bookshelf speakers, which require lengthy burn-in and a powerful amplifier. Its top range is active, strong and saturated. This is not an exceptionally detailed or refined driver, but it was glued together with the mid-woofer splendidly, and probably that was the idea. The latter has not much coloring, and the designers did not want to achieve low going bass sounds coming from the speakers, which they would not produce anyway. The voices are a little nasal, but within a safety margin, and because of that the sound is saturated and has the right dimensions. The sound stage earns special praising – it is incredibly differentiated and full! And it is not about the fact, that we have stand mount speakers here, and “bookshelves sound like that” – this is a wrong habit, a relic from old times! Indeed, some time ago stand mount speakers showed space better, depicted the virtual sources more precise, but not because they were smaller, but because it was easier to integrate two speakers together than it was three, and that smaller cabinets do not vibrate as much as bigger, etc. Now those problems were alleviated, at least most of them. And although one of the best reproductions of space came from stand mounted Sonus Fabera Electa I with Ancient Audio electronics, but on the other hand, it was even better with the loudspeakers Wing from that manufacturer (HERE) – really big speakers. And the Dobermann draw the space better than most bookshelf speakers. Now everything has changed… This is why the achievement of the ProAc must be underlined even more. And that is exactly what I did.


Response D1 (D One) are bookshelf loudspeakers from the British company ProAc, replacing the earlier model Response 1SC. Those are really small boxes, in some way a derivative from the most known loudspeakers the company ever made, the Tablette. Different drivers, somewhat different size, but still I think there is family resemblance. The speakers are equipped with a silk dome tweeter with 19mm diameter, with the front covered with damping material and a big damping can. The unit was modified to ProAc needs. The midrange and bass is handled by a 130mm W15CY-C midwoofer, prepared for ProAc by SEAS, utilizing a woven glass fiber diaphragm, Excel magnet and a fixed phase plug. This is not so typical, as it is made from transparent acryl. It should improve the aesthetics of the product, but it influences also the mechanics of the speaker, damping vibration. Let me just add, that the tweeter was mounted off-axis – this is a visiting card of the company. This is also the reason, the loudspeakers should be positioned with the tweeters to the inside. I observed also, that it is best, when they are pointed directly at the ears of the listener.

The cabinet is made from MDF and damped inside with thick bitumen mattes, which damp vibration, and with polyurethane foam. The cross-over – core coils and polypropylene capacitors – is mounted on a PCB, placed directly on the wire terminals. The cabling is made from the FlexiSpeaker cable coming from the company Bandridge. The real wood veneer is very nice, and available only in four basic versions: maple, cherry, black and mahogany. An ebony version is available on special request. On the back, there is a double wire terminal, connected with straight bars. The terminals have a nice shape, easy to tighten. But I recommend to use banana plugs, the spades would have a small contact surface. On the back panel there is also the bass-reflex port. In the lower part of the cabinet, there is a small step, which harmonizes with the grille.

Technical data (according to manufacturer):
Nominal impedance: 8Ω
Recommended amplifier power: 20-100W
Frequency response: 38Hz-30kHz
Efficiency: 87.5dB (1W/1m)
Dimensions (WxHxD): 168 x 305 x 260mm
Weight (a piece): 9kg

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  • CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Prime (tested HERE)
  • Phono preamp: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC (tested HERE)
  • Preamp: Leben RS-28CX (tested HERE; soon to be changed to Polaris II, tested HERE)
  • Power amp: Luxman M-800A (tested HERE)
  • Integrated amp: Leben CS300 (reviewed HERE)
  • Loudspeakers: Harpia Acoustics Dobermann (tested HERE)
  • headphones: AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, 600 Ω version (reviewed HERE, HERE, and HERE)
  • interconnects: CD-preamp: Wireworld Gold Eclipse 52 (tested HERE; soon to be changed to Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, article HERE), preamp-power amp: Velum NF-G SE (tested HERE)
  • speaker cable: Velum LS-G (tested HERE)
  • power cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9100 (CD; reviewed HERE) and 2 x Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC7100 (preamp, power amp (reviewed HERE)
  • power conditioning: Gigawatt PF-2 Filtering Power Strip (reviewed HERE)
  • audio stand Base
  • resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD (article HERE ) Turntables change continuously, as do cartridges. My dream setup: SME 30 with Series V tone-arm and Air Tight PC-1 cartridge (also in the PC-1 Mono version).