No One Speaker To Rule Them All

May 26, 2010

As a further reminder that there’s no one perfect speaker and therefore no perfect speaker design, I happened by Gary Pearce’s home today to find a set of TDL Studio 0.5 Transmission Line Speakers sitting on the floor sounding unfeasibly good.

Talk about obscure, there can’t be too many transmission line speakers wandering the earth these days – PMC would have a fair few out there but I can’t remember the last time I saw or heard a set of TDLs.

They date back to the early 90’s and at 620mm tall, are either hobbit sized floorstanders or oddly proportioned standmounts depending on your perspective. Either way, they make a strange and unique sound, which prompted both Gary Steel and myself to enquire about the state of the subwoofer, which turned out to be off.

Good old transmission lines – bass light they’re not, with a claimed 30Hz bottom end extension in this case, despite the single bass/mid driver being a small 135mm doped polypropylene-cone (there’s a 25mm magnesium alloy tweeter doing top end duty).

So there’s not much too them but they’re a lot of fun to listen to. If I had the space, I’d be keeping my eye open for something similar on TradeMe, not to replace my main speakers, just to have something a little less serious on the boil.


  1. I’d always wanted a pair of TDL loudspeakers and my incessant trolling of Trademe finally paid dividends. It’s a tiny little speaker, but blessed with a rich, fulsome bass and nice clear midband. The speaker could be described as being slightly recessed in the high frequencies, but considering their age they sound astoundingly good.
    It’s interesting that in the modern age of boat-shaped cabinets, high tech drivers and complete reliance on modern speaker building software that the tenets of a decent crossover, simple drivers and sturdy tried and true cabinet design still deliver the goods where it counts – the emotional heart of the music.

  2. sorry, bit of a grave dig….

    but i purchased a pair of tdl studio monitor 2’s last year – from a korean lad, and i suspect they would have been brought over by his dad.

    absolutely fantastic speakers – stoked with the purchase and i am constantly scanning tme / fb market to see if any others come up.

    one set did tdl rtl3s (this set brought over by a SA) – so i grabbed them! they are ok – but are nowhere near as good as the studio 2’s.

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