ProAc D30RS Speakers Review
The ProAc 2-way speaker design is a thing of beauty, this is something they have been getting right for many decades now but continually refining the builds and especially driver compound technology and implementation. A good 2-way floor stander design can build on all the attributes of a great monitor/bookshelf speaker and extend the bass response even further due to how the cabinet is built and reflex-ported. This is something that ProAc have really nailed down and are one of the best in the world at producing these high-end speakers.
Sound wise ProAc is certainly a leader in British made speakers and highly regarded in the Audiophile community as one of the most natural sounding speakers, and this is all down to great engineering. Stewart Tyler certainly knows how to make great speakers and cross-overs that seamlessly integrate with each other.
Coming from a background of owning previous models of the Response range, the D15. D25's and finally the D28's these are speakers that you fall in love with, such is the natural and open sound that they produce. I always missed the sound when I finally moved on to another brand. As a reviewer, I get to listen to many brands and get tempted by many but seduced by few, ProAc is one brand that I am seduced by. That is why I ended up with a pair of the reference K6 speakers and they hold all the great values that lured me to ProAc in the first place and more. On review here, I have the latest iteration of the Response D30RS speakers and they sound divine with all the memories of the last D28's flooding back but improved in every way possible.
Features and Build Quality
The D30RS build quality is exceptional and I have the Ebony finish which adds a premium on to the standard versions produced but the finish and look is simply gorgeous when up close and personal. The speakers are built with one purpose and that is to reproduce music with the highest fidelity possible from a 2-way design. They are ported at the base of each speaker with a plinth in place so that they fire downwards and out sideways, which makes placement a lot simpler than a conventional front or rear ported speaker, Spikes are provided. You can opt for either the ribbon or dome versions, so if you are not a fan of the ribbon tweeter you can opt for the more widely used dome tweeter for a lower premium, but the ribbon tweeter is certainly my favorite. A new mid/bass driver has been created for this version and it incorporates the use of pulp and Mika and is coated with an acoustic dope to form its driver with a phase plug central which improves detail at the crossover point. Dampening of the cabinets is really good and they are so solid and heavy that I recommend two people to handle the boxed speakers, once unboxed they are relatively easy to move around into place. two sets of terminals are provided for speaker wire connections if you wish to bi-amp them.
Sound quality and Performance
For my review I am using my McIntosh MA8000 Amplifier with a Mytek Brooklyn DAC and Aurender Music Server for streaming, CD transport is a Cyrus CDi player fed to the Mytek Brooklyn DAC. Cables are from Transparent Cables. I have bought a couple of new CD's for this review and the first one is by The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out remastered from the 1959 album, my second album is from the excellent Lana Del Rey's - Lust for Life which is her latest album.
What I have always admired about ProAc speakers is their ability to simply disappear when listening to music and the D30RS speakers are no exception, also their pin sharp imaging. The term perfectly natural is what ProAc states and the way they play instruments is without a doubt as natural sounding as it gets, which leads me on to my first album which is by The Dave Brubek Quartet – Time Out. This recording was done in 1959 and sounds as good as anything that is mastered on CD today, if not better. It is a brilliant album and one that is a firm favorite of mine and listening to it through the ProAc D30RS they give a solid performance with great imaging and space around the instruments. Track 3 – Take Five is a wonderfully composed piece of music which most people will remember just by the first few piano strikes. It is a timeless bit of jazz music which never sounds old. The Saxophone played by Paul Desmond has an airy feel and Joe Morello’s drumming is just magical with perfect timing and the D30’s portray this brilliantly with every thwack and snap on the drums. This is one of David Brubek’s finest albums. Listening to it on the ProAc’s gives plenty of space and depth around them which sounds wonderful with a sound stage that is not cluttered but laid out spaciously with layers of detail, each note played is punchy and tuneful. Eugene Wright’s double-bass has an almost tactile feel giving real depth to the recording. This is certainly a stand out track and played through the D30RS shows what a good pair of speakers can do and convincingly too.
My second album is Lana Del Rey’s latest Lust for Life which is a complex mix of popular culture music with a dark but colorful tone to it. Her distinct vocals are beautifully enriched by the ProAc speakers and the first track has some serious weight to it with the bass sounding as potent as I have heard it sound. They dig deep for a 2-way design offering up real scale to the sound. Track 2 – Lust for Life is a melodic piece of music which really pushes the D30RS speakers with its complex mix but they don’t trip up at all and instead give a wonderfully polished performance with Del Rey’s voice sounding as haunting as ever. This track has many layers to it and each one is beautifully played through the ProAc’s. They do not seem to lack in any department such is their performance in my modest sized room. Track 6 – Summer Bummer is as crazy as it sounds, the imaging from the D30RS’s speakers is just brilliant with sounds panning all-round the sound stage. With a thumping bass note and US rapper A$AP Rocky this is as real as it gets but you cannot help but love what these speakers can do when pushed. This is a 2-way design yet the music sounds bigger and bolder than it should considering their size but they do their job well and fill my room easily with a real sense of grandeur. Track 11 - When the World Was at War We Kept Dancing is my favorite track and Del Rey’s voice sounds simply vivacious as she pitches from top to bottom and the ProAc’s portray these vocals beautifully. The whole album is a roller coaster of music which is as dynamic and energetic as they come but the D30RS speakers keep up in a manner that you just cannot fault them as they perform flawlessly.
Conclusions and Final Thoughts
This is yet again one highly polished product from ProAc and shows what a good 2-way design can achieve when done right. There are not many speakers out there that I can think of that sound this good for the money. Highly Recommended!
Price at time of review £4,750 in standard finishes, £5,451 in Ebony/Rosewood finishes.