ProAc Response D2R Speakers Review
This will be my fourth ProAc speakers review and it seems as though this British speaker brand can do no wrong when it comes HiFi. Over the years I have listened to nearly all of the recent designs dating back to the early nineties early noughties and many of them have captured my attention because of their sheer musicality and beautiful music that they are able to create. I always remember walking in to a dealership and listening to the massive but simply sublime D80 Speakers being powered by Meridian electronics, they sounded so good and I really wanted a pair but like most people that just was not possible at the time. I have gone through many brands but always seem to come back to the ProAc family of Speakers and in particular the Response range which IMO are some of the best speakers at any price. Going back to my first pair which was the Response D15's which I loved for many years and then D25's and D28's which I found to be even better, offering more of everything that I loved from this brand, they are tuned perfectly and sit well in most systems with very little adjustments to get them singing to their full potential. You can read my reviews of the current DB1's, D30R's and K6's on my blog and all are exceptional in performance and all sit perfectly in their product offerings and pricing.
I have moved to a smaller system and as life changes had to adapt with another little Giancarlo running around so with money and life getting in the way I have downsized my habit of HiFi but by no means the quality of sound and decided on the beautiful ProAc D2R Stand mount speakers, which are a slightly larger stand mount but still small enough to fit perfectly in any system and surrounding.
Features and Build quality
As usual the D2R’s are built to a really high standard that all of the Response range are renowned for and they look stunning finished in this example of black ash. It has the beautiful ribbon tweeter and a 6.5" mid/bass glass fibre weave cone and the very distinct but oh so stylish copper phase plug which I love the look of and makes them really stand out when the grill covers are left off. Impedance is at 8ohms and with an amplifier recommendation from 20-150 watts and measured sensitivity of 88.5db linear for 1 watt at 1 meter distance. Frequency response is a solid 30hz to 30kHz so quite extended for a stand mount speaker but aided by the flow port which is located on the front of the speaker and makes positioning slightly easier than if they were at the rear of the speakers. A slight toe in I also feel gives the best imaging in my room but always experiment with positions before finally deciding on final position. On the rear of the speakers they have dual binding posts for bi-wiring/bi-amping should you decide more power is required and I have always got great results from bi-amping on previous systems.
The system I am using them with I am very familiar with and have used Cyrus Audio electronics with many of my other speakers including Wilson Benesch and ProAc's and love the synergy between these brands. The Cyrus 82 DAC Integrated Amplifier powers them with a very conservative wattage on the amplifier but with lots of current, sources are from a Cyrus Audio CD8SE Player which is one of my favourites as I have owned many and only until recently had the CDi player. I also have a new Bluesound Node 2i streamer which I am enjoying using and feeding the Cyrus 82 DAC with high quality high-resolution audio. I also have connected a REL T5i subwoofer to fill in the low end and works perfectly with the ProAc's, all wired out with Chord Company cables Epic interconnects and Rumour X speaker cables. The D2R’s are mounted on a solid pair of Attacama stands and look the part.
Sound quality and performance
I have had the ProAc D2R speakers now for just over 5 weeks and even straight out of the box they have sounded superb with incredible highs, taught fast bass and great imaging but as time has gone on they have improved with the midrange really opening up and bass extending even lower as the drivers bed in. I have had some good experience with the ribbon tweeters after reviewing the D30RS and owning the brilliant K6 speakers so am familiar with the beautiful sound that is possible with the ribbon tweeters and never have they sounded harsh or fatiguing as some speakers can instead you get a very sparkly and lively top end which is always controlled with beautiful imaging and the cohesion between the drivers is seamless. This is something that ProAc really do well and the design of their speakers is among the best from any manufacturer and I put that down to the careful matching and highest quality components that they use in their builds. Stewart Tyler is a genius when it comes to speakers and has managed to gain ProAc the legendary status through his designs.
I have been listening to all types of music since I purchased them and like all ProAc’s they don’t care which genre of music you play they just make some of the most musically involving sounds with great feeling and emotion to the music which makes you listen more to the music rather than the speakers which to me is the most important aspect of any design.
On getting the Bluesound Node 2i I also subscribed to Qobuz with a Premium subscription and have been listening to all types of music and found a great new release from Tash Sultana who's album Terra Firma is a mixture of Jazz funk in high resolution and it sounds brilliant through my system with the ProAc D2R's projecting a wonderful soundstage with pin point accuracy. Track 1 Musk is a beautifully put together instrumental piece of music with a sound that the ProAc’s portray perfectly in my room with wrap around stereo sound and great imaging those ribbon tweeters really make the top end shine and are not one bit fatiguing in presentation but a joy to listen to. Bass is taught and agile in presentation with shifts in tone perfectly blending with the lush midrange that is presented. It is rich in the tonal palette with such wonderful harmony across the frequencies. Track 5 Pretty Lady has beautiful harmonies from this artist and the shifts in pace really put the ProAc’s through their paces as the bass and midrange have real texture to the sound and those tweeters give Tash Sultanas voice such a sweet sound, guitar chords change and you can almost visualise the changes on stage as they are so well presented. Track 9 Blame it on Society is throwback to the 90’s era for me anyway reminding me of some good times and the music that I was listening to and clubs that I used to spend most weekends at. The ProAc’s really do bring out these emotions and feelings in the music which is what it’s all about and makes the music such a joy to listen to. This is a great album and made me search out other titles from this artist and they are also very good with such a great sound so highly recommended and another good album is Notion which is worth looking up if you have Qobuz.
Next I move on to music that I have stored on some of my NAS drives and music that I own from Santana Inner Secrets album which is in high resolution 24bit 96kHz and sounds beautiful in high-res, Carlos Santana is a genius at putting together great bands and also changes style more often than I have hot dinners but in every incarnation he reinvents himself and the name which so many people know and love. Track 1 Dealer/Spanish Rose is a beautifully written track with great vocals, the sound stage is presented with perfection and with Santana’s band having huge presence, I have been to so many of his live concerts and heard and seen what his bands look like on stage and they are huge and this is captured perfectly by the ProAc’s with the percussion taking up many tiers from the musicians and his solo guitar playing is just magical and nothing is lost in this recording. Track 2 Move On is a funky number with so much rhythm and feeling that toe tapping soon creeps in, the D2R’s sound so grown up for a pair of stand mounts and sound so full and rich in presentation that they sound more like a good pair of floor standers such is the wonderful sound that they manage to create with every part of the sonic picture created in my room and the huge soundstage, the speakers simply disappear and you cannot tell where they are such is the accuracy of placement of the music, vocals coming straight out centre stage and instruments all around me as if I am in the front row of the concert in my room.
Another artist that I love and own many of their albums is Yello and Touch is a great album in 24bit 48kHz and the D2R’s present the music perfectly with a wonderful top end and tight and tuneful bass. Track 3 The Expert sounds superb and presents this Duos voices so accurately but also the synthesised sounds which compliment there style of music so well. Track 4 You Better Hide has such smooth vocals and the trumpet sounds so natural in its sound this is thanks again to the ribbon tweeter which is so special, even the triangle sounds perfectly placed. Track 5 Out of Dawn is my favourite on this album and having heard it through many different speakers and systems that I have had it sounds just as good with kit that has cost many many thousands more such is the quality of the music presented by the ProAc’s and really does this track justice, track 6 Bostich (Reflected) is also brilliantly portrayed.
Moving on to CD I have Melody Gardot’s album Sunset in the Blue and this is one of my favourites for sound and also from this artist. CD is a format that if done well with a good enough player and system can really sound exceptional and Cyrus do make some of the best sounding CD spinners for the money and the ProAc’s sound absolutely sublime with this music, the natural presentation and cohesion of drivers and tuning of the cabinet is just so damn good in this design that it sounds perfect in every part of the sound with Melody’s voice centre stage you can almost smell the scotch in the club that you are sitting in listening to this smooth silky jazz. Track 2 C'est Magnifique sounds so good that you simply melt away with the beautiful sounds from this duet featuring Antonio Zambujo with the music and the hypnotic melody that the D2R’s manage to present in glorious stereo. When HiFi gets this good it becomes so addictive that you just can’t help listening to more of it which is what these ProAc’s inspire. Track 4 Love Song is a beautifully written track with smooth vocals and the orchestra mixes so well with such a beautiful tone and richness that the ProAc’s manage to do so well. When music sounds this good I can’t help but love the hobby of HiFi and for the sheer enjoyment that it manages to give back makes it all so worth it, unwinding at the end of a tough day with music like this is a blessing.
Conclusions and Final Thoughts
Once again I am blown away by the quality that ProAc has managed to produce in a stand mount design, it is a true audiophile quality speaker with a much bigger and more grown up sound than is more akin to a floor standing design with great bass extension and that ribbon tweeter is so special in its sound, it lifts the quality to another level. The midrange is to die for too, they have managed to tune this speaker perfectly and there is only one other stand mount that I have enjoyed this much but it costs a hell a lot more than what these ProAc's cost. These stand mounts are here to stay and I am once again engrossed in my HiFi hobby which is a passion and a blessing that I am so grateful for especially in these crazy times, music is a great therapy and the D2R's are such wonderful speakers.
The Speaker Shack awards the ProAc D2R's with an Outstanding Product award and it is a well deserved one, this is yet again another beautiful design that sits proudly in the Response range.
Price at time of review £2,895