Perlisten Audio R7t Speakers Review

Perlisten Audio are relatively new to the speakers market but with a range of speakers that have been winning awards from some of the finest reviewers out there over the last few years. I have seen some great coverage from the HiFi Shows in the US and on social media which is the new platform for getting content to the masses and the audiophile communities in general. So I really had to get a listen and KarmaAV very kindly sent me the R7t speakers to review which are from the Reference range hence the R7t name and one down from the top of the range Signature versions which uses the textreme chequered drivers which have a unique and distinct look about them.

From a distance the R7t looks identical to the Signature versions accept that they now use a silk dome for the tweeter and DPC array instead of the centre Beryllium tweeter and the Textreme woofers are now a hybrid HPF pulp for the cones which consist of hybrid fibres, bamboo and wool these make for a very light but stiff cone. With some research into Perlisten Audio it’s clear that the people behind the company are incredibly talented and all have vast experience within the speaker industry, with Dan Roamer the CEO and founder he is the main engineer behind the technology in their speakers, he has worked for some big company names designing and researching acoustics which include Aerospace and car OEMs like Aston Martin but he also works closely with audio communities and is currently working on an active speaker system. The other person behind Perlisten who is the CSO and partner is Lars Johansen with an extensive history in the speaker industry working for the likes of JBL, Harman Kardon, Jamo and most recently where he was the President of the now Dutch owned legendary Miller&Kreisel brand.

Build Quality and Features

As soon as the R7t speakers arrived it was clear from the size and weight of the boxes that they mean business, weighing in at a hefty 50Kg each it took 2 delivery drivers to get them into my property and I advise getting assistance when trying to set them up as the speakers need to be flipped to get the weighty base plates and feet in place. The R7t speakers I have are in a stunning gloss black automotive finish for the cabinets and are like looking into mirrors such is the quality but they are finger print magnets and required a good polish once I had them all setup, the front of the speakers with the drive units are a matt black finish which sets them off nicely. The most striking aspect of the R7t speakers is the centred DPC array (Directivity Pattern Control) array which is what makes them stand out and are levelled perfectly to ear height which is acoustically a very advanced and clever part of the design, it is one of the main features in all of the Perlisten Audio range of speakers and sets them apart from other brands with a new tech to be introduced by them allowing the mid and treble frequencies to be heard without reflections that can muddy the sound by directing the beam of sound via the array and waveguide to the listener, creating a very narrow vertical beam and wider horizontal beam. The R7t features four 165mm woofers two either side of the DPC and completes the vertical array, there are 2 reflex ports at the base of each speaker and it is recommended to leave them open if you are not using a subwoofer but you can also seal them so as to include a sub into the system obviously dependant on placement the room and it’s size, they are also certified to meet the impressive THX Dominus certification and this goes to show how capable their total SPL output without coloration is to meet these stringent requirements. On the rear of the speaker you have twin binding posts for HF and LF and some metal bridging plates which need to be slotted in unless you are bi amping the speakers, powerful amps is a must as the rated impedance is 4ohms. The cabinets are fashioned out of HDF (High Density Fibre) with excellent internal bracing and then with the piano black gloss the results speak for themselves as the finish is outstanding and ooze high end appeal.

For this review KarmaAV sent me the beautiful Primare A35.2 power amplifier so that I have some muscle to power the R7t speakers, my Cyrus Audio amplifier just would not cut it for a speaker of this size and capability but with the Primare rated at 200watts into 8ohms and a massive 400watts into 4ohms this is plenty of punch that is required for the Perlisten Audio R7t’s. In the end I went for the bass reflex ports left open as I felt it gave the more natural sounding response in my room but would certainly recommend experimenting once in your own room to see what works for you and what you prefer.

I stick with my Cyrus Audio now working as the preamp and Cyrus Audio CD8SE as CD spinner, for DAC duties I am using the brilliant Chord Electronics Hugo2 DAC and for streaming the Bluesound Node and for vinyl playback I am using my Denon DP400 turntable with MM cartridge, all of this is wired with Chord Company cables. 

Setting up is relatively straightforward thanks to how the DPC array is levelled at ear height when seated, with some slight toe in I find the sweet spot. For this review I am using a variety of music on vinyl and high resolution music stored on my NAS drives with maybe a few CDs thrown in, of course I always listen to every format and as much music as possible but when reviewing new speakers or amps you always end up finding something in your collection which is like hearing it for the first time, this is what makes HiFi so special and the beauty of music.

Sound Quality and Performance

I start off with an album that I have not listened to for quite some time and it is by the wonderful Jazz artist Patricia Barber and her beautiful album Nightclub in high resolution 24bit 96kHz and from the first track Bye Bye Blackbird it was clear that the presentation of these speakers was big and powerful but with a startling clarity to every strike of the piano notes being played, the soundstage is cavernous and off to the left the drums brush sticks rolling over the drum skins can be felt as they hit softly at first and then as the tempo increases so does the power of the strike and impact, the double bass sounds incredible with a deep and powerful but tuneful bass note emanating from the R7ts with absolute control and beautifully rendered, bass has wonderful texture and tonality across the lower range of notes being played with the R7ts there is such an immediacy to the sound that it draws you into the music and puts you in the front row of the club, the most revealing and impressive part of the track is the vocals as Patricia Barbers voice is projected centre stage and sounds extremely powerful, without any hint of compression from the speakers the DPC array has one of the best presentations of vocals that I have heard from a speaker with their presentation being incredibly natural, it’s clear that the narrow dispersion on the vertical plane does not smear any of the sound that can distract from the performance.

For my next album I am again listening to an album which I have owned for a little while now but have not listened for some time, it is the brilliant Julian & Roman Wassefuhr album Mosaic in high resolution 24bit 96kHz on the ACT label. Track 5 Hymnus Varus is a beautifully composed piece of music, the piano and violin start off gently gaining momentum and then the full band comes in, the R7ts sound so composed and when the big drums come in you feel every strike with a deep and powerful bass line, this is sofa shaking stuff when cranked up and it just gives me goosebumps as the presence of the music is truly felt but everything is kept in complete control with not a hint of distortion, just deep tight bass notes and with a large grin on my face then the bass guitar comes into play, now when ever I have been to a live concert and you hear this type of power coming from the speakers on stage you are just in awe at the live performance, this is how the Perlisten R7ts makes me feel listening to the music it’s such a raw feeling of unadulterated fun and music bliss that you soon forget about the system as a whole and just enjoy the music which is what HiFi is all about, but there is absolutely nothing that these speakers give away, imaging is first class so is the timing, the blend between the drivers is seamless, the midrange is lush and full of rhythmic energy and the top end is full of detail but never sounds tiring. Track 6 Ladybirds is a relaxed piece with a beautiful melody, wonderful separation of instruments with the trumpet and piano having their own space in the soundstage and then the bass guitar comes in and suddenly energises the room with deep tuneful bass and then the electric guitar which sounds absolutely stunning with an almost tangible feel to the sound.

On to my third album and some vinyl which I have been playing non stop since the Perlisten speakers arrived and the brilliant album from Nirvana, their 1993 MTV unplugged album which they played in New York at the height of their fame and unfortunately just before Kirk Cobain took his own life in 1994, his music lives on and no more so than in this album which is a firm favourite of mine as it just seems to sound better as I have aged, at the time I never fully appreciated their music like I do now, track 2 on side one Come As You Are has the great guitar riff which is centre stage and Kirk Cobains voice which sounds as gritty as ever and like any live gig as unpredictable with every slight of hand picked up on, the Perlisten manage to capture this recording perfectly with the audience placed around the stage loving it and I can remember watching this on MTV but never sounding this good. Track 4 on side 1 The Man Who Sold The World is by far one of my favourite Nirvana recordings and especially this live version of the Bowie track, I love the way Kirk Cobain says at the beginning “ I guarantee I will screw this up “ but he couldn’t of been anymore wrong as it is a beautifully recorded track, the guitar riff starts off to the right of the soundstage and Cobains vocals rock in and although I love Bowie, I prefer Nirvana’s rendition of this epic track and the R7ts portray Cobains imperfect but raspy vocals with real emotion and the misconceptions that he had in general, I don’t remember this recording giving me such a stirring performance like it has done through the Perlisten R7t speakers, having such a powerful and dynamic sound has made this album more enjoyable to listen to than I can recall previously.

On to my final album and again on vinyl the beautifully written and sounding debut album from London Grammar If You Wait, track 1 is synonymous in the clubs and has invited so many excellent remixes and I am still finding new ones to this day but this the original version has an excellent bass line and vocals from Hannah Reid and this talented English trio. The synthesiser intro and guitar starts off with such delicacy and then the echo of the drums the R7t’s project this with excellent spatial context in my room and then the bass line comes in and with stunning effect, the bass is deep and taught and changes pitch accordingly, the bass and scale that these speakers serve up is huge and my room is of a fair size to allow higher than normal listening volumes and the pleasure that can be had when listening to such a calibre of speaker, without detracting from the beautiful vocals that they project centre stage, on to side B and track 1 Wasting My Younger Years is just as impressive sounding and for a speaker of this size they seem to melt away with a sound stage which is much deeper and extends further back than what I have experienced previously in my room, Hannah Reid’s voice sounds superb with her powerful vocals, track 3 Strong starts with the guitar played gently echoing in the background and gains in strength and power, then the vocals come in and as I have described previously the soundstage is just cavernous in size, the mid bass is deliberately harder hitting and punchy on this track but perfectly reproduced, vocals really are exceptional on the Perlisten speakers with such clarity and definition, the DPC array negates any reflections so vocals are improved and rendered more clearly, the listening position and the sweet spot covers more of my sofa area than other speakers thanks to the wider dispersion pattern, this all makes for a much more enjoyable listen and it shows in the R7ts performance and that’s not just where it ends as the bass from these speakers is phenomenal and unless your room is the size of a concert hall you definitely don’t need a subwoofer and London Grammars album is brilliant demo material for speakers at this level.

Conclusions and Final Thoughts 

As you can tell from my listening sessions the Perlisten Audio R7t speakers have performed flawlessly in my system and I did manage to try them with the Leema Acoustics amplifier which I have just reviewed with stunning results, it is no slouch when it comes to power delivery but the Primare and Perlisten combination is a superb match with tons of power which the R7t speakers simply absorb and perform to what can only be described as a Reference level and give sheer musical pleasure.

I’m intrigued now to see how much better the S7t speakers can actually be as this is a pure reference speaker from this newcomer into the speaker market, with rock solid build and cutting edge design technology they have managed to bring some outstanding speaker packages into fruition and on to the market for the masses, I have had many big names go through my doors and these guys hit well above their price point to make the R7t speakers an absolute proverbial bargain, if your looking for a reference floor standing speaker under the £10,000 mark then look no further than the Perlisten Audio R7t speakers.

The Speaker Shack awards the R7t with a Reference level achievement award and deservingly so.

Price at time of review £8,800

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