Kudos X2 review

Kudos' entry level floorstanding speakers borrow tech from the high-end Cardea range

Kudos X2
Mounted well clear of walls, the X2 delivers a surprisingly entertaining performance that belies its measured uneveness

TechRadar Verdict

Pricetag reflects UK manufacture and top quality components give a lively and informative sound


  • +

    Sounds lively, coherent, informative and entertaining


  • -

    Quite pricey

  • -

    Lacks overall smoothness and bass end grip and authority

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Kudos might be a relative newcomer on the British loudspeaker scene, but it has rapidly established popularity among dealers and customers alike.

And that's in spite of the fact that its original Cardea range of floorstanders and standmounts carry quite substantial pricetags.

The new floorstanders we have here for review is the entry level model, the Kudos X2.

Made in England

The basic idea behind the new X-series is to provide Kudos quality at rather lower prices. However, the £1,350 asked for a pair of these X2s does seem quite hefty in a marketplace where the lower price end is dominated by models produced in the Far East.

The X2, therefore, does seem quite costly when compared, say, to the Malaysian-built Radiance 2 from Acoustic Energy, but that seems to be the price premium for using UK and European-sourced components.

The question must be whether any advantages in presentation and sound quality help to offset that price premium.

Pure simplicity

This is a simple two-way floorstander, essentially devoid of unnecessary frills, as much in the interests of sound quality as in keeping the costs down.

Although there are certain advantages in going to multi-way systems, most of those only really become apparent when a system is being played at fairly high sound levels. At normal listening levels, the simplicity of the two-way may well be advantageous.

Furthermore, all the essentials are in place here and the ingredients, including English cabinetwork, Norwegian drive units and crossover components from UK suppliers Clarity Caps and Volt, are exceptional.

The drive units, tailored by SEAS for this application, consist of a 150-millimetre cast-frame bass/mid unit with a 95mm-diameter flared and doped paper cone, which crosses over to a 25mm fabric-dome tweeter.

Extended footprint

The sharp-edged enclosure is built up from 18mm MDF and comes wrapped up in a wide choice of mostly real wood veneer finishes – black, cherry, maple, oak, rosenut, walnut and satin-white.

This is a very compact loudspeaker, just 170mm wide and 780mm tall, so the addition of a pretty little black painted plinth, cleverly shaped with some chamfering, extends the footprint and ensures good basic stability even when the spikes are fitted. Small optional vestigial grilles covering just the drivers are held magnetically in place.

One unusual feature is that the spikes used here are locked by plastic thumbwheels, an arrangement that proves very effective, both in keeping the spikes tight and also avoiding stripping the mounting sockets. The plinth is attached to the enclosure proper via spacers, allowing the reflex port that's fitted into the base to operate. Signals are fed via a single pair of multi-way socket/binder terminals.