Hart Audio Evo1 Active Loudspeaker Review (Part 2)

4/22/2014 2:38:20 PM

Sound quality

First impressions are of extraordinary bass somewhat leading the music, but a subtle tweak of the contour and gain controls on the rear amps soon arrives at a sound that works, to my ears. Purists may sniff at this tweak ability, but there are many speakers guilty of over driving rooms, so this feels like a smart way to achieve a balanced sound in any listening environment.

Hart Audio Evo1 back view

Hart Audio Evo1 back view

Bass is highly extended, but with next to no flab or overhang. More impressively, it seems to have nothing to do with the boxes that generate it. With some traditional floorstanding designs, lower frequencies can be synthesized by flexing the cabinets themselves or tuning a port to resonate below the abilities of the drivers. In contrast, the EVO1 effortlessly goes through the bass gears down to near seismic depths. Playing James Blake’s Limit to Your Love on CD feels like it could loosen your fillings and I can literally count the individual excursions of the bottom 12in driver on the lowest notes. Relishing in the bass abilities of these speakers, a spin of Kraftwerk’s Elektro-Kardiogramm on vinyl fills my solar plexus with a real dread that I may be having a seizure myself; such is the impact on my vital organs.

Around the back you’ll find knobs for tweaking the sound to suit your room

Around the back you’ll find knobs for tweaking the sound to suit your room

This particular setup is fed by valves and I can identify a gentle warmth and slight softening to leading edges that comes with the amplification.

It would be easy to imagine that a passion for bass extension may have left this design a bit of a one-trick pony. Not so. This fast, deep tuneful bass is full of rich detail that clearly defines drum skins, organ pipes and the human voice. Playing a lossless rip of Buddy Holly’s True Love Ways highlights a lightness of touch reproducing the difficult timbre of Holly’s voice, making the speakers very strong at communicating the emotion within vocals.

If you’re a fan of gentle chamber music or understated folk you will almost certainly not be drawn to the charms of the EVO1, but that will probably be to your loss.

Playing a quality rip of Foster the People’s stripped-out acoustic version of Pumped-Up Kicks sends a shiver straight down my spine, such is the solidity and realistic air around the three-dimensional soundstage. Pinpoint vocals, meanwhile, and menacing muted guitar strumming are utterly locked in space.

If you suspect that there is a lower octave missing from your music then you should audition these speakers

If you suspect that there is a lower octave missing from your music then you should audition these speakers

This rock-solid soundstage is potentially the secret weapon of these speakers. You may be ready to be impressed by the quality of bass, but it’s the quality of the uncluttered mid-band and lower treble detail delivered so effortlessly that really could catch you off-guard. Freeing the top drivers of any serious bass duties and extracting so much energy from the lower cabinet appears to have the effect of taking the cabinets out of the equation and reducing any smearing of micro-dynamics, so critical in reproducing the full emotional content in music.


If you suspect that there is a lower octave missing from your music then you should audition these speakers. But it would be easy to turn to the EVO1 for bass quantity and miss the bass quality that’s on offer. These are not brutal bruisers despite their brusque shape. Some potent speakers can create bass nodes that flap your trousers when overdriving a problematic room, but the EVO1 offers fine-tuning options and delivers a bass that just sounds more musical.

At $12,473.97 this speaker system isn’t exactly cheap and many other rivals will impress at this price point and below. However, the EVO1 can be considered an awful lot of speaker for the money. Given Hart Audio’s new commitment to direct sales you may even view the price as a bit of a bargain compared to its previous price through resellers.

The combined effect of high sensitivity, low cabinet coloration, a tuned set of sympathetic drivers and near bottomless active amplifier grunt adds up to a more subtle whole than one might expect. It’s like a growling V8-powered muscle car idling effortlessly along at 30mph, just daring you to put your foot down. Safe driving!


·         Product: Hart Audio EVO1

·         Origin: UK

·         Type: 3/4-way, two box, active loudspeaker system

·         Price: $12,473.97

·         Weight: Head unit: 62kg; Bass module: 38kg

·         Dimensions: (WxHxD) 425x1,250 x425mm

·         Features: 2x 12in primary drivers, 8x 4.5in bass drivers; Quoted sensitivity: 99dB top,

101dB bottom; Quoted impedance: 8ohms; 500W active amplification


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