Bringing ‘The Kudos Difference’ to life

Posted on 14th August 2023 in Category: Blogs

In this article, we unpick our unconventional approach to designing and building Kudos loudspeakers – a unique, intuitive process that we call ‘The Kudos Difference’. 

Why do we love music? It can be a surprisingly difficult thing to put your finger on. For us here at Kudos, the pursuit of an answer to that question is absolutely fundamental. 

As dedicated music lovers, we pour so much of our time, energy, enthusiasm (and savings!) into building a system and collection that reflects this burning, unrelenting musical passion that pulses through us. So, what’s it all for?

The truth is, there’s a certain magic at the centre of every truly unforgettable listening experience. Something intangible that pulls us out of ourselves and into the musical moment, leaving us utterly captivated by the sound rolling over us. Here at Kudos, we believe this to be the pursuit of every true music lover – to get ever closer to more and more of these moments of musical magic. 

a man pulls a record from a vinyl collection, discovering the kudos difference

That’s why we do what we do. Kudos loudspeakers are created out of a desire to bring these unforgettable musical interactions to more of your music experience than ever before. We don’t believe that feeling should ever elude you. With Kudos loudspeakers, our goal is to tease out these magical listening experiences, every time you hit play. 

How we realise that goal is a different question altogether. 

In this article, we’re going to take you through this unconventional Kudos loudspeaker philosophy – and unpick exactly what makes our design and build process so unique. 

We call it The Kudos Difference. Let’s dive in!

How we bring The Kudos Difference to life

We don’t prescribe to a ‘by the numbers’ approach to speaker design. We don’t believe there are any ‘rules’ that dictate how a loudspeaker should be constructed or how it should sound. Instead, we undertake a more intuitive, even artisanal, process of painstaking, empirical design – drawing on decades of experience in live sound and reproduction to inform and influence how we eventually create truly unique, breathtaking loudspeakers. This is the very essence of The Kudos Difference.

Like an exquisite musical instrument, Kudos loudspeakers are built to bring character and depth to music. We start by envisioning the very best version of any product – how does it interact with our music? And what components and design decisions will get us as close to this idealised concept as possible? Our final designs are often somewhat different to our initial concepts, but they always end up exceeding our first expectations in terms of performance and quality.

As we create Kudos loudspeakers, we test responsiveness using the two finest tools available – the human ear and brain. Then we judge our final designs by asking two fundamental questions. How does it make our music sound? And how does that sound make us feel? Only once we’re satisfied with these answers, is a Kudos loudspeaker born.

There are five things that make the Kudos philosophy unique – five places that you can see and hear The Kudos Difference in action. Here, we’ll explore each one in turn, and look at how they come together to make Kudos loudspeakers what they are.

Custom-made components, unique to Kudos.

A kudos driver - the essence of The Kudos Difference

Almost every element of a Kudos loudspeaker is designed and conceptualised by us. But in the pursuit of sonic excellence, it’s important to recognise that collaboration with expert manufacturers is often key to building the best product possible. 

A great place to see this philosophy in action is in our custom-made drivers. We’ve worked with industry leading audio manufacturers SEAS to build the drivers you’ll find exclusively in Kudos loudspeakers. 

These drivers are initially conceived by our in-house team here at Kudos – and then SEAS are tasked with making these concepts into a reality. We work closely with SEAS to achieve the very best version of each driver, through a lengthy and meticulous trial and development process. Concepts are received, tested, tweaked, rebuilt, resent, retested, and retweaked – and on and on the process goes until we reach the perfect driver design. This collaborative process might take time, but we believe that it’s entirely worthy of that commitment to excellence – eventually resulting in class-leading components that are the envy of speaker brands worldwide. 

It’s not just our drivers that benefit from this custom-built collaborative process. You can find it throughout our loudspeaker range – from our hand-built cabinets constructed by master craftsmen, to smaller yet equally fundamental electronic components like our capacitors and inductors. All of them are subjected to this same process of testing and improvement, until we feel perfection is achieved. 


Masterful simplicity for the purest sound

A Kudos crossover is soldered and built, utilising the philosophy of the kudos difference

A fundamental step towards achieving The Kudos Difference comes from our relentless pursuit of masterful simplicity. When it comes to high end loudspeakers, simplicity is often anything but simple, but it’s always worth pursuing in order to achieve the purest sound. 

We hold fast to one basic truth of loudspeaker design – that the less you do, the more you end up getting. Every time we begin designing a new speaker for the Kudos range, we start from a desire to put as few components into the signal path as fundamentally possible. Kudos speakers are always built to preserve as much of the original signal from your music as we can – and every design decision is made to achieve this goal. One crucial place you can see this in action is in our unique, low-order crossover design. 

A common crossover approach in speaker construction is to treat the internal drive unit and crossover as two separate design parameters – this tends to result in the need for a technically complex crossover, potentially disrupting the purity of the final audio signal. Instead, Kudos crossovers are built to mechanically complement the drive unit, using the fewest internal components possible. The result? Our crossovers require significantly less filtering, achieving a seamless, simplified end result and a signal with significantly less disruption. 

Another example of Kudos’ commitment to masterful simplicity can be seen in how our cabinets store and dissipate energy. We utilise a simple and fairly well established process for reducing energy storage in our cabinets – by installing a thin wall on the side of the unit that’s allowed to flex as sound moves through it. This concept was first employed decades ago by the BBC – although there remains a problem with this process. What do you do with the energy that’s left? The classic solution is to store it somewhere in the unit – usually with dampening placed inside the cabinet. But this can result in significant and unpredictable changes to the overall performance of the loudspeaker. 

For Kudos loudspeakers, we implemented a different system for energy removal. Kudos loudspeakers include a flexible internal wall, but the energy is then quickly transferred into a thicker second side panel installed next to it via critically placed transfer discs. This significantly improves the efficiency of our loudspeaker’s energy extraction, once again preserving the purity of a Kudos loudspeaker’s sound.

You can start to see how each design decision is made to ensure simplicity of design, but the culmination of these elements adds up to a design that is anything but simple. It’s a crucial balance to tread, and the deftness with which Kudos loudspeakers achieve this is one of the reasons music lovers fall in love with our products. Which leads us nicely into our next element in The Kudos Difference. 


There’s a Titan for every music lover

The Titan 808, a loudspeaker that encapsulates the kudos difference

Kudos loudspeakers grace the listening rooms and living spaces of a vast range of individuals across the world – but one thing tends to unite them all. A true and total love of music. People that embrace The Kudos Difference tend to be driven firstly by a love of music, over and above a love of audio gear. We believe this is because our loudspeakers are built by and for music – it means that music lovers connect with our loudspeakers on a deep and distinctly personal level. We’re passionate about sharing this connection with as many music enthusiasts as possible – and that’s what our range is made to do. 

We want to make the Kudos listening experience a distinct possibility for music lovers of all stripes, and our speaker range has been created to offer exactly that. From our flagship reference Titan 808, to the compact bookshelf Titan 505, our speakers are conceptualised and created to ensure there is a Kudos loudspeaker that can complement the home of every music lover out there. 

The TITAN 808 is our flagship loudspeaker – the very pinnacle of Kudos design and engineering. It immediately stands out with its trademark split cabinet (more on that later!). This novel design allows the Titan 808 to excel in just about any listening space imaginable. Play your music quietly, or play your music loud, and it will sound impeccable through the Titan 808.

The TITAN 707 delivers much of the industry-leading brilliance and stunning audio quality of the world class Titan 808, from a significantly simpler one-box cabinet. Like the 808, there’s plenty of majestic, hair-raising sound on offer from the Titan 707.

The TITAN 606 is specifically designed to be as domestically acceptable as possible, and will comfortably fit into pretty much any room or living space. If you don’t have a dedicated listening room at home, the Titan 606 is an excellent option – it can slot neatly around existing home entertainment systems with relative ease. 

The TITAN 505 is the smaller bookshelf sister of the floorstanding Titan 606 – built out of a desire to make a compact cabinet sound very big indeed. The 606 and the 505 complement each other brilliantly – if the floorstanding Titan 606 doesn’t quite suit the acoustics of a certain room, the Titan 505 will almost always work perfectly in that same space. 


Beautiful design, practical application

The unique shaping and contours of the Titan 808 - demonstrating the kudos difference in action

Kudos speakers stand out for their striking design, classic looks, and trademark aesthetic features – earning it a mention in The Kudos Difference all on its own – but none of those good looks are a result of style decisions alone. We take a ‘form-first’ approach to our speaker design, meaning every timeless visual feature of a Kudos loudspeaker is there to perform a very specific function.

This is brilliantly distilled in the Titan 808’s now iconic split cabinet design. Whilst this characteristic has become a distinct feature of the Kudos brand, it’s there for a reason – that reason being the lower portion of the cabinet is isobaric. But why?

The principle behind isobaric bass is to achieve the same bass frequency response that you would get from a cabinet twice its actual size. Two drivers – an internal and external – are aligned consecutively, with one behind the other and a sealed column of air in between. The pressure in this column of air remains constant (ie isobaric), meaning the external driver doesn’t ‘see’ the column of air – instead, the internal driver becomes the back of the external driver. We won’t go into the mathematics of it here, but the result is a much clearer, much more defined, much deeper and textured bass response. 

The Kudos Difference takes us one step further to achieve even more sonic clarity in the low end. We use a fairly rare implementation of the isobaric method, placing the internal and external driver ‘magnet-to-magnet’ (i.e back to back). This approach has the added benefit of significantly reducing third-harmonic distortion in the bass cabinet. The result is much tighter bass, and much more control, at high and low volumes. This approach is considerably more complex to get right than standard isobaric driver arrangements, but the sonic results pay serious dividends. 

The isobaric cabinet and the back to back drivers dictate the size and shape of the lower split cabinet design, giving the Titan series much of its revered stylish look. 


Elevate your listening with active configuration

The Titan 808s in profile, a Naim audio system in the background - demonstrating the pinnacle of the kudos difference

Passive vs active configuration – which one is better? Before we dive into that question, here’s a quick explainer on how crossovers work, why they’re so important, and how they’re a fundamental element of The Kudos Difference.

A crossover is an essential electrical circuit that’s built to divide an audio signal into frequency bands suitable for individual drive units within a loudspeaker. This ensures that bass frequencies reach the bass unit, treble frequencies reach the treble unit, and so on. Since no single drive unit can cover the entire frequency range, crossovers are a crucial element of loudspeaker engineering.

Crossovers can be either ‘passive’ or ‘active’. Passive crossovers are entirely capable of delivering good sound quality, but they are somewhat limited by their design. They use large components like capacitors, inductors, and resistors to filter out unwanted frequencies, resulting in an unavoidable level of signal loss and energy wastage. 

Whilst passive crossovers have their limitations, every Kudos loudspeaker in our range is designed and built to sound as good as is practically possible in passive configuration. However, all the loudspeakers in our Titan range offer their owners the chance to quickly and easily upgrade to active configuration, should they choose. Do this, and your Kudos loudspeakers are taken to a whole new level of sonic excellence. 

Why upgrade to active? 

An active crossover eliminates many of the unavoidable drawbacks of its passive counterpart. Active crossovers process an unamplified “line-level” signal, far smaller than a passive unit’s amplified signal, meaning we can use small, simple, and efficient internal filtering components to build them. Active filters integrate amplifiers, offering adjustable gain for precise signal tuning—something passive crossovers simply aren’t able to do. 

In short, active configuration with Kudos creates a much more precise and responsive listening experience. By connecting the amplifiers directly to the drive units, a whole level of signal variance and electrical reactance is removed from the signal path. It makes for a significantly enhanced listening experience on almost every level. 

A number of speaker brands allow you to convert your loudspeakers to active configuration, but few make it as easy as Kudos. There’s no unscrewing back panels and manoeuvring internal components – with The Kudos Difference, it’s as simple as connecting your cables to the correct inputs. 

Kudos’ active configuration is seamlessly compatible with products from a number of leading audio brands, meaning you can continue to create new and exciting iterations of your system for many years to come, always with your Kudos loudspeakers at its heart. 

So there you have it. The Kudos Difference, step by step and piece by piece. Whilst this article has hopefully given you a sense of what makes our speakers special, the only way to truly understand their effect on your music is to hear a pair of Kudos loudspeakers for yourself. Find your nearest Kudos retailer, and give The Kudos Difference a try. We’re sure you won’t be disappointed. 


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