The Kudos Audio empire strikes again with Titan 808

Posted on 24th August 2023 in Category: Awards

The following review was originally written in Hebrew and translated by audio journalist for and Kudos Titan 808 customer, Tomer Tsin. 




Kudos Audio may not be a familiar name to the entire audiophile community, but the loudspeaker manufacturer enjoys quite wide popularity in England.

Last year I published an article, about a pair of British speakers from the company Kudos Audio, model 808 Titan, after listening to them in the showroom of the local distributor.

Since then, my mind could not rest and I decided to purchase a pair of new Titan 808 speakers with an amazing finish (more on that later). I have decided to write a follow-up review now that the speakers have broken in for over 200 hours. 

The Titan’s landed in May in four large cardboard boxes and weighed about 180kg. The importer warned ahead of time about the size and weight of the boxes. A smart move as it’s a two-man job to lift them into the house!

I placed the Titan 808’s in the living room and remembered what the famous movie actor Humphrey Bogart once said in the movie Casablanca: “I think this is the beginning of a wonderful friendship”, or love at second listen, between me and the manufacturer, Kudos Audio.

The current audio system

I replaced my current speakers with the Titan 808 and connected them to the Luxman L-509X integrated amplifier and Silver Apex speaker cables from Analysis Plus. A Luxman model D-05U SACD / CD player is connected to the amplifier, which is connected with an AudioQuest Sky XLR interconnect cable.

As we know, brand new speakers need to be played for hundreds of hours or more to become noticeable, so critical listening is not useful at first and it does not change the fact that, in the meantime, music can still be enjoyed.

While listening to a wide variety of music styles, suddenly the speakers started talking to me, they do that sometimes, it’s mysterious. They don’t speak actual words but while listening, they tell me where to move them, this is a tangible force felt by the body and not heard. Everything was better now, as we know, positioning is a matter of personal preference, we all – the two speakers and I – felt better.

After listening to some music and playing a bit – with and without grills, I felt I got the best sound, with the drivers visible.


The design and planning of the Titans

The Titan 808 are tall and not too deep floor standing speakers, designed in a practical and useful, fresh and modern way. It looks like they take up less space than they actually do. The boxes themselves are beautifully built on top and the bottom is painted in an elegant brushed black, as you would expect at this price point. The sides of the box have wood veneer panels and unique angles that look sculpted. The side panels and back feature very nice curves, on the front side there are rounded sides to prevent standing waves against the sides of the speakers. The speaker cabinets come in a high-quality Liquid Amber finish, harvested from the Lebanese Liquid Amber tree in the USA, which made my jaw drop to the floor. It cannot be overlooked that the Kudos Titan 808 are the most beautiful speakers to ever grace my home.

Like many speaker manufacturers in the world, it outsources its units (drivers) and boxes, both of which are manufactured according to their specifications. They do the rest of the speaker assembly in England and are proud of it.

The Titan 808 is a 2.5 way speaker with 4 units in each speaker and operates using the isobaric bass reflex method. Each speaker consists of two separate boxes sitting on top of each other: one for the two bass units and the other for the mid and high frequencies. By separating the box into the high and low frequencies, they remain unaffected by each other, maintaining exceptional clarity even at high volumes. The two bass units are placed in an isobaric arrangement, where the second driver is placed internally to the first external back, in a sealed chamber and wired in phase, so that the pressure in the chamber remains fairly constant. Between them there is milled aluminum on which the speaker model is engraved in a very clean script. Each speaker includes two 220 mm bass units, a 220 mm mid unit, a 29 mm soft dome tweeter, all of which come from Norwegian SEAS. The recommended amplifier power for the speakers is 25-300 watts for 2 channels, their sensitivity is high and stands at 91 dB and the efficiency is also high at 8 ohms. The Lexman L-509X at my disposal, outputs 120 watts per channel at 8 ohms, proved to be an almost perfect combination with the 808, provided the speakers with a warm sound during listening and controlled them High quality. The specifications provided by the company claim a frequency response in an average room of 20 Hz to 30 kHz and I have not heard anything that contradicts this. The low-order crossover receives similar attention to detail and top quality components, and the speaker can also be configured for active operation.

Each speaker has four custom designed spikes, which were supplied and screwed to the bottom of the base on the floor. I have painful memories of pressing my bare toes against the sharp edges of the speakers’ boxy base. Underneath the spikes are IsoClean TT-009 floor protectors, designed not to scratch the floors, dampen and absorb micro-mechanical vibrations and raise each speaker by two additional centimeters each. The height of each speaker is 1,168 m”m, its width is 348 m”m and its depth is 404 m”m, each weight 75kg. They come in a variety of wood finishes and colours.

The listening room and acoustics

The size of the living room in my house is approximately 45 square meters (5.5 meters x 8.5 meters), the speakers were placed on the narrow side of the room and it is worth noting that the TV is in another room.

After a full week of trial and error, the Titan 808 moved very carefully back and forth and side to side in small steps, the distance to the back wall being about 60cm. They are directed at a slight angle inwards towards the listener, until a stable and good soundstage is obtained.

As mentioned, the distance between the two speakers is 2.2 meters, the distance from the speakers to the listener is about 2.7 meters, the standard ceiling is 2.75 meters high and all the surrounding walls are made of blocks. I am aware of the fact that the listening point is closer to the speakers than at the importer, and it is designed to minimise the reverberations and standing waves in the room. In terms of acoustics, there are 4 pots behind the speakers for beauty and to prevent returns, especially in the bass (a kind of bass catchers), on the ceiling is a very wide chandelier that serves as a kind of acoustic diffuser and contributes to controlling the dispersion of frequencies. In the space of the room, a thick and large carpet is placed on the floor.


Listen and enjoy

Settling into the critical listening phase, the more I went through my discs – both those I use to evaluate audio equipment and those I still listen to for musical pleasure – the Titan 808s managed to combine the best of all worlds, combining that rare insight into music with dynamism and energy. The tones are rich, colourful and fleshy. Their reproduction of each musical genre was absolutely convincing in terms of tonality and texture, qualities that made the music sound with an upbeat sense of life and energy. The speakers have an amazing ability to accurately convey the timing of the music, they reproduce it with a sense of agility and they are not analytical at all. Their presentation and soundstage is deep-wide-and high, imaging was heard even outside the speakers and they still managed to remain coherent. I could effortlessly shift my attention from one instrument or piece to another as easily as possible when listening to live music.

The Titan 808 can function in large rooms at high volume easily and can do well in medium rooms of at least 30 square meters, below that the bass may take over the sound. There is a wonderful sense of linearity, solidity and stability – an “architectural” feel to the way it reproduces music. Everything is tightly linked with everything else, yet the musical nuances are allowed to flourish within the whole.

The Titan 808s made it feel like real musicians were exploring the possibilities of their instruments, and I took pure joy in their music-making. I was actually drawn to the music so much, I let CD after CD play and never stopped. The speakers have a multi-layered bass range that comes with a lot of weight and power, dynamics and speed and without a hint of discomfort. When I listened to a drum set, it was tight and in control, with no swelling. The system beautifully revealed the musicality of some of my favourite bass players. A bass guitar is not just reproduced as low-frequency information, but as the strings plucked by the fingers of the guitar hand, with excellent resolution of instantaneous the note starts and stops with precise internal detail of the instrument’s texture. I felt the bass occasionally pressing on my chest, giving me a musical massage, but not sounding “heavy”. Additionally, when a bass instrument came in there was a sense of surprise at how it appeared out of nowhere. The midrange in the speaker sounded very natural and presented a full spectrum, acoustic instruments played in the room like I’ve never heard from any speakers, a classical guitar sounded alive and breathing in the room with strings that vibrate resonant wooden boxes. Female singers’ voices sound great like fine wine that has aged, male vocals cast a similar spell with some of their great vocals.

The high notes transcend themselves and sound very clear and clean, there is so much detail here, which lets you hear much more of the recording. They are crisp without being hard, they have plenty of air, a fuller, tangible and correct texture of many musical instruments was heard. At the same time, the presentation and music of the Titan 808 was a bit balanced towards the highs or the music is “lit from within”, than in other areas, but the speakers never tired me out. This is the reason, probably, that the company designates them for off-axis listening, facing directly forward.

What I listened to

Steve Khan – Guy Lafleur

This fine CD marked a new era for Steve Khan and the chemistry between each musician, plus polished ideas prepared for the final studio recording. Just listen to “Guy Lapler”, Khan says it’s his favorite recording, because of that synergistic magic created by the presence of his bandmates. This melodic and relaxed jazz fusion holds a fiery tension that is evident throughout. The 808 play wonderfully at low volume and with low bass, even at very high volumes, the room almost does not reverberate and does not start to interfere with the music. The speakers coped with every signal that was played on them even if my ears could no longer. Tonally the speakers disappear when the eyes are closed, the stage fills the entire room with wonderful underlying grip and authority. When I say “colorless” it can be taken as a negative. Maybe “colourless” is a better description, what’s important is that they don’t seem to have a sound of their own.

As hinted above, the 808 has the best ability I’ve heard so far, conveying an overall sense of natural and organic flow, while rendering subtle cues and instrumental details. Their uncanny ability to offer a higher-resolution look into the music while reproducing more harmonic complexity and musical richness—more resolution and body at once—represents a fundamental step forward, not just an obvious sonic difference. When I played a good recording of “Guy Lapler” through them, I felt like I was in the studio.

Franz Liszt – La Campanella

One of my favorite and most challenging pieces of classical music to reproduce on an audio system is Franz Liszt’s performance of Campanella. This disc is part of my bloodstream. The thin notes we often hear in the left hand were replaced by a richness and power that conveyed the grandeur and authority of the piano. The instrument’s sound was full-bodied and rich in detail, but it never showed a hint of thickness or bloat. The 808s presented the most realistic reproduction I’ve ever heard – if a speaker can get a piano this true, it should be able to reproduce any instrument. The general impression of their stereo imaging, that they have a wonderfully focused sound and provide a pleasant stability that does not start to sway even when the recording becomes demanding. No part of the frequency range attracts unnecessary attention and left me to focus on the music. In addition, the 808’s are incredibly present in the listening room, they allowed me to get right up close to individual instruments within the instrument cluster with absolute ease, hearing how they interact with the others. It makes music a living, breathing and fascinating entity, I was no longer listening to music, I was experiencing it. At this point I stopped typing to wipe the tears from my eyes.

Horace Silver Quintet – Song for My Father

I will give another example that may be good for many others. A visit to Brazil sparked Silver’s interest in his Portuguese roots and led to “Song to My Father” and his most enduring composition. This album also introduced his new band with Joe Henderson and Carmel Jones and features the classic band with Blue Mitchell and Junior Cook. The title of the first piece became Silver’s best-known work, in part because it provided the musical basis and inspiration for the jazz-rock group Steely Dan’s biggest pop hit, “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.” Silver has always been a master at balancing complex harmonic rhythms with a unique combination of earthiness and sophistication, and ‘Sing to My Father’ has perhaps the most sophisticated atmosphere of all his albums.

The Titan 808 presented a life-sized sound stage, coherent and pure from the surrounding space, yet returning silence to the space between sound images, increasing spatial

contrast. The lack of color and coherence is found from top to bottom. The sound is very detailed and clear, three-dimensional layers and a wall-to-wall stage in three dimensions, surrounded me from all sides, something stuck in my head and stayed there. The speakers disappear almost completely and are very well balanced. They have an amazing and even distribution in all parts of the room and they give a feeling of playing with zero effort. The space around the instruments and the sound stage in the 808 is forward, that’s what the speakers gave me, but, the ideal concert seat for me is in the center of the second row and not sitting ten rows back.

Luciano Berio: Sequenza III for female voice

Let’s end with something really nice. In the voice of Laura Caterani, an Italian soprano, with refined technique and first-class vocal means, she sang and performed Luciano Brio’s Sequenza III. Her voice on the 808 sounds completely natural, very clear and not distorted. I was startled when I heard the part she sang, her voice was projected between the speakers and in front of the speakers with live immediacy. What’s more, the 808 revealed very subtle nuances of phrasing, which added to the song’s impact. The loudspeaker displays technical capabilities and musical intonations, reproduces music adapted to the performer Laura Katrani and reflects her uniqueness. When it comes to producing the most realistic human voice when playing a voice recording, the quality of the speaker is very important. The 808s are able to reproduce the subtle nuances of female speech, such as intonation, breathy sounds and other vocal subtleties. In the end, it produces a very realistic sound and faithfully reproduces the female vocal characteristics very faithfully. Finally, the depth and transparency of Laura Katrani’s voice is noticeable, her musical voice begins at a certain moment and ends immediately after it, more so than with other speakers I’ve had. A huge smile spreads across my face, connects both ears and makes it clear, once again, why I loved the 808 so much and why the experience was hair-raising.


In conclusion

The weird thing about being an audio reporter is that you try not to be biased or overly enthusiastic about the products you review. In some cases, you struggle to find fault. I’m just not going to do that here. The Titan 808 is close to perfection. As much as I could, I wanted no more.  For many they will be the end point in this long search for forever speakers, not just a step along the way.

The Titan 808 retail for £28,500 GBP per pair and in Israel about NIS 129,900, the perfection is not cheap but worth it.

Finally, here is a small and personal anecdote, the Titan 808 is not a speaker to be taken lightly. I invited my wife to listen with me and I expected her to say – or shout at the music “turn it down”, but it was not so, the first time she declared that the speakers are better than sex, she managed to tickle me.

In conclusion, the Kudos Titan 808 offer an unrivalled listening experience for those of us who appreciate music that flows and is not forced, bright colours without unnecessary emphasis, detail and an immersive musical experience. Their design is stunning and makes the Titan 808 more than just exceptional speakers – making them the crown jewel of any audio system and earning Kudos Audio a thumbs up from me.


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