The Titan 808 has deliberately taken its time to come to market. Not only because of the considerable investment in research and re-engineering, but also because Kudos were keen test and refine prototypes extensively with a wide range of expert listeners.
“At Kudos, we use music as our primary tool in designing and assessing loudspeakers,” says designer Derek Gilligan. During his many years as a live sound engineer, Gilligan discovered that technical measurements, while extremely useful, don’t reflect everything that we hear. “There’s no substitute for extensive critical listening in a variety of scenarios,” he says.
As the new flagship of the Kudos range, the mighty Titan 808 takes the place of the original Titan 88, which acquired a fervent cult following among audiophiles in-the-know. But while the two may share a name, the new Titan 808 is a completely unique design. From the ground up, it has been engineered to be one of the fastest, clearest, most coherent and musically engaging loudspeakers available.
Only the two isobaric bass drivers remain the same as those in the original T88. The mid-bass driver, tweeter and crossover have all been advanced and refined, while the all-new and even more complex cabinet features a stunningly avant-garde design.
Industry-leading drive units
The Titan 808’s drive units are among the best in the world, crafted exclusively for Kudos by renowned Norwegian specialists SEAS. The two companies have worked closely together to further advance SEAS’ legendary Crescendo K2 fabric dome tweeter exclusively for Kudos. An improved magnet system incorporating copper shorting rings, a completely new resonance chamber and a new face plate profile all combine to deliver an even cleaner, faster and more musically detailed performance.
The mid/bass driver, also exclusive to the Titan 808, has been similarly reengineered to further enhance its match with the new tweeter and hence to produce seamless integration and response over the frequency range.
The twin bass drivers feature high quality hard paper cones, double-coated to ensure excellent stiffness while retaining the natural damping properties of paper. A long voice coil and injection-moulded alloy framework maximise the linear excursion of the drive cone.
The crossover connection
Kudos’ obsession with seamlessly matched drive units is driven by designer Derek Gilligan’s firm belief that one of the keys to a truly musical performance from a loudspeaker is a minimalist, low order crossover.
No expense has been spared in reworking the Titan 808’s crossover, which features even higher-spec hand-matched Mundorf componentry, as well as now having the ability to be completely by-passed in order to facilitate ‘Aktiv’ operation using Linn Exakt technology (more on this below).
The 808’s minimal crossover is a two-and-a-half-way design, where the bass section in the lower cabinet is rolled off early in the frequency range; the mid/bass driver and tweeter are then operated as a two-way design. A slow roll-off from all the drivers ensures optimal coherence though the crossover regions.
Each speaker consists of an independent upper and lower cabinet, separated by precision-machined spacers and a port resonance guide. The upper cabinet houses the tweeter and mid/bass drive unit while the lower cabinet houses the two bass drivers. These are positioned in an isobaric arrangement, where the second driver is placed internally back-to-back with the first, designed to deliver a significantly improved bass response and minimise bass distortion. By separating the cabinet into two parts, the higher and lower frequencies remain unaffected by each other, preserving a remarkable clarity to the sound even at high volumes.
Considerable investment has been made in controlling panel resonance with a minimum of damping. The cabinets are made from a combination of high-density fibreboard laminates of different thicknesses. A triple laminate front baffle, profiled to improve dispersion, provides a solid mounting platform for the drive units to further eliminate vibration.
The lower cabinet is attached to the plinth via a membrane to control energy transfer. The plinth itself provides the best possible grounding interface with very high-density fibreboard being combined with damping compound and a 5mm steel plate, into which precision-milled stainless steel spikes are fitted.
Internal wiring from The Chord Company has been carefully selected for its high quality musicality and resistance to the effects of vibration. In addition, Chord Company cables link the two cabinets, which are also fitted with WBT Nextgen binding posts to ensure a superb connection.
Kudos & Linn Exakt
Kudos Audio have been working with industry leaders Linn to bring the incredible performance of Linn Exakt to the Kudos range of loudspeakers. Launched by Linn in 2013, Exakt is a ground-breaking technology that allows the loudspeaker to be an intelligent, connected, software upgradeable product.
Exakt enables a wide range of performance- and personalisation-enhancing capabilities in design, in manufacture and in-home. In a system using a Linn Exaktbox, the original analogue crossover in the loudspeaker is bypassed and instead, the Exaktbox performs the crossover digitally, while applying Linn’s Exakt technology to eliminate distortion, correct for drive unit variation and optimise the loudspeakers’ performance for the room.
Kudos three top-of-range speakers, the Titan 808, Super 20 and Super 10 are all Linn Exakt-enabled.
Pricing and availability
The Titan 808 is available now priced at £21,250 per pair (including VAT).
About Kudos Audio
Kudos Audio’s award-winning loudspeakers have established themselves as some of the best-sounding available, with each model setting a standard at its respective price point.
Why? Kudos takes an uncommon approach to loudspeaker design. In his earlier career as a live sound engineer, designer Derek Gilligan discovered that traditional technical measurements don’t reflect everything that we hear. While these measurements are useful for fault analysis, they don’t necessarily optimise a product’s musical abilities. This inspired Derek to pursue an alternative methodology, using music as the primary tool in loudspeaker design and assessment. This departure from traditional approaches takes confidence and a wealth of experience, and contributes towards what makes Kudos different - as well as making it one of the fastest-growing UK loudspeaker companies in recent years.
Derek and his team, based in Country Durham, work closely with some of Europe’s finest suppliers to ensure that the best possible components, connections and craftsmanship are brought together in the development of the Kudos range.