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Castle Acoustics Kendal
5 Reviews
rating  4.8 of 5
MSRP  1000.00
Description: 2-Way Bookshelf Speaker


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Reviews 1 - 5 (5 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by TIM a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: May 23, 2000

Bottom Line:   
Great sounding speakers I got for $500 USD. THese are 2-3 years old but the yew finish is great and they sound very smooth. THe pinnacle's had tons of bass I liked them very much as well, but the wife did not.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1998



Overall Rating:4
Submitted by Hi-Fi Choice a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: June 23, 1999

Bottom Line:   
It is one of the smallest floorstanders around, as well as one of the neatest, prettiest and most discreet, not least because of the elegant plinth that is part of the package. The lustrous rosewood of our test samples commands something of a premium over the £449.90 quoted price, but Castle is a real wood specialist, and its cabinets always represent fine value as well as class.The company has long tended to use smallish-diameter main drivers, and the Kendal is no exception, with a tiny 95mm cone made from CFC (carbon fibre composites). What is perhaps surprising is that this driver is loaded by a sealed-box, meaning that this model actually has the least air moving capabilities of any of our test group - less indeed than either of the much smaller port-loaded stand-mounts from Mission and Acoustic Energy.Even when positioned close against a wall, the Kendal's in-room far-field power response indicates maximum output occurring through the midband and presence regions (400Hz-3kHz), leaving the sub-400Hz bass and lower mid somewhat suppressed (though with the useful ultimate extension which sealed-box loading supplies). It's an unusual characteristic, though not without precedent - I'm reminded of Naim's IBL and Intro models, as well as my own Rehdeko RK175.Sound qualityI had expected that the Kendal's bass-light balance would ruin its chances under the harsh scrutiny of trial by black (acoustically transparent) curtain. It's fair to say this outing didn't do the speaker any favours, especially on the first day, but the second listening day gave a much more positive result, which the hands-on listening served to confirm.The bass might be a little disappointing in quantitative terms, but qualitatively it's rather good - certainly smoother than average, with fine timing, good ultimate extension, and a real capability to drive the music along with direction and impetus.The sound as a whole might be a bit lightweight and 'in-yer-face' forward, and can react badly to some mixes, but by and large the Kendal gets away with it, and for the most part it proved a thoroughly entertaining experience. However, the forwardness does rather over-expose a midband that's not the last word in smoothness, and a variety of colorations - happily relatively mild in degree - are audible, especially on the spoken word. One other consequence is that clarity is well maintained even at very low listening levels - but by the same token the sound can become a bit fatiguing when the speaker is thrashed.ConclusionClearly better suited to smaller rooms than our 25-square metre arena, the Kendal has a decidedly forward, bass-light balance, which might be too edge-of-seat for some listeners, but which others will undoubtedly enjoy. The fact that it is one of the prettiest and most compact floorstanders around, suitable for siting close to a wall, and realistically priced at £449, serves to push it comfortably into the Recommended zone - but check you can tolerate the tonal balance before signing the cheque.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile



Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Bill a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 22, 1999

Bottom Line:   
This speakers cabinet construction is excellent, with a choice of nine veneers over 18mm medium density fibreboard. The Kendals stands on plinths, with spikes to floor. They use the same tweeter as the Severn 2And a 13 cm mid-bas unit with a carbon fibre cone. Adhering to the current vogue they’re biwireable, so you could end up running them with a brace of power amps per side. But I just biwired them cost-effective and
recommended option. The sealed box design is unusual for a floorstander, but that means it can be sited right up against a wall. Indeed bass response improves there – it’s designed that way. The sound is breathy and open, especially with a singer like Bjork, and the speakers disappear behind a soundstage which has a real degree of depth and height as well as width. Dynamics though the midrange and treble are excellent the separation of instruments on a pacey track like Brad’s Secret Girl is awesome, and everything is portrayed with stunning clarity, drums and guitars sounding live and real. Bass extension is limited but the low frequency on offer is certainly tight and well focused. Over all I highly recommend them for pure music pleasure…

-Good luck!

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Duration Product Used:   an Audio Enthusiast



Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Jason a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: July 28, 1998

Bottom Line:   
One sweet little floorstanding speaker. If you want to match size and appearance with quality sound for under $1000 give them a try. Beware, they need plenty of break-in so if you audition a new pair, chances are they will not sound as sweet as an older one. This is not a speaker for home theater, I think that is what black vinyl coating is for. This speaker is all about looks and sound--music, not guns and explosions. The perfect floorstander for the small listening room. If you are a fanatic about looks, check out the Yew finish.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile



Overall Rating:5
Submitted by <none> a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: July 18, 1998

Bottom Line:   
Due to space and price limitations it was very difficult to find a floor standing loudspeaker of this size and finish with such audiophile qualities. After auditioning the Isis, Eden, Tay and Severn from Castle the dealer informed me that the Kendel would be available in a few months. In the meantime I seriously considered Theil's .5 and Meadowlark Audio's Kestrel. I figured Kestrel's high sensitivity would be a better match for my hand built 40watt EL34 tube amp. I waited out the the months and finally auditioned the Kendels. At first listen they were extremely dry, but like the Castle lineup they need a lot of break in before the sonic qualities are truly present. After 48 hours of continous break in they began to warm up to their transparent virtue. Although they don't go as low or play as loud as the Kestrel's, for their size and low 87db effeciency, they effortlessly fill my 12x14x10 room with pure audiophile sound.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile




Reviews 1 - 5 (5 Reviews Total)

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