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Royd Minstrel
10 Reviews
rating  4.7 of 5
MSRP 
Description: 2 way, bass reflex, floorstander


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Reviews 1 - 5 (10 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by SV a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: November 18, 2015

Bottom Line:   
I first heard Royd Minstrels at a little British gear based audio shop in Toronto. At the time, I was looking for an integrated amp, so although I noticed them, I didn’t pay them much attention. However, they did stand out in my mind as being a very interesting, little design (albeit just from a cursory look/ listen). After owning several pairs of British speakers (Rega, Neat, Epos), when I saw these available online, I decided to give them a whirl, as the Epos ES14s I was using at the time were simply too large for my living room. And I’m glad I did.

When I brought mine home, they were in very rough condition, although the drivers were all intact. There was some white paint splattered on the side of one of the cabinets, and one of the foam tweeter rings was missing. The cabinets were not firmly secured to their bases and the vinyl veneer was peeling at the corners.

So, I removed the white paint by carefully scraping it off, then touched up the cabinet’s dings using a black marker (to make the dings less noticeable) and glued the vinyl down at the corners. I tightened the driver screws and the screws attaching the speakers to the base. I then took measurements of the intact foam ring around the tweeter, and made one for the other speaker using a foam sheet purchased at a craft store. The thickness and density of the foam closely matched the original and once the new foam was mounted, produced an equivalent result.

First, let me state that my listening rooms are always real-world living areas; they are not sound rooms by any stretch and are use no official treatment other than objects placed strategically around the room.

With that said, from the moment I fired up the Minstrels, I knew they were something special. Immediately, I remarked that the sound is light, lively, bouncy, quite clear, and provides a very good sense of space and image into the music. Bass is incredible for a speaker of this size, and in the right room, plummets almost as low as you would ever really need. What the Minstrels lack in bass depth is more than made up for by the bass quality; the bass is tight and easily revealing of differences in bass notes.

These speakers worked surprisingly well in my condo, where they were a perfect fit to the size of the room. They filled up the room with quality sound, which was not only pleasing while seated in the sweet spot, but also when walking around the room. In the sweet spot, their performance approached my Epos ES14s in that particular room, although they were not quite as good and were noticeably less refined in the midrange (although the Epos is very stiff competition in this regard, since they possess an almost incredible midrange).

The Minstrel’s treble is good and fairly extended, however not particularly refined or subtle, and has a hint of grain to its sound. The tweeter can also be a little unruly and some will consider it too bright, as it can become a little hot on some recordings. Again, a warmer amp mitigates this; my warm and robust-sounding Sugden is a great match with the Minstrels.

Conversely, a cool/thin-sounding amplifier will not be a good match to these speakers, and very poor or thin-sounding recordings will sound flat and shrill, and may result in the sound becoming intolerable, especially in the wrong room.

As with most other speakers, placement is very important to reap the best of what they have to offer. Unlike most speakers, however, moving them away from the wall did not necessarily result in less bass; moving them out into the open seemed to mostly affect their dimensionality, making the sound deeper, wider and more three dimensional overall. A good recording will reward you with sound quality that greatly belies the Minstrels’ diminutive size.

Bass is fast and is not billowy like on some larger speakers. It goes fairly low (very low, considering the driver size), but loses some amplitude in the lower registries. The bass quality is very, very good, if lacking a little bit in quantity; the Royds will produce what bass is on the recording, but will not embellish with bass exaggeration. These speakers will not rattle the walls, but they do provide a solid, open soundstage with a good degree of ‘fullness’, at medium-low to medium-high volume levels. Suitable for smaller to medium sized rooms, preferably no larger than 12’x15' or so, the smaller room sizes allow the speakers to fully energize the room and allow them to really shine. They become lost in rooms that are too large. Although still providing good sound, they lose the fullness they are capable of in small to medium sized rooms. Also, given the bright nature of the speaker, it’s best to use them in a fairly well-damped room.

The side ports assist with placement options in terms of sound performance. Depending on the room, one may get good results by having the ports facing each other. In other rooms, pointing the ports outward can be beneficial. I found that facing the ports outwards was the better in my smaller condo; facing them inward is better in my larger living room in my new residence.

The Minstrels can really float a nice image, providing a very good sense of space/ dimensionality. Although the midrange provides quite an open, transparent window to the music, it is not the best I’ve heard in this regard (it is very good, however). This speaker leans to the 3d, multi-dimensional type of sound, floating images in-between and to the outside of the speakers, rather than having a ‘wall of sound’ kind of quality that other systems may deliver.

In a direct comparison to my Epos ES14, there is no contest. The Epos ES14s produce an almost perfectly transparent midrange and make the Minstrel sound somewhat veiled by comparison (I stress, though, that the Epos are excepptional in this regard, and that the Minstrels are not too far off the mark). Further, the Epos are able to play significantly louder without any strain at all (to deafening levels), whereas the Minstrels are very limited in their output volume capability. Beyond a certain volume, they compress and will break up if pushed. However, the maximum volume they are capable of should be more than enough for most normal listening.

My Rega Ara speakers, once positioned correctly and matched to a proper amp, offer a more transparent midrange than the Minstrels as well, being a delight on female vocals, but again, the Minstrels are still no slouches and have the advantage of offering a much more full-range presentation. The combination of clarity, bounce, articulation and imaging the Minstrels offer remains fairly uniform when moving around the room, and quite readily instills foot tapping and perhaps a dance move or two.

The Minstrels do a great disappearing act and the music never seems to come from low to the ground, as the driver height would imply; the image they throw is higher than the speaker height. The musical image is fairly solid and stable, keeping singers and instruments from ‘wandering’ from their location in space. The Minstrels do not seem to possess any really obvious ‘boxy’ sound, which is a fairly common trait amongst relatively inexpensive British designs (my Regas require careful positioning to avoid an overly boxy sound).

I love these Royd speakers. They have a lot of qualities I enjoy and very few points against them. Their small size and sound quality make them very suitable if placed in smaller to medium rooms; they are perfect ‘full range’ speakers for today’s small-sized condo spaces.

Further, they are revealing enough to easily display differences amongst associated gear during times of upgrade, and will play nicely with gear in much higher price brackets.

As a final note, these speakers outperformed a pair of Neat Mystique IIs that I had in my condo when driven with the same system. Since those speakers retailed for between 2000-2500 CAD at the time, to say this was impressive is an understatement. Technically, the Mystiques are much better speakers, however in that room, with that gear, the Minstrels took the cake. This is clear proof that system synergy and room matching are of utmost importance with respect to audio reproduction.The Minstrels are super-fun speakers that, although not perfect, have an uncanny ability to put a smile on my face almost every time they are played. This is what I would call audiophile speakers on a budget; they will give you a small taste of what very high end designs can accomplish.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by onethought a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: February 19, 2005

Bottom Line:   
I had been looking out for KEFs with an idea of upgrading my Eltax Liberty series. Eltax gave me much pleasure of excellent sound at low cost. Obviously it lacked detail in the highs and had a "deliberate" continental thick sound. But much researching led me to a surprise discovery of Royd Minstrel. Royd Audio is a British company who have been making speakers for more than two decades. When the Royd Minstrels I had purchased finally arrived I was not too impressed by its rather smallish lean appearance. It even stands strange in its leaning backwards appearance. Very narrow as well. But when I connected it up I knew instantly what that this was no ordinary speaker. I feel these speakers are perfections of cone speaker technology. Sound is just PERFECT. Beautiful, transparent and perfect imaging and resolution. I felt the frequency response was spot on... an openess which you can hear only on very high end speakers. These speakers are fantastic. Even now I cant wipe the grin off of my face as I listen to them and think that I dint shell out £1600 on speakers. I dont think that Royd is manufacturing these anymore. Maybe their new ones are better. Frankly I dont kow how these can be better!! The bass port is on the side so experimenting with speaker positions yeilds much pleasure!! I use them where the ports face each other.The speakers are so revealing that you can tell the difference between various recordings of the same song easily or compare various hardware. Like 200+ bitrate mp3 versus 300+ bitrate mp3 or difference between a Marantz 52 CD player versus Marantz 63. It is truly reference quality. I think that it is the tweeter that makes this speaker so perfect. The woofer is coated with a funny sticky material. So also the speaker is packed inside with Glass wool to ensure that tweeter is sonically untainted by woofer. The speaker cost about £400 or more in 1995. Thats not cheap. If you find one. Buy it! Even if you dint want one badly you will want to hold on to it with your life once you own it! it is that good! The Bass is surprisingly very good. Not to be compared to veery large multiple drive 3-way speakers like B/W or others where you get large wallowy bass. Royd produces realistic bass. You hear what is actually there in the recording. If the recording has liberal bass then YOU WILL hear it! It packs a bang! It is a very fine audiophine speaker that can be driven by valve amps too. Very revealing and begs you to play all your cds all over again.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1995

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   in ebay uk



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Pedro Alves a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: February 28, 2003

Bottom Line:   
This speakers are magical!
Since now I have a lot of equipment and i`ve been experimenting, I can tell you that they are always up to go a step up in the source or amplification department.
I`ve bought them with an audiolab 8000a, and have tryed them with a Arcam alpha 9 and a Musical Fidelity X-a200R. They are edgy like de audiolab, fat like the arcam and breathtaking like the x...Well i`m not sure i can re-sell them like I intended...

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Price Paid:    $100.00

Purchased At:   used



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Matt Usher a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 11, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I bought Royd the Minstrels in April of 94 for £230. £200 for the speakers and the wooden feet for £30. I heard them auditioned in the shop and the quirky way they looked first got me hooked. Genesis drum duet went on with my then-budget CD player and they sold themselves. 5" cones that reproduce bass didnt seem possible from something so small. I've owned them for almost 10 years now and upgraded everything around them and each time the speakers showed improvement. The problem is they're the cheapest part of my system now and i may have to spend a fair bit on speakers to get a sound i'd prefer. PS Minstrel owners should try putting them onto breeze blocks, you might prefer the sound.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $340.00

Purchased At:   Radford Hi Fi



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Chris Lee a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: October 16, 2000

Bottom Line:   
My review is on the Special Edition Minstrel. Man, is it special! This speaker out-plays any speaker in this price range hands down. I'm a true consumer and I've been looking for a new set of speakers for around three to four months now. I've listened to many many speakers, so I do know its competition. It really has it all. Now that I've got them set up, I've been listening to them for about a month straight to get them broken in. Every time I sit down and listen to them is a treat - they put a smile on my face. As you can tell, I can't say enough about this speaker and am happy my search is over. You must listen to the Minstrel SE for you self.

Also, since the ports are on one side of each speakers, you can actually increase the speakers bass response by pointing the ports away from each other. Give it a try.

System:
Rega Planet - CD Player
Rega Mira - Amp
Nad C440 - Tuner
Kimber PBJs - Interconnects
Kimber 4VS - Speaker Wire
Royd Minstrel SE

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Hi Fi Fo Fum




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