This will be my fourth ProAc speaker review and it seems as though this British speaker brand can do no wrong when it comes to its loudspeakers. Over the years, I have listened to nearly all of the designs dating back to the 1990s and many of them have captured my attention because of their sheer musicality and the beautiful music that they are able to create.
ProAc have earned the respect of the audiophile community because they don’t over-engineer their products or charge ridiculous amounts of money for what you are getting. Are the speakers expensive? Absolutely. But in the context of audiophile loudspeakers – ProAc are super high-performance products that are more affordable than the competition. The ProAc Response D2R speakers may be one of the best from the entire lineup and one of the best below $5,000.
I will always remember walking into a dealership and listening to the massive, but utterly sublime ProAc D80 Speakers being powered by Meridian electronics; they sounded so good and I really wanted a pair, but like most people that just was not possible at the time.
I have gone through many brands over the years, but always seem to come back to the ProAc family of loudspeakers; in particular the Response range which are some of the best speakers at any price. My first pair which were the Response D15’s which I loved for many years and then the D25’s and D28’s which I found to be even better; offering more of everything that I love from this brand.
They are tuned perfectly and sit well in most systems with very little adjustment to get them singing to their full potential.
You can read my reviews of the current DB1’s, D30R’s and K6’s on my blog; all 3 of them are exceptional loudspeakers that are designed for different scenarios but never steer too far from the ProAc sonic signature.
Life is Beautiful
I have moved to a smaller system and with most life changes, been forced to adapt with another little Giancarlo running around. Children and this crazy thing called “life” have encouraged me to downsize my hi-fi habit; but not before deciding to buy the ProAc Response D2R speakers which fit in my space perfectly. I do not feel that I have sacrificed any sound quality in the process and have utilized these admittedly large stand-mounted loudspeakers to their fullest.
Features and Build Quality
The ProAc Response D2R’s are built to the same very high standard that all of the Response range are renown for; they look stunning finished in Black Ash. Not every loudspeaker finished this way hits the target – the ProAc exudes superior build quality.
The D2R features a ribbon tweeter and a 6.5″ mid/bass glass fiber weave cone driver with a copper phase plug. This is a loudspeaker that demands that you leave the grille covers in the box.
One good thing about the ProAc Response D2R is that they are not a difficult load; the 88.5 dB (8 ohms) sensitivity rating is accurate. They also work well with both tube and solid state amplification.
The quoted frequency response is 30 Hz to 30 kHz, which is quite extended for a stand-mounted loudspeaker. The D2R features a port on the front of the cabinet which facilitates placing them closer to the wall if you have to.
ProAc loudspeakers definitely require some patience when setting them up. They are much easier than other speakers, but you need to experiment with the degree of toe-in and the distance between the loudspeakers if you want to lock down the stereo image. When you get it dialed in exactly, the D2R’s imaging is world-class.
The rear panel features two sets of binding posts for bi-wiring or bi-amplification. I’ve experimented with multiple amplifiers with the D2R and discovered that they do sound better when bi-wired or used with mono blocks or two stereo amplifiers.
I am very familiar with the system that I am using with the Response D2R’s; my choice of Cyrus Audio was influenced by previous success with both older ProAc models, and Wilson Benesch loudspeakers. The synergy between the brands makes them a solid recommendation.
The Cyrus 82 DAC Integrated Amplifier is on the conservative side when it comes to power, but it can deliver a lot of current. Do not let its physical size confuse you – this integrated amplifier can drive the Response D2R’s quite well.
My sources include the Cyrus Audio CD8SE CD player and Bluesound Node 2i streamer which I use to stream high-quality hi-resolution audio to the Cyrus 82 DAC.
To augment the ProAc Response D2R’s, I use a single REL T/5i subwoofer which fills out the bottom end and was very easy to integrate with the loudspeakers.
The entire system is wired with Chord Company cables (Epic interconnects and Rumor X speaker cables). The Response D2R’s are mounted on a pair of Atacama loudspeaker stands, which is one area where you should not skimp with the ProAc loudspeakers.
Sound Quality and Performance
I’ve had the ProAc D2R speakers now for just over 5 weeks and even straight out of the box they sounded superb withairy highs, taut and resolute sounding bass, and great imaging.
The biggest changes have been the improvements in the midrange and bass; more playing time has caused the sound to dramatically open up and bass notes even deeper and with greater authority.
I had a good experience with the ribbon tweeters during my review of the D30RS loudspeakers. I owned the ProAc K6 speakers for a while so I’m very familiar with the beautiful sound that is possible with the ribbon tweeters in ProAc designs; they never sound harsh or fatiguing which can happen with some ribbon tweeters in other loudspeakers that I’ve heard.
The top end is very airy and lively; the difference with the Response D2R’s is that the treble is always under control and these loudspeakers image beautifully. The coherency of the sound is first-rate – the two drivers blend seamlessly and it’s almost impossible to know where they crossover.
With any ribbon tweeter, the dispersion pattern is a little different. If you stand up and move around, the liveliness of the treble changes.
I have been listening to all types of music since I purchased them and like all ProAc loudspeakers, they don’t care which genre of music you play.
They are one of the most involving loudspeakers on the market and music comes across with feeling and great emotional connection. That is probably the most important aspect of their design. That level of emotional connection with the music.
When I purchased the Bluesound Node 2i, I also subscribed to Qobuz with a Premium subscription and have been listening to all types of music. Tash Sultana’s Terra Firma (Qobuz, 24-bit/48kHz) is a mixture of Jazz funk in high resolution and it sounded brilliant through my system with the ProAc Response D2R speakers projecting a wide soundstage with pin point accuracy.
“Musk” is a beautifully constructed instrumental piece of music with a sound that the ProAc’s portrayed perfectly in my room with wrap around stereo sound and great imaging; the ribbon tweeters really made the top end shine and are not one bit fatiguing in presentation but a joy to listen to. Bass was taught and agile in presentation with shifts in tone,perfectly blended with the lush midrange. Texture and tonal color are superb with the Response D2R loudspeakers.
Another track from the album that pushed the D2R’s was “Pretty Lady” – the beautiful harmonies allowed me to hear how the loudspeakers handle changes in tone and allowed Tash Sultanas’ voice to really light up the ribbon tweeter. Everything was airy and detailed, and one could easily discern the changes in pitch and texture. A very impressive track that a lot of loudspeakers fail with because they can’t reproduce the tonal shifts and texture.
Regardless of the type of music I played through the ProAc Response D2R’s, they simply created a new listening experience and allowed me to hear more nuance, detail, and space within the recording.
Conclusions and Final Thoughts
I was blown away by the sound quality of the ProAc Response D2R’s – and I’ve been listening to ProAc designs for a few decades. I thought I had heard it all from Stewart Tyler, but apparently, I was wrong.
This is a reference-level audiophile loudspeaker that produces a much larger sense of scale than one would expect from a stand-mount design. The bass extension is superb, and the ribbon tweeter is one of the best I’ve heard; it elevates the sound to another level.
The midrange is on another level for a loudspeaker at this price level; I’ve heard more expensive speakers that don’t approach this level of midrange resolution and tone. The ProAc Response D2R is not an inexpensive loudspeaker, but it’s one that I’m keeping for the long term. I feel connected to the music and I suspect others who listen to it will experience the same level of joy.
For more information: proac-loudspeakers.com