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CRITICAL ACCLAIM

 

 

REVIEWS
A few years ago we set a very high goal for ourselves by declaring our products as the best small loudspeakers. Since then, review after review have substantiated our claim that we make the best small loudspeakers. These achievements do not come easy so we have not rested on our laurels. We are hard at work doing painstaking research to maintain our leadership as the manufacturer of the best small loudspeakers so that you can enjoy revolutionary products such as our Sampan, Sampan FTL, and the Sampan DTL. But not only that, we have also set our sights on becoming the most environmentally and health friendly loudspeaker company.


SPOTLIGHT:   Review of the Kayak in Bound for Sound Audio Report

"Going into the comparo, I really felt Jeffrey would prefer the Minuets for their greater oomph and kick. So I was a bit surprised that he decisively picked the Kayaks as his speakers of choice - not only over the Silverlines, but over his own Meadowlark Shearwater Hot Rods (which I believe were about $3K when he got them a decade ago). He cited the speed and detail of the midrange, which made his tracks come alive with a crispness and life that he never got with his Meadowlarks."

      SKIFF SERIES

Skiff

 "...the Skiffs... are extraordinary. ... they offer a consuming musical experience; ...clarity and air in the mid-range, accuracy and a bit of 'forgiveness' in the upper octaves - and fully satisfying in the upper bass....The Skiffs respond happily to most amplification from... a little Teac 25 watt a side receiver - and, joyously, to an Arcam Solo.
David Ogden StiersActor; Director; Associate Conductor Newport (Oregon) Symphony Orchestra


"...the Skiffs produce a remarkably linear frequency response over their entire range."
" The Skiffs make "small is beautiful" into more than a cliché."
"The more time I spend with the Skiffs, the less inclined I am to try bigger speakers."

 (Steve Stone, enjoythemusic.com, 5/06)


"It is crisply delineated yet silky smooth, with excellent articulation and resolution. As good as the Windjammer was with woodwind instruments like oboe, flute, or clarinet, the Skiff may just edge it out in sheer beauty of woodwind sound. I'm not sure it's necessarily a more accurate transducer than my reference Merlin TSM ..." 
Marc Yun issue #154, Bound for Sound


Sampan FTL

" It’s instructive to compare the previously reviewed Amphion Ion to the FTL. . ..The Amphion goes as deep as the FTL,... And though it images well, it doesn’t present the depth and holography of the FTL. Nor is it as coherent and immediately engaging. The Ion has it’s own strengths and appeal. but doesn’t possess the addictive coherency and flow, the magic of the FTL."
 Sonic Flare, April 25, 2007


"...that the FTL manages to fit a nearly three foot [transmission] line in a box about a fifth of a cubic foot in volume is indicative of high quality cabinet design and construction." 
Sonic Flare, April 25, 2007


"The Sampan FTLs, "...are absolute champs when it comes to soundstage portrayal, tonal accuracy, and coherence from top to bottom and musicality. I even found myself ... questioning the performance of my Magnepans in several areas when compared to the Sampan FTL..."
(Craig Johnson in the August 2007 issue of Affordable$$Audio)


"The Sampan FTLs slam and boogie like nobody’s business. ...They have a big, bold, expansive sound that comes right at you. It really takes some time to come to terms with just how much energy they can put into a room. There’s always a tendency to look up and say to yourself, “all of this is coming from those two little boxes? That can’t be right!" (Paul Cervantes, Ultralinear.net. Note: Ultralinear.net. is no longer on line)


"In the Audio Two room, I discovered what may perhaps be the smallest loudspeaker I've seen since Radio Shack's Realistic Minimus 7 of the 1980's. The Role Audio Sampan FTL ... contains a single full-range 3.5" ... driver with underhung voice coil, measures just 8" tall, 4" wide and 9" deep, and yet is rated to deliver 40 Hz - 20 kHz response. How does the Sampan FTL deign to make such claims? Well, for starters, the diminutive speaker incorporates a genuine folded transmission line for extended bass response. Driven by a Connoisseur CD-1 CD player ($3900 Canadian with 6H30 output tubes) and SE-2 single-ended tube amplifier good for 9 watts per channel of 300B goodness, the little Sampan FTLs were dynamic and surprisingly extended at both ends of the frequency spectrum. Playing Rebecca Pidgeon, the speakers sounded much bigger than they looked. Piano transients were just slightly anemic compared to larger speakers, but vocals and acoustic guitar sounded full-bodied and robust."
John Acton, Positive Feedback, AudioKarma Fest 2007.


Affordable Audio comment on the Sampan FTL AudioKarma Fest 2009 "Audio Two (Windsor, Ontario) surprised many listeners with the sound, size and price of the Role Sampan FTL speakers .... 
affordableaudio.org, Issue 16, April 2007 report on AudioKarma Fest ‘07


  Sampan

 "Few loudspeakers on the planet can create as much excitement as the tiny, unassuming Sampan, which is able to pull off the rare trick of disappearing completely as a sound source within the room whilst at the same time giving the impression that music is coming from a speaker many times larger than itself. Thanks in particular to the enormous and detailed soundstage that a pair of Sampans is capable of creating - and despite possessing an unobtrusive appearance likely to make the wives of audiophiles happy - these speakers acquit themselves well by audiophile standards."
(Reinhold Martin, HIFI STATEMENT)


"We set two Sampans up in our listening room next to a pair of 'normal size' floorstanders (my Triangle Cellos) but did not tell anyone wishing to listen to the system which speaker was actually playing. If fact, it is unlikely that any of our visitors even realized that the Sampans were loudspeakers. I then began the demo with the system playing through the Sampans. None of the visitors who were subjected to this 'trick' suspected that the music was coming from the two Sampans rather than the largish pair of Triangle Cellos. Indeed, everyone thought that the sound they were listening to was quite appropriate for the (much larger) Cellos. These observations do credit to the full-range capabilities of the elegant Sampans. The fact that this deception was successful even when the Sampans were positioned well away from the Cellos shows how completely the sound decouples itself from the slim towers to produce a soundstage of almost palpable depth and width."
(Reinhold Martin, HIFI STATEMENT)


 

 
The Sampan wins Enjoythemusic.com Best of 2007 Award
"Rarely do I have the opportunity to walk around the sound stage, inspect Norah Jones from behind, check the rivets on the drum kit to confirm that Keith Moon's 1965 Drums really was a Premier single-bass, or otherwise wax pedantically on correct microphone placement. Never for me has a sound-stage indicated to me the different heights of the horns of John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley and Miles Davis's during the glory days of Kind of Blue. All that changed for me with the Sampans." 
 (Jeff Rabin, Ph.D., enjoythemusic.com)


 "...the Sampans were magic." 
"The Greatest Disappearing Act Since Houdini "
"Even a respected Lowther cabinet builder ... said he could not believe the quantity and quality of bass that was being reproduced from such a slim little cabinet."

 (Jeff Rabin, Ph.D., enjoythemusic.com)


 "... the true stars in the Role firmament are, for me (so far), the Sampans ...We listened, drop-jawed, to detail, a seamless soundstage, crisp warmth (Oxymoronic? Not in the least), and next to no sense of compression or congestion at climaxes."
David Ogden StiersActor; Director; Associate Conductor Newport (Oregon) Symphony Orchestra (see reviews/testimonals)


 

  KAYAK SERIES

  Kayak

   "Going into the compro, I really felt Jeffrey would prefer the Minuets for their greater oomph and kick. So I was a bit surprised that he decisively picked the Kayaks as his speakers of choice - not only over the Silverlines, but over his own Meadowlark Shearwater Hot Rods (which I believe were about $3K when he got them a decade ago). He cited the speed and detail of the midrange, which made his tracts come alive with a crispness and life that he never got with his Meadowlarks."   Bound for Sound Audio Report


"Cymbals and other transients were laser-quick through the Kayaks; imaging was mesmerizing... They sound great and look great; that the Kayaks are better for the environment than their predecessors ices the cake..."
Todd Whitesel, review of "green Kayak," Audio VIdeo Revolution's


 "...the Role Audio Kayaks best the LS 3/5as quite nearly across the board. When we consider that the final version of the BBC monitor was priced at almost $1500 the amazing value of the Kayak is fully understood."
 M.L. Gneier, tnt-audio.com, Italy, May 2001)


"Even when placed less than two feet from my listening position a pair of Kayaks not only become sonically invisible, but they produce a humungous soundstage that rivals my reference Aerial model 5A. The Kayak's image also has just as much lateral precision as the Areals. But unlike the Areals, and every other speaker I've had in my desktop system, the Kayaks just vamoose." 
(Steve Stone, enjoythemusic.com, 9/05)
scroll down for review


"The speakers disappear more completely than any mini-monitor I've
heard in recent memory. ... the speakers are literally invisible."
Ed Kobesky of Positive Feedback Online


 "The Kayak is one of the most relaxed, non fatiguing speakers I’ve ever heard....It wasn’t just the speakers that seemed to vanish, I vanished - everything seemed to vanish. 
New review by Russ Gates of Stereo Mojo


 "The Kayaks are ... Amazing."
David Ogden StiersActor; Director; Associate Conductor Newport (Oregon) Symphony Orchestra


 Discovery

"The Discovery and Kayak share many family traits. They both have superb high frequency rendition, astounding inner detail and low-level resolution, and remarkable depth recreation."
 (Steve Stone, enjoythemusic.com, 9/05)
scroll down for review


 Windjammer

"I am amazed by the tonal balance of these speakers...they look as nice as they sound!...just correct bass, correct midrange, correct highs....and that decay...OH MY GOD, that decay!"
(MusikMike Peshkin, stereomojo.com)

"...they "image like lasers.... They looked very attractive like that -- not only did my wife not complain, she asked that they not leave.."
Doug Schnider SoundstageAV.com

"The Windjammers ... are my speakers to beat at the price point." 
Marc Yun in issue #148 of Bound for Sound
"I could not sit and web surf with them [The Sonus Fabers] on in the background, they would drive me nuts, just like the Merlins. The Windjammers ... sound good with everything you put on.... I am again listening for more extended periods and enjoy having the music on..."
Larry Rasmussenon audioasylum.com
 "Rarely have I heard a system sound so involving as the Windjammer/Purse combo with intimate musical passages...Subtle nuances in articulation and dynamics are communicated masterfully..."
Marc Yun in issue #149 of Bound for Sound

   Enterprise

 "...I really can't imagine asking for much more than these speakers are able to give. I'm enthralled with every recording I've put on since it was bi-amped. The Enterprise would be welcomed by me to replace my Infinity speakers.... I am shocked at how beautiful, how real the music is; every recording, every one!"
(MusikMike Peshkin, stereomojo.com)
"If you thinking about a floor standing speaker, and you are consdering all of the usual suspects of the high end, I cannot recommend strongly enough that you do yourself the favor of adding the Role Enterprise to your list of must hear speakers. You will not find a better speaker anywhere near its price (and yes, I have heard them all)....The Enterprise’s svelte elegance allows for greater Significant 
Other Acceptance Factor than any other floor standing speaker I have ever used. Believe me when I say that pictures do not begin to tell the story of the Enterprise’s aesthetic charms....The ingenious Role Dual Transmission Line™ allows the Enterprise’s twin woofers to do amazing things in the bottom end..."

Paul Cervantes, Ultralinear.net. Note: Ultralinear.net. is no longer on line.
"...the bass is to die for."
"...they image like a son of a bitch..."
"...the Enterprise are, almost, neutral to a fault..."
"The Enterprises were able to deliver everything from the full wallop of Phil Rudd's kick drum, to Wagner's Teutonic Fantasizing..."

Jeff Rabin, enjoythemusic.com, November, 2007
 "...this is some of the finest cabinet work I've seen..."

"...the Enterprise is a 1st technologically..."

"...I drove the Enterprise hard, and on some occasions, very hard.....the dynamic capabilities of the Enterprise surprised me."


Marty DeWulf, Bound for Sound #186
 "I was astonished by what a big sound came from these rather compact towers ...One thing I quickly noticed was the excellent imaging with the Roles..."I was impressed by the high quality fit and finish of the black lacquer and birch cabinets of the speakers. 
John Sunier, Audiophile Auditions, www.audaud.com, September 2004