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Lafluer Audio X1 loudspeaker
Not your average bookshelf speakers
by Ernie Fisher

Back in April of 2008, I attended Montreal’s audio fest (Festival De Son), and discovered the X1 loudspeakers connected to an amplifier I had never seen or heard before. However, I remembered the sound very well and when I received a call from the company’s marketing people, I agreed to take a serious look at the X1 speakers.

Like other small manufacturers in the audio industry, Lafleuraudio is a passion-driven group of audio lovers who decided to enter the highly competitive loudspeaker market with their first model, a superbly finished pair of bookshelf speakers.

The company claims to build “speakers differently than other manufacturers” and, though this may be true, I have seen similar designs in the past. However, there are a number of small, but important elements that differ from customary methods, and it begins with but is not restricted to the enclosures’ construction. The design was conceived by M. Emmanuel Lafleur who, with the assistance of other dedicated audio enthusiasts planned and developed a robust environment (the enclosure) for what was to become the X1. It took a couple of years from concept to finished product — not really an unusually long incubation period in the specialty audio business.

As indicated above, these loudspeakers are masterfully finished and feature a unique oval shape. The cabinets’ contours suggest that the designer knew a lot about avoiding resonance and developing vibrations. The enclosures are made from Russian cherry wood (hardwood) shaped with graceful curves to avoid internal standing waves, but, I suspect, also to add an elegant refinement to a necessary audio component. Each speaker stands 17 inches high, 11 inches wide, 14 inches deep and weighs in at 42 pounds. Dedicated stands are available and should be used, although any solid stand filled with lead-shot will do.

The Sound
Every component in an audio system has a signature sound making it important to find compatible components to ascertain the best performance. Therefore, in order to find the best possible mate, I used three amps, connected them to three preamplifiers and used the Audio Aero Classic, the EAR CD player as well as a turntable for source components.

For the first audition and the initial burn-in, I decided on the powerful solid state Bryston 14B SST with the Modwright preamp — two very compatible components. This system combination sounded very impressive. The Bryston introduced its smooth high frequency signature, making the X1s sound very pleasant in the treble region, though I didn’t particularly like the midrange — I found it to be a bit too laid back. However, after a few days of operating the system, midrange improved dramatically. My friend Sol dropped in for an audition and gave the speakers the thumbs up as the system’s sound advanced from quite good to excitingly convincing — musically speaking.

The next amp/preamp combination used for this evaluation was the EAR push-pull tube amp with the matching preamp. I was surprised to discover that this system didn’t achieve the body and musical soul I heard with the Bryston/Modwright combination. The highs were great, the midrange was smooth and articulate and the bass was good to about 40Hz, but a bit slow recovering from the woofers/ excursion pattern. However, all this was still good audio and the only beef I have regards the system’s inability to reproduce peak dynamics. Yes, I’m nit picking.
The best electronics I have in-house are the Wyetech Lab Ruby single-ended amps and matching preamp, a combination, I assumed to be suitable for the X1s. Well, I was partially right. Highs and midrange frequencies were not only smooth and well balanced; the system also provided texture, detail, ambience and space. Dynamics, the quality of wide dynamic range, was in line with the nature of the signal (music) and utterly realistic. Imaging, though good with all systems was, well, out-of-the-box. Where it lacked was in the deep bass regions — below 40Hz. In light of the speakers’ outstanding performance in frequencies above 40Hz, I regard this the slight deficiency the better alternative to booming bass. 40Hz is, after all, not essential to reproduce most musical material.

Synopsis & Commentary
Some of the best-sounding components are made by people who never make it into the conventional audio business. The well-known brands, such as Panasonic, Sony, Pioneer in the mass-market segment and Bryston, Krell or VTL in the higher-end, enjoy recognition, having had advertising money and history. However, a newcomer with talent often works on a tight budget, but invests every bit as much time and effort to finish a project; and he/she has to come up with greater designs than the more prominent manufacturers. Lafleur Audio is one of these manufacturers and the X1s are the proof. They are designed with care and constructed with attention to detail; but most of all, they are made to reproduce music without adding a hint of colouration.

Connected to three potentially superb system combinations, the X1s sounded great with varying degrees of achievement. The combination that suits you best is the one to use, but my own top pick would be the Bryston amp, Modwright preamp combo. This, dear reader, is my opinion and is based on my belief that synergy is a more important issue than price. However, all it takes are ears — your ears — and listen carefully using your existing system. If the speakers sound right, you have compatibility — it’s a simple as that. The X1s are not your average bookshelf speakers, they are a work of art and some of the very few I could live with.


X1 & X1-L (lacquer finish) LafleurAudio

Lafleur Audio
125 Boul Industriel
Chateauguay J6J4Z2

T. 450.616.0525
F. 450.699.0542

X1 - $10,000.00/pr
X1-L - $13,500.00/pr
Matching stands - $1,995.00


The enclosures provide a very rigid foundation for the woofers and tweeters employed in this not-so-basic two-way bass reflex arrangement.
Lafleuraudio went to great length to control vibrations generated by the drivers. Three micro-vibration defusing cones to interact with the complex bracing arrangement divide the cabinet. The front baffle is separated from the cabinet, which further aids the drivers to achieve a firm environment and help provide a linear, resonance-free audio signal.

The woofer is a 5-inch driver, while the tweeter is a 1.5-inch ring dome unit. These drivers are arranged in a strategically organized section within the enclosures. The crossover is a carefully engineered design that employs non-conventional techniques and superior materials of, and I quote, “incomparable quality” to attain clarity and preserve the organic nature of music.

Frequency response is quoted from 45Hz to 20kHz (note that the company doesn’t claim unrealistic specs). Sensitivity is 87dB watt/metre; nominal impedance is 8 ohms.

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