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The case against? Those accustomed to a two-way sound will likely conclude that single-driver loudspeakers (JohnBlue Audio Art, 47Labs, Omega) come up short on weight and slam. As the JohnBlue JB3 shows, smaller models sometimes struggle to marry suitable dynamics to complex passages at higher SPLs. Such qualities fall way down on my loudspeaker priority list. For me weight and slam sit below tone, transparency and urgency. This priority shopping list holds true for other personal favourites like the indie rock gnarl of The Arctic Monkeys or the flighty acoustic strum of The Decemberists. It's not about the heft of the one-inch chest punch. It's about how swiftly it’s delivered. It ain't necessarily about frequency extension but musical insight. Specification objectivity might guide us. Numbers can offer explanations as to the whys and wherefores. But the subjectivity of listening ultimately prevails. Enter the Hoyt Bedford Type 1.

In November 2010 word came down the line. Louis Chochos of Omega Loudspeaker Systems was working on a new model of a single-driver speaker with an in-house designed driver upon which he would pay no license fee. When further news arrived that the new model would retail for US$795, this review assignment call went out early...

...and having lived with the Hoyt Bedford Type 1 for considerably longer than most other review models—over six months— I know them inside out and back to front. A hundred hours or so of run in was required before they began to find their feet. For widebanders this will be old news to salty sea dogs but those who migrate there from multi drivers should be forewarned. Patience matters.

The four Hoyt Bedford models will be made and sold under and alongside the Omega Speaker Systems umbrella and should be seen as budget versions of their hemp-coned brothers. At the very top of Chochos’ new range is the $2.500/pr Type 4 floorstander with integrated subwoofers in each box. The $700 Type 3 solo sub may be used to supplement the lower frequencies of the floorstanding $1.350/pr Type 2 or $795/pr monitoring Type 1.

All models face frontward with a dual-concentric 8” cone that was designed and developed by Chochos and is made right there in the USA. Moving from Omega driver to Hoyt Bedford driver, the listener is transitioned from hemp to paper, a pleated surround to foam/rubber composite and from alnico to ferrite magnet. Sensitivity is rated at 97dB.

On - er, paper, treble extension only reaches the 99th floor at 18kHz. The elevator stops 2.000 cycles shy of the roof. Deployment of the included poof balls means the Type 1 owner has options. Run the rear-firing port sealed and the frequency range is 50Hz to 18KHz. Run them vented (no poof ball) and achieve a theoretical 12Hz more of bass depth. The sealed option sees the Type 1 more than happy in a bedroom or more modest and/or acoustically challenged lounge. I ran some heavy-ish dub step in my second smaller space and found little to complain about perceived bass depth and—better still—room resonance. Like many single driver variants, the Hoyt Bedford is more brain than brawn.

It's the finest album of the 1990's Brit Pop era. Suede's Dog Man Star is as much Eno avantgarde as it is glam rock swagger. The Hoyt Bedfords give the listener an alternative platform from which to witness the partnership of Andersen and Butler. Organic to the core, they are an aural health food that initially take some getting used to. Like the Omega before it, the Hoyt Bedford presentation is desiccant. Think autumn leaves and you'll be most of the way there. Dynamics are more inhibited than with another maxi monitor, the Rogers LS4a. Vocals and acoustic guitar are accentuated by the HB's tip towards upper-mid alertness. This could divide opinion especially amongst those who come from a wetter two-way. As preempted, there is little slam of which to speak...

...but then there's holography. Once exposed to the Hoyt Bedford take on the bridled grandeur of the guitar/vocal call response of "New Generation", the alternative nature of the Type 1 starts to congeal. The first and second verses slowly ratchet a tension that evokes imagery of an ever-weakening Police blockade moments prior to the crowd bursting through and into the chorus. The suspense gives way to a celebratory fireworks show. Horns layer upon horns, guitars pile upon guitars but the delicacy of the detail contained deep within the song (tonal colour, timbre) remains readily available. The listener is taken deep on a journey under the skin of the song.

The Type 1’s exposition is one of restrained majesty with a wall-of-sound presentation that marks them out as imaging experts. Keeping each loudspeaker as far apart as my room would allow yielded best results. Despite king standmount sizing they don't move a great deal of air and on the whole remain untroubled by room boundaries. Bass leans toward the lean with most indie-rock.