Unity Audio — The Boulder
A few months ago, I had the privilege of reviewing Unity Audio’s first speaker design, the near field monitor The Rock. After rave reviews (not just from APT), Unity Audio decided that they should turn their hand to a bigger studio monitor. And what better name than The Boulder?
It is immediately obvious that not only the components, but also the aesthetics of the design of the speaker are similar to The Rock. There is the non ported design, Corian front and Birch Plywood cabinet. Again, Tim de Paravicini of E.A.R designed the amplifier stage based on The rocks design, but crucially though this time there are two of the same 7″ woofers used in The Rock and there a new dual coaxial Midrange – Tweeter.
The Boulders really live up to their name. At 368mm deep, 256 mm wide and 549mm high, they really are massive (and heavy). So twice the size, twice the price… twice the sound? Well not really, but it would be unfair to try and judge it based on that, because of the law of diminishing returns and also that The Rock really is a special speaker. However, it is a significant step up, especially in the low-end extension, power and mid-range detail. The Boulder shares so many of the same tonal characteristics as The Rock’s, just on a larger scale. I feel that I should just point you towards my original ‘The Rock’ review (found here). These characteristics include: flat and accurate bass response due to the ported design, unnervingly revealing time domain response as well as just unrivalled and un-hyped accuracy. I’d even go as far as to say that this is the best speaker i’ve ever heard period. There, I said it!
There is more to consider before buying The Boulder, though this issue is not about competitors. It is more about your listening environment and whether The Rocks would actually suit your needs better. I found that one of the rooms I tried The Boulders in was simply too small to handle them and that they showed up far too many of the room’s imperfections in the low-end. But anyway, I suspect that, if you are serious about checking out these monitors, you are not going to be the average hobbyist in a room that is better off as a broom cupboard!
The Boulder, for those of you with some personal tonal preferences, also include a wide Q’d 2.5 dB midrange boost/cut and a shelving boost/cut at 10KHz. Having spent significant time on The Rocks though, I definitely preferred them flat.
To summarise, any serious mixer/mastering engineer that works in a decently designed acoustic environment should treat themselves to a set of Boulders. I just wished that I could keep them and when Unity Audio’s head honcho Kevin Walker dropped in to pick them up, the trip down the stairs was suitably painful. I can sense that I will not be wanting to eat much for a few months…or do I actually need two kidneys? By whatever means, The Boulders will be mine very soon!
- Like The Rock: Terrifically flat, Enclosed unit so it has a great time domain response, smooth, transparant and non-fatiguing tweeter
- Best sounding speakers i’ve ever heard of that size
- Active and simple to set up
- Suffer from none of the bottom end deficiencies that would have been my only slight complaint of the first version of The Rocks
- They are a significant expense for all but the most high-end studios
- Like any speakers of there size they are certainly not suitable for small rooms
MONITOR RATING [10/10]
Unity Audio Boulders are available here:
PRICE £5160 inc. VAT for a pair.