Shahinian Compass Loudspeaker

About Shahinian Compass Loudspeaker


Why not dare to be different and enjoy your music like you probably have never before? We believe you will find the overall performance, for the modest size and price, to be quite special.

The Shahinian Compass is a vertical loudspeaker with a diamond shaped baffle.

The enclosure is a rigid pipe with two dissimilar chambers for the Shahinian Compass. The bass loading is achieved by means of strategically placed friction slots. The diamond baffle is ideal to reduce unwanted typical diffraction problems and thereby produce a smooth, uniform radiation characteristic. The one-inch (19 mm) titanium tweeter with neodymium motor is our first choice device and is used in some of our other loudspeakers. The six and one-half inch woofer with a truly extraordinary new hybrid cone is almost spectacular. The filter network, as in all of our designs, is 6dB trailing edge for the woofer and 18dB leading edge for the tweeter. NO ZOBELS, RESISTORS OR SPECIAL CORRECTIVES. The phase is correct and seamless.

The enclosure is our standard 19mm Finland birch with a variety of available face veneers. All four surfaces are finished, permitting a variety of placement choices, including surround applications. Connection is made in the base and will accommodate any gauge wire.

Shahinian Compass Loudspeaker Reviews


“The Shahinian Compass comes tantalisingly close to allowing one to suspend disbelief utterly and allow oneself to accept as true, if only for a fleeting moment or several, that the musicians are actually with you in the room.

The Shahinian Compass somehow seem to know what each individual listener wants. I say this because they delighted all of the listeners – each of whom has different and very specific criteria – who heard them in my home. One, for example, excitedly observed that they presented a solid and coherent soundstage no matter where he sat: even when he was wildly off-axis the musicians maintained their relative positions in the sonic picture. While thatisn’t a major consideration for me, I have to say that the Compass certainly maintains tonality, instrumental timbre and dynamic authenticity far better off-axis than most directional designs. In fact it does so many things more fluently and with greater ease than ‘conventional’ loudspeakers that I wouldn’t take issue with anyone who elected to subscribe to Shahinian’s supposedly ‘radical’ way of thinking. Why not dare to be different and enjoy your music like you probably have never before?

I feel obliged to state at the outset that I have a soft spot for Shahinian loudspeakers. How can one fail to respect anything that remains eminently musical and thoroughly enjoyable while quite literally blowing panes of glass out of one’s windows through playing a little bit (bang bang Fanfare for the Common Man) of Aaron Copeland at an enthusiastic – but nevertheless entirely realistic – volume?

Dick Shahinian, the Armenian American who designed the speakers that bear his family name, has some distinctive views about what constitutes a good loudspeaker. Needless to say, those views are not shared by the majority of the commercial speaker building community, even though they can be traced back to tenets held by early and respected pioneers in the world of loudspeaker design. His endeavours are driven entirely by his intense passion for music, of which he has an encyclopaedic knowledge . Shahinian observes that his company is: “Far too small to have grand commercial aspirations” and that he is “foolish enough to believe that if we study and practice hard enough, we may discover real artistic solutions to acoustic problems.”

From the outset it became abundantly clear that this is a very special loudspeaker. The Compass communicates with outstanding fluency and ease, especially when you consider its relatively compact dimensions. It’s a small loudspeaker, but has the reassured, confident presentation and scale of a much, much larger model.

Rather than creating the impression, as many loudspeakers do, that the sound is being squeezed out of them like toothpaste from a tube, the music trickles effortlessly from the Compass as though no mechanical processes whatsoever are involved. Given an amplifier with a suitably stiff power supply, the music simply appears almost as casually as the smoke rising from a cigarette resting in an ashtray.

If you want to check the veracity of the way this speaker handles drums, listen to Brad Wilk’s exuberant and committed playing on the eponymous Rage Against The Machine album: this warehouse-band recording is so raw and unprocessed that the kit, for once, truly sounds like a drum kit. Wilk’s exciting and spartan drumming style — with its lack of flashy fills and transitions, his ferocious attack on the snare and kick drum, and the varying spaces he leaves in his patterns — creates a savage tension, a disquiet that the Compass seems to savour. Listen to Bullet in the Head, for example, and the speaker lets you know that this is definitely not Phil Collins — nor someone who came from any remotely related gene pool — holding those sticks. Wilk cites John Bonham, Keith Moon and Elvin Jones as his top three influences, and the Shahinians convey the weight, timing and authority of his playing so convincingly you would never contradict his assertions.

These speakers don’t just sound astonishingly convincing with percussion, but also do an equally compelling job of portraying the album’s bass, electric guitar and vocal elements, with an egalitarianism of which radical left-wing vocalist Zack de la Rocha would thoroughly approve. Some speakers tend to subjugate the bass lines, effectively combining them with the kick drum, but the Compass keeps them distinct and separate. De la Rocha’s rap-metal vocalising is never anything less than crystal clear and perfectly intelligible, whether he is whispering or letting rip with a full-throated yell. And the Compass seems to take great delight in exposing the intricacies of Tom Morello’s impudent, DJ-style guitar excursions. Listening through the Compass is almost like watching a high-definition DVD: you can visualise him tapping strings, cranking the whammy bar and flicking the pickup selector switch, along with all the other wizardry he employs to make his guitars sound like hip-hop DJs’ turntables or stuttering ambulance sirens – anything other than a regular guitar.”-MALCOLM STEWART.  HI FI CRITIC.

Shahinian Compass Loudspeaker Finishes: Oak & Walnut

To arrange a demonstration of the Shahinian Compass Loudspeaker shown here, or any of our other products, please click here to open the demo booking form

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