Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

Have You Seen?


The S 230 loudspeaker, which T+A Elektroakustik recently added to its Criterion line, is still pretty much brand spankin’ new. It only began shipping last month, at a price of €9500 (VAT included) in Europe, or $11,990 per pair in the US. Naturally, I was excited to get my eyes and ears on a pair of S 230s here in Munich. Imagine my surprise when I visited T+A’s exhibition room and was greeted with a newer-still Criterion loudspeaker, the S 240.

T+A S 240

This German company apparently doesn’t mess around. Even though most people have yet to become acquainted with the S 230, T+A is showing off the S 230’s bigger sibling here as well. The S 240, which is planned to retail at €12,960 (VAT included) in Europe, or $16,490 per pair in the US, is based on the same design concepts as the S 230, but employs larger-diameter bass and midrange drivers and a more voluminous cabinet. This allows it to achieve greater efficiency and bass extension than the smaller S 230. Both the S 230 and the S 240 are available in white, black, and a gorgeous matte-finish Macassar ebony veneer.

T+A’s Criterion line dates back to 1984, when the Criterion TMR 160 was introduced. At the time, very few manufacturers built transmission-line loudspeakers. Designing a transmission-line speaker involves carefully tuning the transmission-line pathway so as to cancel resonances and ensure the sound waves emit from the line-in phase with those coming directly from the driver. The difficulty of designing and manufacturing such speakers often makes it impossible for them to be commercially viable, but T+A has stuck with it—successfully, I might add—for 40 years.

T+A S 240

The S 240s in T+A’s room were being shown when I visited alongside another recent addition to the company’s lineup, the R 2500 R receiver, which debuted in Warsaw last October. Truly meant to be an all-in-one audiophile solution, the R 2500 R features four 32-bit DACs per channel capable of handling PCM files up to 768kHz and DSD512. An integrated CD player, built-in FM tuner, XLR and RCA analog inputs, and a nearly heroic battery of digital inputs and streaming clients mean the R 2500 R is able to bring forth the music from virtually any source imaginable. The wealth of connectivity options doesn’t mean the R 2500 R isn’t an impressive audiophile amplifier: its dual-mono, class-AB amplification makes 250Wpc into 4 ohms. This device retails for €14,500 (VAT included) in Europe.

How did it all sound? you’re no doubt wondering. I had the chance to hear a pair of the new S 240 loudspeakers driven by electronics from T+A’s flagship HV line, and I was duly impressed by their ability to impart a sense of scale without sounding like they were struggling to do so. It is an unfortunate fact that most of the music played at shows like this is painfully dull audiophile nonsense. But even with some flowery junk I’d never willingly play over my own system, I found that the S 240s could convey the individual plinks and plunks of a concert grand piano or the dozens of voices of a choir performing in a cathedral, easily filling the large exhibition space with the aplomb only a very well-developed loudspeaker can manage. Hats off, S 240.

T+A system

T+A surprised with a new loudspeaker and impressed with its quality. That being said, we’ve come to expect this level of quality and attention to detail from T+A. SoundStage! has been visited the company’s facilities in Herford, Germany, more than once, so we know how it does things. In fact, we made two videos about the S 230 back when it was introduced. One of the videos focused on T+A’s history with transmission-line designs, while the other video zeroed in on the technical details of the S 230. Naturally, the specific details are different, but much of the tech discussed in the videos is the same for the new S 240.

Check back soon for more from High End 2024.

Matt Bonaccio
Contributor, SoundStage!