Chris Marten reviews and praises the USHER MD TWO DMD speaker


Reviwers comments: 
"The key question, of course, is how the speaker performs as a whole, and the answer is that it is a really well conceived and well executed all-rounder—a US$4999/pr (NZ$7,000 incl GST) speaker that makes a ton of sense for aspiring listeners who wish they could spend ten times that sum, but whose budgets lead them to make more realistic, earthbound choices. For a starter, let’s acknowledge that the Mini Two DMD is essentially a full-range speaker, and not one of those near-full-rangers that is basically dreaming about, but not really accessing, the bottom octave. The Mini Two DMD has useful output all the way down into the mid-20Hz range, as a spin or two through bass favorites such as “Pie Jesu” from the Rutter Requiem [Reference Recordings] or the Bakels/Bournemouth reading of Vaughan Williams’ Sinfonia Antartica [Naxos] makes very clear. Pipe organ enthusiasts will be pleased not only by the depths the Ushers can reach, but also by their weight, power, and reasonably good control.
 
Next, the speaker offers a very coherent, expressive, detailed, and neutrally balanced midrange. As with most two-ways, the
Mini Two DMD’s show excellent smoothness and cohesiveness in the difficult transition region from upper bass to the lower midrange—an area where some three-way (or other more complicated) designs have been known to run into trouble. But where the DMD’s truly distinguish themselves is in dynamic nuance and sheer dynamic punch, starting down in the bass region (think bass guitars and kick drums) right on up through the very top of the midrange. One beauty of the Mini Two DMD is that you have the simplicity, focus, and sonic rightness of a classic two-way design, but with the muscle and grunt that only dual, D’Appolito 7" mid/bass units can provide.
 
To appreciate what I mean, listen carefully to Clark Terry and the DePaul University Big Band play “Moten Swing” from
Terry’s Chicago Sessions, 1994-1995 [Reference Recordings], and note the sound of the band’s horn section, in particular. There are moments in that track where the entire band will be cruising along smoothly until—almost without warning—the horn
section simply erupts with astonishing brassy beauty and almost shocking dynamic force. These are passages so dynamically
challenging that they cause some (actually many) speakers to shift in an instant from a casual “No problem, I’ve got this” to an “Omigosh, I’m seriously over-taxed” dynamic-overload moment, where the sound can momentarily become compressed, raw, or just plain distorted. But not so, the Ushers. They seem almost to relish the track, tackling it with equal measures of dynamic clout and subtlety, plus something of the exuberant glee of a thrill-seeking child looking to revisit a particularly stimulating amusement park ride. When the horn section rises up, the Mini Two captures the fierce burnished leading edges of the notes and the forceful golden-toned thrust and projection of the horns in full voice. But even as it does so, the speaker also keeps the details of the recording straight, preserving the textures and timbres not only of the horns but also of the accompanying drum kit and cymbals as well as other instruments in the band.
 
I’ve spoken about the DMD tweeter’s superior resolution, focus, and overall sophistication vis-à-vis the original Usher
beryllium/titanium tweeter, and thought I might supply an illustration to help crystallize this point. Try listening to “Talking Wind” from Marilyn Mazur and Jan Garbarek’s Elixir [ECM] through the Mini Twos, and then note carefully the sound of the high-frequency percussion instruments featured there.
 
Many speakers can give you a nominally “clean” reading of this recording, but the Usher does more; it crosses the boundary line that divides textbook-correct reproduction to instead achieve hints of genuine realism. What makes this possible, I think, is the deft manner in which the DMD tweeter integrates treble fundamentals, harmonics, echoes, and reverberations into a cohesive, believable whole. A point I have noted in previous reviews of Usher speakers is that they do not “deconstruct” musical elements as some loudspeakers do, but rather help music to sound more whole and complete.
 
Let me conclude, then, by expanding on a point I raised near the beginning of this review. The Mini Two DMD is a finely detailed, nuanced, full-range transducer that is relatively easy to drive and that sounds dynamically alive. These qualities make it ideal for those who know and love what ultra-premium loudspeakers can do, but who have decided (either as a matter of preference or necessity) to hold loudspeaker expenditures within the US$5000/pr (NZ$7,000 incl GST) price range. Within that range, the Usher distinguishes itself, not by achieving “perfection,” but by doing many more things right for the money than listeners might think possible.
.......Chris Martens

Note: see link below for more comprehensive version of this review