Talk Electronics Integrated System

      Date posted: September 10, 2000

Talk Electronics
Talk Electronics Thunder 1 CD Player
(Suggested retail:$1399 CDN)
Talk Electronics Cyclone 1 Integrated Amplifier (Suggested retail:$1399CDN)
Dist: Audiopathic (American Sound)
9108 Yonge St., Richmond Hill, Ont.
(905) 886-7810 FAX 886-6920

(Reprinted from the Summer/Fall 2000 Audio Ideas Guide)

      I think the product names of this company from England are an inside joke about talking about the weather. But, as I joked myself to distributor Angie Lisi the other day, they’re unlikely to call a product, the Downpour or the Monsoon…the Tempest, maybe, with its Shakespearean implications. At the moment they’ve covered Storm, Hurricane, Tornado, Whirlwind and the other meteorological phenomena noted above. How about the cold spring this year, eh?

      Talk Electronics started out making cables, interconnects and speaker cables, and branched into electronics that spurred the company’s growth. The Cyclone 1 is an integrated amplifier offering 50 watts rms per channel and inputs for CD, Tuner, Aux, and a pair of tape monitors. The clean brushed aluminum styling is very attractive, with a machined front panel with an art deco curved line cut across it that the selector buttons follow at right, just left of the large level control.

      The Thunder 1 has matching styling, and, like the Cyclone 1 is the company’s least expensive CD player. It comes, like the amplifier, with a remote control that will operate both components, has a BNC coaxial digital output, and special jacks on the rear panel to accommodate an upgrade power supply.

      In our CD tracking tests the Thunder was solid, not vibrating the fundament. It tracked to 31 of the single dropouts (1mm), 40 of the narrow gauge ones (also 1mm), and through 45 of the double dropouts (2 x .2mm), locking up on 46 (2 x .5mm).The Canadian CD Check disc was better managed, 4 of 5 levels with increasing error played perfectly, while our random error disc played cleanly to 2:01 before locking up. The partially tranhsprent disc was not played well, however, the first 3 tracks all having loud ticking and sputtering sounds. It’s a pretty good tracker, but may have some sensitivity to manufacturing defects in the aluminum coating process.

      The Thunder/Cyclone combination definitely did not blow chunks, as they say, exhibiting a refined, dynamic, and very musical sound, providing the Cyclone 1 was not made to blow too hard. It could be made to sound splashy in the high frequencies when pushed too close to clipping, but with most speakers this would be at very high SPLs. Within its limits the Cyclone 1 is a very fine integrated amp for its price, reminding me somewhat of the Linn Magik-1 in its combination of detail and refinement. And these qualities are obviously shared by the Thunder 1 CD player.

      Bass performance was also excellent for the price category, though I suspect the amplifier would provide a more robust sound with the optional outboard power supply. But I did find a nice rightness of sound with the Talk Electronics pair.

      If you are seeking an exceptionally attractive pair of components in both visual and sonic terms for under $3000, the winds of Talk should blow your way and whisper in your ear. Maybe they’ll just blow in your ear…”buy me, buy me”.

Andrew Marshall

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