Sound Lab U-1PX Floor Standing Speaker

Expert Review

For lovers of naturalness of sound and coherence, there is no substitute for electrostatic speakers, and the U-1PX is the best there is, producing incredible detail, and bass notes with noticeably more authority than similar panels, including top of the range products from more prominent firms like MartinLogan and Quad. Electrostatic speakers are the delivery method of choice for lovers of a bright, detailed, well-separated sound, and while most higher end units succeed in this regard, few are capable of delivering bass with the realism and authority of the U-1PX. It is definitely sufficient for most music but, like most floor speakers, it requires an additional subwoofer if you want to experience truly physical bass.

Sound Lab has a wide selection of speakers, and although they refuse to advertise publicly, they have experienced success in spreading knowledge of their products by word of mouth, and they live up to their reputation every time. The U-1PX is their flagship model, and definitely earns its place at the top of the lineup. Its sound is typical of an electrostatic speaker: clean, fast, detailed, and airy. The soundstage is incredibly spacious and well-separated, rivaling everything short of insanely expensive units from upmarket firms like Focal and Wilson Audio. Like other electrostats, however, its major challenge is the size of its sweet spot: in order to experience the U-1PX's soundstage at its best, the speakers must be placed very precisely and properly angled at the listening area.

The prime listening area for most electrostatic panels is usually big enough to fit 2-4 people on a couch, and the U-1PX does slightly better thanks to its size, but not by much; this is an inherent shortcoming of all electrostatic speakers, and one that any potential buyer should be prepared to accommodate. Sound will obviously still be audible outside of the sweet spot, but it wont be as coherent and enjoyable. The U-1PX is also frankly enormous, standing 7 feet tall and about 3 feet wide at the base.

If youre a fan of the airy, lightning-quick sound of electrostatics, the U-1PX is the best there is, and its bass performance makes it an easy choice over other high-end panels. But be prepared to engineer your entire home theater to accommodate them: between their enormous size and picky positioning, they can be a challenge to work with, but those with patience will be rewarded with some of the cleanest, most spacious sound reproduction that man can reproduce.Rating: 5/5

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