If you are a stickler for high-quality speakers with a shoestring budget, Lithos' Noal may suit you well. Read on...
The Noa1 is a subwoofer-satellite combination, but thankfully it is not made of metal; it's MDF, which is better for sound.
The size of the satellites would slot them in the medium category . The setup is quite light, even the rectangular subwoofer. The speaker system is matte black all through, which suits any décor.
Its simple aesthetics exude subtlety, though it's not the best-looking system I've seen. The stands have a broad base for balance and the post has a square cross-section that matches perfectly with the footprint of the satellites, so it looks seamless when the stands are used.
The satellites are two-way, implying that two separate drivers handle different parts of the frequency spectrum. There is a 1-inch ferro fluid-cooled fabric tweeter, and a 4-inch paper midrange woofer. The 'paper' is a special doped paper meant for speaker cones, and offers a very musical sound. However, let's check out the performance before commenting further.
The subwoofer is front-ported and has two 5¼-inch drivers to pump out low frequencies. These are 6O speakers, and ideally draw 70 watts of power.
The sensitivity is 88 dB 1W/1m, and the specs state a frequency response of 46 Hz - 20 KHz.
Performance Setting up was easy . Just connect your amps to the subwoofer, which in turn connects to the speakers. I used a Harman Kardon amp to power, and started off with a test and calibration disc from Sheffield, plus a few sounds I made myself on PD. The test results were accurately described in the specs of the Noa: the bass rolled off at around 40 Hz, while the highs were very controlled and persistent, except a few spots around 4-5 K which sounded a bit resonant.
The frequency crossover point of the subwoofer and satellites was slightly uneven, though not negative at all. The sound of the speakers is quite neutral and flat across the entire frequency spectrum, except the low mids.
For vocals, I played Sarah McLachlan. The mid frequencies, which are the most important and sensitive to human ears, were the best part of the response, and stringed instruments and female vocals especially sounded awesome. If your music is recorded well, the Lithos Noa1 can shine in the mids aspect. To check out another dimension of sound, I put on Chesky recordings discs and some jazz flacs. I found the sound very open and large. Considering these are not tower speakers, but a smaller sub-sat system, this is a huge plus.
The clarity in the level of each instrument was very commendable too. This is where the timing of the drivers and tuning of cabinets comes in, which is done well in the Noa1. The sound is more laidback and there's no real thump or lick in the lows, even on playing bass-heavy music.
The system costs ₹16,500 (stands not included). I think the price is very reasonable, considering these are high-quality speakers with a very mature, well-defined sound. Audiophiles on a budget can definitely look at these as a stereo option.