In the halcyon days of early 2020, before "Covid-19" and "Coronavirus" became the ever-present topics of conversation, the Bristol Hi-Fi show brought the announcements of many new audio products. Among those announcements were the introduction of ProAc Loudspeakers new K1 standmount speakers. The K Series is ProAc's top-of-the-line reference range, starring the performance-driven K3, K6, and K6 Signature speakers. Adding to that illustrious range, ProAc announced the K10 floorstander and K1 standmount speaker (with additional stand). Now, over a year on, we have our first review.
After years of increasing consumer demand for K series speakers in a smaller format, ProAc developed a standmount companion to the line of floorstanding speakers. Adapting the sonic capabilities and performance to a smaller, raised format wasn't a breeze, however. The K Series feature a downward-firing port that aids in room placement and coherence, which the reviewer noted seemed odd when built into a standmount speaker. The reviewer also had some other issues with the fit and finish, mostly with the accompanying stand.
But enough of stands and cosmetic issues, it’s in the sonic engineering where these speakers ultimately prove their worth," states the author. Going through the technology stack that makes up the K1 speakers, they note the popular ribbon tweeter that many have come to love from ProAc. The tweeter is paired with a modified version of the mid/bass cone used in the rest of K series speakers.
For the testing, the reviewer opts for their personal reference system, using a Naim PS DR streamer and Burmester 088/911 Mk3 amp. They also use a Technics turntable, for testing analog sources, and a Chord Electronics Dave and Ultima 5 combo for additional testing. Once they speakers are plugged in and the music is started, the author states:
Ask us to describe the K1's sound in one word, and we'd pick 'musical'. With a bit more leeway on the word count, we might add 'expressive', 'cohesive' and 'comfortable'. The latter isn’t a term we use often when describing the sound of a product, but it fits these standmounters perfectly. These are the kind of speakers that you can listen to for hours on end without feeling fatigued. They have a calm disposition that makes it easy to relax and just concentrate on the music. But don’t mistake calmness for boring – that simply isn't the case here.
The K1s compare nicely to KEF Reference 1 speakers and Spendor Classic 1/2 with their top-to-bottom consistency, but really shine in the midrange. In the words of the review, the K1 speakers offer a mid-band that is "an ideal combination of articulation, dynamic expression and natural warmth" that give voices an organic and textured character. This in turn lends them to handle all genres with ease, and the reviewer commends the ProAc engineers for artfully balancing the speakers to be so enjoyable and entertaining.
With a Five in Sound, a 4 in Build Quality, and another 5 in Compatibility, What Hi-Fi? gives the ProAc K1 standmount speaker an overall 5 Star review. Comparing the K1s to the Fyne Audio F1-8, Audiovector R1 Arrete, KEF Reference 1, Spendor Classic 1/2, and Bowers and Wilkins 805 D3 speakers, the author leaves us with one final sentiment: "ProAc may have waited 12 years to release a K series standmounter, but that wait was well worth it."