London’s hottest new music venue, Spiritland, is making all the right noises – mostly through a speaker system widely regarded as the best in the world

In democratising audio, the MP3 turned some of us into philistines. We’ve come to accept the weak simulation of what’s intended in a recording, thanks to the ubiquity of both poor-quality formats and inadequate listening equipment – ie, smartphone headphones.

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Enter Nottinghamshire-based audiophile Kevin Scott, who manufactures ultra high-performance audio products under the banner ‘Living Voice’. It’s a company he describes as ‘less concerned with the objective world of measurements and specifications, and more with intuition and musical sensibility’.

The brand’s Vox Olympian and Elysian systems showcase his 20-plus years of research and development into horn-loaded loudspeakers, and are widely considered among the very best in the world.

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But Scott really comes into his own when designing bespoke systems, like the one he recently installed in London’s Spiritland – a new music venue in King’s Cross that puts the quality of the listening experience above all else and features regular DJ appearances by the likes of Jarvis Cocker and Hot Chip. His latest creations (pictured) are rumoured to have cost £500,000.

Weighing in at 750kg each, and finished in beech, birch and sapele, an African hardwood, the two enclosures comfortably cover 20Hz-45kHz (the satellite units [above] cover the mid to high range, the sub units [below, right] cover the lower bass) – frequencies far outside human hearing but vital in producing a natural sound. The speakers feature five horns (the conical instrument the sound is projected from). By using horn-loaded, electro-acoustic drivers, the system can go much louder (105dB/watt) and distorts far less than conventional speakers of the same size.

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In fact, the sound is so clear, and distortion so minimal, that diners are able to hold a conversation across a dinner table even when sat in close proximity to the speaker. spiritland.comlivingvoice.co.uk

Alex Moore