Saturday, June 19, 2021

Markaudio-SOTA Tozzi One Speaker Kit


The Tozzi One speaker kit is likely the easiest speaker kit on the market. I assembled it in an hour, half of which was spent looking for my tools, and cleaning up. This is the perfect kit for beginners as there is no soldering involved - all you need is a screwdriver. 

The kit costs USD 395 per pair if purchased direct from the manufacturer, but it can sometimes be found cheaper from other merchants. 


Based on their in-house CHN 50 full-range driver, the Tozzi One is built around an ABS and fiber-reinforced cabinet. 

The driver is mounted in a shallow wave-guide, while the cabinet is rear-ported. Sensitivity is rated at 85 dB, and impedance at 6 ohms. The anechoic frequency response is specified at 80 Hz - 22 kHz (+/- 6 db). The cabinet measures 200 x 126 x 200 mm, and weighs 1.42 kg. The cabinet is angled up slightly, so you should be fine listening to it in the near-field while placed on your desk. 

The waveguide has a textured finish, while the sides of the cabinet are finished in a faux leather wrap. 

Assembly is straightforward enough. The instructions were in Japanese, but the diagram is clear enough to figure out. 

A thin gasket is placed between the front baffle and the speaker driver. The driver is held in place with five hex nuts. The supplied wiring is terminated in push-on terminals and o-rings, so you just need to connect them to the speaker driver and supplied five-way binding posts. The rear panel foam needs to be affixed using the supplied double-sided tape. Install the gasket into the rear panel groove, and attach it to the speaker cabinet with screws. That's it! Building and programming a custom keyboard is far more challenging than this. 

The beauty of full-range driver designs is that there is no crossover to mess around with. From a technical viewpoint, you get the best possible coherence from using a single driver and higher efficiency and purity from skipping the passive crossover. There is no free lunch though. Asking a driver to cover the whole frequency range results in uneven response. Most designs have to rely on complex cabinet designs with some form of a back-loaded horn to get usable bass output. 

Sound Quality

Straight out of the box, the Tozzi One has a clear and engaging sound, but with some rough edges. A few hours of run-in sorts that out nicely.

As expected from a full-range driver speaker, you get a lovely transparent and coherent sound. The Tozzi One sounds bigger than it looks although the very limited low-frequency output and extension makes it more suited for background listening in a large room, or listening in the near-field. In a large room, you definitely need to pair this with a subwoofer.  

Fast forward a month later, and the Tozzi One has had everything thrown at it while it sat on my computer and work desk - gaming sessions, background music, serious listening sessions, etc. As desktop speakers and with proper amplification, the Tozzi One will eat your computer speakers for lunch. I paired them with a spare Kingrex T20U amplifier that I happened to have lying around. The Kingrex delivers 10W per channel into a 4 ohm load and is enough to drive the Tozzi One to fairly loud levels for near-field listening purposes. I found it to have enough grunt to make explosions, gunshots, and orchestral crescendos equally satisfying. The rest of the frequency range was handled quite well without the midrange honk or peaky top-end that I sometimes hear from full-range drivers. In fact, the midrange is laidback and on the warm side of neutral. 

Where the Tozzi One really nails it is staging and imaging that is both spacious and pin-point. There is plenty of soundstage width, depth, and a good sense of dimensional layering.  

The Tozzi One is an excellent addition to my work desk. With the present world situation, this may be just the thing you need to preserve your sanity during long work-from-home stints. It may need more effort to set up than the usual powered speaker suspects, but it is well worth it.

Price : USD 395 per pair

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