Recordings with no deep bass were totally enjoyable through both speakers— the Capitol Collectors Series Louis Prima disc, or the original-recording/ low-fi compilation Big Band Reverie [Direct Source]. Moderately demanding contemporary recordings like the Ben Folds Five’s Whatever and Ever Amen [Epic] were also good through the V-601’s and better through the V-604’s, thanks to their better bass and dynamics.
Both models sounded good at lowto- moderately loud levels, but got shrill and glassy-hard when pushed—partly, I surmise, because of a phenomenon called compression distortion, in which a loudspeaker can’t respond linearly to an increase in drive signal. A tip-off to this possibility is both speakers’ relatively low power-handling specification: The 4- ohm V-604 has a sensitivity of 90dB, and a power handling rating of 100 watts; the smaller 8-ohm V-601, at 86.5dB (low, but not an unusual spec for a small monitor), can handle only 70 watts. This means there’s a narrow power band at which the speakers sound best. As a result, coupling either model to a powerhouse won’t be a marriage made in heaven, but a smaller amp won’t be the ideal solution either, because both Ushers have relatively low sensitivity.
Bottom-line advice on these two Usher loudspeakers: They are worth investigating, but their limitations don’t win them a recommendation from me. TAS