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The New Usher TD-10 Loudspeakers - A Diamond in the Buff

08-14-2019 | By Juan C. Ayllon | Issue 104

Usher TD-10 Loudspeakers

The Usher TD-10 loudspeaker is a downsized F-86 Sabre Jet wing on steroids. Swept back and shiny, it looks built for speed and, at just under four feet tall, this handsome 180 lb bruiser surfs the sound waves atop a thick wooden plinth on brass spikes.  

Made by Taiwan-based Usher Audio, it's essentially their BE10 evolved, but here's the kicker: in addition to an 11-inch ETON woofer and diamond tweeter, it boasts a diamond midrange driver! For $22,000 a pair, that's astounding. Previously, you'd have to spend upwards of $50K to get that in a speaker.

"What makes the TD-10 special is the diamond DMD mid-range that no one else has," Fred Kat, President of Usher Audio U.S.A., says, "Most other speaker manufacturers use ready made drivers from the shelf, made by other companies, while Usher uses their own in-house drivers with the exception of the 11 inch Eton woofers."

Having reviewed their $5300 Mini Dancer DMD 2s (which I now own) and their $2000 SD-500 monitors, I pounced on the chance to audition these bad boys!

The Unpacking

The TD-10s arrive in four boxes—two for the speaker cabinets with foam protective blocks on the top, middle, and bottom sections, and two for their plinths. The former weigh roughly 200 lbs. each, so it's wise for two or more people to set them up using large pillows, folded moving blankets, or furniture pads on a carpet to cushion the cabinets when laying them down. After opening the flaps, stand up and carefully slide a cabinet out of its box, remove its foam cap, then gently lower it onto the cushioning. One person cradles it while the other removes the middle and bottom sections of the foam blocks.  

Then as one person holds the cabinet, the other attaches its plinth and hand-tightens the brass spikes. The speaker is eased onto its feet, taking care that the spikes don't mar the floor. As one person tilts the speaker, the other can slip the spike protector pucks in place. From there, adjustments in placement can be made.  

Note, however, that the pucks have a thin, rubbery bottom coating, so sliding them can be a little tricky, but manageable. If you have a set of Herbie's Audio Lab Cone / Spike Decoupling Gliders, they make moving them around easier.  

A Closer Look

At 14.37" (W) x 28.15 "(D) x 47.83" (H), the TD-10 employs heavy bracing, thick piano black composite fronts, and curved wood backs for low resonance, internal diffraction, and reflections. It is extremely inert; rapping on its sides is like knocking on a butcher's chopping block. It also features four high quality gold plated speaker wire posts for bi-wiring or bi-amping, and comes equipped with jumpers.

The TD-10 is currently available in Madagascar Ebony and birch veneer in piano lacquer, with more options to be added later.  


Up front, their proprietary 1.25" DMD (Diamond-Metal-Diamond) tweeter employs an ultra light metal base sandwiched between amorphous diamond layers engineered for durability and fast, detailed, and musical highs.  

Now, this same technology is applied to their new 5" DMD midrange driver, perfected after years of research, Usher says. Its frequency response and impedance characteristics closely match those of the midrange used in the BE10 DMD, so the diamond midrange could be a drop-in upgrade for current owners of that model. Teaming it up with the DMD tweeter, 385Hz and above are covered with breathtaking results.  

The 11" German Eton 11-581 / c8/ 50 HEX Symphony II, with its three layer Hexacone cone woofer, handles the lower end for uncolored, resolved, and explosive dynamics. 

Altogether, at 89dB efficient, the Usher TD-10 speakers covers the 25Hz to 40kHz range with great aplomb.  

The Crossover

Turns out that the three way TD-10 essentially uses the same crossover as the BE10, with cross points at 550Hz and 3460Hz. Already extensively measured, tested, and optimized in its development Usher asserts, additional tests affirming an optimal fit with the diamond midrange in the TD-10s.

Eye candy and technical nitty-gritty aside, the question remains, do they really play as impressively as it would appear? That would be, yes! 


The performance line of Ushers has a house sound—detailed, balanced, rich, and a few ticks north of neutral in presentation. Rated at 130-watts, they benefit from tubes; Usher U.S.A.'s Fred Kat uses a tube amp to great effect with the TD-10s and I employ a PrimaLuna Prologue 3 tube preamplifier with an Odyssey Khartago Extreme solid-state amplifier with very good results.. 

And, as expected, the TD-10s are more revealing and deeper sounding than the Mini Dancer 2 DMDs. For example, in Passion Fruit, Michael Franks' voice is better articulated, and the French horn weightier and more forward in "Alone at Night." 

Eric Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra up the ante in their rendition of "1812 - Festival Overture for Orchestra in E Flat Major" in the Telarc  Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture .flac recording. The woodwinds and horns, in particular, are beatific in timbre and tone. The slow build up, the ebb and flow—highlighted by crashing cymbals, striking of a triangle, and the choir's fills—are sublime. And then, of course, the repeated firings of a real cannon are palpable, breathtaking, and visceral climaxes played out in a lush and broad soundstage. 

Taking it down several notches, Joao and Astrud Gilberto's vocals are lush, natural, and organic in a DSD64 rendering of "Girl from Ipanema" on Getz/Gilberto. The plucked strings of Joao's acoustic guitar and the reedy sonorous strains of Stan Getz's tenor sax blossom in the room, sounding remarkably fresh, resolved, and present. Clearly, diamonds aren't just a girl's best friend!   

Streamed at 16-bit / 44.1kHz on Qobuz, Thomas' cymbals and drum kit, Mark Knopfler's vocals and guitar, in "Back on the Dance Floor" on Down the Road Wherever, are clear and engaging, taking on a new sense of immediacy with the TD-10s. 


Switching over to vinyl, the aural celebration continues.  

The optics are good as the crowd and Rick Davies' harmonica echo in the concert hall, painting a superb aural picture in "School" on Supertramp's Paris. Bob Siebenburg's drum kit, John Helliwell's sax, Roger Hodgson's guitar, keys—all are rendered three dimensional, lifelike, and in real space by the TD-10s.

The vinyl treat continues as Richard Wrights' synthesizer, David Gilmour's Fender Stratocaster, Nick Mason's drums, and Dick Parry's sax wash over the room room in successive waves in "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," while the timbre and range of Roger Waters' vocals ring true in this progressive rock classic.    

And if it's swing you're into, Frank Sinatra's rich baritone sounds great on these Ushers; accompanied by a bank of saxophones, upright acoustic bass and brushed drums, their performance is a thing to behold in the lilting title track of Just One of Those Things.

The late Sam Shepard, at left, with Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff. (photo courtesy of Chuckyeager.org)

HD Theater

Switching over to home theater, the TD-10s perform seamlessly, providing a compelling, vivid, and accurate audio with plenty of oomph. Watching and feeling Chuck Yeager (Sam Shepherd) "punch a hole in the sky," flying the X-1 in The Right Stuff is an ephemeral delight.  

Now, sometimes, I employ my Hsu Research ULS-15 Mk2 subwoofer for subterranean bass, but funny thing though: while binge watching a drama series, I thought, "let's hear it with the subwoofer turned off." Reaching for the toggle switch, I discovered that it was off the whole time!  


Concluding Remarks

Overall, the Usher TD-10s deliver a full, detailed, and lush presentation that carries well as the volume goes up. You like listening at 90dB plus? Not a problem! Unlike some bodybuilders, the TD-10s aren't poseurs—they really deliver! 

If you're looking for exceptional performance from a loudspeaker in the $20,000 plus range—one that employs a diamond midrange speaker for under $50K—and if you desire a work of fine craftsmanship that looks and plays big, the Usher TD-10 is very worthy of your consideration. 

Author's note: the TD-10s used in this review are now at Toska Audio in Highland Park, IL, where they will be featured in the Chicago Audio Society's meeting on Sunday, September 15th.  For more information, go to https://www.toskaaudio.com/

TD-10 Loudspeaker

Retail: $22,000

Usher Audio


Usher Audio U.S.A.