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Loudspeakers | monitors

Aurum Cantus

Manufacturer: JINLANG AUDIO Co., Ltd.
Price (when reviewed):
loudspeakers: $7500
shipping: $199 (in the USA)

No.1 Xianqiao Street,
Beiguan Road, Penglai | China
P.C: 265600


oo many audio manufacturers tell me the same story: “If I don’t charge a premium price for my products, the audiophile community doesn’t take me seriously.” Thus begins a vicious circle and at least a part of the reason audiophile gear is so expensive.

I’ve owned and reviewed many different speakers. Martin Logan, Merlin, Von Schweikert, Usher, Acoustic Zen, Magnepan, Thiel, ZU and Tekton, to name a few. Some were expensive and some medium-priced by audiophile standards. The AURUM CANTUS Leisure 2 Luxury MKII is the first high-end speaker I’ve owned that costs under $1000 US.

Normally, I would have never considered this speaker. However, I was going through a phase some time ago where I was just not happy with the crop of speakers that seemed to be flowing in and out of my listening room. Finally, I put on the brakes and decided to re-evaluate. A friend had a pair of the Leisure 2 and suggested I borrow them until I came up with something that worked. As soon as I hooked them up to my Quicksilver Mid-mono amps and played a few cuts, hmm… it was clear they had potential.

| Leisure 2 Luxury MkII

The Leisure 2s measure 350mm × 226mm ×280mm (13.78″ × 8.9″ × 11.02″) and are a two-way ported box with bass-reflex ventilation. Some say that some of the best sound that can be made using loudspeakers comes from a basic two-way ported speaker. While I used to be skeptical about this “sensation” for a long time, I now subscribe more and more to this philosophy.

The frequency range is 55Hz-40kHz with sensitivity at (2.83V/1m) 87dB and an impedance of 8 ohms (minimum 6.4 ohms). The recommended power of the amplifier is 50-200W. The driver component includes a purified aluminum ribbon tweeter with high power handling, high output and shielded design, with an easily field-replaceable ribbon available (if it is necessary to replace). The midwoofer has an aluminum frame, with a composite cone of non-woven carbon fiber and Kevlar. The copper clad aluminum voice coil is as large as 50mm (2″) in diameter with a flat wire and a special magnet system with Faraday rings, a demodulation coil and a 120mm×20mm Y30 Ferrite magnet.

It crosses over at 2500Hz with an attenuation slope of -12dB for the midwoofer and -18dB for the tweeter. The crossover components include M-Cap Supreme MKP capacitors for the tweeter and Aurum Cantus MKP capacitors for the midwoofer, high-purified OFC inductors, and mil-spec metal oxide film resistors, all connected with a Teflon-insulated OCC cable. The cabinet material is high-quality rigid MDF and comes in a standard rosewood high-gloss veneer finish.

Before you listen to this speaker, let me tell you a few words about its stunning appearance. It has no right to look as good as it does for the price. The fit and finish easily compare to speakers costing 10 to 20 times as much. John Dunlavy (Dunlavy Audio Labs), whose labs and production facilities were located not far from my home, once told me that the cabinet is by far the most expensive component of any speaker. This is the first indication that the Leisure 2s are a bargain.

The rosewood gloss finish is just superb, never mind the price. Granted, Aurum Cantus did cut a few corners by using a black gloss for the rear and bottom panels, but even these parts of the speaker are not out of place, and the deep black gloss compliments the rosewood. Inspect the speaker carefully. Quality is instantly apparent, especially on the front sloped baffle that facilitates time/phase coherence.

This doesn’t surprise me after learning that a variation of the Leisures – the Red Rose Music Rose Bud II (by Mark Levinson – the constructor, not the company – Editor’s note) was made in the same factory as the cabinet of the reviewed loudspeakers. Rumor has it that some Sonus faber cabinets may have been made there too.

The first thing that struck me about this speaker was the ribbon tweeter. The highs (especially when driven by tube amplification) are crystalline and addictive, detailed and quick. They impart a lovely sheen, which sounds to my ear more like real voices and instruments, and imparts musical detail that is not normally present in a speaker in this price range.

The bass performance (for a mini monitor) is not far behind. The composite carbon fiber/Kevlar woofer provides remarkably forceful bass that is quick and tuneful, and is actually superior to some larger speakers I’ve had. The synergy of the composite midwoofer and low-mass tweeter really works to propel the pace and timing.

Like any high-end speaker worth its salt, the Leisure 2s require some tender loving care to coax out all the performance they are capable of. Upstream sources, preamplifiers and cable issues can be revealed, especially the weak link. Amplification is also crucial. I use 50 watt push-pull EL34-based amps, which are on the low side of power that Aurum Cantus recommends.

Even with that lower power, I much preferred the lush midrange, addictive highs, air, and transparency that the tubes gave me versus the superior dynamics and slam that the solid state amps provided. Although I wish the speakers were a little more sensitive than 87 dB, the impedance is fairly benign, making them a good match with tubes.

The Leisure 2s also need some good stands. Heavy, solid, and preferably sand-filled stands worked for me. I did not use spikes on the stands, rather the Gingko Audio ARCHs, my new favorite tweak. Placement is also crucial. Experiment. You can bring these speakers way out into the room, where they virtually disappear, voices come alive and you are rewarded with a huge 3D presentation that will delight.

They’re not perfect. When I really got analytical, I did hear some faint anomalies in the 2500-3000 Hz region where the speaker crosses over, but certainly not enough to cause me to sit up and take notice.

Subwoofer | If you have a larger room and need more and lower bass, these mini monitors can me mated with a subwoofer for a classic combination that keeps the outstanding soundstage and imaging qualities but adds punch, ambience, and bottom octaves. However, the sub must be set up properly. It should have either its own room acoustics correction or an outboard DSP device such as the DSPeaker Anti Mode 8033 that I use.

Before you run sweeps to flatten out your room, align the subwoofer in between the Leisures and just slightly behind the Leisure’s midwoofer. This is your best shot at achieving time and phase coherence, which will be audible and confusing if you don’t take care of proper setup. Once the sub is set up properly, the game changes. The entire presentation expands, you can enjoy a higher volume, and the limitations of the Leisure 2’s bass performance can be mitigated. Adding a sub gives the Leisures the ability to more faithfully render a lot of different types of music, from electric rock and jazz, etc. to large-scale orchestral music.


The Aurum Cantus Leisure 2 Luxury MKII could be all the speaker you need or, like for me, it could be a temporary reference. If you have a small to medium-sized room, your upstream components and cables are up to the task, and you listen at volumes that are not extreme, I suspect you could easily live with the Leisures a long time, especially at the price. Adding a good subwoofer (or two), will transform these mini monitors into a full-range system that should work for almost any taste in music and room.

Value matters to me in every price range. The reviewed speakers hit the sweet spot of value and performance. The law of diminishing returns does not apply to them.

Am I still looking for THE ONE speaker for my room? Yes. Have these amazingly affordable speakers filled the bill for me until I find THE ONE? Yes. Don’t get me wrong though, they are not the be-all and end-all of speakers. But they could be the speaker for you if your price range is under $1,000 US. Even when I find THE ONE, I still plan to keep the Aurum Cantus Leisure 2 Luxury MKIIs, my favorite speaker under $1,000 US. So, maybe audio manufacturers don’t need to charge a premium price to be taken seriously.

Distribution in Europe:


Via Monte di Pieta 23A,
12037 Saluzzo (CN) | Italy

tel.: 39 348 711 9755

John Zurek has been passionate about music and audio as long as he can remember. Growing up in Chicago, he was lucky to be exposed to a wide variety of music that influenced him throughout life. John’s first degree was in music, and he played and taught music for many years before going back to school, getting a technical degree and joining the corporate world . Since then, John spent 30 years in hardware and software engineering as a technical writer and trainer. Now retired, he hopes to never write another technical manual or software user guide again.

John appreciates and enjoys a wide variety of audio systems, from single-ended valves to high-powered solid state and everything in between. He focuses on high-value components. There is a special place in his heart for vinyl. He also writes for Positive Feedback which shares reviews with High Fidelity.

John Zurek (on the right) with Tomek, a member of the KSS (on the left) during a meeting of the Krakow Sonic Society in 2013

John lives in Colorado Springs and is an avid outdoorsman. He has been very lucky in the last few years to visit Poland several times and meet awesome like-minded audiophiles (and beer aficionados) from the Krakow Sonic Society in Krakow. He also visited Warsaw and Lodz then, meeting (as it seemed) his long-lost relatives from Poland. You can read about John’s visit in Cracow in a report from Meeting No. 91 of the Krakow Sonic Society (HF | No. 116).