T&T ▻ Nora

We fell in love with the UNel Ultime, so much so that we acquired them for the VUmetre reference equipment fleet. This means that we adhere with flying colours to the values of T&T, the small French manufacturer that’s on the rise. And the Nora, its top-of-the-range model, raises the brand’s banner even higher with a completely surprising mastery.

In just three years, Pierre Faverieux, creator of the T&T manufacture, has succeeded in the performance of designing and manufacturing three top-of-the-range acoustic loudspeakers in his workshop in Valence, the Nel, Nel Ultime, and Nora. Of course, these models are positioned towards price strata that make them suitable for financially comfortable music lovers. But when one is a young French manufacturer as talented as he is, it is towards excellence that one tends towards. The years of development, the investments in research, the cost of materials and different prototypes all have to be absorbed. That hasn’t stopped Pierre from making a reputation in record time. Today, we discover the latest version of the Nora, a column that squints furiously towards the High End, so high are its pretensions. It is a beautiful loudspeaker, a little more than one meter high, with a sloping baffle and whose angles cut with a serpentine, gives it a little air of Avalon Acoustics. You will admit that the reference is flattering! The three transducers that decorate its front panel are absolutely statutory. Whether it’s the midrange from Audio Technology, or the two units from SB Acoustics (talented defectors from ScanSpeak), the composite woofer and the beryllium tweeter. On the rear panel, the beautifully designed WBT NextGen speaker terminals are just as beautiful. The Nora are based on three points, two Aktyna interfaces on the front and a stainless steel spike on the back. As you can see, all precautions have been taken to ensure that this realization is fully completed.

Having brought the Nel to full maturity, Pierre Faverieux set himself the goal of completing the «Nora 2019» project. The «road map» was to design an enclosure capable of expressing itself in a room of 30 to 60 m2, with a good level of energy felt, and at the same time without losing any of the Nel’s qualities of naturalness, liveliness and versatility. For this project, the specifications implied to stay in a moderate size, with a moving thought for all those who do not want to see their living room invaded by two refrigerators… The heart of this loudspeaker is the magnificent 15 cm Audio Technology midrange, very accomplished and very efficient, benefiting from both a large 52 mm voice coil and a very light moving part. According to Pierre, this loudspeaker proved to be very difficult to work with, forgiving absolutely nothing to the signal injected into it. It took a lot of time and a lot of measuring and listening to get the perfect balance and to get it working in the area where it excels. To take over in the high frequencies, Pierre naturally chose the beryllium Satori tweeter already used on one of his previous projects. It is both fast, very linear, and capable of restoring a lot of energy in a relaxed way, with beautiful textures. It is therefore an excellent playing companion for this competition medium. For the bass, he opted for a 23 cm treated paper-based diaphragm, with a nice sensi-tivity of 92 dB, and parameters that give the impression of a very good reproduction quality in the low frequencies, without any pneumatic effect. The design of the body benefited from all the attentions, in terms of damping, rigidity, and the fight against standing waves. The MDF cabinet has been optimized in this sense with multi-ply reinforcements at strategic points and a 40 mm thick baffle. The filter is second-order at 400 Hz and variable slope at 2 kHz. In particular, it uses very high-end capacitors, even on the midrange channel. The mounting and wiring of the filter follows a specific process, which is also found on the Nel Ultime, and the internal wiring is exclusively in Absolue creations UlTim. The bass-reflex type load uses a vent hidden in the foot and oriented towards the ground. As for the choice of finish, it is at the discretion of the future buyer. In all cases, the lacquer used is of «automotive» quality.

The impedance curve shows us a three-way bass-reflex system whose load is tuned around 30 Hz. The crossover frequencies are around 800 Hz and 3.5 kHz. With a nominal impedance of 4 and a minimum of 3.2 at 140 Hz. The filter module incorporates an impedance compensator which gives it an ideal load for amplification

The linearity and the width of the bandwidth are to be noticed, very good level in the low register. Revealing a careful study of both the loudspeakers and its filtering module.

Off-axis, the sound level attenuates very evenly, free of parasitic reflections or accidents close to the relay frequencies, guaranteeing a well-respected phase. The directivity is not very pronounced, which is very conducive to a good stability of the stereophonic image.

For a very high-end loudspeaker (17.000 € is very high-end!), the Nora’s size remains compact. The footprint is suitable, and the height is quite reasonable. And as the baffle is tilted for an optimized phasing of the speakers, the placement is easy. The same goes for the bass-reflex load, whose port is oriented towards the floor; thank you for this help, which gives us greater placement latitude. Two precautions are nevertheless necessary. The first is the room, which should not be smaller than 30 square meters. The Nora’s are capable of reproducing a very wide spectrum with a large volume, and space is needed to accept all this radiated energy. Finally, combine them with a system at the height. Of course, you need watts, and good ones. But you also need transparency and precision! And yes, you understand me, in order for the Nora’s to deliver their full potential, it is fundamental to offer them a signal with the best possible resolution. A good source is therefore essential.

Like their little sisters, our revered Nel Ultime, the Noras are able to remain totally natural and homogeneous in all circumstances. This means that they reproduce the modulation with an obvious search for purity, and a will not to disguise the sound message. The Nora’s thus offer us an authentic playback of the recordings: no redundant effects, no coloration, not even «pretty», not even the slightest flattering overlay, but no lack either. A response that is as flat as possible in the good sense of the word. The audiophile is not necessarily accustomed to listening to a sound message reproduced with so little slag. But in the end, this «pure» sound is quite impressive by its velocity, its rigour, its very accurate perspective, its respect of volumes, and its superb representation of ambiences. To achieve this tour de force, Pierre Faverieux has worked a lot. It took him nearly a year to make his Nora significantly superior to his Ultimate Nel, and this on all criteria.
Thus, the Nora goes down very low in frequency with a magnificent aplomb and a sometimes astonishing power; the electro tracks of the label Kompakt are a brilliant example of this. Nevertheless, the energy reproduced is ideally distributed over the whole spectrum from the highest to the lowest. All this pushes in piston on the whole band with the same success, hence this permanent feeling of coherence that makes the music much more intoxicating and desirable. The bandwidth of the Nora’s is very wide and of a remarkable accuracy. We found this divine tonal balance of the Nel Ultime, but even more exhaustive and subtle, a challenge at this price.

The absence of harshness and pollution of the message ensures a readability of great class, reinforced by a prodigious reactivity. On all types of music, from the simplest to the most complex, the Nora modulates with a quarter turn. To use an overused term, these are «fast» speakers. But we prefer to talk about dynamics because that’s what they’re all about. Level differences on large ensembles and orchestral masses are managed with an innate sense of proportion. This combination of decisive advantages also allows Nora to create a three-dimensional space that is completely successful, not only in terms of width and depth, but also in terms of the punctuality of the sound sources in the space. When correctly placed and controlled, Nora models reproduce an authentic 3D experience that is so disturbingly realistic that it gives you shivers of pleasure. We were particularly impressed by this sensation on the live performances of Melody Gardot and Mélanie de Biasio. In the end, this absence of sound signature allows T&T in general and Nora in particular to vibrate in empathy with all types of music and formations from the most intimate track to the most unbridled playlist.

T&T is a very young brand to be trusted. Of course, it does not have the notoriety of its powerful competitors, but in blind listening, these French loudspeakers would absolutely not demerit in front of Wilson, Magico or B&W (non exhaustive list). Of course, I can hear the censors laughing, but we must not forget that all the greats of today have one day started, like everyone else, in a modest workshop before breaking through and shining in the world of ultra High End. So why not T&T. In any case, the Nora’s are brilliant success stories in every respect, worthy of inclusion in the best systems. A superb loudspeaker «made in France». 


€ 17.000
320 x 1120 x 355 mm
34 kg
High quality lacquer, matt varnish
Two-tone gloss lacquer
32 liters, 33 Hz tuning, vent under the cabinet
2nd acoustic order at 400 Hz, variable slopes at 2 kHz, impedance compensation
89 dB (2.8V/1m)
36 Hz – 30 kHz in free field axis