TDK Tremor S-150 Review

TDK’s Tremor ‘multimedia loudspeaker system’ (as they used to call them back then) was one of the most intriguing designs of the decade, in my opinion, when it was introduced in 2001. The Tremor S-150, S-60, and S-40 were the company’s original speaker systems, with a total of three available. Each had a powered subwoofer and two satellites using the (at the time) cutting-edge NXT SurfaceSound technology.

Unlike traditional pistonic speaker designs, this created various vibration patterns across the surface of a panel, in this case working at 200 Hz to 20 kHz. It also had a much wider dispersion pattern than standard moving coil speakers. Satellites for the S-150 came with a desktop pedestal as well as a swivel bracket for mounting them to a monitor. Two woofers and a 75W RMS per channel amplifier were contained within the sub.

The build quality is predictably flimsy, but this speaker system was only £200 in the UK at the time. This doesn’t appear to matter when you turn it on, because you’re rewarded with an incredibly clean and open sound with excellent transient speed and minimal coloration. Even now, this is one of the greatest little powered speaker systems I’ve heard. Unfortunately, NXT panels never caught on, despite the fact that several businesses have done excellent work with their linked Balanced Mode Radiator technology (BMRs).

TDK Tremors do appear on the used market from time to time, and the price is inexpensive — albeit highly changeable. If you’re a dedicated student of speaker design or simply want a great sounding second or third system, they’re well worth buying up. Needless to say, this speaker was a little too ‘out there’ for the market at the time, and the TDK brand vanished completely. It’s a pity, given how prestigious it was during the Compact Cassette Golden Age, but that’s life!