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TOWER SPEAKER REVIEWS

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Michael Trei Posted: Sep 18, 2004 Published: Sep 01, 2004 0 comments
Trickle-down economics, audio style.

While those on the left and right sides of the political fence are bound to debate the pros and cons of trickle-down economic theory for the rest of time, it's hard to deny the way in which many high-tech developments that began life in projects bearing stratospheric price tags eventually came to benefit the masses, in products we can use every day. Today, many of us can afford gadgets like GPS navigation systems and laser pointers, whereas a few years ago this type of technology was available only to the largest institutions and military powers. This access to technology has had a major effect on today's audio components; for example, most of the latest surround processors have far more computing power than the in-flight computer used for the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969.

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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Sep 18, 2004 Published: Sep 01, 2004 0 comments
They're cool—really cool!

MB Quart's new Vera Series speakers have redefined cool. They're cool-sounding, for sure, but I also mean cool, as in low-temperature cool. Heat, you see, is the enemy of good sound. When you're rocking with Aerosmith's ballistic blues bash Honkin' on Bobo or crankin' Master and Commander, your speakers' voice-coil temperatures shoot up. In extreme cases, they can heat up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The excessive temperature does bad, bad things; it can raise the voice coils' resistance by as much as 25 percent. Distortion creeps up, dynamics flatten out, and transient response goes to hell. Worse yet, sustained overheating can lead to driver meltdown. Ouch!

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Sep 02, 2004 0 comments

I keep hearing that thin is in. While my goal of joining the slender set has always been a struggle between food and evil, I'm at least beginning to surround myself with the trappings of that lifestyle. Gone is my bulky 36-inch direct-view CRT, replaced by a Belgian-waffle-thin plasma. Now comes this quintet of speakers from the original manufacturer of thin-is-in speakers, Magnepan. This was not my first experience with planar-magnetic speakers—a long-gone pair of Maggies was my first true audiophile love. But love is no substitute for food. Could these new Maggies sustain me?

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Jerry Kindela Posted: Aug 19, 2004 Published: Aug 01, 2004 0 comments
This home theater system only seems like the new kid on the block.

In 1984, Ole Witthoft found the state of the speaker art wanting. To his ears, most speakers suffered in two fundamentally intertwined ways: One, they didn't present the details of sound in a way that, two, led you to sense the music's feeling and passion. So, like so many entrepreneurs who try to fill the void in a marketplace based on their own perceptions, Witthoft launched System Audio, using these composite criteria as his mission statement.

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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Jul 01, 2004 0 comments
Licensed to thrill.

Krell's new Resolution Series speakers are all about pure hedonistic pleasure. Think of them as the speaker equivalent of a fire-breathing, 500-horsepower Dodge Viper SRT/10. But hold on a sec: The Resolutions are more than an exercise in brute force engineering. Their manifest also includes incredible precision, hyperclarity, and ultra-low distortion. Forget the Viper; the Resolutions are closer to a Porsche 911 GT3.

Michael Fremer Posted: Jun 20, 2004 0 comments

Never mind that the cabinets are made in Denmark and the driver technology is German and Danish—Aerial's latest speaker system is American in its size, scope, and reach-for-the-stars performance. It's meant to fill a big space with big sound.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 30, 2004 0 comments

Most high-end speaker companies arrived late to the home-theater party. Dedicated to 2-channel music playback, they eventually split into three groups. One group would banish you to the Mines of Moria if you even uttered the words "home theater" in their presence. Another recognized the bottom-line impact of multichannel and reluctantly designed a few home theater pieces—perhaps a simple center and a subwoofer—for their dealers to sell along with their 2-channel models. A third developed a little more enthusiasm for home theater and built serious centers, subs, and surrounds to match the sophistication of their traditional designs.

Steven Stone Posted: May 09, 2004 0 comments

The history of high-end audio and video is littered with companies who made fine products but failed. Kloss Audio/Video, California Audio Labs, and Dunlavy Audio are but a few of the illustrious firms that did not survive. Genesis almost joined these ranks. Founded in 1991 by Arnie Nudell, Paul McGowan, and Mark Shifter, Genesis quickly made its mark with outstanding speakers and digital electronics. Yet in December 2001, Genesis closed its doors.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 02, 2004 0 comments

I've had a soft spot for PSB speakers ever since I reviewed the first Stratus Gold for Stereophile back in 1991. Counting updates (the Gold i was introduced in 1997), the Gold has been PSB's flagship speaker for 12 years. That's quite a run in speakerland, where new models sprout like mushrooms.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Apr 18, 2004 1 comments

Denmark is home to Dynaudio, one of the world's finest speaker manufacturers. After beginning modestly as a maker of speaker drivers, Dynaudio rapidly gained accolades from OEMs and the international do-it-yourself speaker-building conspiracy. But don't let their industrial background mislead you. Dynaudio's Contour and Confidence speaker lines are among the most classically striking speakers in the market today: business and beauty bundled together, in a high-end showroom near you.

Michael Fremer Posted: Mar 28, 2004 0 comments

Veteran speaker designer Carl Marchisotto has created many highly regarded 2-channel audiophile speakers over the years for his Acarian Systems brand. But the Napoleon mini home theater system is the first dedicated home theater speaker package from Acarian that I can recall, and the first I have reviewed for <I>SGHT</I>.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 08, 2004 0 comments

Until the introduction of the Mirage M-1 a decade or so ago, all audiophiles knew what dipolar radiation meant. It was an inherent characteristic of flat, planar, enclosure-free speakers in which the rear radiation was 180&#176; out of phase with the front, producing a null at the sides. This null made the spacing from the sidewalls less critical. Beyond this, open-baffle dipole designs attracted a strong following for their unique spatial characteristics and a sound free of cabinet colorations.

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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Feb 01, 2004 0 comments
Innovative Engineering + Dual Concentric Driver + SuperTweeter = Magical Sound.

Take a close look at the new Tannoy Sensys DC speakers. Notice anything unusual? Anything at all? I suppose that little gray pod sitting atop each speaker will catch your eye first. It's home to a SuperTweeter that's designed to extend the speaker's response out to a range that only dogs and bats can hear, claimed to be all the way up to 51 kilohertz. Look again and scrutinize the 7-inch woofer with bull's eye circles in its center; that's another, albeit standard, tweeter. Tannoy dubbed their "tweeter inside a woofer" design as Dual Concentric, a hallmark of the company's upper-end speakers that dates back to (gulp) 1948. Dual Concentric is a really big deal because it generates minimal off-axis phase shifts over its nearly full-range frequency response: High and low frequencies originate from the same point. The Dual Concentric breakthrough led to a range of legendary speakers in the pro audio and high-end markets for more than half a century.

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Michael Trei Posted: Jan 01, 2004 0 comments
The loudspeaker system for anyone who's ever considered installing a Murphy bed.

If Magnepan has a company motto, it might be something along the lines of, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." For more than 30 years, this Minnesota company has been busy making its Magneplanar loudspeakers for those audiophiles who care more about great sound than they do about owning the latest candidate for loudspeaker of the month. Magnepan rarely introduces a new model; when they do, it's generally just another evolutionary step in their continual refinement of the planar magnetic approach that they use in all of their products. This conservatism breeds long-term customer loyalty, and Magnepan invariably trumps other high-end manufacturers in the areas of customer satisfaction and repeat business.

Steven Stone Posted: Dec 21, 2003 0 comments

In the world of fine art, the name Dal conjures up images of flaccid clocks created by a mustachioed wild man. But in high-end audio, DALI is an acronym for Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries. Since 1983, DALI has been producing speakers for the home entertainment market. With a staff of just over 60, DALI doesn't rate as an industrial behemoth, but it does display the kind of creative independence that leads to big things. DALI does all their R&D work in-house, and instead of being built on a standard production line, their speakers are assembled by two-person teams. Although DALI is better known in Europe than in the US, their new line of Euphonia home-theater speakers should change that.

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