Sort By: Post Date | Title | Publish Date
Michael Fremer Posted: Nov 28, 2003 0 comments

The relatively small German company Audio Physic has had remarkable success among audiophiles worldwide with its line of mostly slim, relatively expensive, high-performance speakers. For two decades now, music lovers have responded to the brand's fast, detailed sound—a sound that places a premium on re-creating a musical event along with the music itself. Audio Physic speakers are best known for pulling a sonic disappearing act by producing holographic, 3-dimensional images and dramatic 2-channel soundstages, but communicating music's emotional content has always been paramount to founder and chief designer Joachim Gerhard. In my opinion, he's succeeded: My current reference speakers are Audio Physic Avanti IIIs; before that, I owned a pair of the original Virgos.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 01, 2003 0 comments

The model designation "DM" might not sound like anything special, but it has a long history with B&W. Models such as the DM 6, fondly remembered by audiophiles as the "pregnant penguin," enjoyed a modest following in the 1970s, when then-small English speaker company Bowers & Wilkins was knocking out attendees at hi-fi show demonstrations. B&W is now, by most accounts, the biggest speaker company in the UK. Its model range has increased exponentially since those early days, but the DM prefix is still very much alive.

Filed under
Chris Lewis Posted: Jul 14, 2003 Published: Jul 15, 2003 0 comments
Revel with a Cause: Innovative drivers are the core of Revel's next Performa generation.

A successful loudspeaker is, of course, the sum of all of its parts. As important as the cabinet, crossover network, and other elements are, though, drivers are the foundation. It's hardly surprising that the quest for the perfect driver began even before the debut of the first loudspeaker. The ultimate goal, for dynamic drivers at least, is getting the cone to act like a pure piston, preventing the diaphragm from changing form in any way as it moves in and out. Cone material is vitally important in several ways, not least of which is walking the fine line between having the low mass and speed necessary to respond to even the most subtle electrical cues and having the strength to endure punishment and the stiffness to avoid distortion-inducing cone breakup.

Filed under
Fred Manteghian Posted: Jul 12, 2003 0 comments

When I hear "Polk," I mentally add a vowel and think back on the happy Bavarians swirling around on Ed Sullivan's "really big shoe." As a kid, I always took that opportunity to run to the kitchen, fix a snack, and be back before the last oom-pah-pah had died away. I didn't want to miss any of the acts that really interested me—the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Topo Gigio, the Little Italian Mouse. Great bands, smart mouse, all heavy hitters—like the Polk LSi9 speaker. Don't let its under–16-inch height fool you. At 32 pounds, this very solid little box proved dense enough to live up to audiophile expectations. This is a serious speaker. As Seor Wences would say, "S'alright!"

Filed under
Michael Fremer Posted: Jun 13, 2003 0 comments

Like three-button suits, ribbon drivers seem to go in and out of fashion arbitrarily. But there's a pattern. First, they're all the rage for their airy, transparent, detailed sound. Then they're shunned because of inherent technical limitations or their low impedances (which present a difficult load for an amplifier to drive). Or because of the complexities involved in getting them to mate with the traditional cone drivers typically used to produce low frequencies. Or because new materials and technologies have improved the performance of cone and dome drivers, which, being easier to manufacture and use, make ribbons' theoretical advantages not worth the hassle. Then there's a breakthrough in ribbon design and the cycle repeats.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 28, 2003 0 comments

Founded just a few years ago, Revel has rapidly developed a reputation as a speaker company to reckon with. Its designs have been consistently praised by reviewers and sought by audiophiles. Revel's speakers aren't cheap, but, as they say in the movie business, the budget is all up there on the screen—or, in this case, in the sound.

Filed under
Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Apr 09, 2003 Published: Apr 10, 2003 0 comments
Speakers everywhere: towering gloss-black monoliths in the front, triangles on the sides, and rectangles in the center and back. Polk's LSi speaker system can technically be a 7.3 system, as the powered towers can double as subs. If you're in the mood to count, this system has 27 drivers, including nine tweeters, with 465 watts spread between 40 inches of woofer. That's a lot of drivers. But don't be afraid; the inside isn't full of stars. This system is modular enough that you can break it down into as many or as few pieces as you—or your wallet—see fit.
Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 26, 2003 0 comments

Founded in 1986, NHT established its reputation by building small, relatively inexpensive but high-value bookshelf speakers. After 16 years and several changes of ownership and design teams, they still do. However, their product range is now far broader, and their top-of-the-line, floorstanding systems have long been respected as among the best available.

Fred Manteghian Posted: Mar 12, 2003 0 comments

The adage goes something like this: "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all." I'm guessing Gayle Sanders, president of MartinLogan, heard that one a lot while growing up. As the leading manufacturer of hybrid electrostatic speakers, MartinLogan's product line has been largely silent on the subject of subwoofers, with the notable exception of the two imposing subwoofer stacks packaged with their flagship Statement system. But their dealers have said plenty, recommending third-party subs that satisfy the primal urges of home-theater natives.

Steven Stone Posted: Mar 03, 2003 0 comments

Vienna Acoustics likes to name their speakers after composers and classical musical forms. So far, they've covered Bach, Beethoven, Berg, Brahms, Haydn, Mahler, Mozart, Schoenberg, and Waltz. The Strauss, Oratorio, and Waltz are Vienna's three most recent additions to this distinguished list, and they form the heart of a new home-theater and surround-music system designed for folks who demand great sound without completely gutting their 401(k)s. Batons ready? And ah-one and ah-two . . .

Filed under
Michael Fremer Posted: Jan 08, 2003 0 comments

The late electronics wizard Henry Kloss, founder of Advent and co-founder of Acoustic Research and KLH, devised the concept of the high-performance compact radio back in the 1960s, and he invented timeless products to back up that innovative idea: His classic KLH Model 8 tabletop radio is still sought after, still sounds great, and fetches $500 and up on Internet auction sites. Cambridge SoundWorks, established by Kloss in 1988 and later sold to Creative Technology Ltd., began as a direct marketer of innovative, inexpensive, overachieving radios and powered multimedia speaker systems.

Filed under
Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jan 01, 2003 Published: Jan 02, 2003 0 comments
M&K's latest delicacy brings out the sweetness in a film soundtrack.

Am I the only one who finds it strange that the maple tree and maple syrup are two very different colors? I bet I am. Ketchup and tomatoes are the same color, and most jellies and jams are the same color as the fruit they're made from. Mustard looks like…the mustard plant? OK, forget that last one.

Robert Deutsch Posted: Dec 28, 2002 0 comments

Doing one thing well is an effective strategy for success in business, and one that appears to have been followed by Hsu Research. Headed by Singapore-born, MIT-trained (Ph.D. in civil engineering) Poh Ser Hsu, Hsu Research has been in business for more than 10 years now, and has not wavered from its single-minded mission of offering high-quality, low-cost subwoofers to the public. Hsu produces subwoofers and only subwoofers, resisting the temptation to come out with a line of speakers, cables, amplifiers, digital processors, etc. They have also stuck to the principle of offering products that the average audiophile can afford, selling factory-direct with prices staying below $1000.

Filed under
Fred Manteghian Posted: Nov 14, 2002 0 comments

In this case, Thiel isn't a color, it's a lack of color, and nothing impressed me so much during my time with these five Thiel CS1.6 speakers as their colorlessness. One color particularly notable by its absence is green, as in the minimal amount of greenbacks you'll have to peel off your roll—the CS1.6 is one of the more affordable floorstanding speakers in the Thiel line. For only $2390, you can get a pair finished on five sides in a wood veneer, like the beautiful natural-cherry ones I used for the front channels—or, if you want to save a cool grand on a quintet, the $1990/pair matte-black models I put in the rear are all the color you'll need.

Filed under
Steven Stone Posted: Oct 19, 2002 0 comments

Founded in 1927 by Guy Fountain, Tannoy was the first company to develop a moving-coil speaker with DC-energized magnets. During World War II, Tannoy speakers became so common on RAF airfields and in British railway stations that the word "Tannoy" became synonymous with "speaker." Your average high-tech company is considered old after 10 years; to reach the age of 75 makes Tannoy positively prehistoric.


Enter your Sound & Vision username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.