TOWER SPEAKER REVIEWS

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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.

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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.
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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 . . .

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 30, 2002 0 comments

RBH Sound has been around for 25 years, but don't think you're out of the loop if you haven't heard of the Layton, Utah company. My introduction came only a few years ago, and I've been in the loop a long time. RBH built speakers for other brands for many years, but began concentrating on establishing its own brand name about six years ago, when the home-theater boom began. Today their products are sold through 400 dealers and custom installers. After spending a few months with one of RBH's top-performing, most expensive systems, I can tell you that finding one of these dealers will be well worth your while.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 26, 2002 0 comments

A company with B&W's resources, experience, and technical know-how can pretty much build what it wants. What B&W chose to do in the CM Series is blend good looks, high build quality, and typically rich "British sound" into an affordable package—something easier said than done.

Steven Stone Posted: Sep 09, 2002 0 comments

Boom. Thud. Crash. What would a movie be without low-frequency effects? Even non-macho films like <I>Sense and Sensibility</I> have their share of carriage-wheel rumblings and horse-hoof thuds. Without a serious subwoofer that extends down to a solid 30Hz, and preferably even lower, a home-theater system can hardly be called "high-end."

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 02, 2002 0 comments

All survivors of the classic audiophile disease of upgrade-itis can rattle off one or more components they wish they'd held on to. Easy enough to do in hindsight; at the time, we needed the dough to climb the next rung on the ladder to audio nirvana. I can name half a dozen products I'd like to still have around, if only for their nostalgia value. But I suspect that the Snell Type A loudspeakers, which I owned (in their improved versions) from 1978 to1985, would do more than awaken memories of the "good old days." They were genuinely fine speakers that would still be competitive today.

Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jul 21, 2002 0 comments

When it comes to surround-speaker systems, good things rarely come in small packages. Microsatellites and little subwoofers typically sound thin and anemic, with poor tonal balance and low volume capabilities. Yet there are many situations (e.g., small apartments, dorm rooms, guest rooms) in which such speakers would be ideally suited, if only they produced a reasonably good sound.

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