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TOWER SPEAKER REVIEWS

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 17, 2011 0 comments
Price: $2,500 At A Glance: Deep, powerful bass • Sweet, extended treble and uncolored midrange • Can be unforgiving at high levels

H-PAS the Bass

For the past two years, Atlantic Technology has been working on a new speaker designed around what the company claims is a revolutionary bass-loading technique. Invented by Philip Clements of Solus/Clements Loudspeakers, H-PAS (for Hybrid Pressure Acceleration System) has intrigued trade-show goers since Atlantic started sneak-peeking it in late 2009. The speaker, the Atlantic Technology AT-1, is now in full production.

For a company known for its dedication to producing outstanding home theater speaker systems (its 8200e system won a 2008 Home Theater Award), launching what is, at present, essentially a standalone two-channel model might seem a bit odd. But Atlantic is so pumped about the potential of this design approach that the effort to get the AT-1 to market has been highly focused.

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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Dec 01, 2003 0 comments
Tune Your Room. Atlantic Technology's new speaker system will do just that.

If there's one evergreen audiophile fantasy, it's the perfect speaker. I know lots of guys who obsess about this sort of thing, but I always remind them that, even if they had a home theater packed with perfect beauties, they still wouldn't attain audio nirvana. The perfect speakers would be confronted by the realities of a very imperfect room—its standing waves, peaks, dips, image-smearing reflections, and reverberations would conspire to muck up the 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.

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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Jul 30, 2007 0 comments
Supersize me.

When it comes to TVs and speakers, bigger is most definitely better. Smaller models can be perfectly acceptable, and, in small rooms, they're a necessity. But, if you have the space, you can't beat a large screen matched with a set of heavyweight speakers and subwoofers. The appeals of big-screen video and high-end audio are not so different; both deliver incredible scale, clarity, lifelike depth, and a more emotional experience. The only downside to a big system is that, once you get used to living with it, there's no going back; a 30-inch TV and pint-sized speakers won't get your mojo working ever again.

Gary Altunian Posted: Jul 02, 2007 Published: Jun 02, 2007 0 comments
American design meets German engineering.

Even a quick glance at the home theater section of your local consumer electronics retailer reveals an overabundance of A/V receivers. They're a staple component in home theater. After you sift through all the ubiquitous brands, you'll come across Sunfire. The company is the creation of the venerable Bob Carver, also founder of Phase Linear and Carver Corporation. In a previous audio life, I sold many Phase Linear 400 and 700 power amplifiers, which were among the most popular and affordable high-powered stereo amps during the 1970s. Bob Carver has consistently reinvented himself and refined his product offerings, and one of his latest creations is the Sunfire Theater Grand TGR-3 A/V receiver from the company's XT Series. It's a component that borrows many features from Sunfire's high-end processors and amplifiers. And its straightforward operation, proprietary features, and impressive sound quality might earn it a place among the best high-end receivers. The TGR-3 is a great example of meticulous American design, albeit of Chinese construction.

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.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 25, 2012 3 comments

802 Diamond Speakers
Performance
Build Quality
Value
 
W DB1 Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
Price: $32,000 At A Glance: Clear, sparkling highs • Tight, extended bass • Broad, deep soundstage • Stunning fit and finish

If you’re unfamiliar with the British speaker company Bowers & Wilkins, perhaps that’s because it’s more commonly known simply as B&W. Founded in the mid-1960s by John Bowers and Roy Wilkins, it’s now one of the most respected loudspeaker manufacturers in the world, with products ranging from budget-priced to Olympic.

The 800 Diamond series is the third generation of Bowers & Wilkins’s most sophisticated range, with iconic looks that date back to the late 1990s. The 802 Diamond is one step down in price from the company’s current flagship, the $24,000/pair 800 Diamond. And while B&W’s lower-priced speakers, like most, are manufactured in China, the 800 is built in the company’s facilities in England.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2010 0 comments
Price: $7,250 At A Glance: Clean highs, neutral mids • Mid- and upper-bass prominent • Small but potent subwoofer

Well Centered

These days, most major speaker manufacturers know how to produce a good speaker. But only a few manage to hit all the marks simultaneously: great engineering, great sound, and fair pricing. British speaker manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins has long been a leader in that hunt.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 14, 2008 2 comments

Founded in Worthing, England in 1966 by the late John Bowers, B&W (more formally known as Bowers and Wilkins) is now one of the best-known names in the industry. While the average man in the street might wonder when the car manufacturer started making speakers if you mention B&W, it's one of the first names that comes to an audiophile if asked to make a list of the top speaker companies in the business. And unlike many of its competitors, B&W makes only loudspeakers—unless you count its new iPod speaker system as a major departure.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 15, 2004 0 comments

Two years ago, when I visited the B&W facilities in Worthing, England, I heard a demonstration of that company's then-new flagship, the Signature 800 ($16,000/pair). I salivated at the prospect of reviewing a home theater package anchored by these impressive speakers, but ultimately put off requesting them in favor of slightly more manageable and affordable designs.

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Chris Lewis Posted: Oct 22, 2005 0 comments
Diamonds can be everyone's best friend.

If truth be told, I have little use for diamonds in their conventional form. This probably stems from all the pomp and pageantry that surrounds them—not to mention my disdain for those people who drape themselves in the stones and attempt to outshine everyone else with their brilliance. This hardly means that I have little respect for diamonds, though, even if this respect is far more about material than materialism. Since ancient times, mankind has recognized the value of the diamond for pragmatic applications, in everything from grinding and engraving tools, to drill bits, to turntable styli and semiconductors.

Clint Walker Posted: May 02, 2001 Published: May 03, 2001 0 comments
A commanding performance from a well-disciplined pupil.

Over thirty years ago, B&W Loudspeakers set out to build a speaker that would set the standard in sound and build quality, a speaker that other companies would strive for years to keep up with. Today, there is little doubt that B&W's goal was achieved. In fact, the designs of yesterday were so successful that 80 percent of all classical recordings are monitored using B&W loudspeakers.

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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Apr 09, 2002 Published: Apr 10, 2002 1 comments
Back to square one.

I can't listen to B&W speakers without thinking about my audio buddy Ralph. Back in 1977, Ralph was a hot young artist rolling in dough. He had just become an audio junkie and picked up an amazing set of B&W's potbellied, time-aligned DM 6s. Sure, they looked kinda funny, but their sound was so good that I developed a bad habit of regularly barging into Ralph's Greenwich Village loft, armed with a bag of take-out Chinese food and a stack of LPs.

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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.

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.

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