TOWER SPEAKER REVIEWS

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John J. Gannon Posted: Mar 05, 2005 0 comments

Until recently, the home-theater speaker market seemed a calm, beautiful little pond—from nearly any vantage point, you could see all 200-plus speaker makers with their mostly predictable offerings. Products dropped in and out with minor ripples, and occasionally one stirs up a bigger wave. But seldom do things change so much that this placid pond can suddenly seem like a wide open sea of crashing waves, churning tides, and violent storms.

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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.

Steve Guttenberg Posted: Apr 23, 2007 Published: Mar 23, 2007 0 comments
Together again for the first time.

As I unboxed this month's Spotlight System, I flashed on the innovative histories of Marantz and Snell Acoustics. Saul B. Marantz was a bona fide American audio pioneer in the 1950s and 1960s. His company's electronics not only sounded amazing, they were drop-dead gorgeous. Maybe that's why Marantz's early designs regularly sell on eBay for more than their original prices. Peter Snell was one of the brightest speaker designers to emerge in the mid-1970s. Back in the day, I owned a pair of his first speakers, the Type A, and had many conversations with Peter about music. In those simpler times, Saul Marantz and Peter Snell could launch their companies armed with not much more than a driving passion to produce great audio gear—and the inspired engineering to make the dream real. Best of all, both companies still adhere to their founders' perfectionistic traditions.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Jan 04, 2010 0 comments

Performance
Value
Build Quality
Price: $10,095 At A Glance: Bodacious, well-controlled bass • Clean, effervescent high frequencies • Room-filling, three-dimensional spaciousness even in two-channel mode

German Brew, U.S. Bottle

Many home theater enthusiasts may be unfamiliar with the name, but among audiophiles during the 1990s, veteran German audio designer Joachim Gerhard achieved near-legend status throughout the world for his extensive and remarkably varied line of high-performance loudspeakers marketed under the Audio Physic brand.

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Oct 02, 2015 0 comments
Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $3,447 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Very honest, very capable reproduction
Unusual, and unusually attractive, cosmetics
Excellent center-channel off-axis consistency
Minus
Ever so slightly warm balance may not please more analytical listeners

THE VERDICT
Wide-range towers and solid tonal matching make for a system that will fulfill many, even without a subwoofer.

Italian technology doesn’t get a lot of respect. (There’s a version of the old joke where in heaven the police are British, the cooks French, and the engineers German; in hell the police are German, the cooks British, and the engineers— you guessed it—Italian.) But think only of Ferrari. Or Lamborghini. Better still, think of supercar maker Pagani, for which today’s examinee, Sonus Faber, provides premium audio systems.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 15, 2003 0 comments

Visit the Sonus Faber website and you're given the softest of soft sells. The home page has birds flying lazily overhead while wheat sways gently in the breeze. Quiet classical music hums in the background. Click in the right place and you might find a few words about products, but you won't learn that Sonus Faber is the best-known Italian speaker manufacturer west of . . . Cremona.

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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Jan 11, 2006 0 comments
Body and soul.

I don't think I've ever before referred to a speaker as "sexy," but Sonus faber's new Domus line is definitely hot stuff. Yeah baby, the Domus Series' enticing curves—sheathed in supple black leatherette, poised on spiked feet—will get audiophiles all hot and bothered. That's because they make for pretty sexy sound, too.

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Michael Fremer Posted: May 03, 2002 0 comments

John Lennon's line in "Come Together"—"Got to be good-looking 'cause he's so hard to see"—sums up the sleek, shapely appearance of Sonus Faber's new Grand Piano Home L/R speaker. With its warm, leatherette-wrapped front and rear baffles and sculpted black-lacquer-like side cheeks, the gently sloping design exudes European elegance even as it seems to disappear under its own good looks.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Apr 06, 2009 1 comments
Price: $6,044 At A Glance: Elegant, understated styling • Sweet yet detailed sound • Excellent dialogue intelligibility • Coherent three-dimensional picture • High SPLs without strain

Leather-Clad Pleasure Toy

What’s in a name? If a 1960s-era General Motors marketing consultant had suggested a car brand-named Toyota, he’d have been laughed out of the room and probably lost his job. “Are you crazy, man? No one’s gonna buy a car with toy in the name!” No one at GM is laughing at Toyota today. The car brand was named for its founder, Kiichiro Toyoda, so the company had a reason to toy around with the designation.

Michael Fremer Posted: Mar 05, 2013 0 comments

Venere 2.5 Speaker System
Performance
Build Quality
Value
 
REL T-7 Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
Price: $5,493 At A Glance: Shapely Italian styling • Exceptional soundstaging • Surprisingly affordable

Could this sleek, lacquer-finished, curvaceous new Sonus faber Venere loudspeaker have originated anywhere other than in Italy? Well, no and yes. With its soothing, elegant curves and glossy finish, Venere whispers “Italy,” but the scant $2,498/pair price tag of this 43pound, 3.5-foot floorstander shouts “China.”

In fact, this new Sonus faber speaker is truly an international product. It was designed in-house at Sonus faber’s Arcugnano factory near Venice, Italy—a building as stylish as the designs emanating therefrom—using bespoke drivers designed by Sonus faber.

The midwoofer and woofer cone material is curv, a proprietary self-reinforcing 100-percent polypropylene composite manufactured by Germanybased Propex, while the dome tweeter is of silk over which is applied a multi-layered Sonus-spec’d coating manufactured by DKM in Germany. Final driver production is done in China.

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Clint Walker Posted: May 26, 2000 Published: May 27, 2000 0 comments
We've roped in a trio of speaker systems priced under $2,000!

When was the last time you heard somebody say they were looking to spend as much as possible on something? When it comes to A/V equipment, you never hear people say, "Keep the change" or, "That's a little less than I was looking to spend."

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uavGary Altunian Posted: Aug 12, 2008 Published: Aug 13, 2008 0 comments
Not long ago, large floorstanding speakers were preferred—practically required—to get the sonic performance demanded by audiophiles and home-theater fans. Smaller speakers simply couldn't adequately reproduce the wide dynamic range and clarity of today's high-resolution digital sources.
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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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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 24, 2005 0 comments

<I>TJN takes a look (and listen) at a system consisting of four recently reviewed products: the Revel Performa F32 speaker system, the Sony STR-DA9000ES A/V receiver, the Marantz DV8400 DVD player, and the Sony VPL-HS51 video projector.</I>

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jun 04, 2007 Published: May 04, 2007 0 comments
The natural high.

I drink green tea the way some people drink water. I make it in large batches, keep it in the fridge, and guzzle it all day. Such are the dimensions of this innocuous drug habit that I blend teas, often adding a pinch of Butterfly Sencha (with peach and sunflower petals) to a standard Sencha, creating something more subtle than the former and more interesting than the latter. (The Tea Squad may burst through the door to arrest me at any moment.) I do the same with surround equipment. This month, I've deliberately brought together a receiver brand that prides itself on neutrality with a speaker brand that obsesses about the purity and phase coherence of high frequencies. Marantz, meet Tannoy. Tannoy, meet Marantz. What will happen next?

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