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TOWER SPEAKER REVIEWS

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Shane Buettner Posted: Sep 13, 2006 0 comments
  • Two-Channel System Price: $1,595/pr.
  • Ported two-way with one 5.5" mid/woofer and one 1" "textile" dome tweeter
    HWD: 35" x 6.3" x 9.5"
We know. This is Home Theater magazine for chrissakes! But not everyone we know (or you know) is able or willing to consider a full-on five or seven channel surround system in their space. In addition to that, some people are music lovers first, and to them the tradeoff of owning a single pair of reference quality speakers is trump compared to littering the room with speakers. And hey, you can add a center and surrounds later! Look into our December issue to see if the Totem passes the two-channel challenge!
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Steven Stone Posted: Jan 06, 2007 0 comments

When I say, "horn loudspeaker," what do you think of first? Most longtime audiophiles immediately visualize big corner-mounted Klipsch K-Horns or Altec Lansing "Voice of the Theater" speakers. Although horn-mounted technology is not as common today as it was during the golden age of mono in the '40's and '50's, it still exists. The Triad InRoom Platinum speaker system ($29,850 as tested), for example, is very much here and now.

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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Oct 22, 2005 0 comments
American beauties.

Flat-screen-friendly speakers, iPod-inspired microspeakers, and adorable HTIBs are selling like crazy, but Vandersteen Audio is immune to such flights of fancy. Their speakers are all plus-size beauties—the company's new VCC-5 Reference center channel measures a healthy 24 inches wide, 9.75 high, and 18 deep. So, sure, it would be a hell of a lot easier to sell a slimmer design, but the company's head honcho, Richard Vandersteen, doesn't play that game. He designs speakers for buyers who care more about sound than fashion. His stuck-in-the-1980s styling isn't a calculated stab at retro—the handsome 1C tower speaker was originally introduced in 1981 as the Model 1, and the "C" iteration debuted in 1996. You see, change for the sake of change isn't an option at Vandersteen Audio, and that extends to bucking the industry stampede to move production offshore. They still build every speaker in Hanford, California, and they test and measure every speaker in their own anechoic chamber. That's commitment.

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Posted: May 25, 2006 0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/506vander3a.1.jpg" ALT="506vander3a.1.jpg" WIDTH=220 HEIGHT=281 HSPACE=4 VSPACE=4 ALIGN=RIGHT><B>Price</B>: $11,673 as configured in SCB's former reference system.

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Posted: May 26, 2006 0 comments

<B>Price</B>: $22,434 as configured in SCB's reference system.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 03, 1995 0 comments

The Vandersteen 3A is a higher-end variation on the theme established by the company's first loudspeaker, the 2C. The latter is still available, though much updated into the current, highly popular 2Ce. A four-way design, the 3A has separate sub-enclosures for each drive unit; the whole affair is covered with a knit grille-cloth "sock" with wood trim end pieces. A rear-mounted metal brace allows the user to vary the tiltback&mdash;an important consideration for best performance with this loudspeaker.

Robert Deutsch Posted: Dec 15, 2004 0 comments

Location, location, location. What's important in real estate is just as important in subwoofer perfor-mance. (And speaker performance in general, but that's a story for another day.) While agreement on recommendations for subwoofer placement is less than complete&mdash;some say "in the corner," some say "anywhere but the corner"&mdash;everyone agrees that the location of a subwoofer and its relation to the listening area can have a major influence on how the sub sounds.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 20, 2011 1 comments
Price: $11,250 At A Glance: Silky-smooth sonics • Refined, furniture-grade cabinetry • Depth-charge deep bass

Videophile Ready

Show Vienna Acoustics’ living-room-friendly Beethoven Baby Grand system to your hesitant significant other, and you might get the long-awaited nod you’ve been looking for. This is a speaker system an interior-design-conscious, non–audio enthusiast can make peace with.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: May 15, 2006 0 comments
Where there's a will, there's a way.

Say your Great-Aunt Edna died and left you $10,000 or so in her will with the stipulation that you had to spend it on a home theater system (that's why she always was your favorite great-aunt). You and I could while away the better part of an evening arguing the particulars of what gear to buy—and especially how the money should be divided between the audio and video parts of the system.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Nov 29, 2010 1 comments
Price: $58,390 At A Glance: Huge dynamics • Enormous, transparent soundstage • Foundation shaking, boom-free, tuneful bass • Exquisite musical delicacy

Painting Pictures With Sound

To produce room-filling sound, a speaker has to move a lot of air—even in a relatively small room. Moving a lot of air, particularly in a big room, necessitates a large woofer placed in an even larger box. Refrigerator-sized speakers were commonplace in audiophiles’ living rooms back in the 1950s. When stereo arrived and required two large expanses of wood-framed grille cloth, significant others objected. Downsizing began, aided in part by Edgar Villchur’s invention of the sealed-box acoustic-suspension woofer.

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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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 04, 2012 0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
Price: $7,197 At A Glance: Wide and deep soundstage • Clear, uncolored midrange • Superb fit and finish

The Wharfedale brand is one of the oldest and most widely respected in the loudspeaker business. Gilbert Briggs founded the company as the Wharfedale Wireless Works in Yorkshire, England, in 1932. While his name is less well known in the U.S. than, say, Saul Marantz, Avery Fisher, and James B. Lansing, Briggs was also clearly one of the founding fathers of the high-fidelity business that took off big time in the 1950s.

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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Nov 22, 2005 0 comments
Real speakers have curves.

I remember when Ferraris and Maseratis topped out around 400 ponies, but, nowadays, that much oomph is available in Ford Mustangs. Blisteringly fast rides have never been cheaper, and, over in the consumer electronics world, the speed with which technology migrates from bleeding-edge surround processors to $500 A/V receivers demonstrates the benefits of trickle-down engineering. But the quality gap between high-end and affordable speakers hasn't appreciably narrowed, until now. Wharfedale's real-world-priced Pacific Evolution Series speakers are engineered like far more expensive speakers.

John J. Gannon Posted: Feb 24, 2002 0 comments

Wharfedale is a name that doesn't exactly roll off the tongue of the average American audiophile. It should. This British firm's long, distinguished history dates back to the early 1930s and includes a good number of industry firsts, including the use of ceramic magnets. Once one of the most popular brands of British loudspeakers on this side of the Atlantic, Wharfedale has enjoyed only limited exposure in North America in the past 20 years. By introducing cutting-edge designs at affordable prices, they're now obviously aiming to change that.

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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Nov 15, 2007 0 comments
Sound design.

A few weeks before I started on this review, I went to a press event in New York City for the premiere of a "re-performance" of Glenn Gould's legendary 1955 recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations. No, they didn't play a new CD or even the original master tape; we heard Mr. Gould, who passed away in 1982, virtually playing a Yamaha Disklavier Pro concert grand piano. And it was no scam. Zemph Studios (a music technology company based in Raleigh, North Carolina) converted the original recording to high-resolution MIDI files and played them back over this very special Yamaha piano. The concert thrilled everyone, especially those in attendance who were lucky enough to have heard the flesh-and-blood Gould perform back in the day. The event organizers gave each of us a copy of the new Sony/ BMG Masterworks SACD of the re-performance.

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