TOWER SPEAKER REVIEWS

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Michael Fremer Posted: Dec 10, 2007 0 comments
Back when surround sound meant Dolby Pro-Logic, most informed enthusiasts preferred dipole or bipole surround speakers. Since Pro-Logic was an analog matrix system that derived four channels from two, resulting in a monophonic surround channel, the idea was to create as diffuse a surround sound field as possible to avoid "localizing" the position of the speakers and to prevent the creation of a "phantom" center channel for those sitting midway between the surrounds.
Chris Lewis Posted: May 01, 2005 Published: May 17, 2005 0 comments
Turn on, tune in, strap down. I was standing in an area of last year's Home Entertainment Show in New York that had no demonstration rooms anywhere nearby. It started with a boom and a rumble, like the gathering of a distant but powerful storm. It wasn't enough to shake me yet, but it was enough to grab my attention. Then came another boom, another rumble, and enough curiosity that I felt compelled to find a tactful way out of my conversation and make my way toward this growing intensity. Not only could I feel the floor moving under my feet as I got closer, but I even started to believe I was seeing Sheetrock flakes on the floor, steadily gathering into a distinct trail. Soon enough, the rattling of the walls, the low-frequency energy waves hammering my senses, and the shaken but excited looks of people coming the other way told me I had arrived. MiCon Audio, the door announced. Curious, I thought—or tried to think, before another sortie ripped out from inside—and a belief that the door might literally be blown off its hinges began to monopolize my thoughts. Finally, the door opened, and the answer to all of the riddles awaited me inside—but, for that, you'll have to read on.
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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.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 15, 2007 Published: Oct 15, 2007 0 comments
Surround that stretches for miles.

Although they're now owned by Klipsch, Mirage continues to follow their own ears. The Toronto-based company's name derives from a key design goal—to make speakers so immersive that the listener forgets the product is in the room. In addition to a goal, Mirage also has a method: to favor more omnidirectional sound over direct sound using an unusual reflector assembly built into the top of the speaker, creating a spacious feeling that is the company's sonic signature.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 10, 2007 0 comments

Omnidirectional speakers have an uneven history in the audio marketplace. They've always been few in number, but persist because a few designers believe in their unique capabilities. Whether or not you accept the validity of their theory of operation, they do offer a perspective on reproduced sound different than that provided by conventional, forward-radiating designs. Among other things, they almost invariably sound bigger and more spacious than their physical size suggests. For more on the background of omni speakers, go <A HREF=" http://www.ultimateavmag.com/images/newsletter/206uav.html ">here</A>.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 08, 2004 0 comments

Until the introduction of the Mirage M-1 a decade or so ago, all audiophiles knew what dipolar radiation meant. It was an inherent characteristic of flat, planar, enclosure-free speakers in which the rear radiation was 180&#176; out of phase with the front, producing a null at the sides. This null made the spacing from the sidewalls less critical. Beyond this, open-baffle dipole designs attracted a strong following for their unique spatial characteristics and a sound free of cabinet colorations.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 15, 2006 0 comments
Sometimes it's better to be indirect.

Mirage has been, ahem, reflecting on the influence of room acoustics for nearly two decades. In the process, this distinguished Canadian speaker maker has birthed some unorthodox designs. The common thread running through all of them is a determination to make room reflections work for loudspeakers rather than against them. That determination bears fruit in the second-generation Omnisat series.

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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Sep 03, 2007 Published: Aug 03, 2007 0 comments
Melodious metal.

Monitor Audio has the metal thing down. I remember thinking that after my first encounter with a pair of Monitor Studio speakers in the mid-1980s. In those days, metal drivers had a reputation for adding an annoying metallic zing to the sound, but the Monitors were as sweet as could be. Over the years, Monitor continued to hone the technology; even now, when there are a lot of great-sounding speakers with metal drivers, to my ear, nobody does it better. Monitor's current product range includes a healthy selection of custom-install models and the heavy-metal contenders, which run from the entry-level Bronze, the Silver, the Gold, and up to the flagship Platinum speaker lines.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 08, 2009 0 comments

Performance
Value
Build Quality
Price: $26,000 (excluding stands, updated 3/11/15)
At A Glance: Pristine highs, uncolored mids, tight bass • Great dynamic range • Subwoofer lacks wallop in the deepest, loudest bass

Better Than Golden

Founded in 1972, U.K.-based Monitor Audio has long produced speakers that offer good value. Until recently, it topped out at $4,500 per pair for the Gold Signature model. So when I heard about the new Platinum range, priced at $10,000 per pair for just the front left and right flagship PL300, it came as a surprise.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 09, 2009 0 comments
Founded in 1972, UK-based Monitor Audio has long produced speakers that offered good value, from its low-end Bronze line, starting at around $325 for a pair of two-way bookshelf models and extending up to $4500/pair for the company's priciest Gold Signature model. Even that is not an outrageous price for an upscale design in today's speaker market. The number of current speaker lines topping out at over $20k/pair, however, would be alarming if it weren't counterbalanced by excellent speakers selling for a fraction of that price.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 23, 2014 Published: Jul 22, 2014 1 comments

Monitor Audio Silver 10 Speaker System
Performance
Build Quality
Value
Monitor Audio W-12 Subwoofer
Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $5,925 ($6,600 as shown in gloss black)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Crisp, open sound
Superb imaging
First-rate fit and finish
Minus
Two-way center channel
Limited subwoofer output

THE VERDICT
The center speaker suffers the usual off-axis quirks of a two-way design, and the small sub came up short for the deepest movie bass, but Monitor’s Silver series is a triumph, a treat to hear, and well worth seeking out for a serious audition.

Monitor Audio offers an exceptionally wide range of speakers, from the decidedly expensive (but not nosebleed high-end) to the modestly priced. In 2010, I reviewed the company’s relatively affordable Silver RX system. That line has now been completely redesigned, losing its RX moniker and morphing into the Silver series. Like the RXs before them, the Silvers were designed at Monitor’s U.K. headquarters and are built in a company-owned plant in China. For this review, we’ve selected the largest of the floorstanders, the Silver 10, along with the Silver Centre, the Silver W-12 subwoofer, and, instead of the Silver FX dedicated surround speakers, a pair of Silver 2s to serve the surround channels.

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Chris Lewis Posted: Dec 21, 2005 0 comments
Quality drivers in quality cabinets equals quality sound—at a nice price.

It's easy to find your eyes dazzled, and your mind befuddled, by the outpouring of new speakers over the last few years, particularly those of the nontraditional variety. In-walls, plasma-friendly speakers, and even flat-panel speakers are all the rage with the general public. This is hardly a bad thing—anything that can get people to recognize that the speaker realm extends far beyond the two-dollar paper drivers in their televisions serves a valuable purpose. Many of these people may also come to realize that, at this point, most of these recent unconventional designs embody some degree of compromise, and they hopefully won't fall victim to the dreaded anything-that-is-new-is-better philosophy. It is true that manufacturers are getting more out of unconventional designs than ever before. But, generally speaking, the best speaker sound still comes out of old-fashioned cone drivers and dome tweeters in cabinets with the proper interior and exterior qualities, along with the proper space for them to do their work.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 06, 2010 0 comments

Performance
Value
Build Quality
Price: $4,400 At A Glance: Clean, open, natural detail • Enveloping soundstage • Outstanding fit and finish

Bringing Home the Silver

One benefit that comes from the development of flagship products like Monitor Audio’s Platinum PL300-based speaker system (HT, October 2009) is that the technology often filters down into less expensive models in the manufacturer’s line. Of course, it won’t surprise you to hear that the ribbon tweeters, sculpted cabinets, and leather trim found in that $25,000-plus Platinum set haven’t made it into the $4,400 Silver RX8 system under review here. But refinement, elegance, and most importantly, high value and superb performance are still very much part of the package.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 29, 2008 0 comments
Following a train of thought.

The world is full of loudspeakers and their manufacturers. Try as I might, I can’t review them all, and normally I have no problem with my limitations. But where Mordaunt-Short is concerned, a feeling of having missed the boat haunts me. Given the quality of the Alumni sat/sub set I reviewed in March (my first review of a Mordaunt-Short product), how could I have missed out on such a stellar company, especially one with a 40-year pedigree?

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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.

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