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ON-WALL SPEAKER REVIEWS

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Gary Altunian Posted: Dec 14, 2009 0 comments
Price: $5,281 At A Glance: Great visual complement for ultra-thin flat-panel TVs • Sealed enclosures for controlled performance • Smooth bass from vibration-canceling in-wall subwoofer

Thin Is the New In

If you’ve shopped for a flat-screen television lately, you know that thin is in. Flat screens that used to be 3 to 5 inches thick can hardly be called flat compared with the new models that barely exceed 1 inch in depth. And new display designs promise even thinner models in the future.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 15, 2007 0 comments
A new line from a champion.

The loudspeaker sat in his doctor's examining room. His weight was up, and the results of the cholesterol test were not good.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 15, 2007 0 comments
Flat meets flat.

The big trend is smallness. Flat is the new phat. Manufacturers who want space in your home compete most effectively by taking up less of it. And, in case you hadn't heard, less is more.

Gary Altunian Posted: Apr 27, 2009 0 comments
Price: $10,197 At A Glance: Great in-wall speaker for flat-panel displays • Excellent sonic coherence • In-wall speakers with an in-room sound quality

Transcend Music Reproduction

If you’re a home theater enthusiast or audio purist who follows the high-end speaker market, you’re probably familiar with Pioneer’s line of TAD loudspeakers and their reputation for exquisite sound reproduction. It all started with the TAD Model-1, which drew rave reviews with its concentrically aligned beryllium midrange and tweeter. Priced at $45,000 per pair, they were obtainable for only the wealthiest audiophiles.

Chris Lewis Posted: Oct 15, 2004 Published: Oct 01, 2004 0 comments
Custom sound for those who care about sound.

To the casual observer, the home theater world probably looks relatively homogenous. After all, home theater isn't big enough, established enough, or varied enough to break itself into endless sub-categories yet, is it? The truth is, categorization has been a part of home theater from the beginning, and the gap between its two main sub-categories—let's call them conventional products and custom-install products—is wide. When it comes to speakers, the gap is only getting wider.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jul 19, 2013 1 comments

W3 On-Wall Soundbar System
Performance
Build Quality
Value

Subseries 200 Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
Price: $3,046 At A Glance: Adjustable-angle feet for tabletop or shelf mounting • Passive radiators augment bass output • W1s can be used vertically or horizontally

What do you say about a product when there’s nothing special to talk about? Let’s take, for instance, the hypothetical case of a passive LCR soundbar, a pair of matching on-wall speakers for the surrounds, and a powered subwoofer. Pretty staid and traditional stuff, that. After all, it’s a passive LCR, so there’s no extraordinary amplification technology involving cutting-edge DSP crossover and frequency manipulation in order to extract better sound out of embarrassingly small drivers than ever was possible (or desirable) before. There’s no wireless subwoofer connection to delve into, no HDMI connectivity, no onscreen display—hell, there’s not even a destined-to-disappear teeny-tiny remote control to complain about. Perhaps most disappointing from a reviewer’s perspective is the lack of any unique mess-with-your-mind faux-surround processing to wallow in the minutia of—no hyper-temporal, quasi-spatial, time-dilating series of intermodal cross-connections that takes a beautifully designed discrete multichannel soundtrack, scrambles all the elements together as if they were eggs destined for the warmed-over breakfast buffet line at Country Kitchen, but then presents it in a way that makes the end result appear (in your head) to be a delectable plate of fried eggs, sunny side up and steaming hot next to a couple of strips of crispy bacon fresh from the frying pan.

Steve Guttenberg Posted: Sep 14, 2006 0 comments
The sweet sounds of success.

Neil Young was on NPR chatting about his new movie, Heart of Gold, when he uttered a line that stuck with me: "The art of singing is making a sound that comes from your heart." Thanks Neil, I'm co-opting the idea to describe what distinguishes great home theater systems—their sound touches your heart. Yeah, that's it. While components are getting better all the time, many lack that special something. There's nothing obviously out of whack, it's just that their sound doesn't connect on an emotional level. Sometimes the individual components are all top notch, but, if they're not well matched to each other, the sound suffers. When everything clicks, you know it. That was certainly the case when I hooked up Marantz's SR8500 A/V receiver with a set of PSB's VisionSound VS300 speakers and SubSeries 5i subwoofer. They're all charmers.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Jul 15, 2013 0 comments

Klipsch is of course known for making high-efficiency speakers with horn tweeters. Whether or not that concept pays off indoors, where high-powered amps are common, is a subject of debate among audiophiles. But it definitely pays off outdoors. There, you have no room gain to boost the bass, so you may need more volume.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Jul 15, 2013 0 comments

When we put together comparison tests, we often give manufacturers the parameters (i.e., outdoor speakers at $400/pair) and let them figure out what they want to send. For some reason, Niles chose to send the OS5.5, a speaker that costs just $259/pair.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Jul 15, 2013 0 comments

Now that the weather is warm, everyone’s urge to go outside is irresistible. For you, it’s easy: Just walk out the door. For speaker manufacturers, it’s a lot harder — and not because they’re all pale geeks who never leave the lab. It’s because the outdoors is a hostile environment for anything that uses electricity. Water can corrode metal parts, or even short out circuits.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Jul 15, 2013 0 comments

Most outdoor speakers share pretty much the same design. But the OE5 One, like Speakercraft’s other Outdoor Elements speakers, has a feature found in only a few outdoor models: a ported enclosure. The port allows for deeper bass response than a sealed cabinetdoes.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 22, 2009 0 comments
Price: $5,250 At A Glance: Ingenious wall mount • Extruded aluminum enclosures maximize cabinet volume and extend bass • Sub has convenient top-mount volume control

Heavy Metal Is Good

In 1976, the United States of America celebrated its bicentennial, and Peter Snell founded the loudspeaker company that bears his name.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 30, 2011 0 comments

Flat-TV friendly speakers from a company best known for its horns. If your speakers are fat, what good does a skinny TV do? Speaker manufacturers have begun addressing that problem in the last year.

Steve Guttenberg Posted: Mar 17, 2006 0 comments
Flattery will get you everywhere.

Just when I thought speaker designers could focus 100 percent of their talents on creating the best-sounding speakers, flat-screen TVs came along and created a burgeoning market for ultrasvelte plasma-friendly speakers. Anything other than the most demure designs now elicit comments like, "They're too big," "I think they're ugly," or the perennial, "Not in my living room!" from reticent shoppers. This just goes to show that, for some customers, style and size are the dominant factors when picking out a set of speakers. Maybe I'm overstating the case, but it's starting to look like colossal towers and even fairly small monitor speakers' days are numbered. Skinny on-walls are what's happening now.

Gary Altunian Posted: Nov 15, 2007 0 comments
Sophisticated sound, elegant solution.

To fully appreciate and enjoy a flat-panel television, you must team it with a speaker system of matching elegance and quality. Floorstanding speakers seem like old technology. In-wall speakers are an option to consider, but they involve more work to install and have fewer placement options. A better solution in many cases is on-wall speakers, such as the new Tribe III speakers from Totem Acoustic. They're easy to install and are designed to match the finish of many flat-panel displays. Indeed, the Tribe IIIs' black or gray finish gives them the appearance that they came with the television.

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