TOWER SPEAKER REVIEWS

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Steven Stone Posted: May 09, 2004 0 comments

The history of high-end audio and video is littered with companies who made fine products but failed. Kloss Audio/Video, California Audio Labs, and Dunlavy Audio are but a few of the illustrious firms that did not survive. Genesis almost joined these ranks. Founded in 1991 by Arnie Nudell, Paul McGowan, and Mark Shifter, Genesis quickly made its mark with outstanding speakers and digital electronics. Yet in December 2001, Genesis closed its doors.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 02, 2004 0 comments

I've had a soft spot for PSB speakers ever since I reviewed the first Stratus Gold for Stereophile back in 1991. Counting updates (the Gold i was introduced in 1997), the Gold has been PSB's flagship speaker for 12 years. That's quite a run in speakerland, where new models sprout like mushrooms.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Apr 18, 2004 1 comments

Denmark is home to Dynaudio, one of the world's finest speaker manufacturers. After beginning modestly as a maker of speaker drivers, Dynaudio rapidly gained accolades from OEMs and the international do-it-yourself speaker-building conspiracy. But don't let their industrial background mislead you. Dynaudio's Contour and Confidence speaker lines are among the most classically striking speakers in the market today: business and beauty bundled together, in a high-end showroom near you.

Michael Fremer Posted: Mar 28, 2004 0 comments

Veteran speaker designer Carl Marchisotto has created many highly regarded 2-channel audiophile speakers over the years for his Acarian Systems brand. But the Napoleon mini home theater system is the first dedicated home theater speaker package from Acarian that I can recall, and the first I have reviewed for <I>SGHT</I>.

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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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Feb 01, 2004 0 comments
Innovative Engineering + Dual Concentric Driver + SuperTweeter = Magical Sound.

Take a close look at the new Tannoy Sensys DC speakers. Notice anything unusual? Anything at all? I suppose that little gray pod sitting atop each speaker will catch your eye first. It's home to a SuperTweeter that's designed to extend the speaker's response out to a range that only dogs and bats can hear, claimed to be all the way up to 51 kilohertz. Look again and scrutinize the 7-inch woofer with bull's eye circles in its center; that's another, albeit standard, tweeter. Tannoy dubbed their "tweeter inside a woofer" design as Dual Concentric, a hallmark of the company's upper-end speakers that dates back to (gulp) 1948. Dual Concentric is a really big deal because it generates minimal off-axis phase shifts over its nearly full-range frequency response: High and low frequencies originate from the same point. The Dual Concentric breakthrough led to a range of legendary speakers in the pro audio and high-end markets for more than half a century.

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Michael Trei Posted: Jan 01, 2004 0 comments
The loudspeaker system for anyone who's ever considered installing a Murphy bed.

If Magnepan has a company motto, it might be something along the lines of, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." For more than 30 years, this Minnesota company has been busy making its Magneplanar loudspeakers for those audiophiles who care more about great sound than they do about owning the latest candidate for loudspeaker of the month. Magnepan rarely introduces a new model; when they do, it's generally just another evolutionary step in their continual refinement of the planar magnetic approach that they use in all of their products. This conservatism breeds long-term customer loyalty, and Magnepan invariably trumps other high-end manufacturers in the areas of customer satisfaction and repeat business.

Steven Stone Posted: Dec 21, 2003 0 comments

In the world of fine art, the name Dal conjures up images of flaccid clocks created by a mustachioed wild man. But in high-end audio, DALI is an acronym for Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries. Since 1983, DALI has been producing speakers for the home entertainment market. With a staff of just over 60, DALI doesn't rate as an industrial behemoth, but it does display the kind of creative independence that leads to big things. DALI does all their R&D work in-house, and instead of being built on a standard production line, their speakers are assembled by two-person teams. Although DALI is better known in Europe than in the US, their new line of Euphonia home-theater speakers should change that.

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: 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.

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&mdash;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.

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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Chris Lewis Posted: Jul 14, 2003 Published: Jul 15, 2003 0 comments
Revel with a Cause: Innovative drivers are the core of Revel's next Performa generation.

A successful loudspeaker is, of course, the sum of all of its parts. As important as the cabinet, crossover network, and other elements are, though, drivers are the foundation. It's hardly surprising that the quest for the perfect driver began even before the debut of the first loudspeaker. The ultimate goal, for dynamic drivers at least, is getting the cone to act like a pure piston, preventing the diaphragm from changing form in any way as it moves in and out. Cone material is vitally important in several ways, not least of which is walking the fine line between having the low mass and speed necessary to respond to even the most subtle electrical cues and having the strength to endure punishment and the stiffness to avoid distortion-inducing cone breakup.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Jul 12, 2003 0 comments

When I hear "Polk," I mentally add a vowel and think back on the happy Bavarians swirling around on Ed Sullivan's "really big shoe." As a kid, I always took that opportunity to run to the kitchen, fix a snack, and be back before the last oom-pah-pah had died away. I didn't want to miss any of the acts that really interested me&mdash;the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Topo Gigio, the Little Italian Mouse. Great bands, smart mouse, all heavy hitters&mdash;like the Polk LSi9 speaker. Don't let its under&ndash;16-inch height fool you. At 32 pounds, this very solid little box proved dense enough to live up to audiophile expectations. This is a serious speaker. As Seor Wences would say, "S'alright!"

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Michael Fremer Posted: Jun 13, 2003 0 comments

Like three-button suits, ribbon drivers seem to go in and out of fashion arbitrarily. But there's a pattern. First, they're all the rage for their airy, transparent, detailed sound. Then they're shunned because of inherent technical limitations or their low impedances (which present a difficult load for an amplifier to drive). Or because of the complexities involved in getting them to mate with the traditional cone drivers typically used to produce low frequencies. Or because new materials and technologies have improved the performance of cone and dome drivers, which, being easier to manufacture and use, make ribbons' theoretical advantages not worth the hassle. Then there's a breakthrough in ribbon design and the cycle repeats.

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