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TOWER SPEAKER REVIEWS

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 26, 2010 0 comments

Performance
Value
Build Quality
Price: $2,625 At A Glance: Sweet sounding yet detailed • Wide dynamic range • Big soundstage • Limited subwoofer extension

More for Less

The new Image line of speakers from Canadian manufacturer PSB follows on the heels of two other PSB ranges: Synchrony and Imagine. While they aren’t exactly blue-light specials, the Images provide an intangible quality that today’s speaker buyer demands: value. And with the increasing costs of domestic manufacturing, value most often means overseas production. All of PSB’s new models, including the Imagines, are engineered in Canada but made in China. This is an increasingly common practice in the speaker industry.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2010 0 comments
Price: $7,250 At A Glance: Clean highs, neutral mids • Mid- and upper-bass prominent • Small but potent subwoofer

Well Centered

These days, most major speaker manufacturers know how to produce a good speaker. But only a few manage to hit all the marks simultaneously: great engineering, great sound, and fair pricing. British speaker manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins has long been a leader in that hunt.

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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.

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

Performance
Value
Build Quality
Price: $25,650 (including stands) 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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Fred Manteghian Posted: Jun 01, 2009 0 comments

Ever since its launch in 1996, Revel has pursued a no-compromise approach to speaker design and manufacturing. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the brand is part of megaconglomerate Harman International, which boasts some of the best speaker-development facilities in the world. For example, Revel engineers have access to multiple anechoic chambers and Harman's Multichannel Listening Lab that allows blind-listening tests, shuffling several speakers around for each test run so the effect of their positions in the room is randomized and thus prevented from affecting the results.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: May 26, 2009 0 comments

Performance
Value
Build Quality
Price: $45,993 At A Glance: Seductively powerful bass, with or without the sub • Complex midrange timbre • Depth and imaging maestro • What movie theaters should sound like

The Finest Money Can Build

I first heard Revel speakers many years ago at CES when they burst on the scene. The curiously modest-looking original Gem speakers were sitting behind their designer Kevin Voecks as he introduced them. Then he fired up an exquisitely calibrated 9-inch CRT projector. I remember this as the exact moment when I decided, by hook or by crook, there would be a front projector in my house someday. Such is the influence of great sound accompanying good video. All of this introduction is my way of saying that the Revel system here is once again best of show in my book.

Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 13, 2009 0 comments

Performance
Value
Build Quality
Price: $4,749 At A Glance: Open, clean, and detailed • Expansive, cinematic sound • High value

Imagine: Airy Soundscapes

When deciding whether or not to set product priority for evaluation, every reviewer (consciously or unconsciously) applies a filter based on his or her previous experience with that manufacturer. Of course, there are always breakthrough products that demand to be covered and new companies that deserve to be discovered. But given the options available in the speaker world—including the new and the fascinating but rarely the revolutionary—you look first to those that have proved that they can make a great product.

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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.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 30, 2009 0 comments
Price: $4,494 At A Glance: Distinctive angular form makes for an un-boxy look • All drivers utilize Ceramic Metal Matrix Diaphragms • Subwoofer has bloat-killing EQ and wireless option

Curves Ahead

Where ideas are concerned,” the late George Carlin said, “America can be counted on to do one of two things: take a good idea and run it completely into the ground or take a bad idea and run it completely into the ground.” Many loudspeaker manufacturers tend to follow one of these two trains of thought, with results that range from staid to disheartening. But there is a third path, the one that Infinity Systems follows, and it will take more than a sentence to summarize, period, enter, tab.

Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 06, 2009 0 comments

Performance
Value
Build Quality
Price: $4,355 At A Glance: Slender, gloss black, extruded-aluminum towers • Dual built-in powered subs with passive radiators • Superb dialogue reproduction

Hide the Sub—No, Subs!

Why build a system around powered towers like Definitive Technology’s Mythos STS SuperTower? Wouldn’t it be easier to live with a subwoofer? Maybe. Maybe not.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Mar 02, 2009 0 comments
Price: $3,769 At A Glance: Three-way center for superior dialogue intelligibility • Awesome room-filling surrounds • Classy good looks

Life’s Too Short for Bad Shoes

Buy a pair of shoes online that don’t fit quite right, and it’s easy enough to box them back up for the round-trip refund. You wouldn’t think you could say the same about a 70-pound speaker like the Aperion Intimus 6T, but mailorder company Aperion Audio makes it almost as easy. The Portland, Oregon–based company manufactures in China and purports to pass the savings on to you. Aperion wants you to be 100-percent satisfied, so it gives you 30 days to try the speakers at home. The company will even pick up shipping costs both ways if you decide not to keep the speakers. So even if you can’t go to a store to listen to them, Aperion speakers are a no-risk purchase. Still, six boxes full of speakers worth almost $4,000 is hardly an impulse buy like a $39 pair of Converse All Star Sailor Jerry high tops on eBay, so listen up.

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uavSteve Guttenberg Posted: Mar 02, 2009 0 comments
I'd like to admit something up front—I'm the sort of reviewer who's easily swayed by the sight of attractive gear. There, I said it, and I feel a little guilty about it. Sadly, I may have missed out on some great-sounding but drab-looking products over the years, including a number of Boston Acoustics speakers. So I was pleasantly surprised by the company's gorgeous new VS Series speakers when they were unveiled in New York City a few months ago.
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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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uavSteve Guttenberg Posted: Jan 05, 2009 0 comments
Dynaudio is, first and foremost, an audiophile speaker company, but one that also makes superb home-theater speakers. Wait, that implies it makes separate audiophile and home-theater lines, which is not really true. Dynaudio speakers excel with music and home theater.
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Posted: Dec 29, 2008 0 comments
Price: $15,195 At A Glance: Gorgeous custom finishes • Pure beryllium tweeters deliver incredible detail • Outstanding dynamics

Paradigm Elevates the Art

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a demonstration of Paradigm’s Signature Reference Series at its quasi-premiere at Definitive Audio in Bellevue, Washington. I’d been a long-time fan of Paradigm’s Reference line of loudspeakers, and I was excited to see its new flagship paired with Anthem’s Statement products.

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