TOWER SPEAKER REVIEWS

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Wes Phillips Posted: Apr 27, 2008 0 comments
Judging by my inbox before and after CES last January, the hot new trends in A/V speakers are slim and wall-mounted. Somehow, speaker manufacturers have learned of the trend in TVs—that is, slim and wall-mounted. Imagine that!
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 21, 2008 0 comments
Audiophiles first came to know Paradigm as a manufacturer of speakers in the affordable/cheap 'n' cheerful/bang-for-the-buck category—speakers you might buy when you're in college, until you can afford the speakers you really want. However, Paradigm's products now cover a wide range (five distinct series, plus in-walls and outdoor/marine), topped by the Reference Signature line. This year marks Paradigm's 26th in business, so it must be doing something right.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 04, 2008 0 comments
Apart from the occasional foray into cutting-edge technology that doesn't always pan out (ionic tweeters, anyone?), speaker technology is relatively stable—glacial, even, compared to other consumer-electronics products like flat-panel displays. The manageable pace of speaker development has allowed small- and medium-sized speaker companies to thrive. Most of them make nothing but speakers that remain in production for years, which is a plus for buyers. Unlike that flat-panel display you just got, when you buy a new set of speakers today, you can be reasonably sure they won't be yesterday's news tomorrow.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 26, 2008 0 comments
Chrono logical.

The Canton Chrono Series seems to have a split personality. With the grilles off, you can’t help noticing the gleaming diamond-etched aluminum trim rings that hold the almost equally flashy aluminum drivers. With the grilles on, the floorstanding models become impassive black totems, complemented by equally self-effacing centers, stand-mounts, and subs. The only hint of style is a glossy lacquered fiberboard baffle that twinkles slightly on close inspection under a bright light.

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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Mar 10, 2008 2 comments
I'm a big Samuel L. Jackson fan, but I didn't totally buy his performance in Black Snake Moan. Jackson plays a righteous old man who takes in a trashy nymphet (Christina Ricci) to set her straight. I was especially intrigued with the story because Jackson's character was loosely based on R.L. Burnside, who didn't just sing the blues, he lived them. Up to the point where Jackson picked up his guitar, he was perfectly fine. But when he started to sing, his performance didn't ring true. It comes down to authenticity. Acting is one thing; singing with a voice that sounds so rough it bleeds is something else. Come to think of it, I could say the same about great speakers. It's one thing to design a speaker that measures well, but that doesn't necessarily make for a great-sounding speaker.
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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Feb 11, 2008 0 comments
Are you experienced?

At its best, home theater is all about making movies feel so real you'd swear you're there. And not just the wham-bam flicks; some of my best experiences have come from straight-ahead dramas. That was absolutely the case with Breach, a chilling portrait of FBI agent Robert Hanssen, the man who sold countless security secrets to the Soviet Union for over 20 years. Actor Chris Cooper's portrayal of the psychopathic traitor totally mesmerized me, but I also credit Paradigm's fifth revision of their Monitor Series speakers for keeping my attention glued to the screen. Every detail of the sound—from the claustrophobic acoustics of Hanssen's office and the whirring noise of his computers' cooling fans, to the dense traffic snarl of Washington, D.C. streets—were all so effortlessly presented that I never thought about the speakers. That's the Zen of it all. When everything's just right, you don't realize the speakers are there.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 14, 2008 2 comments

Founded in Worthing, England in 1966 by the late John Bowers, B&W (more formally known as Bowers and Wilkins) is now one of the best-known names in the industry. While the average man in the street might wonder when the car manufacturer started making speakers if you mention B&W, it's one of the first names that comes to an audiophile if asked to make a list of the top speaker companies in the business. And unlike many of its competitors, B&W makes only loudspeakers—unless you count its new iPod speaker system as a major departure.

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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Feb 04, 2008 Published: Jan 04, 2008 0 comments
Pump it up!

Cinepro's demo at the 2007 Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) show in Denver made a powerful impression on my eardrums. I'm no power-hungry audiophile—far from it—but I immediately understood what Cinepro is all about.

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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Dec 20, 2007 0 comments
Splendiferous spheres.

Billed as Ron Carter: The Master @ 70, it was a birthday celebration of the legendary jazz bass player's career—and the music at that early summer jazz concert at Carnegie Hall was truly magical. The highlight of the night arrived when Carter played selections from Miles Davis' Kind of Blue album with Herbie Hancock on piano, Wayne Shorter on sax, and Billy Cobham on drums. I could hear the quartet's music reflecting off the stage's rear wall while it simultaneously floated above the audience in the hall. The sound was so masterfully mixed, I couldn't tell for sure how much of what I heard was the actual instruments or Carnegie Hall's discreetly amplified sound system. It stands as one of those "is it live or...." moments. The next day, I played a stack of Ron Carter CDs over Anthony Gallo Acoustics' new Reference AV speakers and TR-2 subwoofer. The sound was so sweet, I experienced that déjà vu feeling all over again.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jan 18, 2008 Published: Dec 18, 2007 0 comments
Three Ones in this five.

There are two questions you could—maybe should—be asking right now. The first, "Didn't y'all just review some PSB speakers a few months ago?" And two: "Aren't you the video editor?" Well, yes. That either question should come to mind should say something about these speakers.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 18, 2008 Published: Dec 18, 2007 0 comments
Dress your home in cherry and amber.

If I didn't know better, I'd suspect some kind of hands-across-the-water design coordination in this month's Spotlight System. When the people at Aperion Audio hit upon the handsome cherry veneer finish that graces the Intimus 533 Cinema HD speaker system, the last thing on their mind was the amber display, a longstanding traditional trait, incidentally, of Yamaha receivers. Nonetheless, a harmony did arise between the two golden hues. Of course, the speakers also come in a high-gloss, piano-black finish, but then, the receiver has a black chassis. This merely proves my point, doesn't it?

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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.
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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.
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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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Fred Manteghian Posted: Nov 15, 2007 0 comments

So here I sit, my furniture all rearranged like an overcrowded antique store, just so I can be in the sweet spot. It is speaker review time again at the Manteghians.' It takes a long time to break out and set up speakers, and you've lots of boxes to deal with. But the simplicity of a speaker is what is most appealing. No HDMI to DVI handshaking problems, no video cross-coding issues, no 3:2 pulldown. You just sit down and listen to music and watch movies. Of course, it's only enjoyable when the speakers in question sound great – like this Definitive Technology Mythos system does.

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