TOWER SPEAKER REVIEWS

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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.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 03, 2007 Published: Aug 03, 2007 0 comments
We could be heroes.

What would your life be like if you'd married the first person you ever dated? If you want a great home theater system, sometimes it pays to dig deeper. OK, American Acoustic Development (AAD) stands in the shadow of larger and more prestigious brands, so this may be the first time AAD's M Series speakers have come to your attention. And you're not likely to find the Rotel RSX-1057 receiver in the big chain stores that fill cavernous spaces with little worth hearing. But these two brands have more to offer than many of their market-leading, deep-pocketed rivals.

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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Jul 30, 2007 0 comments
Supersize me.

When it comes to TVs and speakers, bigger is most definitely better. Smaller models can be perfectly acceptable, and, in small rooms, they're a necessity. But, if you have the space, you can't beat a large screen matched with a set of heavyweight speakers and subwoofers. The appeals of big-screen video and high-end audio are not so different; both deliver incredible scale, clarity, lifelike depth, and a more emotional experience. The only downside to a big system is that, once you get used to living with it, there's no going back; a 30-inch TV and pint-sized speakers won't get your mojo working ever again.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jul 16, 2007 Published: Jun 16, 2007 0 comments
An affordable speaker system you just might take a shine to.

My daughter has been coming home recently with holes in her slacks—and, no, they aren't the holes she puts her legs through, as she wryly pointed out the other day. (That's what I get for raising a family full of wiseacres.) The cause of these holes is a bit of a mystery, seeing as how they appear and reappear at the same spots on each leg at random times. I've toyed with the idea of treating them as the fashion equivalent of crop circles or the result of an obsessive-compulsive moth, but these are, as you might conclude, unfulfilling answers. None of her peers have similar apparel problems, so it appears to be an extremely localized phenomenon. It remains an enigma.

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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>.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jul 02, 2007 Published: Jun 02, 2007 0 comments
Mythos the magnificent.

It's not often that I find something to complain about when it comes to Definitive Technology, but, lately, I have cause. Every year, during each of the two major consumer electronics trade shows, CES and CEDIA, I (and plenty of other journalists, dealers, and a few hangers-on who shouldn't have been let in to begin with) have made the traditional pilgrimage to the Def Tech booth. We go there, drawn like corn-bread muffins to butter, to hear the latest Def Tech incarnation, thanks to the genius of head honcho Sandy Gross and company. As you would expect, some of these speaker introductions have been more exciting than others—the unveiling of the first Mythos speakers being one of the extra-special highlights in recent memory. Regardless, the Definitive Technology booth never disappoints.

Gary Altunian Posted: Jul 02, 2007 Published: Jun 02, 2007 0 comments
American design meets German engineering.

Even a quick glance at the home theater section of your local consumer electronics retailer reveals an overabundance of A/V receivers. They're a staple component in home theater. After you sift through all the ubiquitous brands, you'll come across Sunfire. The company is the creation of the venerable Bob Carver, also founder of Phase Linear and Carver Corporation. In a previous audio life, I sold many Phase Linear 400 and 700 power amplifiers, which were among the most popular and affordable high-powered stereo amps during the 1970s. Bob Carver has consistently reinvented himself and refined his product offerings, and one of his latest creations is the Sunfire Theater Grand TGR-3 A/V receiver from the company's XT Series. It's a component that borrows many features from Sunfire's high-end processors and amplifiers. And its straightforward operation, proprietary features, and impressive sound quality might earn it a place among the best high-end receivers. The TGR-3 is a great example of meticulous American design, albeit of Chinese construction.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 27, 2007 0 comments

Before you get d&#233;j&#224; vu all over again, I'll beat you to it and note right up front that we reviewed an <A
HREF="http://ultimateavmag.com/speakersystems/1205aperion/
">Aperion Audio Intimus 633-T</A> system back in December 2005. But the Intimus 633-T ($499/ea.) has been redesigned, and Aperion chose not to change the model number. The parenthetical "II" in the heading of this article, which will be carried through the rest of the review to avoid confusion, is strictly my invention. You won't find it in any of Aperion's promotional material. The system reviewed here also includes the Aperion 634-VAC ($495) center channel speaker, which <I>is</I> entirely new.

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Michael Fremer Posted: May 13, 2007 0 comments

Once upon a time loudspeakers were large, floor standing affairs, especially those designed to produce deep bass. Then came the acoustic suspension revolution and "bookshelf" loudspeakers were born, most of which ended up on stands in homes where sound quality counts. Many manufacturers specialized in one or the other, but a few offered both.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jun 11, 2007 Published: May 11, 2007 0 comments
API crosses the border.

This is a momentous time for Energy Speaker Systems. Until recently, Energy was one of several brands owned and operated by Audio Products International of Toronto, Canada. (The others included Mirage, Athena, and Spherex.) Now the API brands have been merged into Klipsch of Indianapolis, Indiana, creating a new fusion of Canadian design and American ownership. Energy has also moved their manufacturing to China, where they will have more control over parts, while achieving greater cost-effectiveness. John Tchilinguirian, the longtime lead designer for the brand, has moved on to independent consulting. That makes the Energy RC-70 towers, RC-LCR (serving as center), and RC-R surrounds partly a chapter from a previous tome and partly the first chapter in a new story.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jun 04, 2007 Published: May 04, 2007 0 comments
The natural high.

I drink green tea the way some people drink water. I make it in large batches, keep it in the fridge, and guzzle it all day. Such are the dimensions of this innocuous drug habit that I blend teas, often adding a pinch of Butterfly Sencha (with peach and sunflower petals) to a standard Sencha, creating something more subtle than the former and more interesting than the latter. (The Tea Squad may burst through the door to arrest me at any moment.) I do the same with surround equipment. This month, I've deliberately brought together a receiver brand that prides itself on neutrality with a speaker brand that obsesses about the purity and phase coherence of high frequencies. Marantz, meet Tannoy. Tannoy, meet Marantz. What will happen next?

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 01, 2007 0 comments

We haven't spent a lot of review time here at <I>Ultimate AV</I> on two major trends in speaker design. One of them is euphemistically referred to in the industry as "architectural speakers." That is, speakers designed to be mounted either in or on a wall. The other, an outgrowth of the on-wall category, is the tall, slender column speaker that takes up little floor space.

Steve Guttenberg Posted: Apr 23, 2007 Published: Mar 23, 2007 0 comments
Together again for the first time.

As I unboxed this month's Spotlight System, I flashed on the innovative histories of Marantz and Snell Acoustics. Saul B. Marantz was a bona fide American audio pioneer in the 1950s and 1960s. His company's electronics not only sounded amazing, they were drop-dead gorgeous. Maybe that's why Marantz's early designs regularly sell on eBay for more than their original prices. Peter Snell was one of the brightest speaker designers to emerge in the mid-1970s. Back in the day, I owned a pair of his first speakers, the Type A, and had many conversations with Peter about music. In those simpler times, Saul Marantz and Peter Snell could launch their companies armed with not much more than a driving passion to produce great audio gear—and the inspired engineering to make the dream real. Best of all, both companies still adhere to their founders' perfectionistic traditions.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Mar 17, 2007 0 comments

I've been reviewing speakers for a long time. I'm not saying my ears are any better than yours, but they're trained. Give me that much credit. I can wax rhapsodic paragraphs ad nauseam on why the latest multi-thousand dollar speaker can bring you closer to your music and movies. If you can afford them, great! But if you can't, it's not the end of the line. A more than decent system can be built around five mid-priced speakers, like the Polk LSi-9 ($500/ea), plus a good sub. But <i>really</i> inexpensive speakers? Well, that's always been a big challenge &ndash; until now that is.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 22, 2007 Published: Feb 22, 2007 0 comments
Tubular chic meets comforting conformism.

KEF's KHT5005.2 speaker system and Onkyo's TX-SR674 surround receiver are an odd couple. The KEF speakers are slim, tubular, and chic, the latest thing in décor-friendly sub/sat sets. And the Onkyo receiver? It couldn't be more conventional, conservative, even conformist. It's a plain black box with a very good features set for the price. But could it be that the two complement one another? Could this, in fact, turn into a long-term relationship?

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