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Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 19, 2010  |  4 comments

Scandinavian design is often highly unusual. Case in point—the Helsinki 1.5 speaker from Finnish Gradient, which made the cover of the August 2010 issue of Stereophile.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 16, 2010  |  3 comments

Over a year ago, I profiled the amazing 101 X-treme speaker system from MBL. If you don't have a quarter-million dollars or a floor capable of supporting its 3600-pound bulk, consider the newly refined 101E Mk II.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 15, 2010  |  3 comments
With his magical hammer Mjöllnir, the Norse god Thor is said to have produced thunder. So there is no more appropriate name than Thor's Hammer for the ultimate subwoofer from Wilson Audio. In fact, this monster might have put Thor himself to shame, since it can reproduce frequencies even lower than natural thunder.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 13, 2010  |  3 comments

Everyone knows that subwoofers are an essential part of just about any home theater in order to rattle your bones with explosions, rocket launches, and dinosaur roars. But they must also be capable of reproducing—and differentiating—the lowest musical notes in the movie's score. Among the most well-regarded practitioners of both tasks is JL Audio, especially its flagship Gotham g213.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 12, 2010  |  3 comments

Founded in 2005, Utah-based Red Dragon Audio is dedicated to class-D power-amp technology. It's flagship product is the Leviathan Signature monoblock, which is designed to look—and feel—as good as it sounds.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 08, 2010  |  6 comments

As I've written many times, the Ultimate Gear blog is intended to cover A/V products that embody extreme performance, design, and/or price. The 2010 ES line of A/V receivers from Sony—which were unveiled last week at a press event in Beverly Hills, California—might not fit any of these criteria, but they include so many unique and highly useful features that I decided I could legitimately cover them here.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 07, 2010  |  1 comments

Audiophiles know well the name Wadia Digital, a Michigan-based company that has been making high-quality digital-audio products for over 20 years. Now, Wadia has teamed up with California-based Qsonix to create the Q205 high-end music server, which joins the Q210 in the company's new Q2 series.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 30, 2010  |  First Published: Jul 01, 2010  |  5 comments

Omnidirectional speakers are nothing new, though there are many variations. For example, Italian maker Bolzano Villetri has taken an interesting approach with its Campanile series, which includes floorstanders, a center-channel speaker, and a subwoofer to outfit a complete home theater.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 28, 2010  |  1 comments

In my never-ending quest for audio and video products with the highest possible performance, style, and/or price, I came across the AN-E/Sogon from British maker Audio Note and distributed in the US by Audio Federation. According to The Most-Expensive Journal, it's the most expensive 2-way speaker in the world.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 21, 2010  |  2 comments

It seems I spoke too soon. Last week, I profiled the <A href=" Note Gaku-On monoblock</A>, calling it the most expensive power amp I know of on a per-watt basis, which was a true statement at the time. But as soon as I posted that profile, Cornelia Davis of <A href="">Audio Federation</A> informed me of another tube-based monoblock that, watt for watt, costs even more&#151;the ML3 Signature from Brooklyn-based <A href="">Lamm Industries</A>.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 18, 2010  |  5 comments

Filmmakers and musicians spend countless hours tweaking their images and sound to perfection. But when their masterworks are played on home A/V systems, that carefully crafted music might sound nothing like it did in the studio, and that hot video might look lukewarm on the average flat-panel monitor.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 15, 2010  |  0 comments

When you consider the price of a power amp, it's interesting to calculate the cost per watt. In that light, the Gaku-On monoblock from British maker <A href="">Audio Note</A> and distributed in the US by <A href="">Audio Federation</A> is the most expensive power amp I know of.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 14, 2010  |  1 comments

I'm constantly amazed at the number and variety of super-high-end speakers out there. Among the many manufacturers I'd never heard of before is <A href="">Marten</A>, a Swedish maker whose flagship is the magnificent Coltrane Supreme.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 08, 2010  |  3 comments

Is the NL Reference from Florida-based <A href="">Edge Electronics</A> just another high-power, high-priced monoblock power amp? I think not.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 07, 2010  |  4 comments

Of all the various types of audio and video products, speakers seem to offer the most potential for design variation. Case in point&#151;the Magic Flute from Swedish maker <A href="">SWSpeakers</A>.