TOWER SPEAKER REVIEWS

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Steven Stone  |  Oct 02, 2005  |  2 comments

When I reviewed the Genesis 6.1 speaker system I liked it so much I still use it as my reference in my upstairs home theater system. Now Genesis has a new, smaller speaker called the Genesis 7.1c that shares much of the G6.1's technology—and a level of performance that can equal its more expensive sibling in most conventional home theater situations, and in some environments even better it.

Chris Lewis  |  Sep 30, 2005  |  0 comments
Infinity comes through again.

When it comes to expectations, setting the bar high can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you can't establish credibility or customer loyalty without coming through time and time again. On the other hand, the higher you set the bar, the easier it is to go down rather than up. Infinity quickly comes to my mind as one of the companies that isn't afraid of this challenge, whether it be with a $500 speaker or a $5,000 speaker. No reviewer can ever predict how tuned his ear will be to a particular set of speakers, or even a brand. However, with Infinity, you can count on getting a well-designed, well-built speaker from a company that has the right priorities in mind. Some speaker manufacturers get it, and some don't. Infinity is clearly one that does.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 14, 2005  |  0 comments

Who do you think benefits most from corporate investments in technological research and development: so-called "early adopters" or average consumers? After I reviewed Infinity's top-of-the-line, high-performance Prelude MTS speakers a few years ago for <I>Stereophile</I> (Joel Brinkley reviewed the 5.1 version in <I>The Stereophile Guide to Home Theater</I>), I would have concluded "early adopters." But after spending a few months with the relatively inexpensive Beta ensemble, which is based on the driver technology developed for the Prelude MTS, I think mainstream consumers gain the most and they get it at near Wal-Mart prices.

Steve Guttenberg  |  Jul 20, 2005  |  0 comments
Big ambitions.

Boston Acoustics has been perfecting the art of speaker design for 26 years, so I guess they're ready to try something new. For 2005, the company set their sights on the fiercely competitive A/V-receiver market and released a classically handsome, custom-installer-savvy contender, the AVR7120. To keep it all in the family, I checked out the receiver with a contingent of Boston VR Series speakers.

Steven Stone  |  Jun 19, 2005  |  First Published: Jun 20, 2005  |  0 comments

The modern world revolves around easy. Look at the home-theater-in-a-box products. Consumers only need to make one shopping decision to purchase an entire home theater sound system. Unfortunately, they still need to set up the speakers and connect everything together.

Chris Lewis  |  Jun 16, 2005  |  0 comments
Klipsch and Yamaha show that not every Spotlight System requires a second mortgage.

So far, we may have given you the false impression that the pages of this new column were going to be dedicated almost exclusively to the rarified air of the high end. After all, there has only been one installment so far that rang in under five figures, and last month's MiCon Audio system seriously blew the curve with a price tag roughly equivalent to that of a decent house in some parts of the country. Little did you know it was all part of an ingenious plan to build momentum for the column with flashy, big-ticket systems before settling in to the meat and potatoes of the A/V world—i.e., the systems the rest of us can afford. This month's Klipsch/ Yamaha combo is just such a system. Sure, it's not something you'll be able to buy with the change you find in your sofa, but it is certainly more attainable to a broader range of people than the MiCon Audios of the world are.

Roger Maycock  |  May 01, 2005  |  First Published: May 17, 2005  |  0 comments
Attention to detail makes all the difference.

Although they're best known as a loudspeaker manufacturer for the audio enthusiast, Dynaudio also has a commanding presence in professional audio. Their Dynaudio Acoustics subsidiary is highly regarded by many people in leading recording studios. It is in these circles where I first came to know and gain an appreciation for the brand.

Chris Lewis  |  May 01, 2005  |  First Published: May 17, 2005  |  0 comments
Turn on, tune in, strap down. I was standing in an area of last year's Home Entertainment Show in New York that had no demonstration rooms anywhere nearby. It started with a boom and a rumble, like the gathering of a distant but powerful storm. It wasn't enough to shake me yet, but it was enough to grab my attention. Then came another boom, another rumble, and enough curiosity that I felt compelled to find a tactful way out of my conversation and make my way toward this growing intensity. Not only could I feel the floor moving under my feet as I got closer, but I even started to believe I was seeing Sheetrock flakes on the floor, steadily gathering into a distinct trail. Soon enough, the rattling of the walls, the low-frequency energy waves hammering my senses, and the shaken but excited looks of people coming the other way told me I had arrived. MiCon Audio, the door announced. Curious, I thought—or tried to think, before another sortie ripped out from inside—and a belief that the door might literally be blown off its hinges began to monopolize my thoughts. Finally, the door opened, and the answer to all of the riddles awaited me inside—but, for that, you'll have to read on.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 24, 2005  |  0 comments

<I>TJN takes a look (and listen) at a system consisting of four recently reviewed products: the Revel Performa F32 speaker system, the Sony STR-DA9000ES A/V receiver, the Marantz DV8400 DVD player, and the Sony VPL-HS51 video projector.</I>

Steve Guttenberg  |  Apr 17, 2005  |  0 comments
Synergistic sounds.

This review brings together two brands that are special to me: Harman/Kardon and Paradigm. When I was a teenager, I bought a Harman receiver with the money I earned running deliveries for the local supermarket. You know how that is: Nothing ever gets close to the thrill of the first one. I wore out several LP copies of Sgt. Pepper and Led Zeppelin II over that 15-watt-per-channel receiver. Much, much later, in the late '90s, I reviewed a set of Paradigm Atoms. Those little speakers sounded surprisingly huge, and, even more importantly, they were a lot of fun. The Atoms lingered in my listening room long after I finished the review, and that's probably the best indication of what separates good speakers from great speakers. For this back-to-the-future review, I paired Harman's DPR 1005 Digital Path Receiver with Paradigm's newly revised Monitor Series v.4 speakers. Looks like a good combination, but let's see.

John J. Gannon  |  Mar 05, 2005  |  0 comments

Until recently, the home-theater speaker market seemed a calm, beautiful little pond&mdash;from nearly any vantage point, you could see all 200-plus speaker makers with their mostly predictable offerings. Products dropped in and out with minor ripples, and occasionally one stirs up a bigger wave. But seldom do things change so much that this placid pond can suddenly seem like a wide open sea of crashing waves, churning tides, and violent storms.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 20, 2005  |  0 comments

Focal-JMlab has been manufacturing speaker drivers and systems from its home base in Saint-Etienne, France, since 1980. They first became known to audiophiles in the US for their range of Focal drive units, particularly their inverted-dome tweeters. The latter were used by a number of makers of speaker systems. One of them, Wilson Audio Specialties, has likely been Focal's most loyal customer over the years, having used various Focal drivers in most of its models since the original Wilson Audio Tiny Tot, aka the WATT, was produced in the mid-1980s.

Jerry Kindela  |  Feb 15, 2005  |  0 comments
The thrill of exotics.

The Radia Series speaker system is the latest development from what can be considered a seriously thick branch in the speaker-manufacturing tree. You may not be too familiar with the Bohlender-Graebener name; but, when it comes to hybrid planar magnetic driver technology, the name isn't uttered without a good deal of respect.

Chris Lewis  |  Feb 15, 2005  |  0 comments
Good sound made easy by Lexicon and Canton.

In case you didn't believe we were serious about dedicating more of our pages to the overriding reality of home theater—the necessity of individual components coming together to form a cohesive system—we offer exhibit B, our new Spotlight System review. Exhibit A, for those keeping score, is our Hook Me Up column: Sometimes it includes reviews, and sometimes it doesn't, but it always keeps an eye on system issues, especially connections. This new column contains all of the elements of a standard gear review, with the notable exception of being focused on a system, rather than individual components.

Michael Trei  |  Jan 18, 2005  |  First Published: Jan 19, 2005  |  0 comments
Can more really give you more?

I've always been a sucker for simplicity. Whether it's the functional beauty of a Mies van der Rohe building or a diesel-engine Mercedes-Benz with a manual-shift transmission, the "less is more" concept has always made sense to me. Unnecessary complexity often does little more than dilute a design's original functionality. This way of thinking has also been used in high-end hi-fi design, with some designers on the tweakier fringe embracing concepts like ultra-simple single-ended tube amplifiers and single-driver loudspeakers. Simple designs like these often have a straightforward clarity to their sound; each time you introduce new elements in order to make something play louder, higher, or deeper, you risk losing some of that clarity in the process.

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