TOWER SPEAKER REVIEWS

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 02, 2014  |  0 comments

Performa3 F208 Speaker System
Performance
Build Quality
Value

B112 Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $13,300 (with stands)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Superb overall performance
Impeccable fit and finish
Effective subwoofer EQ
Minus
Complex subwoofer EQ setup

THE VERDICT
While not inexpensive, the Performa3s can challenge anything out there on either music or movies, and likely come out in front.

Has it really been six years since I last reviewed a Revel speaker system? It has. That system, anchored at the front by the Ultima2 Studio2s, is still available—but combined with a five-star dinner for two, it will cost you around $40,000. Although I imagine its sales have met expectations, I suspect that system isn’t exactly flying out the doors at Fred’s High-Ende Audio Shoppe.

Fred Manteghian  |  May 26, 2009  |  0 comments

Performance
Value
Build Quality
Price: $45,993 (reviewed with B15a subwoofer, which has been discontinued)
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.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 21, 2007  |  0 comments

The Revel Ultima series has survived for an unusually long time in the competitive loudspeaker market. I reviewed a Revel Ultima home theater package built around the stand-mounted <A HREF="http://ultimateavmag.com/speakersystems/44/">Ultima Gem</A> way back in 1998. When a line of speakers can remain a fixture in the audio world for so long, largely unchanged, it's a reflection on its solid performance out of the gate.

Fred Manteghian  |  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.

Daniel Kumin  |  Mar 16, 2011  |  0 comments
Definitive Technology’s BP-8060ST is the next-to-top model in its new generation of “Power-towers,” a genre the firm popularized nearly 2 decades ago and has now promoted to “SuperTower.”

This design combines a conventional passive tower loudspeaker with an active subwoofer built into the same enclosure, so there’s no bulky outboard sub required.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Dec 05, 2011  |  0 comments

“This is the worst listening room I’ve ever heard,” Magnepan’s Wendell Diller said, half joking. It might have been less than half.

Honestly, I couldn’t disagree. We were sitting in my office, facing my computer and a newly setup Mini Maggie system. I don’t review speakers in my office, for good reason. It’s basically a cube with mostly bare walls: one of the worst acoustic environments possible.

And with any speaker — especially a planar magnetic speaker — the room is a huge part of the deal. So began my quest for a better room, better sound, and the perfect setup.

Brent Butterworth  |  Oct 19, 2011  |  0 comments

“But is it a real MartinLogan?” I wondered to myself as I read the press release for the ElectroMotion ESL tower speaker that had come through my e-mail.

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  |  Sep 02, 2002  |  0 comments

All survivors of the classic audiophile disease of upgrade-itis can rattle off one or more components they wish they'd held on to. Easy enough to do in hindsight; at the time, we needed the dough to climb the next rung on the ladder to audio nirvana. I can name half a dozen products I'd like to still have around, if only for their nostalgia value. But I suspect that the Snell Type A loudspeakers, which I owned (in their improved versions) from 1978 to1985, would do more than awaken memories of the "good old days." They were genuinely fine speakers that would still be competitive today.

Steve Guttenberg  |  Apr 23, 2007  |  First 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.

Michael Fremer  |  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.

Daniel Kumin  |  Oct 02, 2015  |  0 comments
Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $3,447 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Very honest, very capable reproduction
Unusual, and unusually attractive, cosmetics
Excellent center-channel off-axis consistency
Minus
Ever so slightly warm balance may not please more analytical listeners

THE VERDICT
Wide-range towers and solid tonal matching make for a system that will fulfill many, even without a subwoofer.

Italian technology doesn’t get a lot of respect. (There’s a version of the old joke where in heaven the police are British, the cooks French, and the engineers German; in hell the police are German, the cooks British, and the engineers— you guessed it—Italian.) But think only of Ferrari. Or Lamborghini. Better still, think of supercar maker Pagani, for which today’s examinee, Sonus Faber, provides premium audio systems.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 15, 2003  |  0 comments

Visit the Sonus Faber website and you're given the softest of soft sells. The home page has birds flying lazily overhead while wheat sways gently in the breeze. Quiet classical music hums in the background. Click in the right place and you might find a few words about products, but you won't learn that Sonus Faber is the best-known Italian speaker manufacturer west of . . . Cremona.

Steve Guttenberg  |  Jan 11, 2006  |  0 comments
Body and soul.

I don't think I've ever before referred to a speaker as "sexy," but Sonus faber's new Domus line is definitely hot stuff. Yeah baby, the Domus Series' enticing curves—sheathed in supple black leatherette, poised on spiked feet—will get audiophiles all hot and bothered. That's because they make for pretty sexy sound, too.

Michael Fremer  |  May 03, 2002  |  0 comments

John Lennon's line in "Come Together"&mdash;"Got to be good-looking 'cause he's so hard to see"&mdash;sums up the sleek, shapely appearance of Sonus Faber's new Grand Piano Home L/R speaker. With its warm, leatherette-wrapped front and rear baffles and sculpted black-lacquer-like side cheeks, the gently sloping design exudes European elegance even as it seems to disappear under its own good looks.

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