Bookshelf Speaker Reviews

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Brent Butterworth  |  Mar 26, 2013  |  0 comments

The Marimba ($349/pr) is the first speaker ever offered under the Music Hall brand, known for affordable turntables and audiophile electronics. Clearly, the sound was the focus; the Marimba's black ash vinyl wrap finish won't win any design awards. The 1-inch silk-dome tweeter and 5.25-inch, polypropylene-cone woofer are mounted in a rear-ported, 11-inch-high cabinet.

Brent Butterworth  |  Mar 26, 2013  |  0 comments

“Really?” I blurted out loud when I opened the RTiA1’s box to find a substantial, beautifully made minispeaker with curved sides and a higher level of fit’n’finish than that found on any of the other speakers in this group (the Monitor Bronze BX1 perhaps excepted). I even double-checked the price, doubting that Polk could sell such a nice-looking speaker for less than $400 a pair, especially $325 a pair (or even less online).

Brent Butterworth  |  Mar 26, 2013  |  0 comments
The Monitor series of speakers from Paradigm is now in its seventh generation. It's always been the company's most affordable line, but it's always been designed in the same no-nonsense, engineering-focused style as the company's other speakers. The Atom Monitor 7 ($398/pr) is no exception.
Brent Butterworth  |  Mar 26, 2013  |  3 comments

For decades, the minispeaker has been a touchstone for audio enthusiasts. Because you can get a respectable pair of minis for a few hundred dollars, the mini is where most audiophiles start their journey into sound.

Brent Butterworth  |  Apr 09, 2013  |  0 comments

The Motion 15 is in my listening room partly because I've wanted to hear it ever since I first saw it about a year ago, and partly because I mistakenly ordered it for our massive "Clash of the Minispeakers" test.

Daniel Kumin  |  Jun 06, 2013  |  2 comments

Physicists have long postulated that an ideal sound reproducer would behave as a pulsating sphere. Ever since, the wish being father to the thought, speaker designers have been cramming transducers into balls, as if making the cabinet round would somehow magically make the sound spherical.

Brent Butterworth  |  Jul 03, 2013  |  1 comments

In my career as a reviewer, I've always focused totally on home and portable products, because other speaker categories seemed so different and I figured I couldn't be good at everything.

Jim Wilson  |  Jun 08, 2023  |  2 comments

Motion Speakers
Performance
Build Quality
Value
BalancedForce 210 Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $9,194 (as tested)
Motion F20 $1,749 (each)
Motion C10 $999 (each)
MotionB10 $599 (each)
BalancedForce 210 $3,499

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Incredible mids and highs
Elegant appearance
Exceptional build quality

Minus
Not inexpensive
Perfect Bass Kit not included with sub
MAP (Manufacturers Advertised Pricing) enforced

THE VERDICT
MartinLogan blends exquisite detail with razor-sharp imaging and rich bass, then combines those elements into stylish enclosures. The Motion speakers and BalancedForce subwoofer provide a very compelling option for the serious audiophile.

MartinLogan, you know the name. They've been around since 1983 so pretty much everyone has heard of them. Renowned for its statement electrostatic speakers, the company also offers a full line of traditional cabinet speakers, subwoofers, wireless systems, architectural speakers, soundbars, even discrete outdoor systems.

Howard Kneller  |  Sep 27, 2023  |  5 comments

MTM-100 Speakers
Performance
Build Quality
Ergonomics
Value

8-inch THX-Certified Sub
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $500/pair (speaker), $350 (subwoofer)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Delivers high value
Subwoofer output allows expandability
EQ permits tailored sound
Sub is THX certified
Minus
Lacks HDMI ARC for wired TV sound
Large cabinets may overwhelm small spaces

THE VERDICT
A value priced, but stylish satellite/sub combo that forgoes the snobbish brand name to deliver high performance.

Tom Norton  |  Oct 10, 2023  |  3 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $5,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Strong and clear sound
Excellent imaging
Made in France

Minus
Best with a subwoofer for action films
2-way center speaker

THE VERDICT
Unless it happened in the long forgotten, misty days of my earliest reviews, I can't recall ever before reviewing a Focal loudspeaker. But years ago, I did visit the Focal factory in France and was impressed by the company's forward, creative thinking. That remains true today, as the new Focal Vestia lineup clearly demonstrates.

Focal is a long-established, high-end French loudspeaker manufacturer that invests heavily in R&D to stay ahead of its competitors. While its flagship models have always commanded nosebleed prices, the new Focal Vestia line (three floorstanders, a bookshelf model, and the Vestia Center) tops out at $4400/pair in the U.S. for the Vestia No.4. Not exactly white van prices, but more than competitive in the international loudspeaker market.

Mark Henninger  |  Oct 31, 2023  |  0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE: $449

AT A GLANCE

Plus
Stereo sound from dual tweeters
Battery life up to 24 hours
Support for wired audio sources
Upgraded Wireless Charging Base
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities
Minus
Stereo soundstage is limited
Cannot be paired with Sonos subwoofer
Proprietary USB-C Line-In Adapter not included in box

THE VERDICT
With long battery life, a robust build, powerful bass, and superior connectivity options, the Move 2 is a compelling upgrade that's ready for both indoor and outdoor use. While it might be on the pricier side, for the quality and features offered, it’s an investment that delivers.

Sonos, a brand synonymous with wireless multi-room audio, unveils its latest: the Sonos Move 2. This speaker is not just a sequel but a significant upgrade from its predecessor.

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