Loudspeakers

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Adam Rayner  |  Apr 11, 2016  |  0 comments
In 1961, Raymond Cooke took over the Nissen hut used by wartime company Kent Engineering & Foundry in Maidstone and started to produce loudspeakers that were branded KEF. And the rest, as they say, is history – the company has become an industry stalwart and the visionary speaker designer’s awesome body of work has been imitated by others.
Danny Phillips  |  Dec 11, 2015  |  0 comments

Pico is a scaled-down version of DALI’s impressive Zensor 1 standmount, cramming the same driver technology into a box that’s around 30 per cent smaller. With its dinky dimensions and attractive design, it could be a good bet if you want to squeeze a full 5.1 system into a small or medium-sized living room.

Adam Rayner  |  Oct 05, 2015  |  0 comments

Monitor Audio’s new Gold series is both big and clever. With voluminous cabinets showcasing ten years of evolution, it continues to uphold the brand's reputation as one of the true greats in British loudspeaker manufacturing.

Ed Selley  |  Aug 30, 2015  |  0 comments

British speaker marque Acoustic Energy may be famed for the potent AE1 standmount stereo speaker that put it on the map, but it is keen on multichannel audio too, consistently producing subwoofers and centre channels for its various ranges. The 1-Series is its newest – and most affordable – arrival.

Danny Phillips  |  Aug 18, 2015  |  0 comments

Some speaker brands start by creating expensive high-end models and then work their way down, but Q Acoustics ploughs its resources into the affordable end of the market. This approach has proved successful, with models offering great design and performance for the money.

Ed Selley  |  Jul 20, 2015  |  0 comments

Putting speakers on or in a ceiling for a Dolby Atmos system isn't an option for everyone, so speaker manufacturers have risen to Dolby's challenge with upfiring models to create that all important height info. So far, these have come in the shape of add-on modules. First to market with an integrated Atmos-capable design is Pioneer with its new S series models.

Adrian Justins  |  Jun 16, 2015  |  0 comments

When it comes to wireless audio streaming Sonos sets the benchmark. The company has been the top multiroom dog for over a decade thanks to its consistently good products and ease of use. But there are some aspects of the Sonos system that warrant improvement, including a lack of DLNA support.

Adrian Justins  |  Jun 08, 2015  |  0 comments

Pure’s Jongo system is similar to Samsung’s Shape in that it features both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but the latter is restricted to single-speaker streaming by Samsung, whereas Pure’s so-called Caskeid Bluetooth can help create a multiroom wireless network. Caskeid is not aptX standard but Pure claims that it does offer the lowest latency of any multiroom system. Arguably of more importance is that without Bluetooth you wouldn’t be able to stream from subscription services such as Spotify, Deezer and Google Play. You would, of course, be able to access Pure’s own online subscription service called Pure Connect, plus music stored on the playback device (tablet or smartphone)and DLNA-connected devices.

Adrian Justins  |  Jun 02, 2015  |  0 comments

Bose is a relative newcomer to the multiroom lark, but as ever it likes to do things a little differently. Its SoundTouch range uses bog-standard 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi to operate but it manages to be simultaneously more versatile and less convenient than the likes of Sonos and Pure. More versatile in that its speakers have handy (and rather impressive) OLED display windows and physical remote controls to complement the smartphone and desktop apps, but less convenient in that its range of online streaming services is pitifully small.

Adrian Justins  |  May 28, 2015  |  0 comments

The WAM750, or M7 to give it its stage name, is one of Samsung’s Shape range, powered by Qualcomm’s AllPlay Wi-Fi platform. It can also receive tunes over Bluetooth and has an NFC button which allows your mates to instantly subject you to their favourite tunes stored on their NFC- equipped smartphones. But Bluetooth can’t be used to send audio to other M7s (or the smaller M3 and M5 speakers for that matter) located around the house; only Wi-Fi can.

Adrian Justins  |  May 23, 2015  |  0 comments

Audio Pro takes the rather unfashionable decision and eschews Wi-Fi for its Living Series of multiroom stereo speakers in favour of a dedicated proprietary protocol RF network. It’s by no means an antediluvian approach, as RF has distinct benefits including a maximum (line of sight) wireless range of around 100m, although this is reduced to around 20m from one room to another because of physical barriers such as walls, sofas, large pets, etc.

Danny Phillips  |  May 09, 2015  |  0 comments

Having recently scooped our Best Compact Speaker Package of the Year for its brilliant R90HT1 sub/sat system, Monitor Audio is on a bit of a roll, and now the UK brand has launched an updated version that substitutes the Radius 390 sub for the bigger and beefier Silver W12, and introduces the Radius 270 floorstanders on front L/R duty.

Ed Selley  |  May 05, 2015  |  0 comments

Let us for a minute consider the thorny issue of ‘style’ – the indefinable quality of a product beyond the more understandable virtues of performance, build and features. In the UK, much AV gear tends toward form following function, and while this can result in stylish things, it's often a by-product rather than the intention.

Danny Phillips  |  Jan 06, 2015  |  0 comments

US brand Polk Audio attacks the UK compact speaker market with the TL1600, an affordable 5.1 pack bristling with innovation. In the box are four bijou TL1 satellites that stand just 165mm high, plus a horizontally aligned centre speaker and a cute, cubed sub. The satellites’ gloss finish and curved enclosures catch the eye, whereas as many sub/sat rivals in this market are resolutely boxy. And note that the non-parallel construction serves an acoustic purpose in reducing internal resonances.

Danny Phillips  |  Nov 20, 2014  |  0 comments

Like Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit, Dynaudio’s latest Excite speaker range is on a quest. In this case, to unite the armies of high-end and budget audio buyers to defeat the dragon of bad sound quality. These speakers are designed to sound great with any partnering kit, from entry-level amps right up to reference gear.

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