Loudspeakers

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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.

Ed Selley  |  Oct 01, 2014  |  0 comments

The public perception of a brand is a curious thing. JBL is one of the most venerable outfits in the market and has an extensive range, including lush high-end models such as the Everest flagship. Yet in the UK it has a rather low profile, one that is largely influenced by its compact speakers and desktop audio biz.

Danny Phillips  |  Sep 21, 2014  |  0 comments

Monitor Audio is a revered name in audio circles but if you’re yet to sample its wares then this newly-buffed Silver series is a superb starting place. Sandwiched between the Gold and Bronze ranges, it marks the point where you start getting a proper high-end performance without having to remortgage. 

Danny Phillips  |  Aug 21, 2014  |  0 comments

‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ goes the saying, but no-one told Tannoy. Its affordable Mercury V speaker system blew my socks off back in 2012, but that hasn’t stopped the company tinkering with the fifth-generation blueprint in a bid to further pimp up its performance. The result of this tweakage is the Mercury Vi system (not 'six'), which boasts a number of significant component and tuning upgrades but retains the same wallet-friendly prices as the original range.

Adam Rayner  |  Aug 13, 2014  |  0 comments

The 600 Series has been part of B&W's speaker lineup for many years now, offering movie fans a first step on the brand's floorstanding ladder below the CM Series and the 800 Series Diamond. In that regard it could be classed as 'entry-level', if it wasn't for both the price demanded and the technology used.

Adrian Justins  |  Jul 14, 2014  |  0 comments

Bang & Olufsen's BeoLab 17 is the first speaker in the world that meets the WiSA standard for wireless audio. Decoded sound up to 24-bit/48kHz (WiSA is capable of 96kHz, but 48kHz is imposed for signal robustness) is transmitted to each active speaker. 

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