Loudspeakers

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Danny Phillips  |  Jul 09, 2014  |  0 comments

Monitor Audio’s Radius range has already proved a firm favourite thanks to its living room-friendly looks and spine-tingling sound quality. Yet the British brand isn’t resting on its laurels, recently updating the product stable with a crop of new designs. This 5.1 package brings together some of these new additions, including a reboot of the Radius 90 compact speaker (here on front and surround duties) and the brand-new Radius 200 centre speaker. Providing the low-end grunt is the Radius 390, the pricier of two freshly-minted subwoofers. Monitor Audio has styled every speaker in this system with effortless panache. The gleaming gloss-white finish that adorns our sample is pure disco, but the swanky black version is equally dapper.  Each speaker is a solid, impenetrable box with no joins or seams aside from the grooved HiVe II port on the back, which appears for the first time on the Radius range. This, says Monitor Audio, accelerates the flow of air and reduces turbulence for a more dynamic bass response, having the same effect on airflow as a gun barrel on a bullet.

Danny Phillips  |  Jun 22, 2014  |  0 comments

Insane high-end speakers carved from pure unicorn horn by Apollo himself are all well and good if you can afford them, but what about mere mortals with only a meagre budget to play with? Don’t they deserve spectacular sound quality, too?

Mark Craven  |  Jun 02, 2014  |  0 comments

Artcoustic is well known for its living room-friendly on-wall speakers that can be specified with custom grilles to match your room's décor – indeed, you could argue it's perhaps too well-known for them. There's a temptation to see any company with products that wouldn't look out of place in an interior design mag (especially with a name like Artcoustic) as, well, not a proper home cinema player. Yet that couldn't be further from the truth.

Adam Rayner  |  May 02, 2014  |  0 comments

Here’s a deliciously odd one – a subwoofer designed to be mounted on a wall. A 'lifestyle product', I would bet my life that REL's original designer Richard E Lord would never have designed this. However, it is with pleasure that I can suggest that, had he been asked to approve the performance of the Habitat 1, he would have done so.

Danny Phillips  |  Apr 07, 2014  |  0 comments

Compact speaker systems can be real problem-solvers in small rooms thanks to their size and cosmetic appeal, but their inherent lack of cabinet volume means they’re not always the most commanding performers.

Danny Phillips  |  Mar 29, 2014  |  0 comments

While Danish brand DALI offers a varied speaker range across the worlds of home cinema and hi-fi, its products share design characteristics at all price points. The most obvious is the use of wood fibre drivers – which differ from more conventional paper cones thanks to the employment of longer untreated fibres in their composition to add to the overall strength – in different sizes with varying degrees of sophistication in all DALI lines. These are then partnered with a soft dome tweeter, sometimes augmented by a ribbon unit as well.

Adrian Justins  |  Mar 08, 2014  |  0 comments

Sonos has been one of the top dogs in wireless audio for some time, where its stylish Play:3 and Play:5 speakers lend themselves perfectly to multiroom use. The beauty of Sonos’s proprietary system is that you can have as many speakers as you like running simultaneously and are restricted only by the range and bandwidth of your network. Being able to pick and choose at random where you want to listen to music stored on a computer, smartphone or tablet is liberating.

Danny Philips  |  Jan 24, 2014  |  0 comments

Cambridge Audio is probably best known at the moment for its popular Minx compact speaker range, which uses Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) drivers to generate a large soundstage that belies their diddy dimensions, and the success of BMRs inside the Minx models has led the boffins at Cambridge Audio’s London research centre to ponder how they could be implemented inside bigger speakers. The result is Aero, a range of four new designs that combine BMR drivers with conventional cone diaphragms.

Adam Rayner  |  Nov 30, 2013  |  0 comments

Regular readers will know that as well as home cinema, I also have a passion for automotive audio and cars in general. In that field, while many admire the exotic Italian offerings from the likes of Lamborghini and Ferrari, there's a similar passion for the German marques. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche – all are praised for their sheer engineering innovation. And if these speakers are anything to go by, the same national stereotypes could apply equally to home cinema. Quadral may not be as desirable a brand as, say, Italy's Zingali, but I like its attitude. It makes well-built speakers with some neat technical tricks.

Ed Selley  |  Nov 15, 2013  |  0 comments

Of all of the big British speaker brands still in existence, Tannoy is perhaps the most unusual. In effect there are two Tannoys; the first produces capable and attractive budget and lifestyle speakers that are relatively conventional in design and appearance; the other produces speakers that are built around the premise of large, highly sensitive speakers that make use of the company’s long-standing dual concentric system, where the tweeter is placed inside the axis of the main driver. Many of these speakers – the Prestige range in general – might look like they’ve dropped through a hole in time from 1959 but they are capable of great things.  Where things get interesting is where these two ranges meet. The Definition lineup has already featured in Home Cinema Choice and those large, elegant speakers left a very positive impression. Now Tannoy has taken some of the elements of the Definition range and created the smaller Precision series. Like the Definitions, the Precisions are a halfway house between the visually elegant side of Tannoy and the classic, high-sensitive designs of old. 

Danny Phillips  |  Sep 09, 2013  |  0 comments

It’s 1981 and the dying embers of disco are still burning the nation’s dancefloors, Diana Spencer is about to marry our future king, and British audio brand Wharfedale unveils its very first Diamond speaker – the progenitor of the 5.1 system you see before you.

Adrian Justins  |  Aug 20, 2013  |  0 comments

Loewe's new 3D Orchestra IS speaker system sees the high-end German brand trying to tackle the 'problem' of integrating authentic 5.1 audio into a regular living space. And, reviewed here alongside the company's new Individual 55 Slim Frame LED TV, the results are somewhat mixed...

Adrian Justins  |  Aug 17, 2013  |  0 comments

My desktop computer costs over £1,000 (yes, I’m one of the mugs who can’t break out of Apple’s clutches) and has superb picture quality. It’s good enough to watch hi-def movies from Netflix and programmes from BBC iPlayer, and I’m not averse to enjoying the odd tune or two whilst I bash away at the keyboard. But my iMac, like most computers, has sonics that are weedier than a wild meadow. Therefore, investing in a decent set of desktop speakers is essential for transforming your aural enjoyment for those times when you’re stuck in (or have escaped to) the study.

Adam Rayner  |  Aug 09, 2013  |  0 comments

One glorious Easter some years back, I got a knock at the door and a parcel was delivered. It was a cool bit of packaging, with the shattered remains of what had once been a chocolate Easter egg, in the shape of KEF’s latest ‘egg’ speaker, inside. As a PR stunt, it had failed utterly. Yet I still ate the chocolate, and my interest was tickled enough to make sure I tracked the KEF system down at the next show I went to.

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