Loudspeakers

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Adam Rayner  |  Jan 09, 2013  |  0 comments

I was fortunate enough to audition Bowers & Wilkins’ first PV1 subwoofer and M-1 Mini Theatre speakers. At the time, my lad was just a boy (now he is man-sized) and even he said, ‘Dad, they’re just clearer than the others,’ as they wiped the floor with their assembled rivals.

Danny Philips  |  Oct 23, 2012  |  0 comments

From the country that brought us mythical beasts like the Minotaur comes a speaker system that’s something of a titan itself. Athens-based Crystal Acoustics has unleashed the T2-5.2-UL, a THX Ultra2-certified speaker system with floorstanding fronts, dipole rears and not one but two subwoofers. And all for under £2,000.

Danny Phillips  |  Sep 24, 2012  |  0 comments

Wharfedale is an elder statesman of the audio world, with decades’ worth of expertise to plough into its hi-fi and home cinema kit. The latest recipient of its sonic wisdom is the DX-1 HCP, a compact 5.1 speaker system priced to lure the budget buyer – hopefully without compromising on sound quality.

Adam Rayner  |  Sep 02, 2012  |  0 comments

Long-term readers will know I have talked about my love of speaker designers - as a gently bonkers breed all of their own - before. For instance, I’ve witnessed engineers almost come to blows during arguments about tweeters. You have to be deeply passionate about your job to get to that level.

Mark Craven  |  Aug 07, 2012  |  0 comments

There are reasons to buy active bookshelf speakers over an iPod/Bluetooth dock. What you lose in portability and convenience is immediately gained in true performance. The A2s from Paradigm Shift are a case in point – their cabinet size affords space for both a 5.5in woofer and 1in tweeter, and you can position them to get a real stereo spread.

Danny Phillips  |  Aug 04, 2012  |  0 comments

MartinLogan is famous for creating speakers that blend electrostatic panels with traditional bass drivers, an approach it’s been perfecting since the 1980s. With most brands opting for conventional cone-based designs, it’s ploughing a lone furrow with this tech, but reckons the results are better than anything else available.

Adam Rayner  |  Jul 19, 2012  |  0 comments

Sometimes I have so much fun reviewing loudspeakers and cinema systems that I actually get guilt attacks. This review, of the third iteration of Focal’s Viva Utopia, was one of those occasions...

Danny Phillips  |  Jul 14, 2012  |  0 comments

Anyone who’s seen Rocky 5 or A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child can attest that the fifth in a series rarely lives up to the original. But hopefully Mercury V – the fifth generation of Tannoy’s budget hi-fi and AV speaker series – won’t fall into that trap.

Adam Rayner  |  Jun 28, 2012  |  0 comments

I don’t know if it makes me even more OCD than normal reviewers but I do tend to identify corporate personality amongst speaker makers, just like one does for car manufacturers. For instance, Lamborghini designs nutty and flamboyant exhibitionists’ rides and Bentley makes a different sort of posh to Mercedes. Likewise, the sweet-natured Canadian brand Paradigm tends – or tended – to manufacture speakers like Rolls Royce made engines.

Adam Rayner  |  Jun 14, 2012  |  0 comments

People in the home cinema industry – manufacturers, PRs and the like – know me for being keen on mad, huge potent audio. Giant 18in subwoofers and speakers the size of Stonehenge. I think they sometimes forget that I am also impressed by the delicate and the clever. So much so, that with this set of skinny tower-style speakers, all housed in an aluminium toothpaste-tube squeezed-out extrusion, I could feel palpable fear from the PR chap as he kept on politely enquiring how I was ‘getting on’ with the Revel Concerta speaker system.

Danny Phillips  |  Jun 04, 2012  |  0 comments

Boston Acoustics’ latest effort is not your average 2.1 system. In fact, it’s hard to say exactly what product category it fits into. Because, as well as providing enhanced stereo playback of movie/TV fare, it also offers built-in Bluetooth, letting you stream music wirelessly from a PC or other gizmo, courtesy of full amplification for the satellite speakers as well as the sub.

Danny Phillips  |  May 11, 2012  |  0 comments

When sizing up 5.1 systems on a budget, it’s reassuring to see a trusted audiophile brand on the box – and KEF is certainly one of those. The KHT-1505 sees the company squeezing its sonic expertise into an affordable compact package, designed to deliver a touch of class without taking up half the living room and all your savings.

Adam Rayner  |  Apr 12, 2012  |  0 comments

In all big industries, there is a fair bit of corporate take-over manouvering, acquiring new brands under one overall owner as a trend. The benefits can be huge, with technicians excellent in one field suddenly finding that their colleagues from the newly-bought division can help them with the stuff that they’re good at. But when take-overs happen, there’s always fear amongst the fans that there will be a dilution of the essence of why they love a product in the first place.

Ed Selley  |  Mar 23, 2012  |  0 comments
Mid-range magnificence How good does a £3,600 system need to be to offer 'value for money'? Adam Rayner finds out

Never ever underestimate the ignorance of an AV journalist. We all like to think that we know our stuff, but, truthfully, we’re all running to keep up with the new, all the time. You see, my knowledge of the German speaker market, and how big any one player was within it, has always been pretty minimal. While I knew about the Canton speaker brand, I still find a sardonic chuckle in the fact that it was another German company’s PR firm over here who told me about the sheer size of Canton.

Ed Selley  |  Mar 19, 2012  |  0 comments
Separate but equal Mark Craven puts the stereo back into his MP3 collection

The idea behind Canton’s your_Duo product is simple – the current range of one-box iPod docks just aren’t doing justice to our MP3 collections. By ‘splitting’ the dock into two separate cabinets, you can enjoy real stereo audio.

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