Loudspeakers

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Ed Selley  |  Oct 30, 2011  |  0 comments
AE takes it to the Max Danny Phillips checks out an affordable 7.1 speaker array

Slapping the word ‘Max’ onto the end of your product name doesn’t automatically make it great, as anyone who’s tasted Pepsi Max can attest. But in the case of Acoustic Energy’s Neo Max system it seems entirely appropriate.

Mark Craven  |  Oct 30, 2011  |  0 comments
A chip off the old speaker block Mark Craven auditions the baby brother to an HCC-award winning system – and finds AV performance runs in the family

PSB, named after founders Paul and Sue Barton, isn’t a particularly well known brand in the UK. Yet this Canadian outfit, distributed in Blighty by home cinema specialists Armour Home, makes some pretty tasty surround sound speaker packages that are worth consideration.

Ed Selley  |  Sep 02, 2011  |  0 comments
Thumbs up for arena warriors Tannoy has updated its Arena range with the Highline 300. Ed Selley is seeing quintuple

Tannoy is among the elder statesmen of the British speaker industry, and the ethos of its Prestige range of speakers has gone unchanged for half a century, taking the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ dictum to a new extreme. More recently, the Arena series of sub/satellite packages has been Tannoy’s offering in this extremely competitive category and the Highline 300 LCR is newly released and tested here.

Adam Rayner  |  Sep 02, 2011  |  0 comments

Branding is funny stuff. We expect some gravitas with excellent products – being too flippant about something of high-quality tends to put us Brits right off. There’s been a huge fuss about chavs wearing Burberry and ‘devaluing’ the brand, for instance.

Ed Selley  |  Aug 26, 2011  |  0 comments

Quadral is not a UK household name. The German brand has been in business for nearly 40 years, but has only ever intermittently appeared in this country. Now the manufacturer is making a serious attempt on the UK market with its full range of products, of which the Chromium range is the second most pricey in the sizeable lineup. Tested here is a package comprising the £1,160 Chromium 50 floorstanders, £650 Chromium 30 standmounts, £410 Chromium 10 centre and £475 88DV sub. All parts are available separately.

Ed Selley  |  Aug 25, 2011  |  0 comments
Speech and sound thats fit for a king Danny Phillips auditions a speaker system with a musical provenance

Hi-fi buffs may already be familiar with Tannoy’s Definition speakers, a two-channel range first introduced way back in the mid-’90s and brought back to life in 2009 with an elegant new design for the contemporary market. That’s the very same system you’re currently ogling on these pages, but before you start checking the cover date we should assure you that there’s a good reason for turning back the clock.

Ed Selley  |  Jul 15, 2011  |  0 comments
Lofty high-risers Danny Phillips has his cockles warmed by this affordable set of floorstanding speakers and unusually capable subwoofer

Compact bookshelf speakers are all well and good if you don’t have much space, but for bigger, bolder home cinema thrills you’ve no choice but to make room for a decent set of floorstanders.

Ed Selley  |  Jul 15, 2011  |  0 comments
Mini the Minx Adrian Justins experienced the bite of this tiny terrier 5.1 sub/sat system

At first glance, the Minx looks no more remarkable than the speakers you get with an all-in-one home cinema system made by various Korean or Japanese mass market brands. But we need to look West rather than East in seeking a comparison: think Bose rather than Sony or LG and you get the idea.

Ed Selley  |  Jul 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Diamonds are forever Adam Rayner runs some old classics through B&W's 800 Series Diamond speakers – and finds new levels of enjoyment

The 800 Series from Bowers & Wilkins has for a long time been the weapon of utter perfection and choice for some of the world’s most demanding sound engineers – because monitoring what exactly you are making in a recording studio is crucial. You want utter fidelity, not a brash and boastful presentation that makes everything sound fabulous in the studio, but then leaves it all a bit damp and frayed around the edges when not heard on such flattering speakers.

Ed Selley  |  Jul 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Mighty miniatures Canton may be a company with a large reputation, but it understands small speakers, nonetheless. Ed Selley gets to grips with the dinky Movie CD 105

Canton has been making sub/sat packages for as long as the concept has been a recognised phenomenon. Its current Movie range features no fewer than 10 separate packages, of which the £500 CD 105 tested here is towards the lower end of the price structure – although there are less expensive models than this.

Ed Selley  |  Jun 17, 2011  |  0 comments

Pioneer’s efforts as a speaker manufacturer can often be overlooked in favour of its more widely recognised efforts in electronics and the great – if doomed – Kuro plasma project. Despite this, the Japanese giant has produced a number of interesting designs over the years and, in both construction and performance, its high-end TAD models are on par with most rival high-end speakers. Some of this thinking has been making its way down to less rarefied price points and more than a bit of it can be found inside the S-71 series tested here.

Ed Selley  |  Jun 17, 2011  |  0 comments
Vento 5.1 feeds a craving for power Fine engineering, high-quality sonics. Adam Rayner is impressed

German loudspeaker brand Canton was one heck of a startup, having hit the deck running back in 1972, with 35 folks all busily making what they knew to be terribly posh speakers. Meanwhile, Acoustic Energy, as I recall, started with just three blokes.

Ed Selley  |  May 28, 2011  |  0 comments
5.1-bung jumper adds bounce Adam Rayner reveres Scandinavian engineering and tweaks a-plenty

I was once lucky enough to go to Sweden to make a TV show about tractor pulling. Blokes go along, eat smoked eels, get drunk with true determination, then hoot and holler while mad tractors fling mud around, and some announcer shouts: ‘Fuuuull Puuuull!'

Ed Selley  |  May 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Yeehaw! Big sound is over here Danny Phillips gets to grips with some giant US-made cabinets

US brand EMP Tek was founded as recently as 2007, but was set up by audio boffins with over 30 years’ experience, designing speakers for esteemed names such as ParaSound, McIntosh and JBL. They’ve been brought to the UK by distributor Aldous Systems, which has set the ball rolling with the Impression series. Although this range includes four off-the-peg packages, this 7.1-channel system has been pieced together from the individual components. The tower speakers used for the front and rear channels are the E55Ti, a slightly taller version of the E5Ti towers, but offering greater power handling than their shorter siblings.

Ed Selley  |  May 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Squeal of approval Adam Rayner worships at the church of THX and the surround sound spec that’s become the gold standard for serious speakers

To be fully THX approved, every single aspect of the system that plays a movie has to meet the THX criteria – and pay a fee to wear the coveted badge. The certification on the Jamo D500/D500 SUR speakers is proudly reproduced in their printed manuals. It’s THX Select2, signalling they are a bit less intense than Ultra2 and designed to better suit European living spaces.

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