Loudspeakers

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Richard Stevenson  |  Jun 12, 2019  |  0 comments
hcc_recommended150I was extremely impressed with Focal's 300 Series ICW 8 in-ceiling speakers back in HCC #286. They were an obvious audition for Atmos and DTS:X overhead duties, so what could Focal offer if you wanted the same performance and seamless installation all round the room? Enter the 300IWLCR6 full-range in-wall speaker.
David Vivian  |  Sep 19, 2019  |  0 comments
hccbestbuybadgev3Does this 5.1 system have the muscle to back up its good looks? asks David Vivian

Focal's speaker lineup goes all the way from bijou to blimey, affordable to 'if you have to ask'. Which is useful when it comes to putting together a 5.1 package that's a few steps above entry-level but, at the same time, isn't going to break the bank, looks fabulous and has the size and wherewithal to fill a big room with movie mayhem – and possess the lightness of touch to play music with grace and finesse, too.

Steve Withers  |  Oct 20, 2020  |  0 comments
hcchighreccomendFocal elevates its Chora range of home cinema speakers with built-in Atmos drivers. Steve Withers indulges in some immersion therapy

Focal's recently launched Chora range offers plenty of home cinema options, but with the addition of the new 826-D floorstander the company has taken its performance to another level… literally.

Mark Craven  |  Nov 27, 2017  |  0 comments

Focal’s latest speaker pack is such an obvious idea I’m surprised I haven’t come across something like it sooner. Take a 5.1 sub/sat system, build in some Dolby-certified upfiring drivers into the L/R speakers, and – as Focal’s French design team no doubt said – voila!

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...

Mark Craven  |  Dec 21, 2022  |  0 comments
hccbestbuybadgev3Mark Craven enjoys the highs and lows of a premium compact 5.1 system from American audio marque GoldenEar

US brand GoldenEar was the third loudspeaker company founded by famed designer Sandy Gross, following in the footsteps of Polk Audio and Definitive Technology. Gross has now left, but his parting gift is the £1,499-per-pair Bookshelf Reference X.

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.

Ed Selley  |  Dec 21, 2018  |  0 comments
Jamo's cost-effective floorstanding Dolby Atmos speaker package proves you don't have to spend big to get cinematic sonics...
Ed Selley  |  Dec 13, 2011  |  0 comments
Full-range frugal audio Danny Phillips auditions a 5-channel system that’s got legs

Danish brand Jamo has been exciting home cinema senses for years with killer audio kit that won’t break the bank. A case in point is the £260 S426 HCS3, a system that features a pair of 910mm-high S426 floorstanding speakers at the front, which isn’t something you’d expect for this price. They’re joined by a pair of bookshelf surround channels (S420 SUR) and a centre speaker (S420 CEN). The system doesn’t come with a subwoofer as standard, but you can add the SUB 260, which incredibly costs more (£300) than the rest of the package put together…

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.

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.

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.

Ed Selley  |  Sep 15, 2021  |  0 comments
hcchighreccomendAt the top of KEF's LS50 collection, you'll find its 'meta-material' Wireless II active system. Ed Selley gives his soundbar a night off and enjoys some premium stereo

KEF's LS50 Wireless II is, as you'd probably guessed, an updated version of its original 2016-era LS50 Wireless. A self-contained active speaker system, it should be viewed more as an alternative to all-in-one devices like Naim's Mu-So 2nd Generation than something you attach to existing electronics. Which is probably for the best, as the £2,250 ticket might not leave you much spare for other kit.

Adam Rayner  |  Jan 12, 2012  |  0 comments
It's time to form an orderly Q... Adam Rayner reacquaints himself with KEF’s pioneering Uni-Q driver technology – and enjoys picking and choosing his own 5.1 array

Just for once, I am going to give you the meat and potatoes straight away, we can wait for a moment for the narrative… These speakers are bloody brilliant, in many ways and on a good few levels. They draw upon lots of their predecessors’ technology, and while KEF makes speakers going right up to cost-no-object levels, this new Q Series (as against the still-sold ‘Classic Q Series’) have been made to a remarkably keen price for what they do. This has been done both by cutting corners where possible (the grilles aren’t magnetic, for instance) and using evolved, proven design cunning for the sonic result to be so amazingly uncompromised everywhere else.

Ed Selley  |  Jan 09, 2018  |  0 comments

The Q Series remains KEF's entry point for tower speakers, below the R Series and Reference lines, and the super-stylish and super-expensive Blade and Muon models. If you're looking for the KEF sound writ large, this is where you'll probably start.

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