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Adam Rayner  |  Apr 29, 2013  |  0 comments

Regular readers may recall HCC previously getting an SVS subwoofer to play with. Dubbed the PC13-Ultra, it was a large upright tube and, frankly, so ugly it was best hidden away – although, with its 13.5in Peerless driver and a 1,000W amplifier, it could break windows and shake the foundations. Now, SVS has come back to Blightly some years later with a whole new range that still feels a bit American in flavour and concept. Aimed squarely at the seriously high-end market, yet cheekily less money than some, the SVS Ultra series employs a very sophisticated set of drivers and a real no-compromise approach to being loud as well as clear.

Adam Rayner  |  Apr 03, 2013  |  0 comments

In the world of high-end hi-fi, loudspeakers are routinely objects of reverence and desire, no more so than KEF's recent Blade. Styled like a shark's fin and packing exquisite technology, it's the kind of speaker to make grown men weep.

John Archer  |  Mar 30, 2013  |  0 comments

For many people in the UK, Loewe remains either a brand they haven’t heard of at all (in which case, you pronounce it ‘Lerver’!), or a German designer TV brand. It’s not a marque generally associated with audio.

Mark Craven  |  Mar 14, 2013  |  0 comments

I believe Monitor Audio's Mass system is destined to be a good seller. Sub/sat packages in general are more likely to shift units than larger, costlier arrays, and this has 
a lot going for it. First, it's from a respected brand that, over the years, has rarely put a foot wrong. Secondly, it's got a neat style thing going on. Thirdly, the total £800 ticket is just the right side of £1,000 (where some people start to sweat when buying speakers), but comfortably high enough to entice audio snobs who won't entertain the idea of a £400 or £500 setup. That it offers a delightful multichannel performance is the icing on 
the cake.

Ed Selley  |  Jan 28, 2013  |  0 comments

Ever since the arrival of the original KEF eggs nearly a decade ago, sub/sat packages have come in some interesting shapes and sizes. Spherical satellite speakers have been released before but few of them have the pedigree behind the baubles you see here. 
As one of the oldest French electronics brands, Elipson has 
been making spherical speakers for longer than many of its competitors have existed. 

Ed Selley  |  Jan 18, 2013  |  0 comments

Cabasse is one of the elder statesmen of the French audio industry. Since its founding in 1950 it has gone on to become France’s largest speaker manufacturer and produces some extremely impressive speakers. It's perhaps best known for the extraordinary La Sphere flagship, which manages to combine some seriously clever technology with looks that make most science-fiction props appear a little conservative.

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.