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 |  Jan 23, 2015  |  0 comments
With the exception of REL and other longstanding subwoofer manufacturers, the concept of the 2. 1 system is something that has really only come into its own since the arrival of the sub/sat package in the home cinema boom at the start ofthe millennium. The concept of small speakers that take up little space and are underpinned by a subwoofer that can be tucked away out of sight had advantages for getting a home cinema system into a space that otherwise couldn’t accept one. It didn’t take a genius to see this could be applied to a hi-fi setup too.
 |  Jan 21, 2015  |  0 comments
The concept is clear – to make a good speaker great. There are several ways of doing this, the obvious one being to spend large amounts of money on the drive units. A fancy ribbon tweeter here or some expensive carbon fibre mid/bass drivers there, perchance? The other way is to work on the cabinet, and if you think about it, this is even more critical than the drivers, which can’t do their best if they’re spoiled by boomy boxes. In a way, cabinets can do no right, as all they can do is lower the performance potential of drive units by accentuating standing waves – smudging and blurring the sound from inside.
 |  Jan 21, 2015  |  0 comments
Floorstanding loudspeakers are hugely popular right now, with seemingly more models vying for our attention on a daily basis. It’s a competitive market that has been growing consistently stronger sincefloorstanders first grabbed our attention back in the nineties. Their popularity is a win-win for music fans as the wealth of models means quality is high and prices competitive. It’s fair to say that American loudspeaker companies are often viewed with slightly raised eyebrows in the UK, but here JBL follows more elegant speaker designs rather than the muscular monitors it is better known for.
 |  Jan 19, 2015  |  0 comments
Why is it that some steaks taste like sun-dried cardboard, while others are dripping with flavour and have the texture of warm butter? It’s not that difficult a question to answer, is it? The finest food needs ingredients of the best quality, prepared in a skillful way that doesn’t hide the natural goodness. And so it goes for loudspeakers too – no one ever made a great one with sub-par drive units and cabinets that weren’t fit for purpose. But just like steak, even a good speaker can be ruined if it isn’t cooked properly, or is badly served. Of course, if it doesn’t use the right raw materials in the first place, it can never be right.
 |  Jan 19, 2015  |  0 comments
Hart Audio may not be a household name but David Hart’s Isle of Wight-based business has a refreshing approach to audio design and high-quality UK manufacturing, as well as a growing number of passionate customers appreciating service and bespoke production. Hart Audio sells its speakers direct in the UK so you won’t find its speakers at your local hi-fi dealer. The new incarnation of the imposing EVO1 commands attention even when it’s silent. Two large, understated enclosures per channel, each boasting a purposeful 12in driver hints that you’re about to hear something different.
 |  Jan 19, 2015  |  0 comments
Costing the considerable sum of £900, Tannoy’s new Precision 6. 1 has to be demonstrably better than the large number of cheaper standmounters around to attain serious success. It has to give at least a taste of greatness, if not the full culinary experience! Reflecting this, it is a purposefully styled product, with a design suggesting few compromises. Being a Tannoy it has a Dual Concentric drive unit.
 |  Jan 15, 2015  |  0 comments
Back in the November 2013 issue (377) we reviewed the £350 Cambridge Audio Aero 2 standmount loudspeaker. The Aero 6 is a larger, floorstanding version of the same design, deploying identical drive units with the far larger cabinet volume that comes from having a big box that sits securely on terra firma! Many will expect the Aero 6 to be better, then; after all, it’s nearly twice the price and has far more air inside its capacious cabinet. Trouble is, in doing a floorstanding version of a smaller standmount speaker, you open yourself up to a problem that’s never easily solved, especially in budget designs, which is how to keep the cabinet under control. The thing is, that bigger box might let the bass driver move air easier, but there’s also the worry that it will also move the cabinet.
 |  Jan 15, 2015  |  0 comments
Eagle-eyed readers will no doubt have spotted thatan almost identical looking Dynaudio floorstander graced these pages back in the October 2013 issue and earned itself a prestigious Recommended badge. That speaker was the Xeo 5, an active design with a wireless receiver. Its cheaper passive cousin, the X34, comes minus the Xeo’s internal amplifier, freeing it up to be drivenby one of your choosing. The X34 model shares air-moving hardware with the Xeo 5, so you geta pair of Dynaudio’s 5in MSP (magnesium silicate polymer) long-throw woofers with aluminium voice coils and die-cast aluminium frames.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Jan 15, 2015  |  0 comments
One of the best things about Spendor is that when its ranges are refreshed, it’sa worthwhile update. The company’s MD Philip Swift ‘gets it’ that buyers aren’t always taken in by the addition of an alloy trim ring, a five percent more expensive crossover capacitor and set of gold-plated spikes. So when it does something,it’s worth sitting up and taking notice. Any ‘R’ version (as it’s ‘Revised’) really is worth paying attention to.
Ed Selley  |  Jan 12, 2015  |  0 comments
British audio companies often adopt a more relaxed pace of evolution to their product ranges compared with some other countries and with speakers in particular, models and ranges can go many years without replacement. Neat Acoustics’ loudspeakers are a classic exampleof the‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ approach – models like the Petite and Elite have been membersof the range almost since the company’s founding, albeit with continued upgrades. So, when the company decides to carry outa refresh, the result is always going to be interesting. This time it is the affordable Motive range that has been given a good going over after eight years (with some more subtle updates during that time).
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Jan 09, 2013  |  0 comments
MAD’s world MAD - acronym for My Audio Design – is one of hi-fi's more interesting and idiosyncratic operations, says Paul Messenger My Audio Design is one of hi-fi ’s newer and more surprising operations. It’s headed by Timothy Jung, a British entrepreneur who combines youth, enthusiasm and imagination with a passion for making loudspeakers here in Britain. And some of its designs are indeed MAD – check out the extraordinary Royal Salute! The inspiration That’s certainly not the case with the 1920. Despite its curious name, this loudspeaker is conceived as a tribute to the classic BBC LS3/5A sub-miniature, which continues to enjoy cult popularity and a succession of lookalike models from several manufacturers.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 13, 2012  |  0 comments
Little wonder Channa Vithana enjoys the musical delights of AudioSmile’s diminutive Kensai standmount loudspeaker. . . Most loudspeakers remain a disappointment to me, as so many manage to strangle the life out of music – there are only a precious few I’ve heard that truly satisfy in the music-making stakes.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 13, 2012  |  0 comments
Stand and deliver Castle's special Anniversary version of the Richmond promises more than previous incarnations, says Ed Selley Castle has been making the Richmond speaker for almost as long as it has existed as a brand. Indeed, the design has survived the takeover of the company by International Audio Group, and weathered the arrival of the newer and highly regarded Knight 2 (HFC 338). Now Castle has launched an Anniversary version of the Richmond seen here. It’s still recognisably a Richmond –the layout is a rear-ported two-way, with the main driver inverted over the tweeter.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 13, 2012  |  0 comments
Second coming Guru’s original QM10 was a true music maker, but never the greatest all-rounder. With this in mind, Jason Kennedy greets the new QM10two As we discovered in Hi-Fi Choice 317, the original Guru QM10 was a little charmer; even sat next to far more expensive boxes it could carry a tune like few others. Still, it wasn’t the world’s most transparent two-way and when fed with serious amounts of power had a habit of going out to lunch. In short, what it needed was a beefed up drivetrain, the means by which it could move air more forcefully.
Ed Selley  |  Jan 09, 2012  |  0 comments
High-class baby Massive construction is just one of the key features that singles out Acoustic Energy’s Reference 1, says Paul Messenger Back in 1988, Acoustic Energy made a very impressive debut with its original AE1, a small Proaudio-oriented speaker that, at the time, essentially re-invented the concept of the modern highperformance miniature. The company has undergone numerous changes since then. Its original founders have long since moved on and the company is currently owned by Malaysian interests, which also provides a source for inexpensive production. The perennial AE1 The AE1 and a number of variations on its theme have been reviewed in Hi-Fi Choice on a pretty regular basis down the years.