Loudspeakers

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 |  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.
Ed Selley  |  Jan 09, 2012  |  0 comments
Twenty’s vision PMC’s new twenty series applies some of the lessons learned while developing the upmarket fact models, says Paul Messenger PMC achieved its 20th anniversary last autumn, celebrating the fact by launching a brand new four-strong ‘twenty’ series of models that are intended to fill the gap between its regular ‘i’ series of domestic hi-fi speakers and much more costly ‘fact’ models. In truth, the twentys are priced much closer to the ‘is’ than the ‘facts’, this compact floorstander starting at £2,095 for the real wood veneered version. (There’s a choice of three here, including oak, walnut and amarone, though the highgloss Diamond Black finish costs an extra £210. ) That compares with a current price of £1,525 for the GB1i, its nearest equivalent in the standard range.
Ed Selley  |  Jan 09, 2012  |  0 comments
Figure of speech Spendor has updated its legendary S3/5R2. Ed Selley finds out if the classic character has survived the improvements Few speakers have a pedigree quite as long or distinguished as the LS3/5 standmount speaker. Originally designed for the BBC to monitor outside broadcasts, it’s impressive performance won many fans. So when the BBC requirement ceased, Spendor took over; a success record that has resulted in the latest iteration, the S3/5R2.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 23, 2011  |  0 comments
Spendor SP3/1R2 Classic 1970s styling distinguishes this relatively large model from the pack Spendor was founded by an ex-member of the BBC’s Research Department more than forty years ago, primarily to make broadcast monitor loudspeakers, but that original – and with hindsight very radical – design soon became just as much of a favourite amongst hi-fi cognoscenti. So much so that, despite changes in ownership and the development of numerous models that look better suited to domestic environments, those original monitors remain the inspiration behind Spendor’s Classic R2 range of traditionally styled models. The five models in the Classic R2 range are all standmounts with ‘picture frame’ front baffle edges around inset grilles. They cover a wide range of enclosure and driver sizes, but all feature Spendor’s traditional approach to enclosure construction, using relatively thin but well-damped panels, albeit now executed in MDF, rather than birch ply.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 23, 2011  |  0 comments
Totem Rainmaker Canadian manufacturer Totem has built a strong reputation with its attractive compact speakers Totem has the rather quaint tradition of naming its models after the country’s First Nations shibboleths, a procedure which is, frankly, rather more imaginative than most rivals manage. The Rainmaker is a compact standmount, loading its bass/mid driver by a reflex-ported enclosure of just nine litres capacity. The shape is a little unusual, rather taller and less deep than most speakers of this size and the construction is strong, linking all the panels with properly mitred joints. Yet it’s also quite light in weight, since mass tends to store energy.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 23, 2011  |  0 comments
DALI Mentor 1 This exceptional standmount has a unique hybrid tweeter module, combining dome and ribbon diaphragms This Danish operation was once closely linked to a leading Scandinavian hi-fi retail chain, but it has always operated entirely autonomously and independently as a speaker manufacturer and indeed has proved more successful on the UK market than most overseas brands. The DALI name has nothing to do with surrealism here, but is actually an acronym for Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries. The Mentor range, probably best described as ‘affordable upmarket’, is one of several in the DALI portfolio and consists of six stereo pairs which share a number of proprietary engineering techniques. The most obvious of these is seen in the tweeter arrangements.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 23, 2011  |  0 comments
Amphion Argon 1 An unconventional standmount from one of hi-fi’s newer companies, based in Finland Amphion is a relatively young brand, founded in 1998 and brings some interestingly different techniques to the party. The most obvious of these is the large waveguide that surrounds the tweeter and matches the diameter of the bass/mid drive unit. This has several implications. The prime purpose is to control the tweeter’s directivity, presumably to avoid the directivity discontinuity that usually occurs in the transition from bass/mid driver to tweeter.

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