Floor Loudspeaker Reviews

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John Atkinson  |  Jun 14, 2018  |  97 comments
One of the benefits of being a reviewer is that, of the large number of products that pass through my listening room, occasionally there are those that I really would like to see take up more permanent residence. One of these was Wilson Audio Specialties' Alexia loudspeaker, which I reviewed in December 2013. "Its clarity, its uncolored, full-range balance, its flexibility in setup and optimization, and most of all its sheer musicality, are, if not unrivaled, rare," I wrote, and concluded: "If I were to retire tomorrow, the Wilson Alexia would be the speaker I would buy to provide the musical accompaniment to that retirement." Nothing I subsequently heard disabused me of that dream, though a couple of other speakers, in particular Vivid Audio's Giya G3 and KEF's Blade Two, joined the Alexia on my bucket list.
Michael Fremer  |  May 24, 2018  |  9 comments
Viginti is Latin for twenty. It's also the name of a new loudspeaker from EgglestonWorks, to be produced in a limited edition of 250 pairs in celebration of the launch, 20 years ago, of the company's original Andra, on which the Viginti is based. The Viginti is a shapely and eye-pleasing 4' 2" tall, and weighs 255 lb—kind of heavy for its size.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Apr 26, 2018  |  23 comments
Late in the summer of 2015, I was one of the press representatives invited by Bowers & Wilkins to visit their R&D center in Steyning, West Sussex, England, and be given a detailed preview of the upcoming revision of their entire 800 series of loudspeaker models. Both the technical presentation and the tours impressively demonstrated the comprehensive redesign process that resulted in speakers that were superficially similar but entirely different from their predecessors. Of the new series, I reviewed the 802 D3 Diamond, a pair of which now sit in my listening room as my current reference speakers.
Dick Olsher  |  Apr 03, 2018  |  First Published: Jun 01, 1993  |  0 comments
I find quite appealing the image invoked by Museatex to describe its Real Time Ripple Effect (RTRE) loudspeaker line: a stone rippling the surface of a "still pond on a warm summer afternoon." Replace the stone with a voice-coil attached to the center of a stretched Mylar diaphragm and you begin to get a glimpse of the RTRE technology's conceptual beauty and promise. The idea of cohesively covering at least the midrange and treble with a single driver, without crossover filters, quickens my audio pulse.
Art Dudley  |  Feb 27, 2018  |  12 comments
Five years ago, I reviewed the Alumine loudspeaker from Stenheim, a Swiss company founded by four former employees of Goldmund SA. I noted the Alumine's surprisingly "high sensitivity and easy drivability," praised its performance for being "clean but neither sterile nor colorless," and admired, in my geeky way, the coated cellulose-fiber cone of its 5" midbass driver, which is made in Chartrettes, France—just southeast of Paris—by a company called PHL.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Feb 22, 2018  |  9 comments
It seems to me that my review of Monitor Audio's Silver 8 loudspeaker was published only a few months ago. Actually, it's been three years. The Silver 8 so impressed me that I bought three of them, along with two Silver 2 bookshelf speakers, for my multichannel system in Connecticut—and still greet them as the newcomers to my system. So installing and reviewing their successors, the 300, from the sixth generation of Monitor's Silver line, seemed very familiar.
Jim Austin  |  Jan 04, 2018  |  14 comments
Phrases like high fidelity and perfectionist audio suggest a central norm to which all things audio should aspire. Not a bad idea, in some ways, but if you look at the wide variety of loudspeakers out there that people love, from the old-school Auditorium 23s to the high-tech KEFs and Vivids, it can be hard to figure out what they all have in common.
John Atkinson  |  Dec 19, 2017  |  13 comments
Back in January 2010, in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, I was prowling the corridors of the Venetian Hotel when I bumped into loudspeaker auteur Sandy Gross, cofounder first of Polk Audio and then of Definitive Technology. Knowing that Gross was no longer associated with Definitive, I asked him what he was getting up to in his retirement.

Retirement? He showed me a photo of a plain, cloth-covered, black tower speaker and promised to keep in touch. When next I heard from him, it was to announce that, along with his wife, Anne Conaway, and his former partner at DefTech, Don Givogue, he had started a new loudspeaker company, GoldenEar Technology, Inc., and that the plain black loudspeaker was the first in a line of models to be named Triton.

Jon Iverson  |  Dec 19, 2017  |  3 comments
It's been more than seven years since the late Wes Phillips reviewed Vivid Audio's top-of-the-line loudspeaker, the Giya G1, for Stereophile, and since then the speaker has been seriously revised. At first glance you still notice the sui generis form; closer inspection reveals fundamental changes that make it, in most respects, an entirely new speaker.
John Atkinson  |  Dec 07, 2017  |  First Published: Apr 01, 1989  |  1 comments
666skinny.promo250.jpgOne of the joys of reviewing loudspeakers is that there are always intriguing aspects of any particular design. The problems involved in producing a speaker that has an even tonal balance, well-controlled directivity, good bass extension, and a smooth integration of the outputs from often widely disparate drive-units have what appears to be an infinite number of solutions. The result is often a speaker so different from the norm that it just cries out to be auditioned.

Such was the case with the Delaware Acoustics DELAC S10, which costs $629/pair. Only sold factory-direct, this would therefore have been low on Stereophile's priority list for review if it weren't for two things: first, the fact that the S10 was designed by one Ralph Gonzalez, a name that should be familiar to readers of Speaker Builder magazine for having written a very useful speaker design and analysis program; second, as implied in the first paragraph, the S10 is one of the weirdest speakers I have ever laid ears on.

J. Gordon Holt  |  Nov 09, 2017  |  First Published: Aug 01, 1987  |  1 comments
Founded in the mid-1970s, Acoustat was the first manufacturer of full-range electrostatics literally forced to address what had long been a major weakness of such speakers: high-voltage breakdown, or "arcing." The original design was built and used in JP (Jeep) Harned's home, where the living-room french windows opened out onto a stream in the back yard. That, plus Florida's legendary humidity, conspired to produce summer days when moisture would trickle down every vertical surface in the house, including the speaker elements.
Dick Olsher  |  Oct 10, 2017  |  First Published: Aug 01, 1987  |  0 comments
High fidelity took a giant step forward in 1956 with Peter Walker's introduction of the Quad ESL. Walker's research efforts had been motivated by his firm belief in the superiority of the electrostatic dipole over the box loudspeaker, but actually to take the economic plunge and market such a speaker was surely an act of bravery. After all, those were the pre-stereo, pre-audiophile days of the mid '50s, and the public's tastes and expectations were relatively unsophisticated. The average front end was abominable by today's standards, so that making definitive assessments of loudspeaker quality was a difficult task at best.
Art Dudley  |  Oct 05, 2017  |  8 comments
A place in the country: everyone's ideal.—Bryan Ferry, "Mother of Pearl"

Even at full strength, my family didn't need 3000-plus square feet of living space, let alone four acres of outdoor frolicking space, much of it wooded. But in 2003 that's precisely what we bought, partly because our deal fell through on another, very different house, partly because living next to a dairy farm was an appealing novelty, and partly because the hill on which the house is poised seemed defensible. On our very first morning in our new home—a Saturday in early June—we awoke to gunfire and puffs of smoke coming from the field below our hill.

John Atkinson  |  Sep 21, 2017  |  18 comments
Of all the speakers I have most enjoyed in recent years, two were from British manufacturer KEF: the LS50 Anniversary Model ($1500/pair), which I reviewed in December 2012; and the Blade Two ($25,000/pair), which I reviewed in June 2015. Though these two speakers lie at opposite ends of the price scale, they have in common KEF's unique Uni-Q drive-unit, in which the tweeter is mounted on the front of the midrange unit's pole piece, so that the lower-frequency cone acts as a waveguide for the higher-frequency output.
John Atkinson  |  Sep 07, 2017  |  First Published: Aug 01, 1987  |  6 comments
666thielcs1.promo.jpgKentucky manufacturer Thiel has acquired a reputation for the coherence of sound presented by its range of distinctive, sloping-baffle, floor-standing loudspeakers. Designer Jim Thiel gives a high priority to linearity of phase response; as a result, he chooses to use phase-linear, first-order crossovers in his designs, the target response being the combination of electrical and mechanical filtering. As the out-of-band rejection is then only 6dB/octave, it places demands on his chosen drive-units to be well-behaved, not only in their passbands, but also outside of them. In effect, the loudspeaker has to be designed as a whole system, the interaction between the drive-units and crossover being considerable.

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