Floor Loudspeaker Reviews

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John Atkinson  |  Sep 17, 2020  |  45 comments
Although it was founded by ex-Siemens loudspeaker engineer Oliver Göbel in 2003, I am embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of Göbel High End until I visited the room hosted by Florida retailer Bending Wave at the 2019 AXPONA. There, I listened to the German manufacturer's ginormous $220,000/pair Divin Noblesse loudspeakers, which were making their US debut. I was impressed by what I heard. I was interested, therefore, to learn that Göbel was introducing a smaller Divin model, the Marquis, which would not be too large for my listening room and would be priced at $80,000/pair.
Jim Austin  |  Aug 26, 2020  |  10 comments
My first exposure to Manger Audio loudspeakers, which are based on the "bending-wave" technology invented years ago by the company, was to the Manger p2, their passive flagship speaker, at the 2019 AXPONA. I heard it again a month or so later at High End Munich. I was impressed both times, especially by its transient and spatial performance.
Julie Mullins  |  Jul 21, 2020  |  13 comments
For the first time in the two years I've been living in this apartment building, I've received a noise complaint from a neighbor. Coincidence?

As it happened, yes it was a coincidence. True, my music was pretty loud, and the bass from the Piega Premium Wireless 701 loudspeaker system ($7495/pair) was anything but reticent, especially considering the tower's sleek appearance. But I was not the source of the specific noise that caused the complaint. That was the sloppy bass from another neighbor's inferior sound system. (The bass from this Piega system isn't sloppy.)

Tom Gibbs  |  Jul 16, 2020  |  80 comments
Volti Audio's room at the 2020 Florida Audio Expo showcased the company's newest offering, the $20k/pair Rival Special Edition hybrid horn loudspeaker. With a custom cabinet and exotic Bubinga wood veneer, it easily counted among the best-looking loudspeakers I saw at the show. I also found the Rival SE's sound, powered by Border Patrol amplification, intoxicating. I placed it near the top of my shortlist for Best Sound at Show.
Michael Fremer  |  Jun 19, 2020  |  92 comments
Achieving room-filling, high-quality sound in a hotel room is difficult enough. Getting it in a cavernous ballroom is even more problematic. Yet, over the past few years at AXPONA, RMAF, and most recently at the February 2020 FLAX (Florida Audio Expo), Von Schweikert Audio, in association with The Audio Company of Marietta, Georgia, has managed that—and, other than the approximately 100 bodies occupying every seat in the house, they've done it without any room treatment, or without any that I could see.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Apr 22, 2020  |  57 comments
Back in the Dark Ages, loudspeaker design was commonly based on semi-enlightened experimentation, with new enclosure configurations appearing almost monthly in professional and consumer journals. One of those, published in Wireless World in October of 1965, was A.R. Bailey's transmission line, a long, selectively resistive, folded-and-sometimes-tapered tube that loaded the back of the (woofer) driver for low-bass reinforcement.
John Atkinson  |  Mar 26, 2020  |  68 comments
The priciest loudspeaker ever to have taken up residence in my listening room was the Akira from German company Tidal Audio (footnote 1), which I reviewed in the November 2018 issue of Stereophile. Designed by Tidal founder and CEO Jörn Janczak, the Akiras cost $215,000/pair! "The sheer resolution of the Akiras continued to astonish me throughout my auditioning," I wrote in my review, concluding that "The Akiras are the best-looking, best-built, best-sounding speakers I have had in my listening room—as they should be at the price."
Art Dudley  |  Feb 28, 2020  |  9 comments
Hi-fi is like cake. Most people enjoy listening to music, and most people like cake.

People who like cake tend to like different things about it. Some people like a flourless cake, some people like a fluffy angel food cake, and some like a cake loaded up with little pieces of carrot and God-knows-what-else. People who like hi-fi also tend to like different things. Some like punchy, forceful sounds, some like realistic, natural tones, some like texture and color, some like "air," and some like to hear things go whooshing from one speaker to the other. It's all okay.

John Atkinson  |  Jan 24, 2020  |  81 comments
On a snowy day in March 2019, the first room I visited at the Montreal Audio Fest, hosted by retailer Audio by Mark Jones, featured the world premiere of the Magico M2 loudspeaker. The soundstaging produced by these elegant towers was palpable, the full-range tonal balance superbly uncolored. Both aspects reminded me of my experience of Magico's S5 Mk.II loudspeaker, which I enthusiastically reviewed in Stereophile's February 2017 issue. Accordingly, I made a note that the M2 was going on my "must review" list. Seven months later, Magico's Alon Wolf and Peter Mackay visited to set up a pair of M2s in my listening room.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Jan 22, 2020  |  26 comments
For a decade, the sound of the Vivid Giya loudspeakers, which I had heard only at CES in private demonstration suites, beguiled me. My positive impressions were completely consistent from one show to the next—but then, so were the host and the surroundings. I had to wonder how much those factors contributed to my impressions.
Sasha Matson  |  Dec 20, 2019  |  22 comments
There is change, and also continuity, at Wilson Audio Specialties, the company founded in 1974 by recordist and loudspeaker designer David A. Wilson. David's son Daryl Wilson was appointed president and CEO in 2016. David Wilson passed away in 2018. And in 2019, Wilson Audio Specialties released the Sasha DAW loudspeaker ($37,900/pair), designed by a team led by Daryl Wilson and named in honor of his father.
Herb Reichert  |  Nov 27, 2019  |  99 comments
Everyone who reads my loudspeaker reviews knows: I wish box speakers did not sound like box speakers. Plus! I wish all speakers sounded focused and transparent like LS3/5a's or vintage Quads. I also want them to be uncompressed and play large, with window-shattering power and floor-shaking bass. And while I'm wishing . . . I'll take a little glow and sparkle and voodoo magic as well.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Nov 22, 2019  |  46 comments
The GoldenEar Triton One.R is the successor to the original Triton One, improving on that model in both appearance and function, with features that first appeared in the Triton Reference.

Externally, the Triton One.R is a 54" tall by 8" wide by 16.65" deep tower that appears even slimmer than those dimensions suggest. In lieu of the sock-like fabric covering used on GoldenEar's less expensive speakers, the One.R, like the Reference, is finished in a high-gloss black, with large rectangular grille-cloth panels on the lower portions of each side and a curved, full-height front grille whose edges blend smoothly into the side panels.

Ken Micallef  |  Oct 30, 2019  |  7 comments
Austrian loudspeaker manufacturer Trenner & Friedl has a thing for coaxial drivers. They're used in at least three of the company's eight loudspeaker models, including the diminutive Sun bookshelf speaker and the large floorstanding Taliesin. In these models, T&F eschew more conventional stacked drivers for a putatively time-aligned, wide-frequency range coaxial design.
John Atkinson  |  Oct 25, 2019  |  91 comments
"Stirring the stew" is what I've heard it called when a company introduces a new version of a product every three or four years. When a new product is launched, sales generally rise rapidly to a maximum and then slowly decline. If the stew is stirred every few years, plotting the product's sales volume against time results in a sawtooth wave, without sales ever dropping close to zero.

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