Floor Loudspeaker Reviews

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Robert Schryer  |  May 14, 2021  |  9 comments
The first image that pops into my mind when I think of Focal is of the iconic Grande Utopias and how at one Montreal audio show I couldn't believe that the gentlest, sweetest music I'd heard all day was coming out of those massive speakers. I saw it as a paradox of sorts.

Founded in the City of Lights, Focal has been around since 1979, the year Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now received the Palme d'Or at Cannes and when the average annual income in America was $17,500. Focal started as a twinkle in the eye of engineer and technology journalist Jacques Mahul, who believed he'd built a speaker that would appeal to hi-fi enthusiasts: the DB13. Fast-forward half a century, and Focal, designated "entreprise du patrimoine vivant" (living heritage company) by the French government, employs some 230 people at its large, stylish, multilevel digs.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 23, 2021  |  21 comments
Brand-fan excitement ran high among consumers and reviewers alike when Wilson Audio Specialties announced that it would roll out a nonfunctioning prototype of the Chronosonic XVX at the 2019 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF). The Chronosonic XVX was rumored to be a replacement for the $210,000/pair Alexandria XLF, offering performance similar to that of the $850,000 WAMM Master Chronosonic system (including two Master Subsonics and a controller) at a less breathtaking price. (You won't catch me writing "affordable" here.) The static unveiling at RMAF intensified anticipation.
John Atkinson  |  Mar 26, 2021  |  37 comments
Time for some towers. In recent months, a succession of standmount speakers has passed through my listening room: GoldenEar BRXes, Bowers & Wilkins 705 Signatures, Marten Oscar Duos, original KEF LS50s, and the new LS50 Metas. All these loudspeakers sounded excellent, though different from one another. I felt that a floorstanding loudspeaker would make for an interesting change.
J. Gordon Holt  |  Mar 08, 2021  |  First Published: May 01, 1966  |  10 comments
In the introduction to "Recommended Components" in the final issue in Volume One of what was then called The Stereophile, published in May 1966, founder J. Gordon Holt briefly described his Top-Rated Loudspeaker Systems.

Altec A-7
A highly efficient horn-loaded system for use in large to very large listening rooms (at least 15' from the listening area), or for very high-volume "Row-A" listening. Excellent woofer-tweeter blending, moderately deep (useful 45Hz limit in most rooms) and very taut, well-defined low end. Highs smooth and slightly soft, yielding most natural high-end quality at high listening levels. Middles smooth, rather forward, placing closely miked instruments somewhat in front of the system itself.

Brian Damkroger  |  Feb 19, 2021  |  66 comments
Many companies in high-end audio and elsewhere use a trickle-down approach to advance their products. The process begins with the development of a suite of new technologies, capabilities, components, or whatever the relevant entities might be. Typically, it's a flagship product that functions as the impetus, target, and first deployment of the new technologies. Subsequently, the new technologies trickle down to other models, each one incorporating a subset appropriate to its price point.
John Atkinson  |  Feb 15, 2021  |  5 comments
When Stereophile publishes a followup review in the print magazine, we add it as a "child page" to the website reprint of the original coverage. We have recently done so with three significant products: the Magico M2 loudspeaker, the Linear Tube Audio Z10e tubed headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, and the Okto Research dac8 PRO multichannel D/A processor.
J. Gordon Holt  |  Nov 11, 2020  |  First Published: Sep 01, 1964  |  9 comments
These are two of Electro-Voice's "middle-ground" speaker systems, filling the quality (and price) range between the huge Patrician 800 and the diminutive Coronet system.
Martin Colloms  |  Nov 06, 2020  |  First Published: Jun 01, 1998  |  21 comments
Few designers are drawn to create horn loudspeakers. Most people's experience of horns is based on the resonating, overdriven, often overloaded PA installations heard at rock concerts and similar events. These commonly heard unmusical noises and colorations are ever-present in designers' minds. But good-sounding horns do exist; over the years, some noteworthy commercial examples have appeared, though few have been full-range.
John Atkinson  |  Sep 17, 2020  |  22 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  |  78 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  |  91 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.
Robert Harley  |  May 07, 2020  |  First Published: Jul 01, 1989  |  4 comments
One of the joys of reviewing audio reproduction equipment is discovering a little-known product that provides an extraordinary level of performance and musical satisfaction at an affordable price. These components, sometimes made in a garage, reflect the designer's single-minded zeal for musical accuracy, not the sometime corporate mentality of meeting a price point or catering to the latest fad.
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.

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