Loudspeakers

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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.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 23, 2011  |  0 comments
Dynaudio Excite X16 This chunky and solidly built Danish speaker has a larger than average main driver Denmark’s Dynaudio operation is one of relatively few brands to enjoy success in both the professional and domestic hi-fi speaker markets – one often notices Dynaudio speakers furnishing BBC TV studios, for example. However, that’s partly due to the high-power handling conferred by the use of extra-large-diameter voice coils on many of its bass/mid drivers. A feature that doesn’t appear to be a part of this new Excite range, which seems to be more obviously oriented towards the price-sensitive home hi-fi marketplace. The X16 sits one rung above the smallest model in the Excite range, which explains why the speaker is a little larger in both volume and main driver than the group average.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 23, 2011  |  0 comments
Quadral Aurum Megan VIII This very solid compact features a ribbon-type planar tweeter and a complex alloy main driver diaphragm Little known here in Britain (though we did review a couple of models about five years ago), Quadral is apparently the third most successful hi-fi speaker specialist in Germany, which must mean that it’s a good size operation by any standards. The Aurum range is actually a higher performance sub-brand of the main Quadral operation, with its own website and an extensive range of ten loudspeakers, plus some electronics. We reviewed the Altan VIII standmount quite recently (HFC 350), so now it’s time to cast an ear over the somewhat smaller Megan VIII model. The family resemblance is unmistakeable and build again seems very solid indeed.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 01, 2011  |  0 comments
It’s a gas The Helium 410 is Amphion’s smallest speaker, but as Ed Selley discovers it still packs a punch The premise of an advert, inviting you to listen to a speaker with the volume turned down, might not be the most obvious way of selling it to a wider audience. For Amphion however, there is a reason for this unusual approach. The entire range is designed to offer excellent intelligibility and clarity even at very low volumes. The Helium series is the entry-level offering in the range and the 410 is the smallest speaker in the group.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 30, 2011  |  0 comments
Let the beat drop The Drop is one of the most distinctive-looking speakers on the market. Ed Selley investigates whether the music is as smooth as the lines Scandyna has been producing its distinctive pod speakers for over a decade and there is now an eight-strong range of stereo models with supporting subwoofers and amps. The Drop is, however, as the name suggests, modelled on a droplet – even down to the ‘separating stem’-effect at the top of the cabinet. Plastic fantastic The Drop retains many classic Scandyna features, including a cabinet formed of ABS plastic.

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