Loudspeakers

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Ed Selley  |  Jul 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Spendor A3 Spendor’s new compact floorstander has much in common with the company’s successful SA1 baby Spendor’s baby SA1 sub-miniature has already proved quite a hit, commercially and critically (Group Test Winner HFC 334), so it’s hardly surprising that the company should use some of its elements as the basis for this very compact floorstander. There’s much more to it, of course, than simply transposing drivers and crossover network into a larger box. Although the tweeter is the same for both models – the unusual wide-surround unit that Spendor now favours for most of its models – and the bass/mid driver is built on the same chassis, there are substantial changes elsewhere. The very compact, sharp-edged enclosure is set low, with the drivers comfortably below seated-ear height, but the optimum listening axis is deliberately arranged to fire slightly above the horizontal to compensate.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Power towers Roth Audio has moved into loudspeakers. Ed Selley gets to grips with the flagship model from the new Oli range, complete with ribbon tweeter Roth is a youngster in audio terms. From its founding in 2007, the company has produced a wide range of iPod ancillaries and lifestyle products, and has now moved into loudspeakers. The five- strong OLi range has two bookshelf speakers and three floorstanders, the largest of which, the £800 OLi 50, is tested here.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Epic performer The new Epic 5 looks more than a little like Epos models of old and as Ed Selley discovers, it’s a return to form for the much-admired brand Back in the early 1990’s Epos did rather well out of its ES range of loudspeakers. Well thought out and well designed, the ES models were distinctively finished with a wood cabinet and black front panel. Nearly twenty years later the Epic 5, tested here, has more than a little of the ES models in its aesthetic. Like other examples of the current trend for revisiting past designs, the Epic 5 is very much of the moment, internally.
Ed Selley  |  Jun 16, 2011  |  0 comments
Join the Revolution This brand new member of the Revolution series looks like much better value than its Signature equivalent says Paul Messenger The Revolution DC6T is an impressive newcomer dual-concentric full- range driver, with a 150mm bass-only unit (similar in specs to its sister product, the Signature DC6T, that we reviewed in HFC 314). All this is contained within a compact 30-litre, rear-ported enclosure and the detailing throughout is excellent. The enclosure is tapered so that the back is significantly narrower than the front, helping to spread and distribute internal reflections and standing waves. All this is elegantly wrapped in an attractive dark ‘espresso’ real wood veneer and the overall stability of this model is substantially enhanced by the provision of a black plinth, which significantly increases the footprint.
Ed Selley  |  May 17, 2011  |  0 comments
Fine Dyning Danish-made with in-house drive units, the DM3/7 is one of a dying breed of well-priced 'homemade' speakers says Paul Messenger One of several ranges from this upmarket speaker brand, the ‘plain-Jane’ DM-series loudspeakers are primarily intended to combine Dynaudio’s core technologies within cost-effective suits of clothes. The DM3/7 is certainly no exception, being a straight two-way that combines two 170mm bass/mid drivers operating in parallel and a 28mm doped fabric dome tweeter inside a decidedly plain and understated enclosure. But while the DM3/7 won’t stand out in any fashion parade, it does look neat enough in its own understated way and also incorporates much of the fundamental engineering content found in the company’s more costly models. The DM3/7 is actually the latest of a DM-series that currently comprises three stereo pairs and a centre-front AV model.
Ed Selley  |  May 16, 2011  |  0 comments
Bronze Age High-performance speakers needn’t cost the earth – Ed Selley listens in on the latest evolution of the popular Monitor Audio Bronze Series Monitor Audio has been producing the Bronze series, its entry-level full-size speaker range, for some years now. And the latest update takes the line-up from BR to BX status and features a full choice of standmounts, floorstanders and supporting multichannel equipment. Design refinements include single- bolt driver fixings and HiVE reflex ports borrowed from the more expensive ranges. The £500 BX5 tested here, however, is the smaller of two floorstanding models.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 02, 2011  |  0 comments
Life partner Audiovector’s 'upgradable' speakers can be improved when funds allow. Paul Messenger investigates a unique proposition from Denmark The Ki-series is relatively new and also relatively inexpensive by Audiovector’s standards. The Ki 3s are the sole floorstanding models in a range that also includes a standmount and home cinema oriented variations. But each Ki-series model comes in three versions – Standard, Super and Signature – with superior engineering features as one moves up the ladder.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 01, 2011  |  0 comments
Dynaudio Contour S 1. 4 Dynaudio is one of very few overseas brands to become properly established in the UK Based in Denmark and owned by a German, Dynaudio’s particular approach to loudspeaker design has been much more successful at achieving a significant presence on the UK market than most overseas brands. That probably owes much to the company’s distinctive proprietary technology and a consistency in approach which has helped it become well accepted by both hi-fi consumers and ProAudio users alike. Contour ranges have occupied Dynaudio’s middle ground for many years.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 01, 2011  |  0 comments
Monitor Audio Platinum 100 This baby model in Monitor Audio’s gorgeous Platinum ‘flagship’ range features a ribbon tweeter Founded in 1972, Monitor Audio now qualifies as one of Britain’s longest established speaker brands, especially amongst those still in UK ownership. Although it’s best known for successful ‘mainstream’ models like the Bronze and Silver series, the company took a significant step towards the high end in 2007, with the introduction of Platinum models like this £2,500 per pair Platinum 100 two-way standmount. A ribbon tweeter is the hallmark of all the Platinums and here it’s combined with a 165mm bass/mid driver in an exceptionally solid and beautifully finished enclosure with a decidedly complex shape. The back and sides are formed as a continuous curve, with mildly convex sides, a slightly concave back and quite gently curved edges.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 01, 2011  |  0 comments
Opera Callas This very compact and exquisitely presented stand-mount has a thoroughly unconventional multi-tweeter Opera and its associated electronics brand Unison Research both share premises near Treviso in north east Italy. And in the best Italian tradition, this standmount looks absolutely gorgeous and is very substantially built too, though it’s not exactly cheap at £2,875 per pair. A solitary and rather small 135mm driver with a 100mm diameter magnesium alloy cone covers the bass and midrange. It has a large (38mm) fixed solid copper ‘bullet’ phase plug and is assisted by reflex loading from twin rear ports.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 01, 2011  |  0 comments
Spendor SP2/3R2 This speaker might look old-fashioned, but that’s really the whole point of Spendor’s Classic range Spendor arrived on the scene at the beginning of the 1970s, bringing a strong BBC heritage along with a number of interesting innovations that its competitors arguably didn’t fully appreciate. One of the most significant among these was a radical approach to enclosure design. The theory goes as follows: building an exceptionally stiff structure might serve to reduce the amplitude (ie relative loudness) of cabinet vibrations, but it also increases the frequency at which they occur, so that the enclosure coloration tends to occur in the midband where human hearing is most sensitive. The alternative Spendor approach, originally inspired by the BBC’s desire for accurate speech monitoring, is the ‘thin wall’ cabinet approach, backed by heavy damping pads, which pushes the cabinet wall vibrations down into the bass region where they’re considered less intrusive.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 01, 2011  |  0 comments
Tannoy Definition DC8 A very pretty and compact variation on Tannoy’s timeless Dual Concentric theme One of the oldest names in British hi-fi, Tannoy is currently part of the Danish TC Group and is probably best known for its unique Dual Concentric single-chassis two-way drive unit technology, which first appeared way back in 1948. This £2,500 per pair DC8 is a simple two-way design and the smallest of three Definition models. As the name suggests, an eight-inch (200mm) Dual Concentric ‘double drive unit’ is at its heart, firing a 25mm titanium dome tweeter with ‘tulip waveguide’ horn-loading through the centre of a 145mm flared paper bass/mid cone with a conventional rubber roll surround. A bonus of the construction, of course, is that the tweeter is automatically well protected from prying fingers.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 01, 2011  |  0 comments
Cabasse Bora This substantial model is a genuine three-way, due to its special proprietary co-axial driver France’s oldest hi-fi speaker brand, Cabasse is now owned by Japanese multi-national Canon, though its Britanny heritage remains strong, with members of the Cabasse family still involved. A major technology plank is its particular proprietary approach to co-axial driver design. Cabasse’s BC13 co-axial drive unit is very much at the heart of this £2,200 per pair Bora, as well as the main reason why it’s the only three-way design amongst our standmounts. This driver uses an annulus or ring-shaped midrange diaphragm, surrounding the tweeter proper and nominally operates from 800Hz to 4.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Black beauties From Germany's number one speaker brand, this Canton standmount, as Paul Messenger confirms, boasts some high-class credentials Despite a number of serious attempts, the majority of German loudspeaker brands have hitherto had very little impact upon the UK marketplace. Canton, however, certainly has the muscle to change that, via its newly appointed UK distributor Computers Unlimited. The Canton catalogue might be exclusively speaker-oriented, but it’s no less comprehensive. The hi-fi section alone comprises no fewer than eight distinct ranges and more than 60 models and the Ventos are close to the top.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 07, 2010  |  0 comments
The Sttaf of life Clean and simple are the watchwords for this very pretty and unusually compact two-way floorstander, says Paul Messenger Understatement is perhaps the most appropriate word that describes Totem loudspeakers. Whereas most speaker brands tend to promote themselves by highlighting specific technical or engineering features that distinguish themselves from their rivals – the so-called USP (unique selling point) –Totem’s marketing approach has much more to do with emphasising the reproduction of the emotion and soul of the music. Superficially, at least, there’s nothing particularly unusual about the Sttaf. It’s a simple two-way floorstander, based on a 140mm bass/mid driver with a 95mm diameter flared and doped paper cone.

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