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Loudspeakers

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Ed Selley  |  Oct 14, 2010  |  0 comments
Kudos X2 - £1,350 This compact floorstander is Kudos' first attempt to offer its sound quality at a lower cost A relative newcomer on the British loudspeaker scene, the Kudos range has rapidly become popular, despite quite substantial pricetags. The reason behind the new X-series is to provide comparable quality at rather lower prices, though nobody could really consider £1,350 per pair particularly cheap! A simple two-way floorstander with a small 150mm bass/mid drive unit, the X2’s power handling and bass extension will inevitably have some limitations, though it should be more than adequate for normal listening levels, while its simplicity and high-quality ingredients (English cabinetwork, Norwegian SEAS drive units and crossover components from Clarity Caps and Volt) can provide their own reward. The bass/mid unit has a 95mm-diameter flared and doped paper cone, the tweeter a 25mm fabric dome. The 18mm MDF enclosure comes wrapped up in a wide choice of real wood veneer finishes – black, cherry, maple, oak, rosenut and walnut, alongside satin-white.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 14, 2010  |  0 comments
PMC GB1i - £1,525 Opinion might be divided on this PMC, but there’s no doubting its ability to take on the competition The key factor that distinguishes PMC speakers from the herd is an ATL. This stands for ‘advanced transmission line’ and refers to a bass loading technique that is uncommon, though by no means unique. Much more complex than the almost ubiquitous port loading, the efficacy of TL loading might still be a topic of fierce debate in some quarters, but a folded line does create a very stiff and solid structure. Because it uses a relatively small (140mm) bass/mid driver, the £1,525 GB1i still manages to accommodate a 2.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 14, 2010  |  0 comments
Spendor A6 - £2,095 A worthy successor to the S6e, this speaker adds extra refinement on several fronts Spendor first emerged from the BBC Research culture some forty years ago. It has been through numerous changes since then, but that original culture seems to have largely survived, albeit somewhat modified by marketplace trends, including the current fashion for floorstanders. This £2,095 per pair A6 is the middle of three floorstanders that make up the company’s A-series successors to the S-series. Very similar in many respects (including dimensions and measured behaviour) to the S6e we reviewed in HFC 257, it’s a good size two-way floorstander, dressed in real wood veneer (black ash, cherry, light oak or wenge) and mounted on a black- painted MDF plinth the same width and depth as the enclosure proper.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 08, 2010  |  0 comments
Towering strength Triangle's new Lyrr boasts a whole lot of driver tech for just a modest sum. Paul Messenger checks out the finer points of this french fancy Founded some thirty years ago in North East France and one of three major French speaker brands to make a serious impression on the international stage, Triangle’s success is primarily due to its very distinctive drive unit technology. The £3,300 per pair Lyrr is the largest of three stereo pairs in the Genese range, which itself occupies the middle ground between the inexpensive Esprit EX series and the seriously upmarket Magellan range. Both the smaller Genese models, the Quartet floorstander and the Trio standmount, have been reviewed previously in Hi-Fi Choice (HFC 302 and HFC 334), with, it must be said, somewhat mixed results.
Ed Selley  |  Sep 26, 2010  |  0 comments
Affordable Xcellence Kudos's £2k Cardea C2 was a finalist for 'Best Speaker over a £1,000' in last year’s HFC Awards. Paul Messenger looks at a bright newcomer Kudos might be a relative newcomer on the British loudspeaker scene, but it has rapidly established popularity among dealers and customers alike. And that’s in spite of the fact that its original Cardea range of floorstanders and standmounts carry quite substantial pricetags. Made in England The basic idea behind the new X-series is to provide Kudos quality at rather lower prices.
Ed Selley  |  Sep 26, 2010  |  0 comments
Whiter than white Germany's number one speaker brand makes a welcome return to the UK. Paul Messenger tries the pick of the bunch Although black is the fashionable finish in loudspeaker-land, albeit with high-gloss highlights, it’s just one of just two alternatives available for this speaker (the other being high-gloss white!) This is such a beautifully styled, finished and presented loudspeaker, it clearly comes from a major brand with plenty of muscle. The Canton name might not be well known here in Britain, but it was founded back in 1972 and is Germany’s leading hi-fi speaker brand, with a large collection of different ranges in its portfolio. The latest contenders The Chrono SLs are the latest range to join the ranks, effectively upgrading and updating the original Chrono models, bringing much sharper and more modern-looking styling, alongside engineering improvements in enclosure, crossover and drive unit performance.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 27, 2010  |  0 comments
New way to play Direct-seller Teufel's ambitious Ultima 800 loudspeaker is not only innovative, it's redefining value for money, says Alvin Gold Teufel is set up quite differently from most of its rivals, with a range of loudspeakers that must be ordered off the page, rather than through traditional hi-fi dealers. This does mean making a purchase without the usual safety net, but then part of the deal is that you do get the opportunity of an extended trial period before committing yourself irrevocably. You also get an extended guarantee period – twelve years – and full phone/web-based technical support. Above all, the simplified retail structure means that more of the manufacturer’s resources can be invested in R&D, so factor in unusually strong value for money.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 02, 2010  |  0 comments
A mini adventure Paul Messenger test runs Bowers and Wilkins' stylish CM5 - a variation on a familiar and long established two-way luxury standmount theme The request from the Bowers and Wilkins marketing team to the engineering department responsible for the CM5 loudspeaker, probably went along the lines of “make us something small, simple, beautiful and affordable”. So it did! At £800, it doesn’t come cheap, but it is unquestionably delightfully designed and beautifully finished and a vast improvement over the 685 model (HFC 299), which incorporates many ostensibly similar core ingredients at around half the price, yet which is dressed in clothes that even its friends would call nondescript. And that’s certainly not the description one would apply to the CM5. But its virtues aren’t entirely superficial.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 20, 2010  |  0 comments
Monopulse 62S £1,195 Monopulse breaks the rules on standmount stereotypes with the help of its proprietary super-tweeter The basis of Monopulse loudspeakers lies in applying audio lessons that were learned working with phased-array radar systems, the prime purpose being to reproduce transient leading edges accurately. The consequent need to time-align the outputs of the three drive units at the listening seat imposes some constraints on the driver layout. These are solved by adopting a floorstanding configuration (which determines the height of the drivers above the floor), by placing the tweeter beneath the bass/mid drive unit, and by mounting a super-tweeter on the top, set back from the front panel under a metal protective hoop. The complexity of this arrangement perhaps goes some way towards explaining the decision to go for a fabric covering over the front and sides of the enclosure.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 20, 2010  |  0 comments
PMC DB1i - £985 Probably the smallest transmission line speaker in the world. Someone should inform the Guinness Book of Records In PMC parlance, DB is shorthand for Dinky Box. While somewhat deeper than sealed-box miniatures, like the classic BBC LS3/5a, the front view is barely larger than that needed to accommodate two drive units, so this DB1i is certainly a tiny loudspeaker. Especially when you consider that the four-section transmission line squeezed inside this little enclosure to load the back of the small main driver has an amazing effective length of 1.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 20, 2010  |  0 comments
Roksan Kandy K2 TR-5 - £895 This petite Kandy pitches above its station, thanks to the credentials of its much larger Caspian FR-5 brother Roksan’s fine reputation has been built largely off the back of its fine turntables and electronics, though several interesting loudspeaker designs have also put in an occasional appearance. The fine floorstanding Caspian FR-5 was very well received when it arrived in 2006 and the obvious question for this review is whether this Kandy K2 TR-5 can repeat the same trick. The K2 Kandys are Roksan’s recently introduced and least costly range of components, and while the official price of this TR-5 varies from £895 (high-gloss black) to £945 (the beautifully finished satin rosewood of our samples), substantial discounts are available if other Kandy K2 electronics are purchased at the same time. Besides those two options, the speaker is available in silver, maple and metallic black.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 20, 2010  |  0 comments
Triangle Trio - £1, 449 A touch of French class, both in its tasty cabinetwork and the unusual application of a horn-loaded tweeter The most costly member of our test group, Triangle’s Trio is also one of the largest – and the flashiest too, with its curved cabinetwork, the multi-hued part-external horn-loaded tweeter that protrudes above the top panel, and the shiny flared front port. The Trio is the smallest of three stereo pairs that make up Triangle’s mid-market Genese range, designed to take some of features introduced in the upmarket Magellan models, make them available at lower cost and bridge the gap between the Magellans and the vinyl-covered budget Esprit EX models. A generous-sized two-way standmount, based on a 160-millimetre bass/mid driver, this Trio has much in common with Triangle’s more costly Magellan Duetto SW2 (HFC 317). While the deep front panel is high- gloss black, the rest of the enclosure is attractively finished in a real wood veneer, stained to give a mahogany effect.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 20, 2010  |  0 comments
Spendor SA1 - £1,295 The BBC-inspired, relaunched SA1 isn’t cheap, but its loveable presentation won over our blind listening panel Over the years Spendor has introduced a number of small sealed-box sub-miniatures inspired by the BBC LS3/5a. Its first design, christened the SA1 and with a squatter, dumpier shape than a 3/5a, was launched in the mid-1970s. It was highly regarded, even though the company subsequently took out a license to produce the LS3/5a and this new SA1 revives the name, though not the shape of the original. In fact, it’s similar to a 3/5a dimensionally, albeit swapping over width and depth.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 20, 2010  |  0 comments
MAD My Clapton - £3,999 Newcomer My Audio Design is no slowhand when it comes to building speakers here in England The names are a giveaway. MAD is an acronym for My Audio Design, while christening this particular speaker My Clapton, is further evidence of designer and principal Tim Jung’s background. The My Clapton loudspeaker is designed and manufactured here in the UK. It’s an unusual speaker in a number of respects, mounting a 200mm coaxial drive unit into a generously proportioned, rather bluff and four-square ported enclosure.

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