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ELAC FS-207.2 Loudspeakers

ELAC FS-207.2 Loudspeakers (pair)

“You may recall the recent review of the quite expensive Adam Compact loudspeaker which uses an ART tweeter, designed by Oskar Heil, and here we see another variant from ELAC in this beautifully clad speaker design. This time it’s called the JET tweeter, “developed to perfection on the basis of the famous ‘Air Motion Transformer’ by loudspeaker pioneer Dr. Oskar Heil. Its principle: a concertinaed foil membrane is driven by a strong magnet system of neodymium rods.”

Paradigm Reference Studio 20 V.4 Loudspeakers

Paradigm Reference 20

“Gosh, I can remember when the Reference Series was new and hot, but I guess that was back when we were recording the Chuck Israels Quartet out in Bellingham with a pair of Studio 20s as monitors. They were awfully good then, and the v.4 successors aim to be better. Here’s how: “1[inch] (25mm) G-PALTM Gold-Anodized Pure Aluminum Domes (also developed for our award-winning Signature Series) chosen for their exceptional rigidity and improved internal damping. The reduced radius of curvature on the tweeter diaphragm has also brought about significant improvements in sound dispersion. Ferro-fluid cooled and damped…”

KEF KHT-3005 Home Theater System

KEF KHT-3005“Round, organic, egg-styled, baby-like, modern…there are so many things you can call KEF’s current series of home theatre loudspeakers, the main adjective being, of course, small. Available in glossy black and sleek silver, they definitely make a modernist statement. But, unlike other B-system brands affecting style out there which I shall not name for fear of incurring the wrath of the Dreaded “Mark” (that’s a Tronna joke), these actually make nice, high fidelity music and have some very credible and genuine engineering behind them…”

Dynaudio MC-15 Loudspeakers: The World’s Best Desktop Speakers?

Dynaudio MC-15 Desktop Loudspeakers (small)

“Dynaudio bravely saddles their new MC-15 powered speakers with the moniker “multimedia”, a term that, to many, conjures up images of the cheaply priced, and even more cheaply made, plastic boxes adjacent to most of the world’s computer monitors. To describe most multimedia speakers as awful is an understatement akin to suggesting that Germans like beer. The crafty Danes at Dynaudio, of course, know that speakers meant to be used with computers (and iPods, cell phones, gaming consoles etc.) need not suck…”

Totem Tribe Home Theater Speaker System

Totem Tribe Subwoofer (small)

“We have before us two wall-mountable speakers slightly different in size (with a larger Tribe III also newly available), and a subwoofer that combines a front active 8″ driver that also moves a pair of side-mounted passive units. The Storm is quite compact, especially considering its radiating area from three of four vertical sides. Totem has some quite interesting things to say about this HT system in their literature and on the web site: “All Tribe models are designed to match any application or flat panel display…”

PSB VisionSound Home Theater Speaker System

PSB VisionSound System Group

“I’m sure designer Paul Barton of PSB has had many visions, not to imply that he is a seer in any religious sense, or is any other way unbalanced, even in his speaker fantasies for home theatre, but here, his VisionSound is a combination of the VS400 largely line-source slim towers, and VS300 compact wall-mount speakers to match, with one of his several subwoofers, the SubSonic 5i to go along and hold up the bottom…”

ADAM Classic Series Compact Monitor

ADAM Compact Monitor

This loudspeaker, from a well known European professional manufacturer, certainly ranks as the most expensive 2-way bookshelf model in our experience, but is immaculately finished in light Maple veneer, and of unique construction. The Compact is described by the maker as a “no-compromise small high-end loudspeaker that incorporates the revolutionary A.R.T. tweeter and a 7″ Hexa Cone woofer.” I’ll say more about these drivers and the cabinet materials and construction below.

Klipsch Reference 5 Home Theater Speaker System

Klipsch Reference 5 Satellite

“In many HT systems there’s a lot to talk about in the satellites and centre, and that’s certainly true with the other systems in this issue. And it’s not that there isn’t that much to say about them here, it’s just that the Klipsch RSW-10D subwoofer has so many talking points in its technology, call it tweak-nology, if you like, but more on this below…”

Quad 22L Loudspeaker

Quad 22L Loudspeaker

“I guess most longtime readers know that I’m not easily impressed by new speakers. But when it’s an old name known for excellence and outright fidelity, I sit up (or is it “shut up”?) and listen. Quad loudspeakers have been the mainstay of numerous high end systems owned by contributing editor and longtime friend, Hy Sarick, and I’ve enjoyed hearing their several generations of electrostatics in his various homes over 30 years…”

Audioengine 5 Powered Desktop Loudspeakers

Audioengine 5 Powered Speaker System

“Right out of the box the Audioengine 5 powered speaker system has a huge and very simple advantage over almost all the iPod “dock” type systems breeding like a shiny white fungus out there in the audio mainstream. It has two independent speakers. Real speakers. And, like any mini-monitor, they can be placed in such a way as to generate an actual stereo image…”

Desktop Speaker Showdown - Measurements

Genelec HT 208

“These three powered monitors were measured in our standard fashion, and all performed reasonably well, with good dispersion to 30 degrees off axis, and the required slight reticence in the midrange you need for a speaker you listen to at close quarters. I can see why Aaron was less enthusiastic about the Edifier, with its rolled-off treble and upper midrange. Though very flat through the range from 70 to 1000 Hz, it was about 7 dB down by 4 kHz, with little life above, and zilch sheen at the top…”

Energy S12.3 Subwoofer

Energy S12.3 Subwoofer

“The new subwoofers from this company are relatively small, though the S12.3 is larger than the new Paradigm Seismic 12 with a similarly-sized driver (The Paradigm Seismic 12 is also reviewed in the Fall 2004 issue). The S12.3 comes in a black ash finish with a black grille cover, a volume control with a bright blue LED below it at the top of the front panel showing through the grille cover…”

Desktop Speaker Showdown - Introduction

Genelec HT 208

“As maligned as it is by many audiophiles, the compact disc made the idea of having a serious audio system at work truly practical. Audiophiles lucky enough to have a work environment which could accommodate a pair of bookshelf speakers and a little integrated amp or receiver (or, for some CEO/corner office types, much more elaborate setups) could increase quality of life on the job significantly with some well reproduced music to help the day fly by…”

Edifier R1900 Active Speaker System

Genelec HT 208

“At only $99.00 the Edifier R1900 is designed to compete at what is perhaps best described at the upper low end of the multimedia speaker world. It’s certainly a large step above the trashy plastic stuff, and styled to look like a semi-serious bookshelf speaker. From afar it may even look like one, but a close look reveals fit and finish befitting a bargain priced product, especially the vinyl “wood” covering the sides…”

Swans T200A Active Speaker System

Genelec HT 208

“If the T200A is aimed at the professional/studio market it sure doesn’t look it. In contrast to the non-descript looking black boxes one often finds in studio environments, the T200A is a rather bold looking speaker. It features a triangular front baffle faced with a silver coloured aluminum plate. Two more triangular sections finished in shiny black piano lacquer slope back from the baffle and then stop about a third of the way into the speaker’s 27 cm depth. The rear section of the speaker consists of a more traditionally shaped box which is ported at rear…”

Genelec HT 208 Active Speaker System

Genelec HT 208

“The HT 208 is a two-way design featuring an 8″ mid/woofer (which, although the material is not specified, seems to be made of polypropylene) and a 1″ metal dome tweeter. The tweeter is mounted in what Genelec calls a Directivity Control Waveguide�. It’s basically metal plate which sets the tweeter a little deeper into the cabinet, creating a slight horn-loading effect. This not only squeezes more efficiency from the tweeter, the Genelec website notes that “the improved directivity control reduces the reflected sound at the listening position…”

Echo Indigo Laptop Sound Card

PSB Platinum M2 Loudspeaker

“More than just a headphone jack (the Indigo actually has two 1/8″ gold plated mini jacks) the Echo Audio card is a D to A converter as well as a high quality analog output stage. It supports up to 24 bit, 96 kHz signals, uses a 100 Mhz Motorola DSP chip and has a nice, chunky analog volume control knob right on top. For those looking to use their notebook as a recorder, Echo also makes an Indigo with an analog input as well as a model aimed at DJs, featuring two independent stereo outputs.”

PSB Platinum M2 Loudspeaker and Subsonic 10 Subwoofer

PSB Platinum M2 Loudspeaker

“Every speaker maker is excited to introduce a new flagship model, and PSB’s Paul Barton is certainly no exception, since all he and his engineering staff know about speaker design has gone into this project. The M2 is the bookshelf model in the Platinum series, which now rests above the Stratus line in the PSB pantheon. The new S10 subwoofer is the biggest and most powerful low frequency reproducer that PSB makes…”

Energy Connoisseur C5 Loudspeaker

Energy C5 Loudspeaker

“The C5 is a slim tower with outrigger spiked feet to support its slim profile, with a very handsome silver front baffle containing 3 custom designed and integrated drivers and a flared port at bottom. “The silver front baffle is also the woofer’s basket section, and integral part of the speaker enclosure and the speaker system. Comprised of Energy’s proprietary Spherex®, the baffle is computer designed to enhance dispersion and strengthen the cabinet structure…”

Paradigm Signature S4 Loudspeaker

Paradigm Signature S4

“Even with a new sleek box shape, the Signature S4 looks unmistakably Paradigm. I guess it’s the drivers, designed and made in house. The tweeter is, like all the other drivers, a totally new design especially for this top-of-the-line series. It’s a 1″ “G-PAL gold-anodized pure aluminum dome” with “dual super neodymium ring magnets. Ferro-fluid damped/cooled”, its rear wave feeds into a chamber with finned heat sinks, and the die-cast basket is shock-mounted to eliminate any vibration beyond that of the dome itself…”


  Outside the Speakers

    Random Thoughts on the Music Mask
    NPR on Whether Audiophiles Still Exist
    Audiophile Grade Mics?
    CDs Sales Die, LP Sales Fly
    Some High End 'Phones from CES

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