Loudspeakers

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Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 27, 2015
Q Acoustics, established in 2006, is very much a new-wave brand that owes no philosophical allegiance to tradition, even if it is by definition a part of theentry-level British speaker scene. With the Concept 20, two elements combine to achieve noteworthiness – the cabinet technology and the optional stands. It goes without saying that the price alone (£350 for the speakers, or £550 for the package) automatically qualifies this as of exceptional value. The 655mm stands are handsome, well-made and clever – they lock to the speaker, hide the cables down the back, feature adjustable spikes, sound terrific and could probably sell by the truck-load on their own.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 27, 2015
This handsome pair of Revel F208 floorstanders sits at the top of the California company’s recently introduced Performa 3 range. The R&D team has spent the past three years completely revamping its middle-range Performas. We’re told they’ve been designed not simply to offer a step up in performance from Revel’s cheaper speakers but also to give more than a taste of its far more expensive models. Manufacturing is in Indonesia.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 27, 2015
Standing over a metre in height, the Olympica III is imposing without being a room-dominator. Our review example was in natural walnut, with joints in clear maple, while accenting this are leather inlays with highlighted stitching. As standard, the front baffle and back are also covered in natural hide. The construction comprises ‘progressive thickness’ triple curvature cabinet walls, with solid walnut clamps reinforcing the structure.
Richard Holliss  |  Jan 22, 2015
This is the largest floorstander in Dynaudio’s Excite range: a new series of entry-level speakers from the Danish company, all designed to be easy to drive. And the X38 not only looks considerably more sleek than the 380 floorstander we tested from Dynaudio’s Focus series [HFN Jun ’13] but it comes at only half the price. The X38’s twin long-throw woofers and midrange driver have supple rubber surrounds and one-piece cones formed for smooth dispersion. They are made of Dynaudio’s magnesium silicate polymer [MSP] for light weight and high rigidity, while the drivers’ chassis are die-cast aluminium, with neodymium magnets and large but lightweight voice coils.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 22, 2015
This tall floorstander takes its place as the top model in Elac’s Line 400 series. All use the JET 5 tweeter, Elac’s development of a concept patented by Dr Oskar Heil called the Air Motion Transformer (AMT). In the Heil AMT, the moving element is a very light plastic membrane that carries a fine metal track to conduct the audio signal. Suspended between powerful magnets, this membrane moves when current flows.
Richard Holliss  |  Jan 22, 2015
At the pinnacle of JBL’s loudspeaker range, the Everest is a monster of a speaker weighing 142kg and priced at a whopping £35k each, its 250-litre enclosure 1110mm wide to accommodate two 15in drivers side by side. While it doesn’t require an enormous listening space, a room does need to be adequately wide in order to space a pair apart satisfactorily. The Everest has been JBL’s flagship ‘Project’ speaker for nearly three decades. Carried over from the out-going model are the speaker’s two horn-loaded beryllium compression drivers: the 100mm diameter 476Be high frequency unit and the 25mm 045Be-1 ‘UHF’ supertweeter, working up to a claimed 60kHz.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Dec 22, 2014
When the BC III was launched in 1973, Spendor’s ads described it as ‘An extension and refinement of theBC I and BC II’, while Thomas Heinitz, doyen of hi-fi consultants in those days, could not resist using the headline‘Hey, big Spendor’. The BC III was rooted in Spencer Hughes’ work at the BBC: he was part of the legendary BBC research team, working under both D E L Shorter and H D Harwood. It had an 8in driver with 40mm voice-coil, working in its own sealed chamber as a midrange unit while the 12in bass unit was reflex-loaded by a carefully designed port. The crossover point was 700Hz.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Oct 16, 2014
In 2012 Kudos introduced the £3500 Cardea Super 10 [HFN June ’12], a go-for-broke ‘supercharged’ version of the company’s 12 litre two-way standmount. Now the company has followed up with a ‘Super’ version of its Cardea C20 floorstander. Kudos has worked extensively with SEAS in developing specific drivers for its various speaker models, the Super 20 employing the 29mm ‘Crescendo K2’ soft dome tweeter first introduced in the £13,000 Kudos Titan T88 flagship. The bass/mid driver in the Super 20 is a newly-developed version of the SEAS 18cm unit with hand-treated paper cone.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Oct 16, 2014
Magico has wisely decided to ‘trickle down’ its Q series know-how into a new and mildly more affordable series: the S1 and S5 floorstanders. The latter is a good £11k shy of the similarly-proportioned Q3 [HFN Sep ’11] and yet it offers almost exactly the same sensitivity, an even flatter response but a measurably and palpably superior bass extension. The S5’s body comprises three main sections – a thick alloy baffle plus two curved, 0. 5in-thick side extrusions that increase stiffness while minimising internal standing waves.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Oct 16, 2014
Peak Consult is a Danish boutique high-end loudspeaker manufacturer which can arguably be regarded as a Danish equivalent of Sonus faber. The engineering focus, lush aesthetics and fastidious attention to detail are certainly at one with the philosophies of the Italian speaker brand, and price points, from the entry-level Princess V to the six-figure Peak Consult Dragon, are up there too. The Princess V is a compact yet extremely hefty speaker with superb woodwork and an all-Danish driver array. The tweeter is a custom Scan-Speak model with a 1in silk dome and the main driver a bespoke 5in AudioTechnology unit.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Oct 16, 2014
Customer and retailer reactions have suggested the need for a new Wilson speaker closer in performance to the universally-acclaimed Alexandria XLF [HFN Nov ’12], but one that swallowed no more real estate than a Sasha. With a footprint close to the Sasha’s, the Alexia hosts only a slight increase in height, due mainly to the necessarily larger woofer enclosure. To provide a goodly portion of the XLF’s adaptability, precision and coherence, the smaller Alexia had to offer adjustability of the midrange and tweeter positioning with to-the-millimetre accuracy, according to room specifics and the location of the owner’s ‘hot seat’. That meant a head section with movable segments, but with a volume akin to that of the original WATT.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Oct 16, 2014
Sitting just below the Reference models in Acoustic Energy’s line-up, its Radiance Series is intended to offer a good proportion of their abilities at a lower price. The Radiance 2 occupies the centre of the three-strong range of stereo designs [a matching subwoofer and centre channel are also available] and utilises three drive units in a two-and-a-half-way configuration. The two main drivers are 130mm in diameter and consist of a pressed alloy cone with matching conical dust cap, allied to a rubber surround. Voice-coils are wound with aluminium wire for lightness; each driver has its own enclosure with separate port tuning.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Oct 16, 2014
Here, B&W has launched a floorstander that extends the CM Series upwards and fits into the price slot vacated by the old 804S. Like the 804, the CM10 uses a separate [but new] tweeter module. A standard 50µm-thick dome with most of the centre removed forms a stiffening ring and on the front of this is stuck a full dome only 35µm thick. This gives a higher first breakup frequency, said to be 38kHz, yet with a similar moving mass, compared to the standard 50µm dome.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Oct 16, 2014
These Estelons deftly bridge the gap between the radically bizarre and domestically acceptable. Simply put, they look wonderful. Made from a marble based composite, standard finishes include black or white gloss, or matt black for £22,000 per pair. The review pair was finished in ‘Red Rocket Liquid Gloss’ [+£3000].
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Oct 16, 2014
The M’inenT range [one standmount and two floorstanders] is new from GamuT. The M5s have a tall and commanding presence yet somehow seem less bulky than their paper dimensions would suggest. The cabinet is exceptionally well finished in a flawless real wood veneer and a wide range of finishes is available at extra cost. The three drive units are configured as a two-and-a-half way design, with crossover points at 500Hz and 2.

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