Loudspeakers

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Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 30, 2015
Wharfedale describes the Jade range as its ‘new audiophile class speaker designs’, using computer-aided modelling and new material technologies. In the visually striking Jade 5, the tweeter and midrange are embraced in a combination housing that’s common to all the Jade models, raising the axis of the tweeter’s 25mm aluminium dome to peep above the front edge of the curved, sloping cabinet top. While the midrange has a 75mm concave aluminium/pulp diaphragm, the twin 165mm bass units use a new cone material called Acufibre, said to ‘marry the responsiveness of glass and carbon fibre’ in aself-damping woven matrix. They are impressed with a moulded pattern to break up standing waves.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 30, 2015
The Duette 2 is a thorough revamp of the 2006 original, with its aesthetics enhanced by design cues that first appeared in the larger Wilson models – the optional stand, too, is a visual treat. Like the original, the Duette 2 uses the separate Novel crossover, its outboard status increasing the internal volume of the speaker so it still has ample space for an 8in woofer. Mounted inside the newly-designed stand, the crossover is mechanically isolated in its own dedicated enclosure. Upgrading the tweeter has involved the inclusion of a rear wave chamber, which is said to attenuate spurious energy ‘generated at the rear of the driver that would otherwise leak out of the acoustically translucent dome’.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 27, 2015
KEF’s statuesque Reference 5 embodies an overwhelming amount of research and development – it employs various techniques that are really quite new, but puts together many more that have emerged from earlier design work. The 125mm/25mm driver developed for this new range is the 11th generation of KEF’s Uni-Q designs, while the four 6. 5in bass units are placed as close as possible to this midrange/treble unit to minimise lobeing and interference dips at the crossover point. But rather than having a conventional cone, the bass diaphragm is a shallow aluminium disc, which gives the driver a lower profile and ensures a minimal effect on the frequency response of the midrange and tweeter.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 27, 2015
The guiding philosophy of Magico’s indefatigable CEO and designer Alon Wolf is along the lines of ‘if you want it done properly. . . ’ This extends not only to the largely bespoke drivers but in particular to those famously inert cabinets, employing copious quantities of alloy, innovative scaffold-like internal bracing and constrained-layer damping.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 27, 2015
Although the bass and midrange drive units on the twenty. 26 may appear similar to those of the PMC fact 12 [HFN Nov ’13], they are completely new and only found on this loudspeaker so far. The tweeter is the one unit carried over from the existing models and it’s the well proven Solonex 27mm soft-dome unit, developed by SEAS in conjunction with PMC. Its output is rolled off below 3.
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.

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