Loudspeakers

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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.
Ed Selley  |  Jan 14, 2012
Audel gets down to basics with a speaker that combines contemporary design with traditional craftsmanship Italy has a prized reputation for flamboyant and uniquely styled luxury goods. The nation’s passion for design is woven into the very fabric of its culture. That’s why the country’s cars look like Ferrari Enzos rather than Ford Cortinas and why the men driving them are probably wearing Gucci loafers, rather than grubby sneakers. For a new high-end hi-fi company to be launched and get noticed is no easy task, especially in the loudspeaker market, where, to some, looks can be as important as sound, and where rivals include exotic brands such as Sonus faber and Zingali.
Keith Howard  |  Dec 16, 2011
An aesthetically attractive and somically capable loudspeaker Surely the most impressive-looking speaker of this group, the Elac FS 189 is a five-driver three-and-a-half-way sporting three 175mm bass drivers, a 140mm midrange unit and Elac’s vaunted JET tweeter, whose pleated diaphragm identifies it as a development of Oskar Heil’s famous Air Motion Transformer. The lower two bass drivers are rolled off at 180Hz, leaving the upper bass unit to crossover to the midrange driver at 500Hz and it to the tweeter at 2. 8kHz. Like the FS 247 Sapphire [HFN July ’11], reflex bass loading is accomplished via two ports, one located near the top of the back panel and the other in the cabinet base, where it vents to the outside via the gap between the cabinet and integral plinth.
Keith Howard  |  Dec 16, 2011
Larger than average drivers give the Dali a performance edge Compared to the other speakers in this test the Lektor 8 – largest of Dali’s five-model Lektor range, not including the centre speaker and sub – looks almost old-fashioned. It isn’t size zero thin, for a start, because it uses twin 8in (200mm) bass drivers rather than the ~170mm units of the Quadral, Elac and Paradigm. Moreover, those drivers – along with the 5in midrange – don’t boast hi-tech- looking metal diaphragms but Dali’s familiar wood fibre reinforced coated paper cones, which are a dull brown colour. It’s a lot of speaker for the price, though, and those unmodishly large bass drivers – reflex loaded by ports front and rear – promise to move plenty of air.
Keith Howard  |  Dec 16, 2011
A handsome design with some likeable characteristics If you ask me, the bow-fronted Aviano 8 succeeds in looking modern while retaining a certain British reserve. Certainly it’s a notable contrast to the rather garish Teufel, and not just in the looks department. A four-driver two-and-a-half-way, the Aviano 8 has three 6. 5in drivers featuring M-S’s dished CPC (Continuous Profile Cone) aluminium diaphragms and a 25mm aluminium dome tweeter, nestled behind a protective grille.
Keith Howard  |  Dec 16, 2011
A sophisticated design making use of some interesting technologies As befits the product carrying the largest price tag here, the Paradigm Studio 60, now in version 5 guise, looks the classiest of the bunch. A four-driver, two-and-a-half-way design, it is visually most notable for the side and back panels of its enclosure being transformed into a single, continuous curve, the inherent stiffness of which bodes well for low levels of cabinet talk. Also distinctive is its 25mm gold anodised aluminium dome tweeter whose diecast mounting protrudes from the top of the cabinet to reduce diffraction effects and is compliantly decoupled from the baffle to isolate it from vibration. The 140mm bass-midrange driver, with its satin anodised aluminium cone and large phase plug, is decoupled too, as are the twin 140mm bass drivers with mineral-filled polypropylene cones.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 16, 2011
Innovative technology helps the Quadral stand out from the field A mere glance at the Platinum M4 is sufficient to identify it as a Quadral, the bass drivers recessed behind aluminium slats being a clear visual cue, whether the speaker carries the Quadral name or that of its prestige Aurum brand. It isn’t just a cosmetic feature but a part of Quadral’s enhanced form of reflex loading – there’s a large port at the rear of the cabinet – which really does perform differently if the relatively flat impedance curve is anything to judge by. A four-driver three-way, the Platinum M4 matches its twin metal-coned bass drivers to a similar metal-coned midrange unit, above which is not the ‘ribbon’ (actually leaf) tweeter we’re used to seeing in Aurum models but Quadral’s RiCom-M ring tweeter, which is unusual for its annular diaphragm being of titanium. Quadral claims that it produces character-free treble output with broad dispersion.
Keith Howard  |  Dec 16, 2011
These floorstanders from direct retail giants Teufel are strong value for money It’s not so long ago that I asked, rhetorically, in these pages how JBL could sell a four-driver, three-way floorstander (the Studio 190) for a mere £480 a pair [HFN May ’11]. Well, JBL eat your heart out: the Teufel Ultima 40 is also a four-driver, three-way floorstander and it sells for just £349 a pair, plus a delivery charge of £20. During the review period, in fact, it was on special offer for even less: a barely credible £299 at one point. How does Teufel do it? A significant part of the answer is that it sells direct to the customer, cutting out the middleman.
Keith Howard  |  Nov 30, 2011
Following the success of its keenly-priced Studio 1 models, JBL ups the ante with a no less distinctive Studio 5 range The company’s marketing philosophy is pretty simple: if you’ve got it, flaunt it, ‘it’ being JBL’s long and distinguished history in professional audio. Think PA speakers and you’ll probably envisage direct radiating bass drivers coupled with hornloaded midrange and treble units – exactly the image JBL wishes you to have and echoes in many of its domestic speakers which, fl ying in the face of fashion, continue to feature horns. Cue the new Studio 580, middle of the company’s new Studio 5 range which looks to build on the reception accorded JBL’s lesser Studio 1 series, which included bagging the recent EISA European Loudspeaker 2011-2012 Award for the high-value Studio 190 [see HFN Oct ’11, page 11]. Compared to the 190 [HFN May ’11] the costlier 580 might appear to be a retrograde step.
Ken Kessler and Keith Howard  |  Nov 30, 2011
What follows 'The Sonus faber'? A second revision of the Guarneri, the company's best-selling high-end loudspeaker Homage and Memento owners may argue that it didn’t need it, but Sonus faber’s Guarneri is enjoying its second makeover. The world’s prettiest high-end compact speaker has been ‘pimped’ with shiny metal hardware for the back edges and the top plate, the fi nishes have changed, the innards are new. So what remains of the earlier versions’ grace and panache? The Evolution is slightly larger than the Memento at 410x235x412mm versus 380x210x390mm (hwd). Its dedicated pillar, however, has been reduced in height from the earlier 895mm to 795mm.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 20, 2011
The Aurum range arrives in the UK packed with bespoke technology This floorstander is no larger or more extravagantly equipped than many in this area of the market, but it is notably more substantial than the norm, at 31kg, and better finished too. Moreover, for a premium, there are numerous alternative finishes. Twin 170mm aluminium/ titanium/magnesium coned bass units work in parallel up to a specified 330Hz crossover and are reflex loaded by a single large rearfiring port. The distinctive slats we saw in the Titan VII are echoed in an array of vertical rubber cords that adorn the cut-out through which the recessed bass units radiate – in fact these appear to be part of the reflex/pressure chamber bass loading principle.

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