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Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Keith Howard  |  Jan 01, 2018
hfnoutstanding.pngAt long last, we get our hands on the iconic Franco Serblin Accordo. Does it redefine the small loudspeaker?

We may have waited over five years to review the Franco Serblin Accordo but, as I found within five seconds of switching them on, it was worth the hold-up. The Accordo is one of the late Franco Serblin’s last designs, chronologically falling in between the Ktema and the Lignea, and its appeal to the archetypal British audiophile is blatantly overwhelming. With its predecessor and follow-up both floorstanders, the Accordo differs as a petite two-way standmount, complete with a 740mm angled pedestal. The Accordo is sold in mirror-imaged pairs, in walnut for £7500 with the integral stands, or in high-gloss grey for an additional £300.

Review: Cliff Joseph, Lab: Keith Howard  |  Jan 01, 2018
hfncommended.pngA new range combines Focal’s traditional performance values with a more relaxed – and colourful – design

Based in Saint-Étienne, the company’s resolutely ‘made in France’ philosophy has led Focal to develop a number of its own acoustic technologies and designs, and even to use locally grown materials in the manufacture of its speakers. And now the company is continuing that no-compromise approach with its Kanta No2, the first in a new range of compact loudspeakers.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Keith Howard  |  Dec 01, 2017
hfnoutstanding.pngNot the diddiest of the new Diamonds, but can the smart-looking 11.1 live up to its heritage?

The highly competitive British budget speaker market has long been a thing of wonder – or should that be bafflement? – for overseas observers. For many years, all the major players in the industry vied to squeeze maximum sales appeal out of boxes designed to sell for around £100 a pair, with each successful debut instantly setting itself up as the brightly-lit target for its near rivals.

Review: David Price, Lab: Keith Howard  |  Dec 01, 2017
hfnoutstanding.pngB&W’s comprehensive 800 D3 series has not only caused a stir without, but also within – all hail the new 700 series

Every loudspeaker brand has a house sound, and for many years B&W’s has been influenced by its Kevlar bass and/or midrange cones. It was the best way to get what the designers wanted – a controlled ‘stiff’ driver action that didn’t offer an overly romanticised view of the music.

Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 30, 2015
We’d been hankering to audition this T+A flagship speaker for some time. Would the CWT 2000 SE deliver audio ecstasy to those who demand the wallop of a dynamic speaker yet also quench the thirst of ‘purist’ audiophiles who crave the transparency of an electrostatic panel? There are three line-array ‘Cylinder Wave Transducers’ in T+A’s Solitaire range. The big daddy, the CWT 2000, has a 920x50mm tweeter panel – the speaker pairs are handed – six front array 150mm midrange drivers, and on each side are two whopping 250mm bass drivers. Within the imposing tower these drivers occupy asymmetric individually sealed chambers, the Solitaires’ baffles slightly raked backwards in order to afford a degree of time alignment.
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.