Floor Loudspeaker Reviews

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Kalman Rubinson  |  Nov 23, 2021  |  34 comments
I received an email from a longtime press representative I've known for years, telling me about a new loudspeaker company he's representing. The company is bursting from the gates with a line of products that includes floorstanders, standmounts, wallmounts, surrounds, center channels, and a range of subwoofers.
Jim Austin  |  Nov 17, 2021  |  18 comments
The Wilson Audio Specialties Alexx V ($135,000–$151,000/pair) is the biggest, heaviest, most expensive loudspeaker I've had in my listening room. It replaces the original Alexx in Wilson's lineup; Michael Fremer reviewed the earlier Alexx, bought it, and owned it until replacing it recently with the Wilson Chronosonic XVX.
John Atkinson  |  Oct 29, 2021  |  19 comments
Exactly five years ago as I write these words, I reviewed an elegant-looking and elegant-sounding tower loudspeaker from Canadian manufacturer PSB: the Imagine T3. Priced at $7498/pair before it was discontinued, the T3 combined three woofers, each housed in its own vented subenclosure, with a 5.25" midrange unit mounted above a 1" tweeter.
Michael Fremer  |  Oct 22, 2021  |  23 comments
You've got your 2001: A Space Odyssey speaker, which of course is a tall, black, featureless monolith. Then there's your wooden "Who's buried inside?" speaker, your "R-I-C-O-L-A" speaker, your enema bag or double-inverted enema bag speaker, your menacing hooded-Klansman speaker, your "looks like a robot, praying mantis, or Transformer" speaker (mine), and your "Does it leave a slime trail?" speaker (looks like a snail). You've got your "Is that a room divider?" speaker, your "looks like you stepped on a duck's head" speaker, and your "whipped cream dollop suspended in time" speaker.
Herb Reichert  |  Oct 01, 2021  |  34 comments
The made-in-Switzerland Stenheim Alumine Three floorstanding loudspeaker sells for $32,900/pair. It is not only the most expensive component I've reviewed for Stereophile; it costs more than 10 times (!) as much as my $3000/pair reference Falcon Acoustics Gold Badge LS3/5a speaker. So naturally I wondered: Will it sound 10 times better? And if it does sound 10 times better, what might the nature of the improvements be?
Ken Micallef  |  Sep 02, 2021  |  20 comments
No one taught me more about the heralded tone of Ortofon SPU cartridges, the magical pacing of idler-drive turntables, or the dynamics and speed of horn-loaded speakers than Art Dudley, Stereophile's late deputy editor. His equipment reviews and monthly Listening columns weren't merely tutorials on how to review audio equipment with insight and an individual voice; they were also an entertaining, informative immersion into the kind of hi-fi he loved. We also shared many conversations, though too few.
John Atkinson  |  Aug 26, 2021  |  7 comments
German manufacturer Canton Elektronik has a strong presence in Europe, but distribution of its loudspeakers in the US has been sporadic. Consequently, the most recent review in Stereophile of a Canton speaker, the Reference 3.2 DC, was in 2010. When we heard, in December 2020, that Bluebird Music would be bringing Canton back to North America, we were eager to review a Canton loudspeaker. Balancing performance and price, we selected the Reference 7K, which costs $6995/pair.
Jim Austin  |  Aug 18, 2021  |  6 comments
Many loudspeaker designers are minimalists at heart. They embrace a design aesthetic that says that simpler is better. Based on the evidence of the company's R 8 Arreté, Ole Klifoth, of Danish loudspeaker maker Audiovector, is not one of those designers.

On its website, in the Specifications section for its "R"-model loudspeakers (footnote 1), Audiovector offers a long checklist of technologies, many of them optional, some of them, called "Concepts," assigned snappy names and acronyms: IUC for Individual Upgrade Concept; LCC for Low Compression Concept; SEC for Soundstage Enhancement Concept; NES for No Energy Storage; FGC for Freedom Grounding Concept; and NCS for Natural Crystal Structure.

John Atkinson  |  Aug 13, 2021  |  First Published: Jun 01, 1988  |  1 comments
The Swedish Rauna company, which has been in existence for about five years—their little Mk.II Tyr two-way impressed J. Gordon Holt a couple of years back in Vol.9 No.2—appears to be dedicated to the use of concrete as an enclosure material. One of the problems with conventional wooden cabinets is that the walls flex and vibrate, adding a spurious and often time-delayed output at some frequencies. It has even been reported that in extreme cases, the contribution of the cabinet to the overall sound at some frequencies approaches that from the drive-units. In theory, concrete should give a rigid construction with any panel resonant frequencies moved up above the critical midrange.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Jul 14, 2021  |  16 comments
Over a lifetime of audio shows, I've consistently enjoyed Dynaudio speaker demonstrations. Each time, I've told Dynaudio North America's Michael Manousselis that I'd love to review the speaker on display that year. But I never followed through. So, when Jim Austin suggested I review a Dynaudio speaker "because they haven't gotten much press," it resonated with my deep-seated guilt. A little research revealed that the last Dynaudio speaker Stereophile reviewed was the 40 Special in November 2018. The last floorstander was the Dynaudio Sapphire in 2009!
Jim Austin  |  Jun 18, 2021  |  28 comments
It's rare for a Stereophile reviewer to review two loudspeakers in a row from the same manufacturer, but then these are unusual times. Because of the pandemic, Magico's M2s got stuck here for a year (I know: poor me). By the time they were packed up and shipped out, it was time for a long-scheduled review of the less-expensive, more-massive Magico A5 ($24,800/pair).
John Atkinson  |  May 19, 2021  |  16 comments
2020 may not have been a year to celebrate, but there were some housebound highlights. For example, after I had finished with the measurements to accompany Michael Fremer's review of the Marten Oscar Duo in the November 2020 issue, I set up these Swedish two-way standmounts in my own listening room. Yes, the measured performance was excellent, but I was not expecting how much I would enjoy the sound of the Oscar Duos.
Robert Schryer  |  May 14, 2021  |  15 comments
The first image that pops into my mind when I think of Focal is of the iconic Grande Utopias and how at one Montreal audio show I couldn't believe that the gentlest, sweetest music I'd heard all day was coming out of those massive speakers. I saw it as a paradox of sorts.

Founded in the City of Lights, Focal has been around since 1979, the year Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now received the Palme d'Or at Cannes and when the average annual income in America was $17,500. Focal started as a twinkle in the eye of engineer and technology journalist Jacques Mahul, who believed he'd built a speaker that would appeal to hi-fi enthusiasts: the DB13. Fast-forward half a century, and Focal, designated "entreprise du patrimoine vivant" (living heritage company) by the French government, employs some 230 people at its large, stylish, multilevel digs.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 23, 2021  |  22 comments
Brand-fan excitement ran high among consumers and reviewers alike when Wilson Audio Specialties announced that it would roll out a nonfunctioning prototype of the Chronosonic XVX at the 2019 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF). The Chronosonic XVX was rumored to be a replacement for the $210,000/pair Alexandria XLF, offering performance similar to that of the $850,000 WAMM Master Chronosonic system (including two Master Subsonics and a controller) at a less breathtaking price. (You won't catch me writing "affordable" here.) The static unveiling at RMAF intensified anticipation.
John Atkinson  |  Mar 26, 2021  |  37 comments
Time for some towers. In recent months, a succession of standmount speakers has passed through my listening room: GoldenEar BRXes, Bowers & Wilkins 705 Signatures, Marten Oscar Duos, original KEF LS50s, and the new LS50 Metas. All these loudspeakers sounded excellent, though different from one another. I felt that a floorstanding loudspeaker would make for an interesting change.

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