Stand Loudspeaker Reviews

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Tom Fine  |  Feb 02, 2024  |  2 comments
Do you remember your first really decent hi-fi system? It opened up your music, teased your brain with the possibilities of thrilling aural excitement, of dives to the bottom of the musical ocean. Perhaps it was all you needed, but more likely it was the beginning of a quest for your own ultimate sound-induced bliss.

That quest may be ongoing and never-ending, because our tastes and preferences evolve over time, money comes and goes, and we're simply never satisfied. And even if we are, eventually, we're audiophiles, and the industry always offers something interesting and new, or something old that's new again.

My time with a pair of Klipsch The Nines speaker-gadgets reminded me of the exciting, youthful bloom of my first serious sound system: a Technics SL-D2 turntable with Audio-Technica cartridge, a Philips 45Wpc receiver, and New Advent Loudspeakers.

Ken Micallef  |  Nov 29, 2023  |  76 comments
In the mid-2000s, I worked at a "white-shoe" law firm on Wall Street, ran with renegades, and fancied myself a writer. Fast-forward some 18 years. The firm, like many cash-flush NYC firms, has moved to midtown and I've moved on. Those renegades are now respected members and players in the hi-fi community. I still fancy myself a writer.

Back then, I made friends with a big-eared clique that would influence my future in hi-fi: audio writer Michael Lavorgna (currently editor at TwitteringMachines.com); NYU law professor Jules Coleman; former Stereophile deputy editor and current AudioQuest director of communications Stephen Mejias; record-industry veteran Andrew Klein; composer Dan Cooper; illustrator Jeff Wong; vacuum-coffee–machine collector and audiophile Margery Budoff, who regrettably passed in 2015; Tone Imports' Jonathan Halpern; and DeVore Fidelity proprietor-designer John DeVore.

Tom Fine  |  Sep 28, 2023  |  7 comments
Hi-fi is at a crossroads. One road takes us toward modernized versions of the gear we grew up with, stuff that has been around since the 1950s. The other road faces the future. While sometimes accommodating physical media, including vinyl records, that's not where that road leads. On that road, streaming is the norm, and equipment may be hooked up with traditional signal cables or with no cables at all, just GHz-range electromagnetic radiation, the digital kind. In the more extreme cases, the music may remain digital all the way to the amplifiers, which themselves are likely to be class-D.

I keep a foot on both paths, hoping they don't diverge so much that they split me in two. I've got a substantial collection of physical discs, black and silver, and I play them often. But I love the convenience of my network-attached storage (NAS) appliance, Qobuz, even lossy Spotify, especially when I want my world filled with music for hours with no thought or action on my part.

Ken Micallef  |  Aug 25, 2023  |  19 comments
What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits—the 1974 album by those San Jose yacht-rock sages the Doobie Brothers—could also describe an audiophile's life.

The journey begins with booze and bong money spent instead on an entry-level turntable and cartridge; it did for me anyway. Then starts the churn, through many components and configurations seeking that elusive, blissful audio fix until finally we find our audio oasis, our own sonic peace, our gearhead nirvana. We achieve a system that satisfies our listening indulgences, whether it be based on streaming or spinning, class-D or tubes, with Belden wire or 0.999999% pure-silver single-strand wire that costs more than a Range Rover. It doesn't last.

Kalman Rubinson  |  Aug 17, 2023  |  10 comments
When I got these new speakers for review, they were so new that, at the time I unpacked them, no official user manual was included or posted on the manufacturer's website, and the promised matching stands didn't exist. Yet, I have the abiding feeling that I am getting to the party long after it has started. The Mobile Fidelity SourcePoint 8 is the newer, smaller sibling of the SourcePoint 10 reviewed by John Atkinson in Stereophile's February 2023 issue, with a follow-up by Ken Micallef in June.
John Atkinson  |  Aug 11, 2023  |  12 comments
Four products were subjected to second opinions in recent issues: Herb Reichert reviewed the Mk.II version of Klipsch's Reference Premiere RP-600M loudspeaker (above left); Ken Micallef wrote about his time with the MoFi Electronics SourcePoint 10 loudspeaker (above right); John Atkinson lived with the CH Precision I1 Universal integrated amplifier (above); and Julie Mullins auditioned Triangle's Antal 40th Anniversary Edition loudspeaker.
Herb Reichert  |  Jul 28, 2023  |  36 comments
The Acelec Model One speakers I'm auditioning ($6495/pair) are not princesses in pink, or frog green, or made of some chemically distilled polypudding. Nor are they conventional-beyond-reason MDF boxes covered with stick-on vinyl pretending to be wood. The Model Ones are squat, small, serious-looking, two-way standmounts. They are 11.2" tall, 7.7" wide, 11.5" deep, and 37.5lb heavy.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Jun 20, 2023  |  20 comments
Over a lifetime of involvement in audio, I have had standmount speakers—bookshelf speakers, as they were called back then—only twice. My very first loudspeaker was a vinyl-wrapped fiberboard bookshelf box with no name. It lasted barely a year and was replaced with a two-way system I built with a 12" RCA woofer in a floorstanding bass-reflex cabinet. My second bookshelf system was a Weathers "Book" speaker lashed up to a University dual-voice-coil woofer. I was determined to try that new thing, stereo.

Since then, I've had only floorstanders, home-made and manufactured, and I never seriously considered owning small speakers again except, perhaps, as part of a surround sound system. With that bias, why am I reviewing the B&W 705 S3?

Herb Reichert  |  May 18, 2023  |  9 comments
The most money I've ever spent on a pair of loudspeakers was back in the early 1990s, when I bought a pair of used TAD TH-4001 wooden horns and their associated TD-4001 compression drivers. The TAD horn's smooth, micro-resolved response was a refinement upgrade from my multicell Altec horns; plus, the TADs' French-polished wood looked radically less industrial than the soldered-tin, tar-filled 1005/288C horns they replaced. None of my horn-fanatic friends had anything sonically or aesthetically comparable, and all of them were envious. I didn't keep the TADs long, because the friend who admired them most made me a very "friendly" offer.

That was my first experience with Japanese loudspeaker design, and it exposed me to a level of engineering precision and fine craftmanship I had not yet encountered in American-made speakers.

Robert Schryer  |  Apr 28, 2023  |  12 comments
I'm picturing a gaggle of cigar-chomping Simaudio execs in an office discussing what to do about the fact that their high-end amplification lines have become so successful that their names have become synonymous with the company. "In the '90s, people thought our company was called Celeste," one floor-pacing exec says, speaking for everyone in the room. "Now they think we're called Moon! How do we fix this?" After much debate, a member shouts: "We add 'by Simaudio' at the end!" The execs hoot, holler, and slap the conference-room table—and thus is born Moon by Simaudio.

A fictional account? Sure, but, as they say in the movies, it's based on a true story.

Herb Reichert  |  Mar 21, 2023  |  16 comments
The hegemony of the skinny-box orthodoxy had me worrying about our collective music-listening future—until a day in September 2022 at Jason Tavares's elegantly appointed HiFi Loft in Hell's Kitchen, NYC, where, after auditioning Klipsch's new, spectacularly dynamic, precise-imaging Jubilee horns (which have front baffles 52" wide) and Harbeth's latest not-skinny-but-consummately-coherent SHL5plus XD, I auditioned these stout, unpainted, unveneered-plywood box speakers.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Feb 03, 2023  |  50 comments
Almost five years after I submitted my review of Dynaudio's Focus 200 XD class-D active bookshelf loudspeaker—my first product review for Stereophile—word of its imminent successor, the digital Focus 10 class-D active bookshelf loudspeaker ($5500/pair), and its two larger siblings arrived via Mike Manousselis, Dynaudio North America's president, Americas. Then came the near-ubiquitous parts shortages and COVID-related slowdowns that have plagued high-end manufacturers worldwide.
John Atkinson  |  Jan 19, 2023  |  21 comments
"A 10" two-way?!?!" I couldn't help gasping in surprise when I unboxed the MoFi Electronics SourcePoint 10 standmounted loudspeakers, which cost $3699/pair.

Some background is in order. Using a large-diameter woofer endows a conventional two-way speaker with potentially high sensitivity and extended low frequencies. However, the large woofer's radiation pattern narrows at the top of its passband, whereas that of a tweeter mounted on a flat baffle is at its widest at the bottom of its passband. Even if the drive units' outputs are well-matched in the speaker's on-axis response, this discontinuity in the speaker's off-axis behavior results in an in-room balance that will sound bright. This is why favorably reviewed two-way designs tend to use a woofer with a 6.5" or even smaller diameter.

Rogier van Bakel  |  Jan 06, 2023  |  4 comments
Patches was the first to exit the car, sporting a nose like an overripe tomato. Amid the sawdust-and–tiger-dung smell that wafted through the bigtop, he nimbly extracted himself from the multicolored Mini Cooper, face beaming with vows of slapstick and mischief. Patches gestured behind him, to Chuckles, who emerged with floppy shoes the length of baguettes. Next to squeeze out of the Mini were Bozo, Klutzy, Wiggle, Dinky, Cletus, Peewee, Pinhead, Joey, Sparkles, and Poppy—all wearing baggy pants in shouty hues and huge smiles applied with grease paint. I shuddered with delight. I was 8.

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