Stand Loudspeaker Reviews

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Robert Schryer  |  Dec 29, 2022  |  5 comments
"Dear audio enthusiast." Those were the user manual's introductory words, not "Dear audiophile." I stared at them for a few seconds, letting the implication of that greeting sink in. I don't know if it was meant this way—perhaps not—but for me, this was a whistle call announcing that the KLH Model Three ($1799.98/pair) was not intended for those obsessed with having the best at all costs; it was meant for people who dig quality sound, period. It was also meant for people who dig that vintage-American-speaker look.
John Atkinson  |  Oct 27, 2022  |  9 comments
Some audio experiences stick in your memory. For me, one such was in 1978, which I reminisced about in a 1987 review for Stereophile of the Mission PCM 7000 CD player, Mission 780 Argonaut loudspeaker, and Cyrus Two integrated amplifier. Mission founder Farad Azima (footnote 1) was a driving force in the UK audio scene in the late 1970s, when I was deputy editor of the English magazine Hi-Fi News & Record Review.
John Atkinson  |  Oct 12, 2022  |  First Published: Jan 01, 1989  |  1 comments
Probably best-known in recent years for their best-selling "baby" speaker, the Diamond, Wharfedale is one of the UK's oldest manufacturers of loudspeakers. The company was the subject of a management buyout earlier this year, following a rather unsettled period when it changed hands several times. Now with American distribution as of 1989 by Vector Research (footnote 1), the brand is reinventing itself in the US with two new ranges of loudspeakers, the 507.2 being one of the "audiophile" models. Both drive-units are made in-house; the first generation of Wharfedale loudspeakers to feature this 19mm aluminum-dome tweeter—the 506, 508, and 708—appeared in early 1985.
John Atkinson  |  Sep 07, 2022  |  First Published: Jan 01, 1989  |  1 comments
A new name to me, West German company MB Quart GmbH is, in fact, the reincarnation of the Peerless loudspeaker company that until 1983 used to be owned by New York–based Electro Audio Dynamics (EAD). The company has been in existence for over 20 years and under either name has an excellent reputation for its drive-unit technology, MB being one of the first manufacturers to offer an OEM metal-dome tweeter. Their 1" titanium-dome unit, for example, was featured in Dick Olsher's Dahlia-Debra DIY design (footnote 1), and I became quite enamored of the effortlessly clean nature of that speaker's treble.
Rogier van Bakel  |  Aug 12, 2022  |  4 comments
Pop quiz. What does the following verbiage describe? And what does it mean?

"It's about what we love the most. It's about what we hate the most. It's about what we wait for but never happens. Relationships turn on, interrupt, and resume. Or sometimes they just stay still. Floating and suspended. So breathe in. Let go. Let's begin from nothing."

Huh. Any luck yet?

Herb Reichert  |  Jul 20, 2022  |  31 comments
My review samples of Genelec's G Three powered loudspeaker came with a little hand-sized green and tan cardboard card featuring a poem in bold black letters dated 1898:

At the cottage window a little bird sang.
And the light of the window did flicker.
And look. The roof up it sprang and the cottage became a house bigger.
Look. Into a world the cottage grew and the vast and wide too and filled with song was the air and like new was the sun's flare.

Ken Micallef  |  Apr 21, 2022  |  11 comments
Oswalds Mill Audio's products espouse a sort of steam-punk-meets-modern visual style, but the company's philosophies are straight from hi-fi's '50s and '60s glory days, an era when idler-drive turntables, low-power tube amps, and horn-loaded loudspeakers were the norm. That history and hi-fi's future fascinate and inspire Jonathan Weiss, OMA's proprietor.
John Atkinson  |  Apr 11, 2022  |  0 comments
Michael Fremer wrote about the Paradox phono preamplifier in the March 2022 Analog Corner, Jim Austin reviewed the CH Precision D1.5 CD/SACD player/transport in March 2022, and Herb Reichert included the EJ Jordan Marlow standmount speaker in his April 2022 Gramophone Dreams column. All three products get further coverage in Stereophile's May 2022 issue.
Herb Reichert  |  Mar 22, 2022  |  35 comments
Look closely at the audio system in the photo. It belongs to my friend, and fellow audio seeker, Devon Turnbull (aka Ojas). Notice every object in the room, particularly the arrangement of amplifiers, and turntables, and that awesome herd of cartridges on the table in front of the listening chair.
Herb Reichert  |  Mar 15, 2022  |  25 comments
Back when Steve Urkel (in the sitcom Family Matters, portrayed by Jaleel White) was showing everybody the best way to dress (and do property damage), my friend Ken Kessler, the high-level audio scribe at Hi-Fi News & Record Review, explained to me the secret of how to write a proper audio review: "Herb, the secret of writing an effective review is not to lose the reader in the middle." I took that to mean, put all the technological meat—and some tawdry stories—in the product description. Then sneak some spicy double entendre into the setup part.

Unfortunately, that strategy hasn't worked for me.

Rogier van Bakel  |  Feb 25, 2022  |  15 comments
If you've ever read Homer's Iliad, you probably remember the Catalog of Ships at the beginning. It's an exhaustive record of the contingents the Achean army deployed against Troy, naming the commanders, their hometowns, the number of ships in each contingent, and more. Not to put too fine a point on it, it's a snoozefest. It makes you dread what's next. But of course, if you come to this point only to abandon the Iliad in frustration, you'll miss the fabulous war epic that follows, chockablock with action, drama, and romance.
Ken Micallef  |  Feb 02, 2022  |  9 comments
In my April 2020 review of Fyne Audio's inexpensive F301 standmount loudspeakers, I wrote, "The Fyne F301s impressed with their exceptional rendering of soundstage width and depth, reasonably wide dynamic range, extended low end (for their size), and exuberant, I-can't-stop-spinning-records presentation. The Fynes presented a finely layered, spatially convincing soundstage with images that were solid, if small."
Julie Mullins  |  Oct 27, 2021  |  14 comments
You never know when an idea might hit you, maybe when brushing your teeth, standing in the shower, or stirring the stew.

Have you ever flexed a playing card (or a few) back and forth close to your ear? They generate a little sound. According to MBL company lore, that action and sound sparked the design idea for the original Radialstrahler omnidirectional driver.

Ken Micallef  |  Sep 24, 2021  |  16 comments
In May of 2019, I heard about a promising jazz vinyl and hi-fi estate sale happening on New York's Upper East Side. Little did I know then what treasures the dig would yield.

Jazz Record Center's Fred Cohen had called from the UES apartment, the former residence of late CBS Records and Sony Entertainment mastering engineer Harry N. Fein. Fred said, "The records are kind of beat, but the apartment is jammed with tape decks, turntables, cartridges, tubes, midcentury modern furniture—get up here."

Larry Archibald  |  Jun 11, 2021  |  First Published: Sep 01, 1982  |  4 comments
This is a speaker we've been fairly intimate with over quite a period of time. Designed by John Bau, the SC-50i started out three years ago as an inexpensive speaker system ($330/pair) not sold through dealers.

One of the factors allowing it to cost so little was the clever adaptation of cardboard tubes, normally used as forms for pouring concrete pillars, for use as speaker enclosures. They have a number of advantages, other than low cost: their circular form helps eliminate resonance of the back wave within the enclosure; the material is rigid because of its shape, and is non-resonant due to its construction.

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