Stereophile's Products of 1992 Budget

Budget Component of 1992

Spica SC-30 loudspeaker ($399/pair plus stands; reviewed in Vol.15 No.5, May 1992)

Look at the Spica, and you see nothing out of the ordinary for a cheap loudspeaker. A paper-cone woofer—why, it even uses a cone tweeter, like some junk speaker from a radio hut. But used on a pair of good stands—which admittedly will add at least half as much to the price—the SC-30's sound is richly balanced, with good bass and treble extension, excellent clarity, and pretty good soundstaging. Sure, there's a "woody" quality to the lower midrange, and the mid-treble is a mite untidy—but every time I listened to the SC-30s on their optimum axis (which is below the woofer, or above it if you turn them upside-down), I found I could ignore these shortcomings and get into the music. Which I believe is what high-end hi-fi is supposed to be all about. Which is why we used the Spicas as the reference for Stereophile's next big speaker-comparison test, due to appear in our January 1993 issue. Which is why, at $399/pair, the SC-30 is the bargain of 1992.

Finalists (in alphabetical order

JVC XL-Z1050TN CD player
Melos SHA-1 headphone amplifier
Meridian 204 FM tuner ($1190; reviewed by Larry Greenhill, Vol.15 No.9, September 1992)
PSB Alpha loudspeaker ($199/pair plus stands; reviewed by Jack English & John Atkinson, Vol.15 No.7, July 1992 Review)
Sonic Frontiers SFL-1 line preamplifier

dalethorn's picture

Sonus Faber speaker: I bought their first headphone, the Pryma ($550) in 2015, yet it's still essentially unknown months later in headphone circles. So do I assume their speakers have fallen out of audiophile favor?

Spica SC-30 budget speakers: I think Stereophile's earlier reviews of the Advent and the FMI-80 fell into this category, or maybe even moreso.

michael green's picture

Thank you Stereophile for the mention and Guy for the fun listening! "92" was an exciting time!

michael green