Floor Loudspeaker Reviews

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Rogier van Bakel  |  Nov 23, 2022  |  27 comments
As a native European, I don't particularly love bubbly people: Too much sugar makes my teeth hurt. I'm sympathetic to my friend Nick, a Brit who reliably bristles when he hears Americans use the word "awesome" for the most mundane things. A slight drop in gas prices? Awesome! How was the meatloaf? Awesome!

It irks him that the words awe and awesome are now nearly divorced. But I like to remind Nick that this hyperpleasant, optimistic American attitude is surely preferable to the alternative.

Jim Austin  |  Oct 20, 2022  |  23 comments
I remember, at High End Munich 2019, setting eyes on one of the most attractive loudspeakers I'd ever seen, in the color that, as I now know, Estelon calls Ocean Mystery. I remember it as a passive demo, no music playing, seen through glass; whether that memory is strictly accurate I don't know. Memories are funny things.
Ken Micallef  |  Sep 30, 2022  |  29 comments
Founded in 1926 by Guy R. Fountain in London as the Tulsemere Manufacturing Company, Tannoy—a portmanteau (footnote 1) of "tantalum" and "alloy," after a tantalum-lead alloy used in rectifiers—took on its current commercial identity in 1928. Through the war years and beyond, the company specialized in public-address (PA) systems. Indeed, today, "tannoy" is a widely recognized generic term for a PA system in the UK; there's an entry for "tannoy" in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Robert Schryer  |  Sep 23, 2022  |  17 comments
Has it ever crossed your mind that the reason you like your system more than your friend's or the store's is not because yours is better, even if you think it is, but because you're used to the sound of yours and not of theirs? Welcome to product habituation.

Some people, including some audiophiles, believe that product habituation is what's really behind what some people refer to as product break-in. It's not a mechanical or electronic phenomenon, they contend, but a mental one. Assuming the sound of the new gear is of adequate quality, it's the listener that breaks in to the product, as the product's sound, which was initially strange, grows more familiar and, so, right.

John Atkinson  |  Aug 24, 2022  |  7 comments
Although Danish company Audiovector was founded in 1979, I had very little experience of its loudspeakers, other than at audio shows (footnote 1), until I measured the Audiovector R 8 Arreté that Jim Austin reviewed in May 2021. Jim nominated the R 8 as his "Editor's Choice" for 2021, writing that "The gorgeous-looking Audiovector took me by surprise, doing things with imaging that I've never heard another loudspeaker do (like hearing a bass note directly behind another bass note)." Jim concluded that the R 8 "is a complicated speaker that sounds simple, sweet, and coherent."
Kalman Rubinson  |  Aug 19, 2022  |  20 comments
It seems as if I have been waiting for these all my life. Not in any existential sense, but in a literal, practical way: The arrival of the Blade Two Meta is the culmination of a lifelong fascination with KEF. As a teenager, I was introduced to founder Raymond Cooke and his innovative "race-track" woofer, Mylar tweeter dome, and Bextrene cones in Bud Fried's IMF Newsletter.
John Atkinson  |  Jul 29, 2022  |  0 comments
Given how crowded the loudspeaker manufacturing space has always been, I am always surprised when a new brand not only springs into being but does so with new speakers that sound and measure well. Take the UK's Q Acoustics, for example. The company didn't exist before 2006 and didn't have a presence in the US until 2018.
John Atkinson  |  May 27, 2022  |  6 comments
Although I retired as Stereophile's editor-in-chief at the end of March 2019, I still have an ongoing connection with the magazine. As well as contributing reviews and measuring the audio products that are being reviewed, I prepare the magazine's content for republishing on its website. So when JansZen Audio's David Janszen contacted me about reviewing his Valentina P8 loudspeaker, I looked through my back issues to find reviews of JansZen speakers that could be posted.
Julie Mullins  |  May 20, 2022  |  5 comments
Great hi-fi can give you goosebumps. And it relates to another source of horripilation: live music, and its recordings. I've also always been a live music junkie—ever since I was a kid.

I was fortunate to have grown up attending the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops Orchestra's "LolliPops" children's concerts. I'd seen some tepid live acts as a kid (ie, Donny and Marie). But nothing prepared me for my first rock concert. It, um, rocked my world.

Alex Halberstadt  |  Apr 13, 2022  |  38 comments
One day in the mid-1990s, my friend J and I sat sprawled on the carpeted floor of a hi-fi shop in lower Manhattan, playing records. J, who was employed there as a salesperson, had dimmed the lights and locked the door of the listening room behind us to make sure we wouldn't be disturbed by actual customers. Earlier, he had lugged in a pair of homemade speakers that an elderly woman brought to the store, hoping to sell some of her late husband's gear.
John Atkinson  |  Feb 21, 2022  |  0 comments
One reason Stereophile publishes a FollowUp is when the original review leaves an issue unresolved or where further thoughts would be useful. Such was the case with the magazine's March 2022 issue, which had followup reviews on the iFi ZEN CAN headphone amplifier and ZEN DAC Signature V2 D/A processor ($599/pair). the Pro-Ject Phono Box RS2 phono preamplifier ($1999), and the Canton Reference 7K loudspeaker ($6995/pair).
Robert Schryer  |  Jan 20, 2022  |  51 comments
When I learned that I was to review the new seventh generation of Monitor Audio's Silver 500 loudspeaker ($3200/pair), descendants of the original Silver-series products launched in 1999, I thought back on what I knew about the company and then refreshed my memory. Monitor Audio was founded, in 1972, in Teversham, England, a town bordered by farmland located some three miles from the epicenter of its more famous neighbor, Cambridge.
John Atkinson  |  Dec 17, 2021  |  32 comments
The boxes sit there in our storage unit, opposite the 20 banker's boxes that hold 33 years' worth of product-measurement workbooks. The two large boxes are for the Bowers & Wilkins Matrix 801s my wife owned when we got married in 1987 (footnote 1). The four smaller boxes are for the B&W John Bowers Silver Signatures and their stands, which I purchased after reviewing them in June 1994. Both pairs of speakers gave superb sound quality back in the day, but now they sit there in the storage unit, their boxes giving me recriminatory looks when I visit.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Nov 23, 2021  |  54 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  |  22 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.

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