Budget Component Reviews

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John Atkinson, Robert Harley  |  Nov 07, 2010  |  First Published: Aug 07, 1988  |  0 comments
The loudspeaker coming under the microscope this month emanates from north of the border. The Canadian loudspeaker industry has benefited enormously in the last few years from having the measurement, testing, and listening facilities of Canada's National Research Council in Ottawa made available to it on a commercial basis. Unlike the US or even the UK, where a new speaker designer has pretty much to rely on his own resources, having to invent his own test procedure as well as design the product, the Canadian equivalent can have his loudspeaker tested under standard conditions, quickly indicating whether he is on the right track or not. (He still, of course, has to rely on his own talent to get on the right track in the first place or to get back on it if it appears that something is amiss.)
Sam Tellig, Corey Greenberg  |  Aug 31, 2009  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1987  |  2 comments
Sometimes products are too cheap for their own good, and people don't take them seriously: the Superphon Revelation Basic Dual Mono preamp, Rega RB300 arm, AR ES-1 turntable, Shure V15-V MR cartridge, and the B&K ST-140 power amp. They can't be any good because they cost so little, right?
J. Gordon Holt  |  Mar 03, 2010  |  First Published: Jan 03, 1987  |  0 comments
Some time ago in these pages, Anthony H. Cordesman observed rather ungraciously that the whole line of Hafler electronics "could do with reworking." This was interpreted by many readers—including the good people at the David Hafler Company—as meaning that AHC felt the entire Hafler line to be mediocre. In fact, he does not. (He had given a Hafler product a positive review a few issues previously.) Tony's comment, however, did express a sentiment that most of us at Stereophile have shared for some time: a feeling that Hafler products had slipped from the position of sonic preeminence which they enjoyed during the 1960s and '70s to one of mere excellence in a field where only preeminence is acclaimed.
J. Gordon Holt  |  May 14, 2013  |  First Published: Nov 01, 1986  |  3 comments
One of the oldest names in US audio, Altec Lansing was building speakers for theaters and recording studios long before the introduction of the microgroove LP in 1948 (which date many see as marking the inception of high fidelity). Started in 1931 under the name All-Technical Services ~Corp., the firm later purchased another audio firm called Lansing Engineering, and merged the names. Altec's Model 604, one of the first true coaxial speakers, was adopted for home use by many early hi-fi buffs and, several permutations later, is still widely used for monitoring in disc-cutting rooms.
Robert Harley, Sam Tellig  |  Aug 08, 1995  |  First Published: Aug 08, 1985  |  0 comments
The $395 NAIT, rated at 20Wpc, is a good-sounding little amp. It's very open and spacious-sounding, but, like the $250 Rotel RA-820BX, sometimes sounds a little hard in the upper registers.
J. Gordon Holt, Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 18, 2012  |  First Published: Jul 01, 1985  |  0 comments
While it is not quite accurate to say that $500/pair loudspeakers are a dime a dozen, they are by no means unusual. And since this is a price area where major design compromises are mandatory (footnote 1), the sound of such loudspeakers tends to vary all over the map, from pretty good to godawful—depending on what performance areas the designer chose to compromise and by how much.

I approached this latest half-grander with little enthusiasm, despite Siefert's persuasive literature, I have, after all, been reading such self-congratulatory hype abiout new products for longer than most Stereophile readers have been counting birthdays. This, I must admit, was ho-humsville.

Sam Tellig, Anthony H. Cordesman  |  Sep 08, 2016  |  First Published: Mar 01, 1985  |  3 comments
Superphon's Revelation Basic preamplifier is made by Stan Warren, formerly the "S" of PS Audio, so it should come as no surprise that the Revelation Basic and the PS Audio Source sound much alike. The Revelation Basic sells for $399, assembled (no kit available). Like the Source, the Revelation has an outboard AC power transformer to minimize hum problems. But unlike the Source, the Revelation has dual volume controls (a pain) and lacks moving-coil capability.
Sam Tellig, Alvin Gold  |  May 14, 2013  |  First Published: Jan 01, 1985  |  3 comments
The Boston Acoustics A40 loudspeaker ($150/pair) has become "legendary" (ie, it's stayed around for a while), probably because a pair of them images as well as Rogers LS3/5As. Unfortunately, it is no match for the LS3/5A in terms of smooth midrange response. Of course, at $150/pair, it shouldn't be.

I was originally going to do a review comparing the Spectrum 108A ($200/pair) and the Boston Acoustics A40. On first listen, I was mightily impressed by the A40. But after Stereophile's Larry Archibald schlepped me out a pair of the 108As, I didn't much want to listen to the A40s.

Dick Olsher  |  May 09, 2014  |  First Published: Aug 01, 1984  |  0 comments
It has been my experience that $400 or thereabouts is about the least one can pay for a pair of speakers with the expectation of audiophile-calibre sound.
Larry Greenhill, Dick Olsher  |  Jun 17, 2008  |  First Published: Mar 18, 1984  |  0 comments
The Fourier 6 has the special ability to generate large coherent sonic fields, from a box small enough to slip into an ordinary shopping bag. At $499/pair, the 6 competes directly with another remarkable-imaging, compact American speaker, the Spica TC-50 ($420/pair).
Anthony H. Cordesman, Various  |  Mar 11, 1998  |  First Published: Feb 11, 1984  |  0 comments
High-quality, low-cost loudspeaker systems are not an everyday blessing. The Rogers LS3/5a has survived for more than a decade precisely because so few US manufacturers sought musical accuracy as distinguished from high output and powerful bass. The economics of loudspeaker manufacture also don't lend themselves to economy. The cost of woodwork is driving the price of speakers up almost as fast as the cost of sheet-metal work is escalating the price of electronics.
Sam Tellig, Various  |  Sep 04, 2008  |  First Published: Jan 04, 1984  |  0 comments
Among British turntables, there is the Rega Planar 3, which sells here for $550 (approximately double the UK price). I've owned a Rega for three years and know it well.
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.

J. Gordon Holt, Various  |  Mar 17, 1977  |  First Published: Mar 01, 1977  |  2 comments
These diminutive little sleepers have been available in the US for quite some time but have attracted little attention because (1) they have never really been promoted and (2) they are just too small to look as if they could be worth $430 a pair.
J. Gordon Holt  |  Apr 13, 2017  |  First Published: Dec 01, 1969  |  8 comments
Everyone knows that a lot of serious music listeners—that is, those who listen to music instead of using it as a conversational background—have neither the space nor the money for a pair of typical floor-standing speakers, and must make do with bookshelf-type systems that are actually small enough to put in a bookshelf. But while the typical audio perfectionist will freely admit that there is a place in the audio sun for these dinky little speakers, he cannot really take them seriously, particularly when they're priced significantly under $100 each.

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