Stand Loudspeaker Reviews

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Ken Micallef  |  Apr 21, 2022  |  10 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.

John Atkinson  |  Apr 19, 2021  |  First Published: May 01, 2021  |  27 comments
Stereophile has reviewed two somewhat controversial products in recent issues. The Italian Grandinote Shinai integrated amplifier, which Robert Schryer wrote about in November 2020 is a solid-state design but with an output stage that resembles that of a typical push-pull tube amplifier. Falcon's "Gold Badge" edition of the BBC-designed LS3/5a minimonitor, which Herb Reichert reviewed in April 2021, is a re-engineered version of a design that will soon be celebrating its 50th birthday.
Herb Reichert  |  Mar 24, 2021  |  47 comments
The BBC-designed LS3/5a monitor loudspeaker has been in continuous BBC-licensed production in various forms since 1975. During those 45 years, its popularity has never abated. I bought my first pair of LS3/5a's as a Badger kit from an ad in the back of Speaker Builder magazine.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Feb 26, 2021  |  19 comments
On top of a desk, an audio system must be able to deliver satisfying sound in a nonoptimal environment: a flat, reflective plane (the desktop) cluttered with keyboard (or maybe a laptop computer); a mouse; assorted papers, books, and trash; and, perpendicular to that, another flat, reflective plane (the computer display), which, if it's not a tiny laptop screen, will block some of the soundwaves emanating from the speakers. Such sonically inhospitable spaces can consign 3D stereo imaging (and other desirable sonic traits) to the realm of the imagination.
John Atkinson  |  Feb 10, 2021  |  First Published: Feb 01, 1990  |  0 comments
In the September 1988 issue of Stereophile, I wrote a rave review about the first speaker, the AE1, from what was to me a totally unknown English company, Acoustic Energy. Though tiny, and possessing an intrinsically limited low-frequency response, the $1500/pair AE1 was one of the most musical loudspeakers I have ever used, throwing a deep, beautifully defined soundstage, and possessed of a clean treble and a sweet, if rather forward-balanced, midband.
Julie Mullins  |  Dec 22, 2020  |  15 comments
I'm a sucker for materials, whether it's finishes for loudspeakers and other audio equipment, a shoe's fine, supple leather, a crisp cotton shirt, or a cozy cashmere scarf.

Apart from their inherent sensuousness, materials can make a difference in the sonics of audio components, especially loudspeakers.

John Atkinson  |  Dec 16, 2020  |  29 comments
KEF's LS50 loudspeaker was introduced in 2012 to celebrate the English manufacturer's 50th anniversary. Usually, anniversary models are large, floorstanding "statement" designs with a price to match, but the LS50 was a minimonitor, priced at $1500/pair. I reviewed the Anniversary Edition LS50 in December 2012 (footnote 1), writing that it was rare to find a loudspeaker that offers this combination of clarity and neutrality and concluding that within its limits of dynamic range and bass extension, the KEF LS50 "will provide Class A sound for those with small rooms."

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