Loudspeakers

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Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 05, 2022
hfnoutstandingNew kid on the block, Perlisten Audio, is creating a stir straight out of the gates. We test the flagship floorstander

There's a perception that the US, the home of muscle cars, foot-long hot dogs and canyons a mile deep, is also the home of monster-sized loudspeakers. And not, it must be said, without good reason – there are various American manufacturers that frequently put the floor into 'floorstander', building models that require considerable carpet space and suit large listening rooms. So it wasn't much of a surprise to discover Perlisten Audio, a new brand from Verona, Wisconsin, kicking things off with the S7t, an almost 1.3m-tall seven-driver tower weighing in at 55kg.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 14, 2022
hfnoutstandingHaving wowed us with its flagship S7t floorstanders, Perlisten is looking to do more of the same with its DPC driver tech pressed into a more modest, room-friendly cabinet

Perlisten Audio, a newly arrived loudspeaker manufacturer from Wisconsin, US, has already made an impressive entrance with its flagship model, the seven-driver S7t floorstander [HFN Apr '22]. Yet as that speaker boasts a £16,000 price tag – and a 59kg cabinet – many newcomers to the brand will look elsewhere in the range to see how far their budget can stretch. The £7200 S4b auditioned here isn't exactly 'affordable' but does come with a more manageable bookshelf build, plus the promise of a high-end performance similar to that of its towering stablemate, by virtue of shared technologies.

Keith Howard  |  Aug 24, 2009
Tallest and slimmest of the speakers here, Pioneer’s S-81 is also one of the boldest, both aesthetically and technically. Its curvaceous cabinet looks a million dollars in the supplied black lacquer finish (it is also available in ash veneer) and the narrow front baffle incorporates no fewer than five drive units, although the coaxial 130mm midrange driver and 25mm titanium dome tweeter share the same chassis. Pioneer has a long history of enabling and advocating high sampling rates and researching the effect of ultrasonic frequencies, and so – uniquely here – the S-81 incorporates a transformerless ribbon supertweeter with a response which is said to reach out to 100kHz. Twin 130mm woofers (effective diameter about 108mm) handle the bass in conjunction with a single forward-firing port.
Ken Kessler and Keith Howard  |  Sep 25, 2009
Since 2004, PMC’s entry level DB1+ has been one of my reference speakers. Put another way: since reviewing it for the November 2007 issue of Hi-Fi News that year, I’ve regarded the DB1+ as one of the best speakers available for under £1000 per pair. How far under? Enough to allow that figure to include decent stands and cables. Part of this love goes back to my unshakeable admiration for transmission line speakers, since I first heard IMFs.
Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 02, 2021
hfnoutstandingLaunched three years ago but only now released for review, PMC's flagship fenestria is a towering statement

The PMC fact fenestria – the British brand's flagship 'domestic' speaker (note lower case f) – was launched at a packed press conference at Munich's High End Show. That's the 2018 High End Show, and it's taken over three years for it to arrive for review – in which time the price has risen from the inaugural £45,000 to the £54,995 for the pair you see here. In the intervening period there's actually only been one Munich show – that in 2019, at which the company launched its smaller 'fact signature' models: the 2020 show fell victim to the pandemic, as did this year's at least twice, being rescheduled from May to September, then cancelled completely.

Ed Selley  |  Nov 20, 2011
The PB1i is the latest PMC speaker to get the Signature treatment One key difference is a revised crossover network featuring custom-made chokes and tuning by PMC founder and designer Peter Thomas. The driver complement remains twin PMC-designed 170mm bass drivers with cast magnesium chassis, and a SEAS/PMC co-developed 27mm soft dome tweeter. In between these is PMC’s legendary 75mm dome midrange unit, isolated in its own enclosure. The speaker also gets a brushed aluminium serial number plate, a certificate signed by Peter, and an array of nickel finished driver bolts.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 27, 2015
Although the bass and midrange drive units on the twenty. 26 may appear similar to those of the PMC fact 12 [HFN Nov ’13], they are completely new and only found on this loudspeaker so far. The tweeter is the one unit carried over from the existing models and it’s the well proven Solonex 27mm soft-dome unit, developed by SEAS in conjunction with PMC. Its output is rolled off below 3.
Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 09, 2020
hfncommendedAn unchanged exterior hides PMC's crossover and driver upgrades made to its premium three-way floorstander

In The Who's 'Won't Get Fooled Again', Roger Daltrey memorably sings 'Meet the new boss – same as the old boss'. It's a phrase that sprang to my mind when confronted by PMC's twenty5.26i, as this floorstanding speaker is, outwardly, identical to its twenty5.26 predecessor launched in 2016, with cabinet dimensions matching to the millimetre. Yet PMC describes its new twenty5i series as a 'substantial re-engineering', improving performance without moving away from the signature sound of its forbear.

Review: Andrew Everard, Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 11, 2022
hfnoutstandingInspired by 1980s behemoths, PS Audio's inaugural loudspeakers have a sound to match their striking looks

At a time when every new high-end product seems to come with an extensive backstory, the legend behind the 'aspen' FR30, the first speakers from Colorado-based PS Audio, still takes some beating. The £28,000-a-pair floorstanders have, we're told, been '50 years in the making', which places their beginnings just before that of the company itself, started by Paul McGowan and Stan Warren in 1973. In between times, McGowan left, worked with Arnie Nudell of Infinity Systems and then bought back the PS Audio name in the late 1990s, becoming its CEO. So we can safely assume that what is now realised as the aspen FR30 has been in the works for all that time.

Keith Howard  |  Aug 24, 2009
If you haven’t heard of PSB before it’s not because the company is a young one – it was established as long ago as 1972, when founder Paul Barton was still at high school. But PSB’s products, well respected in its native Canada and elsewhere in North America, are only now coming to our attention in the UK, with the Armour Group (responsible for NAD and many other brands) having been appointed UK distributor. As an emissary, the Synchrony One is impressive even given that it is the most expensive speaker in this test. Almost as tall as the Pioneer but broader, it also features five drivers but in a three-way configuration: a 25mm titanium dome tweeter, 102mm cone midrange and no fewer than three 165mm bass drivers (effective diameter about 153mm) positioned at the top, middle and bottom of the cabinet.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 29, 2011
Despite the small size, this well thought out design has much to commend it As the smallest and lightest speaker here, the Synchrony Two B may seem to be flying a kite in asking £1200 of its buyer. And, indeed, it is significantly cheaper in its native North America. But remember that its sibling, the large, floorstanding Synchrony One, won our group test in Aug ’09 – and take a look at the lab report. It may be diminutive but the Synchrony Two B walks tall: it has one of the flattest on-axis frequency responses here and a waterfall plot so clean that few more overtly prestigious speakers can match it.
Haden Boardman and Keith Howard  |  Apr 10, 2011
From Switzerland, a compact phase corrected active speaker that reflects its pro background. But is it house trained? Although virtually unknown in the UK, PSI can trace its roots back to 1975, when founder Alain Roux first started manufacturing his own loudspeaker designs while still studying at the Lausanne École Polytechnique Fédérale. Over the past 35 years, this Swiss company has produced a range of custom, domestic, but mostly professional studio loudspeaker systems. In 1991 an analogue and digital electronics section was added to the acoustic laboratory at its Yverden manufacturing facility.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 27, 2015
Q Acoustics, established in 2006, is very much a new-wave brand that owes no philosophical allegiance to tradition, even if it is by definition a part of theentry-level British speaker scene. With the Concept 20, two elements combine to achieve noteworthiness – the cabinet technology and the optional stands. It goes without saying that the price alone (£350 for the speakers, or £550 for the package) automatically qualifies this as of exceptional value. The 655mm stands are handsome, well-made and clever – they lock to the speaker, hide the cables down the back, feature adjustable spikes, sound terrific and could probably sell by the truck-load on their own.
Review: Mark Craven  |  May 09, 2022
hfnoutstandingInspired by the flagship Concept 500, Q Acoustics' '50 packs a host of trickledown thinking into its slender frame

When Q Acoustics launched its Concept loudspeaker range in 2013, it began with a sub-£500 standmount – the Concept 20 [HFN Feb '14]. While this was in keeping with the value-for-money reputation the UK brand had developed since its arrival in 2006, within a few years it was reaching higher with the (then) £3000 Concept 300 and £4200 flagship Concept 500 [HFN Jul '17].

Ed Selley  |  Nov 24, 2010
In 1955 Wireless World published articles by Quad’s Peter Walker on the practical and theoretical aspects of making a full range electrostatic speaker. That year, he demonstrated two different prototypes developing one for the first public demonstration at the 1956 Audio Fair. Due credit must be given to Walker for the huge amount of pioneering work involved and the brave decision to make it a commercial product. When first introduced, a single ESL would have set you back £52, yet demand was far greater than supply.

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