Loudspeakers

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Ed Selley  |  Dec 24, 2009
When Arthur Bailey first described the transmission line loudspeaker enclosure in the pages of Wireless World in 1965, and then again in 1972, there seemed every prospect that this new alternative to the familiar sealed box or reflex cabinet would come to enjoy widespread use. Yet it never did. Instead transmission line loading has remained a relative rarity, associated with a handful of speaker makers in particular: IMF in the early years and PMC more recently, although B&W has made perhaps the cleverest use of it in the form of its inverted horn Nautilus tubes, which had their ultimate expression in the snail-shaped speaker of that name. Although the transmission line is often classified as a form of bass loading, its modus operandi actually affects a much wider frequency range, as B&W’s use of it confirms.
Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Keith Howard  |  May 30, 2019
Wireless speakers aren't new, but Dali ups the game with this hefty floorstander and versatile connection hub

Were all the column-inches expended over the years about wireless hi-fi justified, the world's audio cable companies would have long ago gone out of business. Think back a decade or more and we were already being told that our music was about to come from miraculously-powered speakers attached to nothing, yet able to pluck all the music available in the world out of thin air and play it in quality previously unimaginable.

Keith Howard  |  Mar 25, 2009
In this era of DSP room correction systems, surprisingly few loudspeaker manufacturers seem to be looking at the issue of room interaction from the speaker design angle, trying to find ways to quell the room’s influence and thus, potentially, render DSP assistance redundant. Danish company Dali is an exception, although to look at the Helicon 400 Mk2 you could be forgiven for thinking that it is an entirely conventional direct-radiating floorstander. The giveaway, although its significance may not be immediately obvious, is the trademark Dali twin tweeter module which combines a 25mm soft-dome unit with a leaf supertweeter whose diaphragm is 10mm wide by 55mm high. Supertweeters are normally deployed these days to extend response out to low ultrasonic frequencies but the Dali supertweeter also has an important function within the audible range, where it takes over from the dome tweeter at 13kHz.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 20, 2011
This slimline floorstander features some unusual unusual driver materials Awarded EISA Loudspeaker of 2010-11 [see HFN, ’Oct 10], the latest version of Dali’s Ikon 6 may be relatively easy on the wallet, but you wouldn’t believe it to look at it. OK, it has a vinyl finish (this comes in a choice of black, light walnut or white) rather than a proper wood veneer. But most customers will surely consider that to be a fair exchange for what is a large cabinet at 1028mm tall, equipped with twin 6. 5in reflex-loaded bass-mid drivers – the lower of which is rolled off gently above 700Hz – and Dali’s trademark twin-tweeter module.
Keith Howard  |  Dec 16, 2011
Larger than average drivers give the Dali a performance edge Compared to the other speakers in this test the Lektor 8 – largest of Dali’s five-model Lektor range, not including the centre speaker and sub – looks almost old-fashioned. It isn’t size zero thin, for a start, because it uses twin 8in (200mm) bass drivers rather than the ~170mm units of the Quadral, Elac and Paradigm. Moreover, those drivers – along with the 5in midrange – don’t boast hi-tech- looking metal diaphragms but Dali’s familiar wood fibre reinforced coated paper cones, which are a dull brown colour. It’s a lot of speaker for the price, though, and those unmodishly large bass drivers – reflex loaded by ports front and rear – promise to move plenty of air.
Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 25, 2021
hfncommendedOmnidirectional and horn-loaded to boost sensitivity, are these really the 'beautiful moon' of floorstanders?

When it comes to makers of true omnidirectional speakers, it seems that those with the highest profile currently hail from Germany. MBL's Radialstrahlers and the German Physiks models occupy the upper echelons of the market, while at the more affordable end it's the Duevel name that springs to mind most readily. Based in Osnabruck, the latter company is the brainchild of Markus and Annette Duevel, who founded the business in 1988.

Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Keith Howard  |  May 05, 2020
hfncommendedStill going strong after 20 years, the Venus is nothing if not the ambassador for the room-friendly 'omni'

Mention 'omnidirectional' and most worldly-wise audiophiles will remember seeing MBL's remarkable Radialstrahler loudspeakers at one hi-fi show or another. Once seen and heard they are not easily forgotten, but they are also devastatingly expensive! By the same token, affordable omnidirectional speakers have never quite made it into the mainstream of hi-fi despite Sonab being a major player back in the 1970s and Canon's models from the 1980s also finding favour with many listeners.

Richard Holliss  |  Jan 22, 2015
This is the largest floorstander in Dynaudio’s Excite range: a new series of entry-level speakers from the Danish company, all designed to be easy to drive. And the X38 not only looks considerably more sleek than the 380 floorstander we tested from Dynaudio’s Focus series [HFN Jun ’13] but it comes at only half the price. The X38’s twin long-throw woofers and midrange driver have supple rubber surrounds and one-piece cones formed for smooth dispersion. They are made of Dynaudio’s magnesium silicate polymer [MSP] for light weight and high rigidity, while the drivers’ chassis are die-cast aluminium, with neodymium magnets and large but lightweight voice coils.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 29, 2011
The updates to this long running range have proved particularly effective Dynaudio’s Focus range was getting a bit long in the tooth so we weren’t surprised to learn when we requested the 140 for this test that it had just been replaced with this new model, the 160. Little has changed externally – if you’re the type who can distinguish Aston Martins at a glance then you’ll note a new light grey paint finish on the drivers and the use of Torx fasteners, only three of which now attach the tweeter – but internally there’s more that’s been breathed on. As before, the cabinet side walls taper a little towards the rear from the narrow bevels at the front baffle edges – a feature which helps tame internal standing waves – but the enclosure has been significantly stiffened. The 170mm bass-mid driver retains its magnesium silicate polymer (MSP) cone, and the voice coil is still aluminium to reduce moving mass.
Keith Howard  |  Aug 24, 2009
Along with the Spendor A6, Dynaudio’s Focus 220 – now in Mk II guise – is the most conservative looking speaker here. Whether you consider that a merit or demerit will depend on both your taste and your décor. Also like the Spendor it is a two-way, although in this case the soft dome tweeter is accompanied by twin bass-mid units operating in parallel. In common with all the other speakers here the 220 II is reflex loaded in the bass, with a port venting on the cabinet’s rear panel.
Review: David Price, Lab: Keith Howard  |  Jul 01, 2018
hfnoutstanding.pngWith a coincident driver array and interport-coupled cavity bass, meet the company’s most radical floorstander in years

Out with the old and in with the new. ELAC is a German loudspeaker company of quite some repute and a great many years’ standing. Yet major changes have been afoot at the company, with its new VP of Engineering, Andrew Jones, indelibly stamping himself on the brand’s products. A former KEF man – there in what were arguably the company’s harvest years with Laurie Fincham, in the late 1980s – he went on to put Pioneer’s luxury brand TAD on the map with some great soundinghigh-end loudspeakers [HFN Jan ’15].

Review: Cliff Joseph, Lab: Keith Howard  |  Feb 01, 2018
hfnoutstanding.pngWith a concentric mid/treble and coupled-cavity bass, the smallest Adante series speaker is no ordinary standmount

There was a time, back in the 1980s, when much of what was novel in loudspeaker design emerged from KEF’s R&D department in Maidstone, Kent. Odd as this may seem as a way of introducing a new ELAC speaker from Germany, it’s doubly relevant because the £2600 Adante AS-61 – indeed, the entire three-model Adante range (not including the ASW-121 powered subwoofer) – incorporates two features associated with that golden era at KEF: one that has remained familiar, and a second that has rather declined into obscurity.

Keith Howard  |  Dec 16, 2011
An aesthetically attractive and somically capable loudspeaker Surely the most impressive-looking speaker of this group, the Elac FS 189 is a five-driver three-and-a-half-way sporting three 175mm bass drivers, a 140mm midrange unit and Elac’s vaunted JET tweeter, whose pleated diaphragm identifies it as a development of Oskar Heil’s famous Air Motion Transformer. The lower two bass drivers are rolled off at 180Hz, leaving the upper bass unit to crossover to the midrange driver at 500Hz and it to the tweeter at 2. 8kHz. Like the FS 247 Sapphire [HFN July ’11], reflex bass loading is accomplished via two ports, one located near the top of the back panel and the other in the cabinet base, where it vents to the outside via the gap between the cabinet and integral plinth.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 22, 2015
This tall floorstander takes its place as the top model in Elac’s Line 400 series. All use the JET 5 tweeter, Elac’s development of a concept patented by Dr Oskar Heil called the Air Motion Transformer (AMT). In the Heil AMT, the moving element is a very light plastic membrane that carries a fine metal track to conduct the audio signal. Suspended between powerful magnets, this membrane moves when current flows.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 20, 2011
Classy German design matches fine build to engaging sonics Elac’s F247 Sapphire is finished with the sumptuous attention to detail. A slim, elegant floorstander boasts an eye-catching front baffle and mirror-like piano black finish. Elac’s signature JET tweeter and a pair of its multifaceted aluminium mid/bass drivers are fitted. These unusual cones are an aluminium sandwich design with cellulose filling, shaped to reduce unwanted vibrations.

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