Loudspeakers

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Review and Lab: Keith Howard, Review: Andrew Everard  |  May 20, 2020
hfnoutstandingIf there was anything wrong with the Kii Audio Three, it's fixable at a stroke by adding the BXT extension module

As the moving-coil loudspeaker approaches its centenary you could say plus ça change – much about it has changed, but some things remain stubbornly the same. For instance, for a large slice of the loudspeaker's lifetime, designers and enthusiasts have argued over how sound should be radiated into the room. Should a speaker 'beam' its sound towards the listener, thereby quelling the room's contribution as much as possible? Or should it fire sound in all directions, engaging the room as much as possible?

Review: David Price, Review and Lab: Keith Howard  |  Aug 01, 2018
hfnoutstanding.pngIf the BeoLab 90 wowed you with its tech but daunted you with its size and price, here’s a pint-sized alternative

Kii Audio’s THREE is an exemplar of what can be achieved when the hi-fi industry’s, and hi-fi buyers’, lingering obsession with passive loudspeakers is set aside and a 21st century approach – active operation in conjunction with digital signal processing (DSP) – is adopted instead. In short order we’ve experienced the B&O BeoLab 90 [HFN Dec ’16], the KEF LS50 Wireless [HFN Oct ’17] and now the Kii (pronounced ‘key’) THREE.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 23, 2020
hfncommendedWith a heritage that can be traced back over 60 years, and still now only in its fourth generation, the Heresy is manna from heaven for the nonconformist audiophile

American loudspeaker marque Klipsch has a longer history than many, something emphasised by its new 'p***ing off the neighbours since 1946' slogan. And its Heresy model itself dates back to 1957, when company founder Paul W Klipsch first developed a compact three-way floorstander to act as a centre speaker within a stereo installation. It has remained part of the Klipsch stable ever since, undergoing revisions first in 1985 and then 2006. Now it has been relaunched as the Heresy IV, priced £3500 per pair and forming the entry point to the Klipsch Heritage range.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 05, 2023
From crude prototype in 1938 to its initial production run in 1947, the Klipschorn was founder Paul W Klipsch's 'cornerstone' horn loudspeaker. How does it fare today?

Viewed from a modern perspective, there's more than an element of 'forget everything you know' about the latest incarnation of the Klipsch Klipschorn AK6, a classic now heading for its 80th birthday. It was designed in 1946 from earlier prototypes by company founder Paul W Klipsch – officially described by the US brand as 'genius, madman and maverick' – in an Arkansas tin shed, and it's been continuously made and refined ever since.

Review: David Price, Lab: Keith Howard  |  Aug 09, 2019
hfnoutstandingProducing monumental SPLs from next-to-no-power, this refreshed American behemoth is no brick in the PA wall. Prepare to be stunned by the La Scala's scintillating sound...

Efficiency, sensitivity and coverage pattern – all attributes that are hard to beat,' says Klipsch's Principal Engineer Roy Delgado. 'The benefits of horn loading have not changed.' He's quite right, of course, but neither have the caveats, not least because attempts to deliver realistic bass typically requires gigantic horns and speakers the size of the average British garden shed.

Review: David Price, Lab: Keith Howard  |  Nov 19, 2019
hfnedchoiceRedesigned from the ground up, Klipsch's all-new Reference Premiere series leverages over 70 years of loudspeaker history. We audition the largest of its bookshelf trio...

With no shortage of standmount loudspeakers vying for our attention, any newcomer needs to stand out from the crowd. And few stand out as boldly as Klipsch's £625 'Reference Premiere' series RP-600M, arriving from a company with an auspicious portfolio of exciting-sounding horn-loaded loudspeakers [HFN Jun '19], all dating back to the first ever Klipschorn model launched in 1946.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 23, 2023
hfnoutstandingThese 'artisanal' speakers hail from Spain and combine Purifi and Mundorf driver tech with Krion cabinets

These days we could probably name no more than 11 or 12 manufacturers of TVs, but ask us about loudspeakers and you'd fall asleep before we'd got as far as companies beginning with the letter 'D'. The industry appears to be in rude health, with models to suit all tastes and budgets, and there are plenty of options that you might not have come across before. Kroma Atelier's Stella Xtreme perhaps being one of them.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 18, 2021
hfnoutstandingArguably the most durable model in the Kudos catalogue, the C20 has witnessed a graceful 12-year evolution

As is so often the case, last time I was at a hi-fi show – c'mon, you remember shows – I was amused by the reaction of a visitor. Having listened to a fully active system using Naim electronics and a pair of Kudos Titan speakers, 'Hmmm,' he said to no-one in particular, and with deadpan seriousness, 'Not bad for a stand company…'. Well, stands may have been the beginnings of Kudos, but it's come a long way since then.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Keith Howard  |  Apr 08, 2020
hfnoutstandingActive or passive? Exposure's new outboard crossover allows you to experience both with the Kudos Titan 707

As divisive audio issues go, few get the battle lines drawn more steadfastly than the matter of passive versus active loudspeakers. It's not so long ago that we were hearing about tiny monitor speakers with onboard amplification said to be good enough to have dyed-in-the-wool enthusiasts abandoning five-figure systems of conventional amps and speakers. Forget valves vs. solid state, or analogue vs. digital: when it comes to the topic of active speakers, tempers seem to flare among the keyboard warriors.

Keith Howard  |  Nov 17, 2009
Not many audio companies, to my recollection, have made the transition from manufacturing speaker stands to making the boxes atop them, but that’s the journey undergone by Kudos Audio. Its stands are still winning awards but today the marque is as well known for the five-model range of Cardea loudspeakers, ranging from the compact C1 – joint winner of our group test last year (HFN Nov ’08) – to the recently introduced, top-of-the-range C30. Slotted beneath the latter and previous alpha male is the C20, a two-way floorstander that uses the same cabinet and bass-mid driver as the lesser C2 but is equipped with a superior SEAS Crescendo tweeter and higher-grade crossover components. Included in the latter are the bespoke silver-wired capacitors that also feature in the C10 – the cut-above version of the C1.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Oct 16, 2014
In 2012 Kudos introduced the £3500 Cardea Super 10 [HFN June ’12], a go-for-broke ‘supercharged’ version of the company’s 12 litre two-way standmount. Now the company has followed up with a ‘Super’ version of its Cardea C20 floorstander. Kudos has worked extensively with SEAS in developing specific drivers for its various speaker models, the Super 20 employing the 29mm ‘Crescendo K2’ soft dome tweeter first introduced in the £13,000 Kudos Titan T88 flagship. The bass/mid driver in the Super 20 is a newly-developed version of the SEAS 18cm unit with hand-treated paper cone.
Keith Howard  |  Apr 24, 2009
Smallest of Leema Acoustics’ six-model speaker range, the Xero really is tiny at just 220x140x205mm (hwd), its front baffle having only about half the area of this magazine’s front cover. The moulding that houses the two pairs of input sockets for the split crossover occupies much of the rear panel, with just room for a small reflex port beneath, while the minuscule bass-mid driver at the front has an effective diameter of only about 80mm – little more than three inches. So this is a speaker for people with small listening rooms or who insist on their speakers having the smallest possible footprint. To this end the Xero can be wall mounted although for best sound its manufacturer rightly recommends using sturdy floor stands.
Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 07, 2023
hfnoutstandingFamed for its Vox Olympian model, Living Voice's new R80 is built to bring more than a taste of the flagship

Drop in on Derbyshire-based speaker company Living Voice at any hi-fi show, and it's hard not to be mesmerised by its Vox Olympian flagships. With styling somewhere between the brass section of an orchestra of several centuries ago, and a steam-powered Victorian imagination of a Dalek from Doctor Who, these £200,000+ models – £435,000 with the optional Vox Elysian subwoofers – are a riot of horns, tubes and 'trumpets'. Even in a high-end arena not known for its understated looks, they stand out. Moreover, once experienced, they are never forgotten.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 08, 2022
One-time royalty of the horn-loaded full-range driver, Lowther is reclaiming its crown. We hear the 'princess'

Although I am no devotee of horns, I adore two of the genre's specialists, Lowther and Klipsch, and recall the delights of the former's Bicor and Acousta. But I had thought Lowther had joined other defunct brands until I met Martin Thornton in late 2019, at the last pre-Covid Tonbridge Audiojumble. I was overjoyed to hear that he had acquired the company's remnants, designs, name and everything else needed to relaunch it. Three years on, and he's arrived with an all-new Lowther, dubbed the Almira.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 25, 2021
hfncommendedDesigned and handcrafted by the father and son team at Lu Kang Audio, the Spoey230 is the heavyweight flagship standmount of this artisan range from Taiwan's Taipei City

The last time you bought a television you probably came across no more than five or six different brands. But what about the last time you bought loudspeakers? It's one of the joyful aspects of hi-fi: the industry is very broad here, supporting a diverse range of manufacturers with different design ideals, resulting in an equally diverse choice for enthusiasts.

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