Loudspeakers

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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.

Keith Howard  |  Jan 14, 2010
The use of ceramic materials in loudspeaker diaphragms can’t be described as novel because every anodised aluminium cone or dome has a surface layer of alumina (aluminium oxide), allowing it to be described as a ceramic-metal sandwich or similar – as at least one speaker manufacturer has indeed done. But pure ceramic diaphragms are a rarity, and loudspeakers that use them exclusively, as the Lumen White Silver Flame does, are rarer still. All five drivers in this arresting-looking three-way design have white ceramic diaphragms in the form of everted (concave) domes. As explained in the box-out, the attraction of a ceramic diaphragm material is that it can be lighter and stiffer than common metal equivalents, which promises higher bending wave velocity and hence higher breakup frequency for a given diaphragm size and shape.
Martin Colloms  |  Sep 17, 2021  |  First Published: May 01, 1999
hfnvintageMartin Colloms hears KEF's no-holds-barred flagship speaker, the R109

In late 1995 an idea began to take shape at KEF Audio. The company had already produced some fair-sized 'reference' models, culminating in the well-regarded Reference Four. But even this powerful and accomplished design lacked the necessary weight and presence to make a major impact at the highest quality level of world loudspeaker sales. So research began to define the key elements of what was intended to be a much larger speaker system, a definitive engineering expression of the company's knowledge.

Review: Paul Miller, Lab: Keith Howard  |  Mar 18, 2020
hfnoutstandingMore than a chip off the Magico block, the A1 sets the standard for pint-sized standmounts

Chalk and cheese. Night and day. Or perhaps David and Goliath... Call it what you will, but the transition between Avantgarde's huge, horn-loaded Duo Primo XDs departing my listening room, and the diminutive A1s arriving, demanded a recalibration of reality. Just 20kg versus 185kg per enclosure and a drop of 20dB in sensitivity – so the volume control on our resident dCS Vivaldi One DAC/preamp also needed a reset from 500mV output to 6V.

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 02, 2021
hfnoutstandingFlagship A series model from California's premier speaker brand is its most advanced 'affordable' floorstander yet

Finding positives during a time when audiophiles and civilians alike are under the cosh of 'that-which-shall-not-be-named' is important, and celebrating those rays of sunshine when we discover them, doubly so. And Magico's flagship A series floorstander is a particularly golden beam of musical light that, so the story goes, might not have been released so soon if it were not for the coercions of Covid. Oops, I mentioned it...

Ed Selley  |  Nov 20, 2011
The Q3 employs superb engineering to great effect There’s no magical mystery about Magico’s Q3. It simply represents a rootand- branch engineering re-think of the ‘art’ of loudspeaker design, from the bolts that hold the cabinet together to the bespoke ‘Nano-Tec’ drivers and beryllium dome tweeter. But it’s not some daft ‘concept speaker’, where form overrides function. Nor is there anything especially touchy-feely about the huge black slabs of aluminium that clad the outside of the layered cabinet or the 287 steel bolts that bind this composite and its internal alloy matrix together.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 27, 2015
The guiding philosophy of Magico’s indefatigable CEO and designer Alon Wolf is along the lines of ‘if you want it done properly. . . ’ This extends not only to the largely bespoke drivers but in particular to those famously inert cabinets, employing copious quantities of alloy, innovative scaffold-like internal bracing and constrained-layer damping.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Oct 16, 2014
Magico has wisely decided to ‘trickle down’ its Q series know-how into a new and mildly more affordable series: the S1 and S5 floorstanders. The latter is a good £11k shy of the similarly-proportioned Q3 [HFN Sep ’11] and yet it offers almost exactly the same sensitivity, an even flatter response but a measurably and palpably superior bass extension. The S5’s body comprises three main sections – a thick alloy baffle plus two curved, 0. 5in-thick side extrusions that increase stiffness while minimising internal standing waves.
Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 02, 2024
hfncommendedThese super-compact loudspeakers are simply the tip of the iceberg for Germany's expansive Magnat brand whose ranges encompass the gamut of 'lifestyle' to 'purist'

Bigger is better' seems to be one of those unwritten rules of hi-fi that ensures every audio show is packed with speakers towering high above the audience. Unfortunately, out there in the real world most people don't have the space to wheel in a pair of Wilson Audio Alexx Vs [HFN Jan '22] or Focal Grande Utopias [HFN Dec '18]. So, in an age when tiny houses are proclaimed as the way to go, Magnat's Signature Edelstein might be the speakers that better fit the zeitgeist. But these are not especially low-cost petite models. As 'Edelstein', or gemstone in German, indicates, these particular Magnat boxes – priced at £949 – are positioned as small and luxurious.

Review and Lab: Keith Howard  |  Apr 01, 2018
hfnoutstanding.pngA staple at the Hi-Fi Show Live, Magnepan's largest Magneplanar finally gets its first in-depth test

Back in the 1980s, when the UK hi-fi scene began, belatedly, to experience products from places more exotic than Glasgow, Bradford, Huntingdon, Maidstone and Salisbury – ones that didn't say 'Made in Japan' on them – the USA provided a stream of surprises, one of the most memorable being Magneplanar loudspeakers. For most audiophiles, isodynamic drivers were something you found in a left-field Wharfedale headphone of the early 1970s, yet here were full-range panel speakers using essentially the same technology.

Paul Miller and Keith Howard  |  Mar 10, 2011
After a long absence, Magnepan's iconic 'room screen' panel speakers are finally back in the UK Firsts linger long in the memory. That first school, first car, first kiss. . .
Review: David Price, Lab: Keith Howard  |  Mar 21, 2019
hfncommendedWith its unique Manger Sound Transducer full-range driver, this high-end floorstander is as unconventional as it looks

It is refreshing to see that there's still a place for purple prose in press releases. While so many documents describing new products are rather dry, German company Manger does things differently. It talks about its 'technological masterpiece' opening up 'a new horizon' and of 'goose bumps' triggering emotions and 'touching the heart'. Such flowery fluff might sail over the heads of hardened hi-fi hacks, but it's hardly necessary because the £11,429 P2 needs no hype at all. In practice, it's an intriguing, thought-provoking design featuring transducer technology that's far from run-of-the-mill.

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