Loudspeakers

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Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 16, 2024
hfnoutstandingThe most compact of three floorstanding models in what will ultimately be a four-strong range, PS Audio's 'triple ABR' aspen FR10 packs a deceptively huge punch

For a 50-year-old company that released its first loudspeaker barely two years ago, PS Audio has not been resting on its laurels. Coming swiftly on the heels of the flagship £30,000 aspen FR30 [HFN Jun '22] are a raft of junior siblings. First up was the £20,000 FR20 [HFN Apr '23] and now we have the baby floorstander of the range, the £10,000 FR10. As an aside, I don't think we'd be letting the cat out of the bag by revealing a fourth model is in the pipeline – the two-way, ABR-loaded FR5 standmount. If it isn't priced at £5000, I'll eat my hat.

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: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 22, 2024
hfnoutstandingThere's more to this slender, stylish Italian floorstander than striking wood veneers as trickledown hits the target

Think Sonus faber, and the chances are you'll imagine speakers with luxurious finishes and price tags to match. After all, the company used the 2024 CES event to roll out its Suprema speaker system, comprising two main 'towers' and two subwoofers, with a £695,000 price tag. But such lofty ambition also brings the option of 'trickling down' new technologies to less expensive models, including the £2999 Lumina V Amator floorstander we have here.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 18, 2024
hfnoutstandingInspired by the diminutive and still current Accordo, the Goldberg variation features a larger cabinet and bass/mid driver, and integral crossover. Is bigger always better?

Odd though this might sound, it bothers me when PM gives me a sequence of exceptional loudspeakers to review. Can there really be that many miraculous designs, one after the other – or am I growing soft? Following models from DeVore Fidelity [HFN Aug '23] and Wilson Audio [HFN Sep '23], and reborn LS3/5As, I find myself with a new Franco Serblin speaker that has rocked my world. The Accordo Goldberg could be, overall, the best yet to come out of the fertile brain of the inspirational if, sadly, late designer.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 01, 2024
hfnoutstandingQuad's first new speakers in some seven years feature an evolved version of the ribbon tweeter seen in its 'Corner Horn' of 70 years ago. Now, of course, they come in pairs!

For nearly nine years, I have been listening to Quad's ribbon-hybrid S-1 speaker – the brand's smallest two-way box-type system – as part of my day-to-day desktop set-up. When they were launched, I revelled in the realisation that they were a throwback to Quad's first ever loudspeaker, the Corner Ribbon of 1949, and the all-new Revela 1 tells you that the company's boffins, based in the UK and China, haven't been sitting idle since 2015.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 18, 2024
hfnoutstandingB&W's premium 800 D4 range is bookended by Signature versions of the flagship 801 D4 floorstander and the 805 D4 standmount. But is the polish more than skin deep?

Only two years after launching the D4 generation of its flagship 800 series [HFN Nov '21], Bowers & Wilkins has announced Signature editions of both the range-topping 801 D4 floorstander [HFN Sep '23] and its partnering 805 D4 standmount. At £10,000 a pair the 805 D4 Signature increases the stakes for this compact model, as the 'standard' 805 D4 [HFN Feb '22] retails for a full £3000 less.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 01, 2024
Unusual, if not unique – does this Canadian company's idea of stacking two speakers for each channel pay sonic dividends?

The idea of stacked speakers is nothing new: SME founder Alastair Robertson-Aikman was famed for using double-decker Quad ELS57 electrostatics [HFN Sep '77 & Dec '01] and the idea was even endorsed by the speaker company which provided instructions to achieve the same thing, with the upper speaker mounted in a frame upside down above the lower. Even the late brand ambassador, Ken Ishiwata, was for a while demonstrating his Marantz electronics with stacked pairs of Mordaunt-Short Performance 6 speakers mounted in frames he'd spec'd and had custom-made.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 26, 2024
hfnoutstandingKEF's R series adopts all the 'acoustic principles' of its far costlier Reference range, but is the big R11 Meta a 'disruptor'

How to make sense of the KEF speaker range? A sideways glance helps no end: comparing ostensibly similar models from across the company's four mainstream lineups – five, if you count the highly polished Muon flagship [HFN May '08] – will give a clearer idea of the way these various loudspeaker series dovetail together, even when the similarities seem greater than the differences.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 01, 2024
hfnoutstandingA refinement of GoldenEar's established Triton series, the new T range still combines an AMT tweeter, active bass and ABRs

When the Quest Group, known for the ubiquitous AudioQuest brand, acquired GoldenEar in 2020 it raised some eyebrows. Why would a company excelling at manufacturing and selling cables, often co-operating with speaker brands, wish to tackle the challenging loudspeaker market itself? And what would happen to the GoldenEar product range, which next to custom install and subwoofer models mostly consists of curious semi-active loudspeakers? The answer to that second question, at least, is the £6249 T66, the first arrival under GoldenEar's new ownership.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 11, 2024
hfnoutstandingSeries 3 sees the eighth generation of B&W's evergreen 600 series, headed here by the 603 S3 floorstander

Bowers & Wilkins might be one of the largest loudspeaker manufacturers around, but surprisingly it doesn't have a very broad offering, fielding considerably fewer models than, say, KEF or Focal. Leaving CI products aside (and the iconic but no longer revolutionary Nautilus), there are only three main loudspeaker families coming out of Worthing, and as the 800 D4 series [HFN Nov '21, Feb '22, May & Sep '23] and 700 S3 series [HFN Mar '23] represent the most recent major updates, it was inevitable that the nearly 30-year-old 600 series would follow suit.

Review: Mark Craven, Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 02, 2024
hfnoutstandingDerived from Perlisten's S7t flagship, and featuring the same DPC array, the S5t is simply more 'user-friendly'

Few loudspeaker brands come racing from the gate, but Perlisten, from Wisconsin, US, has gone from unheard of to a serious challenger in very short order. First up, in 2022, was the EISA Award-winning S7t floorstander [HFN Apr '22], which introduced the company as a high-end marque, and this was quickly followed by its second-tier R series [HFN Aug '22]. Now we get the S5t, essentially a slimmed down version of the S7t, with all the appeal that this entails.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 18, 2023
hfnoutstandingIt wouldn't be a PMC loudspeaker without transmission line bass loading, and the diminutive prodigy1 is no exception

One of my secret loves has long been transmission line speakers. I miss IMF (named after the designer, Irving M. Fried), the doyen of the genre, although the technology has been used by other brands – most notably PMC. You can therefore imagine my delight when the prodigy1 arrived at a mere £1250. I'd been hearing about it for months, as the prodigy1 (with lowercase 'p') was a talked-about launch at the 2023 Munich High-End Show.

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: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 01, 2023
hfncommendedThis German institution offers a vast catalogue, including the Reference-inspired Vento range, topped by the 100

Canton is not only Germany's largest loudspeaker manufacturer, it might also be one of the most prolific speaker builders in the world. Yet within an extensive range that includes everything from on-wall and in-ceiling speakers to soundbars and subwoofers, its Vento series has long been a main 'pillar' of the brand, in production for nearly two decades. And now, as part of a recent refresh of the Canton catalogue overseen by technical director Frank Göbl, it's been comprehensively upgraded.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 13, 2023
hfncommendedThe baby of MartinLogan's Motion range features a compact version of the brand's second-generation 'Folded Motion Tweeter' – this little box is full of big surprises!

How time flies: it's just over a decade since MartinLogan applied its expertise with hybrids to box-type systems instead of the usual electrostatic-panel-plus-cone-woofer which defined most of its models. Even though MartinLogan started out with a full-range ESL – the legendary CLS [HFN Feb '87] – its engineers swiftly excelled in the black arts of combining two speaker technologies, so the Motion range created a whole new field for them to plough. In this case, it's a cone woofer and a 'Generation 2 Folded Motion Tweeter', found here in the £1395-per-pair Motion B10 standmount model.

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