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Dynaudio Focus 110A Actively-Powered Bookshelf Speakers

Dynaudio Focus 110A Actively-Powered Loudspeaker

Few things other than human relationships are as important to a writer and music/audiophile critic as the sound of their system. As someone who spends the bulk of his time in front of the computer, the necessity for a great-sounding desktop sound system that can transform bits on a solid-state or hard drive into living, breathing music is essential. For many of us, an essential aspect of a computer-based desktop system is compactness. Some people may have room for a separate amplifier, preamplifier, DAC, and pair of bookshelf (or bigger) speakers in their office; I, for one, do not. Thus, when Michael Manousselis of Dynaudio USA offered me a pair of the Focus 110A "active-powered" (built-in amplifiers) speakers, I was more than happy to accept.

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Harman Kardon and Definitive Technology

Affordable Systems Reviews; Harman Kardon and Definitive Technology

This is a complete 5.1surround sound system. The front end is the new Harman/Kardon BDP1 Blu-Ray player. The Harman/Kardon receiver is also a new model, the AVR 3600. The speaker package is the Definitive Technology ProCinema 800. These products are not typically discounted, so the anticipated system price comes in just under $2,700. This places the system just over the threshold we've established for "Mid Priced" systems which we have defined as systems with a street price between $2,500 and $5,000.

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Tyler Acoustics D4M Bookshelf Speakers

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Tyler Acoustics is a family owned and operated business located in Owensboro, Kentucky. All of their engineering, construction and testing goes on in house, where they build some of the finest crafted speakers in the business which can be obtained in custom finishes off their website. Their newest model, the D4M, is a bookshelf (monitor) design, with a single tweeter and woofer. It's beautiful, sounds terrific, and is priced competitively. Although we classify them here as "Two-Channel Speakers", as we tested them here that way, they could certainly be used in a home theater as the mains (you would need a subwoofer), or as the surrounds.

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Legacy Studio HD Monitor Speakers

Legacy Studio HD Monitors

Legacy Audio has been making speakers amongst the cornfields in Springfield, IL for over 20 years. Bill Dudleston (president and founder) and Doug Brown (VP) gave me a tour of their facility last summer which allowed me to see first hand how their speakers are assembled, tested, tuned and shipped. Legacy has many models to choose from, including floor-standing speakers such as the Whisper, and the Studio HD Monitors, which are reviewed here.

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KEF XQ10 Bookshelf Speakers

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Founded by Raymond Cook in the 1960's on the premises of Kent Engineering & Foundry (from where the name KEF is derived), KEF speakers have been a popular loudspeaker brand in Europe for many years. With interest in expanding their presence here in the States, KEF is introducing their XQ series which ranges from the XQ10 bookshelves to the XQ40 towers. What I consider to be their most innovative design is the Uni-Q, a point source that consolidates the tweeter into the mid range driver.

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Anthony Gallo Acoustics Reference Strada Speakers and TR3 Subwoofer

Anthony Gallo Acoustics Reference Strada Loudspeaker and TR3 Subwoofer

Anthony Gallo Acoustics has been known for many years to make very unique, high performance loudspeakers that can deliver world-class performance at reasonable prices and in everyday rooms. I was so impressed with their Reference 3.1 speakers when I reviewed them in 2007 that I bought the review pair. In the past several months, Gallo has significantly upgraded their reference line. The Reference 3.1 has just been replaced with the much more expensive Reference 3.5, but a new speaker system has taken up a new position in the Gallo line at a price point very close to the old Reference 3.1.

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Totem Mite Bookshelf Speakers

Totem Mite Bookshelf Speakers

A couple of years ago, a friend and I were on a quest for the perfect bookshelf speaker. With a budget of $1100 a pair this quest certainly had its challenges. Although our needs were slightly different, I was geared more towards hometheater and he towards two channel, we did agree on one thing; the little speaker had to sound "big".

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Pioneer S-2EX Monitor-sized Speakers

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My first introduction to high end audio was back in college. During my freshman year (1975) I came into contact with a kid across the hall from me who owned a Pioneer tape deck. I remember well the wooden side panels and dancing dials. Even though I can not remember the model, I remember that it was able to record on CrO2 tape for the highest fidelity. Does anyone else remember those tapes? Over the years, I have owned a Pioneer CTF-650 tape deck and at least one Pioneer CD/SACD player. But even back then, I knew that Pioneer was really only mid-fi. In fact, Pioneer was competing with JVC, Technics, Sansui and others in the entry to mid level equipment market place. Sure, today the Elite series is pretty good, but I still can't shake the feeling that it is just on the upper end of the mid-fidelity crowd. Pioneer makes speakers too, and they are very good. Here, we review their model S-2EX, which are monitor-sized, which means they are too big to go on a shelf, but not floor-standing.

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ARE Audio Light Roast Speakers

Are Audio Light Roast Speakers

ARE Audio consists of two East Coast Canadian childhood friends who have created interesting speakers with a twist. They currently produce two models, the bookshelf Light Roasts and a floor stander called the Grinder. These guys do more than just build speakers; they also customize the speakers to your taste.

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PSB Imagine B Bookshelf Speakers

Imagine B Bookshelf Speakers

The Imagine speakers are PSB's newest speaker line. There are four models in this line – The Imagine T towers, the Imagine B bookshelf speakers, the Imagine C center speaker and the Imagine S surround speakers. I opted to review the Imagine B's for the mains versus the much more common towers for two reasons – first, this is the inaugural Secrets system review and the point is to review affordable system and the bookshelf speakers are somewhat less expensive than the towers and secondly, my system works better with bookshelf speakers.

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Dynaudio X16 Bookshelf Speakers

Dynaudio X16 Book shelf speakers

The Excite is Danish manufacturer Dynaudio's second least expensive speaker line, comprised of five different models: two towers, two bookshelves, and one center channel. The X16 is the larger of the two bookshelf speakers, with a 1" hand-coated silk dome tweeter and a single 6.5" mid/woofer configured in a classic two-way ported design.

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