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Speaker Reviews

Yamaha BD-S1065 Blu-ray Player, RX-V2065 Receiver, and Phase Technology Speaker System

Yamaha and Phase Technology System

Welcome to the second of Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity System Reviews, where we choose a complete home theater setup and evaluate it for continuity, system synergy and to take some of the guesswork out of buying a complete home theater system and wondering if it all will work together seamlessly. We hope to hit all of the speed bumps so you don't have to. In this review, we take a look at a Yamaha BD-S1065 Blu-ray player, Yamaha RX-V2065 receiver, and Phase Technology speakers.

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LG LHB535 Home Theater in a Box

LG LHB535

I come from a world of slowly building a system, upgrading one piece at a time, to achieve the best performance for my dollar. So buying an entire solution in one box has never crossed my mind. The LG LHB535 was my first experience with a "Home Theater in a Box" system. Like many people's first time, I was nervous.. apprehensive.. What if it doesn't perform?

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Velodyne MiniVee Subwoofer

Velodyne MiniVee subwoofer

When you think of subwoofer manufacturers—and we're talking about companies that pay the bills making and selling subwoofers—Velodyne is one of the first names that comes to mind. Since 1983, Velodyne has produced an extensive range of highly regarded subs, including its Digital Drive series and "1812" subwoofers. They also make small subs, in this review, we cover their MiniVee, which uses an 8" driver.

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JBL LS 80 Floor-Standing Speakers, LS Center, LS 40 Rear Surround Speakers, and LS 120P Subwoofer

JBL LS 80 speaker system for Audiophiles

I was smitten by the JBL LS 80 speakers when I first saw them at the 2009 CEDIA Expo in Atlanta. They were on static display in the JBL booth when I came across them. Even though I couldn't hear them playing, I was impressed by their bold look and solid build quality. In person, their finish is downright striking. It also doesn't hurt that they won the 2008-2009 European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) "European HT Loudspeaker of the Year" Award or that they are very reasonably priced. Here, we review the LS 80's for the front left and right channels, the LS Center, LS 40's for the rear surround channels, and the LS 120p subwoofer.

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Paradigm Rock Speakers

Paradigm Rock Speakers

I admit, I've always been a little cynical about outdoor speakers. What better chance for a manufacturer to knick you a little extra for the ability to leave them out in the rain. Just walk into any big box store and you will see models of outdoor speakers from ho-hum manufacturers that command at least twice what their comparable indoor speakers cost. In this case though, Paradigm is the source, and they are definitely not ho-hum. And, making them waterproof does add to the cost. But, it is the sound that matters most, and Paradigm delivers. Read our review to see what I am talking about.

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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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MartinLogan 5.1 Home Theater Speaker System

MartinLogan Home Theater System

I remember the first time I saw a pair of MartinLogan electrostatic speakers. It was 1993 and I was still in high-school, shopping for a new car stereo. And then I saw them, a pair of tall ominous black panels. I was immediately intrigued by the strange looking panel. Asking for a demonstration, I was politely refused, who would think a teenager with a scratched rap CD fresh off the car audio demo system could afford (or even appreciate) such a speaker? Here, we review a 5.1 set of MartinLogans, consisting of the Summit X as the front speakers, Vista as the rear surround, Stage as the center channel, and Descent i subwoofer.

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Paradigm SE Series Home Theater Speakers

Paradigm SE Series

Forever it seems here at Secrets (and everywhere really) people come asking for a home theater gear shopping list, hoping there is some inside knowledge to be unearthed which will get them world class audio for a ridiculously low price. More sympathetic to the notion of "limited funds" I could not possibly be, but fact is, with speakers at least, it is quite literally impossible in that unlike electronics and "digital" stuff which gets smaller and cheaper by the minute, speakers are inherently analogue, physical, mechanical devices. Top shelf quality IS going to cost you something.

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Kef IQ Series Speakers and HTBSE-W Wireless Subwoofer

Kef IQ Series Speakers and HTBSE-W Wireless Subwoofer

KEF is the venerable British-based loudspeaker company founded in 1961 by former BBC electrical engineer Raymond Cooke. The company first became famous for its monitors and Reference series speakers. In 1988, KEF introduced the revolutionary Uni-Q system, which mounted a neodymium-based tweeter in the center of the woofer voice coil. Since then, KEF has expanded its product line to include the ultra high-end Muon down to the entry level C Series speakers. The subject of this review, KEF's Q Series speakers, is the next step up from the C Series. As the name implies, it offers the Uni-Q technology in each of the five main speakers.

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B&W VM6 Floor-standing Speakers, M-1 Surround Speakers and PV1 Subwoofer

B&W VM6 speakers, M-1 Surround and PV1 Sub system

B&W have a long history in the speaker biz since their formation in the 60's and the company as a whole probably needs little introduction to most Home Theater and Hi-Fi fans. With Rotel and Classe in the corporate stable there are components for everyone. While B&W is probably best known for its evolving 800 series speaker line and its range topping Nautilus flagship the company has branched out significantly over the last 20 years into in wall / in ceiling speakers (Custom Series) and speakers that compliment the emergence of flat screen TV's (FPM and VM6). Here, we review their VM6 floor-standing speakers, M-1 surrounds, and PV1 subwoofer. See our Demonstration Video on the B&W M-1 Speakers here.

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Klipsch Icon W 5.1 Speaker System

Klipsch Icon W system

Klipsch designed the Icon series of loudspeakers for smaller rooms and spaces. They also wanted the Icon speakers to blend well with contemporary decors. The system I reviewed here incorporated speakers from the Icon "W" line. These speakers have a sweet real wood veneer with a furniture-grade finish. Was Klipsch able to produce a compact, horn-loaded speaker system which epitomized these design goals while delivering the Klipsch signature sound? Read our review to see what we found.

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