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Speaker Reviews

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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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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Canton GLE 5.1 Speaker System

Canton's GLE 5.1 system

This 5.1 speaker system by Canton hails from Germany, a country famous for the design and manufacturing of all manner of precision products: cars, medical devices, tools, and so forth. So I was really looking forward to seeing if the German engineering, manufacturing and QA/QC tradition would benefit this speaker system.

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Pioneer S-2EX Monitor-sized Speakers

pioneer-s-2ex-speakers-teaser

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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Mirage MX 5.1 Speaker System

Mirage MX 5.1 Speaker System

I've always been intrigued by Mirage speakers. Their brand and styling are unmistakable. Having never owned a pair and only partaking in a few brief demos, I was eager to spend some time with the MX 5.1 speaker system. I knew the MX speaker system was compact but when the shipping company arrived with a box that was smaller in diameter than my reference subwoofer I started to feel a little disenchanted.

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Earthquake CP-8 Subwoofer

Earthquake CP-8 subwoofer

Is there a more apropos name for a manufacturer of subwoofers than Earthquake? True, they now make a fine line of speakers and their power amplifiers have won many awards, but their real claim to fame has always been their subs. During my recent trip to CEDIA last fall, I had the pleasure of meeting with Abraham Sahyoun, Earthquake's marketing director. He encouraged me to attempt to lift the Super Nova Subwoofer off its display pedestal…he grinned while I attempted and failed…and then told me that it weighed in excess of 300 pounds. He then introduced me to a new sub, the CP-8, a subwoofer that is designed to fit behind or under your couch. The CP stands for "Couch Potato."

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Revel Performa F52 Tower Speakers, C52 Center Channel Speaker, S30 Surround Speakers, and Concerta B120 Subwoofer

Revel Performa F52, C52, S30 and Concerta B120

In 1996 an announcement was made about a new speaker company being formed under the very large umbrella of the Harman brand. One could say a perfect storm was created when Harman committed their considerable resources, and Kevin Voecks; a protégé of legendary audio engineer Dr. Floyd Toole, was brought on as Head Engineer. Harman wanted a speaker brand to match the quality of its Levinson electronics. These speakers would be designed using pure science and only released to market when proven to out-perform the competition in double-blind listening tests. We know that brand today as Revel.

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BG Corp Z-92 Planar-Ribbon Speakers and 210i Subwoofer

BG Corp Z-92 Planar-Ribbon Speakers and 210i Subwoofer

BG Corp is a speaker company known for their innovative designs incorporating planar-ribbon drivers of their own design. The company was founded in 1994 and has headquarters in Carson City, Nevada. BG Corp is sometimes referred to as BG Radia. In this review, we take a look at the Z-92 floor-standing speakers as well as their 210i subwoofer.

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Onkyo HT-S7200 HTiB (Home Theater in a Box)

Onkyo HT-S7200

My first Home Theater in a Box (HTiB) was a Sony unit about 10 yrs ago that went into a 500 sq/ft college apartment and, I thought for the time, sounded pretty good (I bought it on clearance from for $200 including DVD player, receiver, satellites and passive sub).

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Mixing and Matching: The Paradigm Reference Signature C5 Center Channel Cone Speaker vs. Electrostatics

paradigm-c5-center-speaker-teaser

In most A/V publications, they will tell you to stick with one brand and line of speakers so that the tonality will be the same across the entire soundstage. That's true. But, if you look for neutrality in sound, you can mix and match with no problem. I have used electrostatic speakers (ESLs) in our home theater lab as a reference for years. The problem has always been the center channel. The front left and right ESL are 6 feet tall, and the center channel ESL was only 4 feet, and even then, the motorized projection screen would come down in front of it about a foot. Secondly, ESLs cannot be driven to high SPLs like cone speakers.....So, I decided to use a conventional (cone) speaker for the center channel, the new Paradigm Reference Signature C5 center channel speaker.....Was I disappointed in the results? Read our review to see.

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Canton Reference 5.2 DC Floor-Standing Speakers

Canton Reference 5.2 DC

Back in mid-2005, I auditioned Canton's new Vento line of speakers with an entire surround package, (although the matching sub had yet to be released). I found them impeccably designed and crafted, and they sounded terrific. In this review, I take a look and listen to the Canton Reference 5.2 DC tower (floor-standing) speakers. More-terrific is what I found.

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