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Speaker Reviews

GoldenEar SuperCinema 50 Home Theater Speaker System

Home Theater GoldenEar SuperCinema 50 Speaker System

I consider myself a lucky guy. Not only did I get a chance to go to Las Vegas to cover CES, I also got to sit down with Sandy Gross and have a personal audition of his new Triton 2 towers. Sandy has had an illustrious career with Polk Audio and Definitive Technology and has more recently helped start up a new company called GoldenEar Technology. Here, we review their new SuperCinema 50 Home Theater Speaker System.

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Axiom Audio M22 V3 Bookshelf Speakers for the Audiophile

Axiom Audio M22 V3 speakers for the audiophile

Being recognized as the audio/video guru in your circle of family, friends, and co-workers is a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, it is highly rewarding when people ask for your advice (and even better when they actually take it). On the other hand, just about every time I give a recommendation I am inexorably demanded to "find something cheaper." ......Axiom Audio has been a haven for consumers who want excellence and value in a hi-fi system. Here, we review their M22 V3 bookshelf speakers, which are very affordable and deliver the goods in the sound department.

Win a pair of M22 V3 bookshelf speakers!!

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MartinLogan Ethos Hybrid Electrostatic Speakers

MartinLogan Ethos hybrid electrostatic speakers

MartinLogan has recently expanded its line to include the Ethos, which is a hybrid electrostatic speaker, meaning that it has not only an electrostatic panel, but a cone woofer. Using woofers to handle the bass is necessary in smaller electrostatic speakers because the surface area of the panel is not large enough to move much air at the lowest frequencies. In the case of the Ethos, the woofer has a built-in amplifier to drive it.

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Boston Acoustics RS 326 Floor-Standing Speakers

Boston Acoustics RS326 Floor Standing speakers

The Boston Acoustics RS 326 represents the top model in Boston Acoustics' Reflection series, which includes numerous floor-standing, bookshelf, and center channel speakers along with a matching subwoofer. Second only to the VS line, the Reflection series was designed to create an "elegant fusion of technology, performance, and stylish good looks (to quote the Boston Acoustics website)."

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Velodyne DD-18+ Subwoofer

velodyne-dd-18-plus-subwoofer-teaser

Just when you think a product can't get any better, it gets better. Velodyne, renown manufacturer of subwoofers from the very small to the very large, has released its latest very large sub, the DD-18+. It has a 1,250 watt RMS power amplifier (3,000 watts peak) and a frequency response of 14.4 Hz -120 Hz ± 3 dB. The magnet, at 40 pounds, weighs as much as some small subwoofers themselves. The subwoofer uses a Windows software interface, via USB, for setting the room EQ, and the bench test results are the best I have ever seen from Velodyne.

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Axiom M3 v3 Bookshelf Speakers

Axiom M3v3 Bookshelf Speakers

Bookshelf speakers – a loved and hated niche in the audio industry. A step up from cubes or soundbars for certain. But to the purist they are a "unacceptable" compromise vs. floor standers for primary listening. Be that as it may - they still provide massive sales volumes in the industry and often benefit greatly from technology trickledown from a manufacturer's reference level systems. Since most of our music is produced on "bookshelf" sized monitors – why shouldn't bookshelf speakers receive just a little more respect? Well, here are two that deserve respect: Axiom M3 v3 (version 3 of the M3).

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Phase Technology CineMicro One 5.1 Speaker System

Phase Technology CineMirco One 5.1 speaker system

I have no problem admitting that I like a certain type of manufacturer. I've always had admiration for companies that specialize in one area. I'm not saying that manufacturers who throw their hats into multiple rings don't make solid products, many of them do. If I'm being honest though, if my favorite brewery started manufacturing headphones I'd probably take a step back to evaluate the situation. There's no question that Phase Technology is a speaker company, one with deep roots at that; dating back to 1955. It's safe to say that they know a thing or two about high-fidelity. While not necessarily a household name, odds are you've probably come across their speakers in demo rooms, trade shows or publications. The CineMicro One is the company's attempt to pack their audio expertise into a compact, easy to use 5.1 home theater system. Knowing the company well and being a "big speaker guy" myself, I was interested in hearing how these little guys stacked up.

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Sunfire SDS-10 Subwoofer

sunfire-sds-10-subwoofer-teaser

Sunfire didn't build the first small subwoofer, but they did begin the trend towards small, powerful subwoofers, characterized by having drivers with long excursion and high power class D amplifiers. The SDS-10 is the 10" model in a line that also has 8" and 12" versions. It uses a front-firing driver with a 10" down-firing passive radiator. The amplifier is rated at 250 watts RMS. For $500 MSRP, I was pretty amazed at its performance. It won't crack the plaster, but it will party hard.

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Crystal Acoustics TX-3D12 5.1 Home Theater Speaker System

crystal-acoustics-txt3se-photo-1-teaser

It was five years ago that I first heard Crystal Acoustics speakers. Crystal is a British-based OEM speaker manufacturer that started making THX certified speakers under its own name. Because Crystal sells direct through the Internet without the costs of a distribution network, it offers very low prices for its products. I was quite impressed by the price/value proposition of its TX-3D12 THX Select certified 5.1 speaker system.

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Paradigm MilleniaOne Satellite Speakers (Set of Five)

paradigm-millenia-one-speakers-teaser

Paradigm has made a name for itself around the globe for delivering speakers that are consistently strong in accuracy, gigantic soundstage, very precise imaging, deep, powerful bass (which usually significantly increase the cost of other speaker manufacturers offerings) all while keeping the cost below the competition. They do all engineering in house, all speaker component manufacturing in house, all assembly in house and all testing in house. #1 Best Price/Value for 20 years in Inside Track Magazine and #1 Overall 6 times. The MilleniaOne is a satellite speaker that can be used in all five (or seven) channels, along with a subwoofer. Only the MilleniaOne satellite speakers (set of five) are reviewed here.

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Paradigm Mini-Monitor 5.1 Speaker System

Paradigm Mini Monitors 5.1 system

Paradigm is increasingly becoming a unique entity in the world of audio equipment manufacturers. The industry continues to conglomerate itself into ever larger multinational corporations in the hopes of leveraging economies of scale, and optimizing cost of goods by outsourcing components and sub-assemblies. Paradigm, by contrast, remains thoroughly vertically integrated. With rare exceptions, the entirety of any given product, from the voice coil to the enclosure, is manufactured on-site at Paradigm's headquarters in Ontario, Canada.

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