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Speaker Reviews

Episode In-Wall and In-Ceiling Speakers

Episode In-wall and In-ceiling Speakers

A couple of years ago I designed a home theater for a client and specified the Episode Home Theater LCR because among other things, it offered an adjustable planar magnetic tweeter. It is a hulking speaker that was designed to be integrated into cabinetry and I can tell you it sounded terrific. I became an instant fan. The HT-650LCR is still considered the flagship home theater speaker. In this review, we cover their in-wall and in-ceiling speakers.

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Axiom Epic 80-800 Speaker System: M80v3 Tower, VP180 Center, QS8v3 Surround, and EP800v3 Subwoofer

Axiom Epic 80-800 Speaker System Review

When shopping for loudspeakers today, we assign many different criteria to our decision. Do we choose on price, sound quality, aesthetics, science or some other aspect? Of course a discriminating listener wants the best of all these worlds and there are many manufacturers ready, willing and able to deliver on all counts. Axiom is one who has been at their game a long time. In this review, we test their M80v3 Tower, VP180 Center, QS8v3 Surround, and EP800v3 Subwoofer.

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Thiel MCS1 LCR Speakers

Thiel MCS1 Loudspeakers

Thiel Audio has been designing and building loudspeakers for over 30 years. The 1978 Model 03 was one of the first multi-driver speakers to utilize a time and phase accurate design. This has been at the heart of all Thiel designs ever since, and is consistently found throughout their product line. This is a lofty and difficult design choice which, when done right, can provide an enveloping and realistic musical presentation. In this review, we take a look at the Thiel MCS1, which is a monitor speaker that could be used in an LCR configuration.

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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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Affordable Systems Reviews: Mordaunt-Short Aviano and Cambridge Audio Azur 650R

Mordaunt-Short Aviano and Cambridge Audio Azur 650R

Looking at a system is intrinsically more involved than looking at a single component. Evaluation of a single component typically holds the balance of the system constant so the performance of the test item can be determined. How then is a system evaluated? The test of a system examines several variables, not the least of which is the reviewer's component selections. Here, we review the Mordaunt-Short Aviano and Cambridge Audio Azur 650R.

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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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Waterfall Audio, Iguasçu Evo Floor-Standing Speakers

Waterfall Audio, Iguasçu Evo Speakers

I'm hoping to not be the minority when it comes to design and audio equipment. Far too often you hear of audio and videophiles mentioning that a piece of gear has a high WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). All too often this denotes it's not a boring slab of black electronics or a monolithic boring speaker. Why is it only the spouse who has high aesthetic requirements? Here, we review Waterfall Audio's Iguasçu Evo floor-standing speakers that have glass enclosures.

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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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MK Sound LCR950 Monitor Speakers, SUR950T Surround Speakers, and MX250 Subwoofer

MK Sound Series Speakers

MK Sound, successors of the former Miller & Kreisel company, started with a "don't mess with success" philosophy. At first, it sold legacy products like the renowned 150 THX speakers, and introduced consumer products like the M Series that were previously available only to the professional market. More recently, MK Sound developed a new tweeter for its MPS 2510P and 1611P professional monitors. The new tweeter was developed in conjunction with Peerless of Denmark (now part of Tymphany), M & K's driver component partner for 34 years. MK has incorporated the new tweeter into its newest consumer speakers, the 950 series.

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PSB Synchrony One Floor-Standing Speakers

PSB Synchrony Ones speakers

Paul Barton has been in the loudspeaker game for over 35 years and his latest iteration of speakers shows that his experience has been put to good use. The Synchrony Ones are his top of the line 3-way (5 drivers) towers that use some interesting design twists. At nearly 61 pounds apiece, they make an elegant statement of curved wood and aluminum surfaces that blend together in a flawless fashion.

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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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