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Focal Chorus 700 5.1 Speaker System


While not sold in big box retail stores nor shipping Internet-direct to consumers, Focal has built and maintained a solid reputation in the audiophile community by offering top tier sound quality. Being very familiar with the brand, it was with great anticipation that I agreed to review the Chorus 700 speaker system. The Chorus 700 series is at the lower end of Focal's speaker lineup, and the review system consisted of a pair of 726V three-way tower speakers, a CC700V center channel speaker, a pair of 706V bookshelf speakers for the rear, and a SW700V subwoofer. At roughly $3,600 for the package, I was eager to see how the Chorus system compared to its mass-market competitors. Furthermore, can the 700 series live up to the reputation of its higher priced siblings?


Paradigm Reference Signature S8v2, C5v2, ADP3v2 Speakers and Signature Servo Subwoofer

paradigm-reference-signature-speakers-teaser.jpgParadigm's new version 2 of their Reference Signature S8 floor-standers, C5 center channel, ADP3 surrounds, and Servo subwoofer are spectacular looking and will satisfy the most demanding audiophile with their incredible sound.


Klipsch Palladium P-39F Floor-standing Speakers

Klipsch P-39F Speakers

The new Klipsch Palladium P-39F floor-standing speakers are big, bold, beautiful, and best of all, they sound fantastic. They are very sensitive, so can be powered by small amplifiers, and as my wife told me, "These things make you want to pay attention and listen to the music rather than read the newspaper." They have an amazing ability to localize instruments and voices. Read Secrets' exclusive review of these find speakers.


Hsu Research ULS-15 Subwoofer and HB-1/HC-1 MK2 Speakers

Hsu ULS-15 Subwoofer HB-1 HC-1 Speakers

Hsu Research is an A/V company selling only online, and which continually produces superb products at affordable prices. Until recently, Hsu sold nothing but subwoofers. I bought one of the original Hsu Research VTF-2 subs, which had incredible performance for a $500 price tag. I’ve since upgraded to the VTF3-HO with Turbocharger. Like the rest of the Hsu’s line, those subs had a ported design.

Now comes Hsu’s first sealed-box subwoofer, the Hsu Research ULS-15. It's one of the first subs to hit the market with wireless connections (RF), and it has four separate channels, so you can have several discrete wireless subwoofer channels if you like (e.g., front left, right, and LFE).  Along with the ULS-15, Hsu also sent their newly redesigned HB-1 Mk 2 bookshelf speakers and HC-1 center channel speaker, for a complete 5.1 system. I had heard good things about the HB-1’s, but never had a chance to audition them in person. Plus, I was very curious to see how Hsu’s experience with subs would translate into full range speakers.


Fall Shopping Guide to Affordable Subwoofers - Chrysalis Photon-8, Starfire-10, and BassMatrix-12

Chrysalis Photon-8, Starfire-10, BassMatrix-12 Subwoofers

Chrysalis by Velodyne is a new line of affordable subwoofers that you will be able to find in electronics supermarkets, likely at discounted prices. They utilize the renown Velodyne technology, which means they deliver prodigious deep bass.


JL Audio Fathom f212 Subwoofer


JL Audio's new Fathom f212 subwoofer is an astonishing product. Their years of building car audio subwoofers that you can hear a block away have paid off in this subwoofer meant for audio and home theater applications. It is expensive, but notwithstanding, even just one of these subs will satisfy the most critical of home theater aficionados. The f212 is one of the finest subwoofers in the world.


Revel Ultima2 - Studio2, Voice2, and Gem2 Speakers

ultima2-speakers-teaser.jpgSeveral months have elapsed since I’ve had this system, and during that time this loudspeaker ensemble has provided me with a truly exceptional experience.  In looking back at the review, I see that I have used nothing but superlatives to describe their sound.  This system is very well-rounded across the frequency range.  The timbre is both accurate and well-matched within the family.


Stereo Dave's Creation 650 Reference Speakers and Genesis Subwoofer

Stereo Dave's Reference 650 SpeakersMany audio designers report that they design their components by listening, making a change, perhaps as small as a resistor, and then listening again. These are the guys you want making your stereo equipment. Even mass market audio equipment can be made to compete with uber-expensive models given the same treatment.


JL Audio Fathom f113 Subwoofer


With no reservation, and by every standard, this is a world class subwoofer. It has massive output, low distortion, and all from a mid-sized enclosure. The price might put some consumers off, but I never heard anyone complain about investing money in a good subwoofer. Save your pennies, and do it.


Zu Audio Druid Mk 4/08 Speakers

Zu Audio Druid Mk 4/08 Speakers

High sensitivity speakers have had a following amongst the proponents of low power single ended tube amplifiers for a long time. Many of these speakers work well with these low power amps, but not necessarily with more typical amplification. Not so with these Zu audio Druids. While I am sure they still are wonderful with low power tube amps, they also deliver with more typical solid-state amplification. The Druid, made by cable and speaker manufacturer Zu Audio in Ogden, Utah, has had a cult following among many audiophiles. I was able to test the latest Mk. 4/08 version, released earlier this year.


Canton Chrono 5.1 Home Theater Speaker System

canton-chrono-speaker-system-teaser.jpgThe Canton Chrono speaker system proves that you cannot judge a book solely by its cover (although I thought the front baffle lacquer finish was pretty slick looking anyway). It provides a realistic soundstage, with imaging that is particularly well-suited for film reproduction. If you’re looking for a 5.1 system in this price, you’ll definitely want to put the Canton Chrono series on your audition list.