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Speaker Reviews

Update: PSB Alpha PS1 Bookshelf Speakers

PSB Alpha PS1 SpeakersThe Alpha PS1s are PSB's first powered speakers, and are bookshelf in size. Driven by built-in Class D amplifiers, they feature 3.5" metalized polypropylene main drivers and 0.75" aluminum dome tweeters in elegant ported enclosures. These speakers are the latest member of PSB's Alpha line which has been very popular and well received by the audio press and consumers alike. Late last year, PSB announced they would be releasing a super compact powered subwoofer. This new sub was designed to go along with PSB's incredible little PSB Alpha PS1 ($299) desktop speakers that I reviewed in July 2013. So I promptly requested a review sample as I wanted to write this quick follow-up to my earlier review.

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B&W CM10 Floor-Standing Speakers

B&W CM10 LoudspeakersB&W 601S2s were the first loudspeaker I ever bought for myself. Charged on a credit card in college, and beyond what I should have spent, they wound up saving me hundreds of dollars in the long run. With their intoxicating sound, far beyond anything I'd owned before, I'd spend hours listening to them. With a 300-disc CD changer and a La-Z-Boy recliner, many nights and weekends were spent listening to albums uninterrupted. As soon as the new CM10 tower speaker was introduced, I set out to spend some quality time with it and return to where the audiophile in me was born.

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THIEL CS2.7 Floor-Standing Speakers

THIEL CS2.7 Floorstanding SpeakerSometime around 2007, Thiel introduced what was then (and still is) an astounding speaker in the CS3.7 which for the most part was significant because Thiel was engineering their own driver designs, versus buying OEM. The 3-way design was pure Thiel, soft and rounded yet muscular in design, Jim Thiel showcased the corrugated midrange and tweeter "coincidentally" mounted configuration. The CS2.7 is the result of that success in a more affordable package.

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Linn Audio Athenaeum Horn Speakers

Linn AudioHorn speakers have been around nearly a century. They were used in movie theaters when the films became "talkies", and their advantage is that they are extremely efficient, which is good, because the power amplifiers in the theaters during the 1930's were very low powered. Linn Audio has built horn speakers for several decades, but most hi-fi enthusiasts may never have heard a horn speaker. They are characterized by wonderful, effortless midrange. The Linn Audio Athenaeum horn speakers are reviewed here.

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Sonus Faber Venere 3.0 Home Theater Speaker System

Sonus faber Venere 3.0 Surround SystemThis Sonus faber home theater speaker system is based on the new Venere 3.0 floor standing speakers, the flagship of the Venere line. The Veneres are designed in Italy and include drivers designed from the ground up specifically for this speaker line. The drivers are made exclusively for Sonus faber by some of the best suppliers on the planet. The Veneres even have the famous Sonus faber lyre-shaped cabinets.

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Pinnacle T1 PBAR 2000 Powered Sound Bar

Pinnacle T1 PBAR 2000 Powered Sound BarDon't you often wonder why expensive televisions are sold with speakers that sound like they're made of tissue paper and powered by a cell phone? No matter what the price of the set, it always seems that sound quality receives little of the design budget. This results in predictable audio quality – tinny, prone to distortion, and adequate only for the most basic of dialogue. The good news is that there ARE alternatives! Pinnacle Speakers offers an array of high quality powered sound bars, surround speakers, subwoofers, and in-wall/in-ceiling speakers that can bring your television's sound to life!

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Legacy Focus SE Floor-standing Speakers

LegacyLegacy Audio is well-known in the A/V community. They market speakers of all sizes from bookshelf to huge floor-standers, and they have been around for more than two decades. Their speakers are made in the USA, and since the company was founded in a cabinet-making shop, the quality of the wood finish is a hallmark of their designs. The sound fits the looks, and I have wanted to test a pair for quite a while. Legacy sent me their Focus SE's, which are floor-standing speakers and are full-range. The SE stands for Silver Edition, and it celebrates Legacy's 30th anniversary.

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M&K Sound X12 Subwoofer

M&K Sound X12 SubwooferThe new "X" line of M&K Sound subwoofers consists of three models: the X8, X10, and X12. When asked how the new "X" line subwoofers were different from the previous generation, Claus Glaesner, President of M&K Sound USA, replied, "These subwoofers are a major step up in every way from our previous subwoofers. The build quality, driver quality, and sound quality represent a new reference level of subwoofer that was previously not available on the market."

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Atlantic Technology PB-235 Powered Soundbar

Atlantic Technology PB-235 Powered SoundbarWhen I was asked to review the Atlantic Technology PB-235 Powered Soundbar, I jumped at the chance since this would be a new product category for me. I had never spent any length of time auditioning such a unit either for professional or personal use. It wasn't for lack of desire; rather, I just wasn't ever in the market nor asked to review one. This product category has grown in recent years as more and more companies have jumped into the arena. I was excited to see how Atlantic Technology's offering would fare, considering how good their home theater speakers are (I reviewed the 8200e system a few years ago). So when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at it.

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REL T-9 Subwoofer

REL T-9 SubwooferThe REL T-9 subwoofer is the largest sub in REL's "Serie T" line. It is a solidly built sub with a 10" Ultra Long Throw main driver, a 10" front-firing passive radiator and a 300 watt Class A/B plate amp. In keeping with REL innovation (and tradition), theT-9 has a number of flexible hook up schemes, the most unique being by way of the included high level hook-up cable.

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Gallo Strada 2 Speakers and TR-3D Subwoofers

Gallo Strada 2 Loudspeakers and TR-3D SubwoofersIf you've read any of my reviews before, you know I am a fan of Anthony Gallo Acoustics loudspeakers. I reviewed the original Strada loudspeaker and TR-3 subwoofer in 2010 and was so impressed I almost bought them. The only reason I didn't was because I knew the Reference 3.5 was coming. Those? I bought those, and they are still my reference loudspeaker (however, the 3.5 will be discontinued soon). Gallo claims the new Strada 2 loudspeakers are even better than the original Strada, and the TR-3D is an improvement over then TR3. Both new speakers use almost identical technology to that of the Reference 3.5. Another salvo by Gallo has leveled the paying field between the new Strada 2 and the Reference 3.5s even more. The price of the Strada 2 and TR-3D is identical to the earlier models. The complete system cost with stands weighs in at $4,417 (which includes two TR-3D subs). This used to be a lot cheaper than the $5,995 Reference 3.5. Gallo recently reduced the price of the Reference 3.5 to $3,995, plus an additional $749 for the amp. Now, the price of the two systems is almost identical, within less than $400. The question is, which is better? We will see.

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