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2017 Editors’ Selection Awards: Cables and Interconnects beneath $1000

Transparent Audio The Link interconnect, The Wave speaker cable, PowerWave 8 AC conditioner
$ 100/1m pr., interconnect $ 220/8′ pr., speaker $ 125, Overall performance Energy Hyperlink $ 1195 PowerWave eight
The $ 100 The Link interconnect brings more than a taste of high-end interconnects to an entry-level value. Similarly, the $ 220 The Wave speaker cable is a bargain, offering superior tonality, wider dynamics, and a a lot more open soundstage. The PowerWave 8 conditioner is also an extremely price-efficient upgrade, rendering wider dynamic expression, smoother timbres, and higher musical involvement.

Wireworld Nano Eclipse
$ 175/1.5m
Nano Eclipse is about midway up Wireworld’s complete line of headphone cables, but it does not skimp in supplies or sonics. Eclipse is composed of OCC high-purity copper conductors in a DNA helix configuration surrounded by Wireworld’s Composilex 2 insulation. The result is so efficient that switching from a stock headphone cable to the Nano tends to make a distinction commensurate with significantly upgrading the headphones themselves. AT claims it’s not possible to overstate how much the Wireworld opens up, cleans up, and tightens up the sound. A no-brainer for any reasonably high-quality personal audio setup.

Audience Ohno
$ 199/1m (+$ 82/m) interconnect $ 209/1m (+$ 20/m) speaker
Audience’s new worth line of Ohno cables runs counter to the thought that fantastic wire usually demands heavy jacketing and complex conductor geometries. Sonically these featherweights were fast and extended with well-focused imaging and dimensionality. Most significantly they were not additive, nor did they crimp dynamics. They were also easy to position for desktop use, providing an unerring sense of musicality without having busting the budget.

Moon Audio Silver Dragon V1 IEM Cable
$ 195/48″
The Silver Dragon V1 IEM headphone cable is a drop-in replacement for use with in-ear monitors where light weight and flexibility are critical. The Silver Dragon IEM is a coaxial design utilizing a 99.99998% UP-OCC stranded silver 26AWG center-conductor for the positive leg. The center-conductor uses the identical Kevlar reinforcing as other Dragon cables. Accessible with numerous source connection alternatives as properly as terminations to match several brands.

Wireworld Equinox 7
$ 200/1m pr. unbalanced interconnect $ 225/1m pr. balanced $ 870/3m pr. speaker
Falling correct smack in the middle of Wireworld’s extensive new Series 7 line, the Equinox seems to be great value. The interconnect presented a pleasingly rounded and warm presentation not unlike that of Cardas Clear Light, even though the Equinox 7 speaker cable was quite related to the Cardas Clear Sky in sonics. Superb hum and noise rejection.

Kimber Kable Hero
$ 219/1m pr.
Yielding only a tiny bit in sheer handle, ultimate top-finish transparency, and inner detailing to PS’ reference Kimber Select KS-1021, Hero’s bass lives up to its name, prodigious in amplitude and definition (rather much better even than its pricier brother). This interconnect is either dead neutral or tilts a notch to the yang, with dynamics at after strong yet finely resolved in an basically grain-free presentation.

Nordost Purple Flare
$ 259/1m pr. interconnect ($ 26 per addl. half-meter pr.) $ 439/1m pr. speaker ($ 52 per addl. half-meter pr.)
Featuring Nordost’s classic flatline configuration the Purple Flare is a rung beneath the present incarnation of Blue Heaven, however it is a tiny trip to heaven on its personal. It genuinely shines in the midband with a driving, slightly forward energy that imparts dynamic liveliness to all genres of music.

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CES Innovation Awards 2017 Honoree: A.C.T. One Evolution P1

The following is a press release issued by Wilson Benesch.

NEW YORK and SHEFFIELD, England | Nov. 10, 2016 – Wilson Benesch (http://www.wilson-benesch.com) right now announces that it has been named a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree in the High Overall performance Property Audio / Video category for its newly launched A.C.T. One Evolution P1 floorstanding loudspeaker. The A.C.T. One particular Evolution P1 embodies excellence in craftsmanship and revolutionary design and style. Its patent protected colored carbon fiber finish is a bold design statement that reaffirms the company’s position at the forefront of manufacturing and analysis in sophisticated supplies science within the higher-finish audio sector. Total with bespoke Wilson Benesch drive technologies, the A.C.T. One Evolution P1 delivers a exclusive, state-of-the-art sound experience. 

Merchandise entered in this prestigious plan are judged by a preeminent panel of independent industrial designers, independent engineers and members of the trade media to honor outstanding design and engineering in cutting edge consumer electronics products across 28 item categories.

Wilson Benesch’s new A.C.T. 1 Evolution P1 floorstanding loudspeaker introduces a revolutionary, patent protected, colored carbon fiber material to the higher-finish audio market for the 1st time courtesy of Hypetex. The A.C.T. A single Evolution P1 is the fifth iteration of Wilson Benesch’s iconic A.C.T. style, dating back almost 30-years to the very first A.C.T. loudspeaker. The new A.C.T. 1 Evolution P1 has been re-engineered from the ground up. Impeccable design and flawless craftsmanship can be observed throughout the A.C.T. One Evolution P1, from the choice of components, to the use of geometric forms within componentry and in the intelligent style of the critical drive technologies. The result is a extremely evolved, consumer loudspeaker, with optimal acoustic overall performance.

“The very first A.C.T. loudspeaker the company created back in 1992, was in truth the first higher-finish audio loudspeaker style in the globe to deploy a curved carbon fiber composite panel. Because then the A.C.T. design has turn into a signature loudspeaker of our brand that evolves iteratively with every single new product line. To this end the A.C.T. One Evolution P1 is a beautifully executed addition to this heritage, it denotes not only an evolution of the design in terms of its drive unit array, but also its patent protected colored carbon fiber finish is a bold style statement that underlines the company’s position at the forefront of the application of this supplies technology”, says Style Director for Wilson Benesch Craig Milnes. 

“Wilson Benesch has collected solution awards from all corners of the globe, but the organization won the CES Innovation Award in 1997 and once more in 1998 for the very 1st A.C.T. One loudspeaker. 20-years on, the A.C.T. One Evolution P1 represents the existing state-of-the-art in Wilson Benesch design, so receiving the CES Innovation Award 2017 is an acknowledgement of our continued leadership in sound innovation”, says Managing Director for Wilson Benesch Christina Milnes.

The prestigious Innovations Style and Engineering Awards are sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, the producer of the CES 2017, the international gathering place for all who thrive on the organization of consumer technology, and have been recognizing achievements in product design and engineering since 1976.

CES 2017, Las Vegas, NV, USA
January 5-8, 2017
Venetian Tower Suite 30-112, Courtesy of USA Importer
Aaudio Imports

Wilson Benesch’s A.C.T. One Evolution P1 loudspeaker will be on reside demonstration at CES 2017 in the Venetian Tower Suite 30-112, which runs from January 5-eight, 2017, in Las Vegas.

Honourees will also be displayed at CES Unveiled: The Official Media Event of the International CES on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 at Mandalay Bay.

The Innovations entries are judged primarily based on the following criteria:

  • Engineering qualities, based on technical specs and materials utilized
  • Aesthetic and design qualities, employing pictures provided
  • The product’s intended use/function and user value
  • Why the item deserves the Innovations award, including specifics relating to its exclusive/novel characteristics and attributes that consumers would find attractive
  • How the style and innovation of this item directly evaluate to other items in the industry place

Merchandise selected as an Innovations honoree reflect the revolutionary design and style and engineering of the entries. Examples may consist of the first time numerous technologies are combined in a single item or dramatic enhancements to earlier solution styles.

Innovations 2017 Design and Engineering honoree goods are featured on CESweb.org/Innovations, which lists item categories, as properly as every single item name, manufacturer info, designer, description, photo and URL.

Wilson Benesch was founded in Sheffield, England, in 1989 by Craig Milnes and Christina Milnes. These days the firm employs a diverse group of, designers, highly trained engineers and exceptional craftsmen, all devoted to realizing innovative, higher quality audio merchandise that push the present state-of-the-art in high-finish audio reproduction. Considering that its foundation, the brand has grow to be an icon of functionality and style excellence through its long-standing craftsmanship tradition and the strongest attainable commitment to higher-tech investigation and improvement specifically in the fields of sophisticated carbon fiber composite engineering.

Existing at the forefront of domestic user technologies, Wilson Benesch designs and manufactures all merchandise in-property, with an array of loudspeakers, turntables and higher finish audio furniture solutions that have been hand built to a bespoke specification of the quite highest common. Consequently, its present item variety is recongnized as 1 of the major British higher-finish audio exports across the globe. 

For far more info on Wilson Benesch, please visit http://www.wilson-benesch.com

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Golden Ear Awards 2016: Jonathan Valin

Magico M Pro/JL Audio Gotham Subwoofer (combination)
$ 153,000 (Magico M Pro, $ 129,000 JL Audio Gotham, $ 12,000 apiece)
Last year I gave GEs to each of these items individually. This year I want to advise the combination, which produces the most lifelike, finely detailed and defined, fullest-variety sound I’ve heard in my house. As you most likely know I’ve in no way been a fan of subs, especially when they are mated with speakers that seemingly need their help (e.g., compact two-techniques, planars, or electrostatics). So why would I advise a pair of subwoofers—and giant ones, at that—to go with a loudspeaker that seemingly does not need such help? (With 3 ten” graphene-carbon woofers, the Magico M Pros have flat response into the low-30Hz variety.) The answer is that utilizing subwoofers with speakers with excellent low finish “distributes” the bass by dividing it among drivers positioned in diverse spots in your listening space. This physical distribution of low-bass generators greater loads your space, cancelling out or tremendously reducing nodes that would otherwise result in audible bumps and dips in frequency response. In the case of the twin 13.five” woofers in every single JL Audio Gotham, the addition of subs also extends low finish into the 20Hz range and beneath, adding visceral energy and clarity to recordings that function very low-pitched instruments (such as organs, synths, 5-string bass guitars, contrabassoons, bass trombones, pianos, etc.). Even though the M Pros only need to have a slight touch of the Gothams (crossed over, utilizing the Gotham’s own constructed-in XO, at 24dB/octave around 36­–37Hz), it is basically astonishing how considerably of a perceived difference that touch of ultra-low finish tends to make in overall realism (each in the bass and in the perceived clarity of the midrange), without any of the usual penalties paid in midband veiling or midbass overlap. I would imagine that this identical touch of distributed low bass would work equal wonders with other full-range Magicos, such as the Q5, the Q7 Mk.II, and the not too long ago announced $ 75k Magico M3—which is stated to sound fairly a bit like the M Pro but which, unlike the M Pro, will not be a limited-production supplying.

Acoustic Signature Invictus Turntable and TA-9000 Tonearm
$ 129,998
Thanks to its use of mass and constrained-layer damping, the gigantic Acoustic Signature Invictus turntable (practically two-and-a-half feet deep and three feet wide and effectively more than 300 pounds in weight) merely can’t be produced to resonate, either by external sources of vibration (loudspeakers, rooms, footfalls, etc.) or internal ones (motors, pulleys, belts, and so forth.). The outcome is a smoothness, power, and solidity that I just haven’t skilled, to this extent, from any other record player. The Invictus is detailed but not aggressively so it is lightning rapid on transients but in no way spitty or analytical it is smooth, yes, but with no loss in pace or dynamic excitement it is dense in timbre but not dark or oversaturated it is neutral without being sterile, and transparent to sources without being colorless it has three-dimensional bloom and physique without having any loss in immediacy or liveliness. In quick, it sounds quite much like a mastertape. Even though I have many excellent turntables in home, such as the one I advise on the subsequent page, the Invictus (with Acoustic Signature’s equally marvelous TA-9000 tonearm) stands at the leading. For these of you with the money—and the permission to devote it—this is a ne plus ultra supply component.

TW-Acustic Raven Black Knight Turntable with TW-Acustic Raven 10.5 Tonearm
$ 45,050
Let’s say—just for the sake of argument, thoughts you—that you don’t have $ 130k to spend on an Acoustic Signature Invictus/TA-9000 (plus an additional $ 17.5k for the devoted stand it sits on). What’s a body to do? Well, meet the TW-Acustic Raven Black Knight (and Raven ten.5 tonearm). No, the Black Knight doesn’t take up the sheer square footage of the humongous Invictus nor does it tip the scales at among 700 and 800 pounds (like the Invictus and its stand do). But at 143 pounds of Delrin-damped aluminum, copper, and bronze, this gorgeously produced, beautifully engineered, three-motor (battery powered and regulated), single-belt-driven, unsuspended ’table is brick-solid—and (when equipped with its dual-pivot Raven ten.5 tonearm) comes a lot closer than shouting distance to the mastertape-like presentation of the Invictus for less than a third of its cost. Thomas Woschnick (the TW of TW-Acustic) has usually made turntables with beautiful tone colour and extended decay. The Raven Black Knight adds speed and pace to the package, for a record player that provides the entire package—from starting transient to stopping—delivered with a a lot more-than-fair taste of the all-natural dynamic and harmonic continuousness that tends to make the Invictus such a standout. If I couldn’t afford an Invictus or a Walker, this is the ’table/tonearm I would opt for.

Soulution 755 Phonostage
$ 80,000
At the moment I use 4 excellent phonostages—the Audio Consulting Silver Rock, the POY-award winning Constellation Perseus, the POY-winning VAC Statement, and, the newest arrival, the Soulution 755. Though all four have considerable individual strengths (the Silver Rock boasts unparalleled midband detail, the Perseus exceptional neutrality, all round resolution, and transient speed, the VAC superior timbral beauty, presence, and bloom) and all could easily win Golden Ears, the Soulution 755 seemingly combines their virtues, practically undimished, in a single package. The 755 is also the most versatile preamp of the bunch. With a constructed-in volume/balance handle, 3 analog inputs (two mc and one mm), and two line-level outputs (one particular XLR, a single RCA), the 755 is not only a supremely rapidly and detailed, beautiful sounding, immensely powerful, surprisingly 3-dimensional (a Soulution strength) stand-alone phonostage, but, for analog fans, it also obviates the need to buy a separate linestage preamplifier (and a pair of high-quality interconnects). If you listen to records exclusively, you can go directly out from the 755 to your amp (and subwoofer, if you use a single) with completely adjustable manage of volume and balance. A technical (-140dB SNR, much less than .002% THD) and sonic tour de force, the 755 phonostage could be the single most impressive element Soulution has however made.

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Golden Ear Awards 2016: Jacob Heilbrunn

Transparent Opus Generation five
$ 11,000 meter pair (balanced interconnect), $ 17,000 8′ speaker cable
Transparent’s reference line of networked interconnects and speaker cables sets a extremely higher bar certainly for sonic functionality. It builds upon the earlier Transparent Opus line to supply a seamless midrange and silky highs. Most distinctive about the Generation five cables are their cavernous soundstage, in a lot of techniques a product of their potential to provide an nearly unrivaled bass foundation, and their superbly natural tonality. Other cables could be faster or a lot more detailed, but Transparent provides a mesmerizing blend of virtues that add up to a bigger musical complete. Think it or not, there is a Magnum line that pushes the frontiers one particular step additional, but the Opus Gen five should be more than satisfactory for all but the most fastidious audiophiles.

Lyra Etna SL Cartridge
$ 9999
Lyra cartridges have always excelled at slam, dynamics, and sheer musical excitement. The Etna SL does not move away from these qualities so significantly as mark a salubrious evolution towards a much more refined and agreeable sound. Gone is any lingering sense of zippiness or etch that sometimes reared its head with the Etna’s lineal predecessors. The super-low-output designation (SL), which refers to the fewer coil windings, appears to outcome in a cartridge that unites an very low noise floor with remarkable transient precision. The Etna is able to render every thing from piano to trumpets with excellent fidelity, almost as though it could discern the healthy portion of the vinyl. The Etna is a surpassingly winning cartridge, one particular that is so evenhanded throughout the frequency spectrum that it is always a delight to audition.

dCS Vivaldi two. Digital Source
$ 41,999 (Transport), $ 35,999 (DAC), $ 21,999 (Upsampler), $ 14,999 (Clock)
The Vivaldi very first appeared a number of years ago and featured exceptional soundstaging and dynamics. But the new two. version, which features software and internal hardware changes, truly catapults its performance into the stratosphere. Some of the most notable improvements occur in the treble region, where for the 1st time digital playback appears to obtain the air that is so palpable on vinyl sources. There is also audibly far more detail in the treble and midrange places, enabling the tonality of individual instruments to emerge in a much more striking style. Piano trills are enunciated with a shocking finesse and clarity. The bass lines are also palpably tighter and deeper. All round, the presentation isn’t simply much more dynamic, but also supplies a lot more weight to instruments such as piano or trumpet. With its newest version of the Vivaldi, dCS has hit it out of the park.

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2016 Editors’ Selection Awards: Music Servers $1,000 – $5,000

Aurender Flow
$ 1295
For someone who desires wonderful sound, smooth ergonomics, and a compact footprint, the Aurender Flow provides an elegant answer for headphone and nearfield listening. Place a big tough drive in it, and you have a clever rig for the traveling audiophile (after he’s arrived at his hotel room.) Also The Flow could effortlessly uncover a location with music professionals, who could carry it from studio to studio to guarantee monitoring consistency. If headphone listening from a pc supply is your thing, you need to have to hear the Flow since it was made for you.

Melco NA1 High Resolution Digital Music Library
$ 1999
A laptop audio server that offers a generous 4TB internal difficult drive storage for your digital music file collection in an sophisticated, conservatively-styled chassis that would appear at property in the fanciest method, the N1A plays all file formats commonly employed for music playback, and is simple to set up and operate. It uses Linn’s Kinsky remote-control app to offer unusually flexible manage more than playback of music files on the N1A’s hard drive. And its sound high quality, particularly its detail retrieval and wide soundstaging, is fairly particular.

Sony HAP-Z1ES
$ 1999
As the flagship model for Sony’s “High Definition Music Initiative,” the new Sony HAP-Z1ES defines what Sony sees as the future of two-channel audio. It attempts to be effortless for a naïve user to operate, yet capable of the highest audio quality. And whilst it is comparatively basic to make an audio item that is straightforward to use, quite few ergonomically elegant mass-industry audio devices also make state-of-the-art sonics. This one does. Throughout the assessment period as SS place the HAP-Z1ES via its paces, he looked for factors it might be not be regarded a correct higher-overall performance element and identified none. If you program to spend far more than $ 2000 on any digital front end and you don’t audition a HAP-Z1ES, you are failing to think about what could properly be the benchmark digital item of 2014.

PS Audio PerfectWave DAC II, PerfectWave Memory Player, Network Bridge II
$ 2499/$ 3999/$ 799
This suite of items, collectively called the PerfectWave Music Group, comprises the PerfectWave Memory Player, PerfectWave DAC II, and PerfectWave Network Bridge (a slide-in card for the DAC that turns the system into a network-connected music server), and eLyric server software program. The program offers outstanding sound good quality across the board, but is especially adept at removing any trace of hardness and glare from older CDs. With high-res material, it reproduces the complete majesty of an orchestra from a mid-hall perspective.

Aurender N100T
$ 2695
Aurender’s N100T brings you a surprising quantity of the technologies, sound quality, and outstanding user expertise of the flagship W20 for a fraction of the value. You don’t get features such as dual-wire AES and clock input, but most users don’t need to have these capabilities anyway. The internal storage is 2TB rather than 12TB, but you can constantly add a NAS drive for more capacity. What you do get is the same outstanding Conductor app, Tidal integration, and Remote Support. Aurender’s Conductor app for iPad is by far the very best RH has used—fast, visually appealing, stable, intuitive, capable, and uncluttered, with features that have been clearly refined by way of actual use. Sonically, the N100T comes fairly close to the W20’s state-of-the-art efficiency, especially thinking about the cost differential.

Baetis Audio Revolution II Media Pc
$ 2995
This attractively priced media server—it’s been designed for the demands of higher-resolution video as well as audio—takes on many unquestioned assumptions in the still-nascent discipline of laptop audio. Utterly inaudible fans have been implemented inside the enclosure to let a powerful CPU to operate as tough as necessary. And Baetis employs a proprietary coaxial SPDIF stereo output, taken directly off the motherboard, that provides significantly better sound than the standard USB interface. The Rev II comes loaded with the industry-standard JRiver MC 19 software program and the business actually answers the telephone to offer whatever help is required to use their device properly.

Bryston BDP-two Digital Player
$ 2995
The BDP-two Digital Player is a technological tour de force that bridges generational divides: amongst the Old Planet CD player and the New World of high-resolution files and music-library management. The BDP-2 performs the very same function as a CD transport, but plays information files from removable USB storage media at their native resolution and in a multiplicity of file formats. Compared with the BDP-1, the BDP-2 incorporates the same digital audio circuitry, but incorporates a more effective system board and a correspondingly heftier energy provide. Processor speed and memory capacity are both increased. Connectivity is expanded to incorporate an internal SATA connection, an eSATA port, two gigabit Ethernet ports, and six complete-current USB two. ports. The Bryston BDP-2 does not merely “sound much better,” the expertise of hearing music through it is qualitatively diverse. It plays music with unprecedented purity.

3beez Wax Box three Management Method
$ 4600
The Wax Box is a turnkey music server constructed into a traditional laptop enclosure. But inside is a pc specially built for the very various demands of high-functionality audio. Just take it out of the box and you’re prepared to load music and listen. But that is only half the equation the Wax software is a classical-music lover’s delight in that you can categorize your library by composer, function, conductor, or performer. Most music-management software program is designed around the paradigm of artist, album, and song.

Linn Majik DSM
$ 4740
The Linn Majik DSM was developed to be a one particular-box integrated answer for music lovers who want a component that can play practically any music file in any room of their property. It also does all the issues you have come to anticipate sonically from a Linn component. It is tuneful, with excellent pace and musical delivery. On the practical side it’s painless to set up (thanks to your local Linn dealer), and easy to use. 

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2016 Editors’ Decision Awards: Loudspeakers $five,000-$ten,000

Harbeth Monitor 30.1
$ 5695-6295 (depending on finish)
The ideal compact 2-way speaker method PS has heard, the 30.1 boasts higher neutrality, superb resolution, and a matching of drivers with respect to sonic character that is equaled by only a tiny handful of numerous-driver dynamic loudspeakers. Speaking with a single voice in a way reminiscent of Quad ESLs, it is also of related vanishingly low coloration and distortion, higher transparency, and sheer musical authority, with an totally ravishing midrange. You can listen to it with no fatigue for actually hours on finish.

Raidho X-1
$ 5800 (stands $ 850)
The X-1 may be the smallest loudspeaker in the Raidho line, but its sound is something but. With the same tweeter discovered in Raidho’s mighty $ 220k D-five, the X-1 gives a stunningly lovely midband and treble, with an ease, delicacy, and refinement rarely heard in this category. The very modest (4″) mid/woofer has limited excursion, bass extension, and dynamics, producing the X-1 ideal suited to smaller sized rooms. A giant-killer above 100Hz.

Dali Rubicon six
$ 5995
The objective of the 5 model Rubicon Series was to bring Epicon-like performance to a sweet-spot price tag. Mission accomplished. The 2.five-way R6 exemplifies a ripe, wealthy sound with outstanding upper-octave delicacy, thanks to the excellent hybrid dome/ribbon tweeter configuration—a Dali mainstay for years. Blessed with considerable slam, it has a bold, effortless, near-full-range sound that can be a bit plummy in the midbass. All issues considered the R6 tends to make a excellent musical statement in its segment.

Emerald Physics EP2.three
$ 5995
The EP2.3 (formerly the CS2.3 II) delivers the most precise imaging and very best soundstaging PS has heard anywhere, actually holographic. Dynamic variety is very wide, the midrange rich and open, and the bass substantial, though shy in the bottom-most half-octave. Orchestral music is notably spectacular, but all music is reproduced superbly with a tonal balance that is organic and neutral. The technique requires 4 channels of amplification, two for the bass drivers and two for the coaxially mounted midrange/treble module. Sensitivity is higher adequate to eschew sheer wattage in favor of top quality. Although the 2.3 is very transparent, these for whom the last degree of detail is major could wish to appear elsewhere.

Magnepan MG3.7i
$ 5995
Maggie’s 3-way, correct-ribbon/quasi-ribbon planar 3.7 effectively addresses 3 troubles that have long plagued “true-ribbon” Maggies: the seamless integration of that ribbon the retention of detail and dynamic variety at fairly low volume levels and the reduction of “Maggie grain.” The solution of these problems combined with the renowned virtues of correct-ribbon Magnepans produces what is, in JV’s opinion, a greatest get. Be conscious that the 3.7i’s are big, power-hungry, and restricted in low bass and ultimate SPLs.

Spendor D7
$ 5995
Spendor’s neo-classic 48″ tower is superbly completed, and sonically offers up-front power, near full-range frequency response, and high dynamic potency. On balance and to the D7’s credit, it sounds much closer to a true three-way than to a two.five-way in that it maintains a close to continual level of tonal stability and dynamic drive via the midband—a feat that most 2.five-methods struggle to accomplish. It is the uncommon loudspeaker at any price that touches all the bases for each set of ears, but the reasonably priced D7 comes extremely close in a lot of areas.

Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Baby Grand SE
$ 6000
Refined, luxurious, and lovingly hand-constructed in Europe, the Austrian-made BBG is 1 of the highest-worth elements RD has run across. Very detailed and possessing a convincingly 3-dimensional presentation, the BBG conjured photos that had been stable across the soundstage with more than a hint of vertical imaging details thrown in for good measure. Bass was fast, tight, tuneful, pitch-best, and properly-integrated into the speaker’s all round frequency balance.

Audio Physic Classic 30
$ 6000–$ 7000
The Classic 30, a three.five-way bass-reflex design, has the sheer enthusiasm of an extrovert. No require to baby this elegantly streamlined floorstander—it produces clean, dynamic, and alarmingly high output levels without having losing its meticulously crafted voice. It’s a loudspeaker capable of the intimacy, transparency, and coherence of a fine two-way compact, coupled with the exuberance and power of a multiway that doesn’t shrink from the wide dynamics and deep-bass challenges of huge music.

Reference 3A Taksim
$ 6990
Reference 3A’s latest loudspeaker model is priced at a point exactly where you’d have to devote a lot a lot more to improve upon its numerous virtues. This two-way design attributes the “hyperexponential”-shaped mid/bass driver introduced by the company’s founder half a century ago and constantly enhanced upon since. This mid/bass unit is capable of exceptional linearity and dispersion, which translate into wonderful detail and tonal realism. A beryllium tweeter is implemented practically without having the use of a crossover, protected from low frequencies and higher power by a single non-inductive capacitor.

Harbeth SuperHL5plus
$ 6995 (stands, $ 739)
Alan Shaw’s new Harbeth SuperHL5plus is one particular of the most stunning-sounding speaker systems reviewer Paul Seydor has heard because the original Quad electrostatic, with the exact same musicality and naturalness of the Quad, and a truly extraordinary best-to-bottom coherence evinced by handful of dynamic speakers of any type. The principal deviation from absolute neutrality is a slightly forgiving high quality throughout the presence range yet, the speaker in no sense lacks presence or lifelike vitality. The midrange is drop-dead beautiful, the best finish sweet and detailed. In sum, a reference-caliber element that usually sounds like music.

Larsen Model eight
$ 6995
The Larsen Model eight speakers are uncommon amongst floorstanders—they are made to be placed against the wall, with the wall and floor used as element of the acoustic design, rather than as one thing to be avoided. This approach to producing sound in rooms grew out of work of the late Stig Carlssen (with whom designer John Larsen worked) decades ago, and the principles stay valid. The profound understanding of how speakers and rooms interact embodied in the design and style leads to an unusually convincing presentation of music of all sorts, each modest-scaled and large. Unusual but excellent.

PSB Think about T3
$ 7500
Paul S. Barton’s current flagship solution is an exceptional value—a beautifully created complete-variety loudspeaker that, at a fraction of the cost, holds its own with the most heroically engineered transducers on the marketplace. The five-way T3 is a hugely versatile speaker, developed to perform at its ideal in a wide variety of rooms, thanks to the flexibility of its three woofers. Due to the fact of its voicing and energy-handling capability, the Picture T3 is a great rock ’n’ roll speaker, but it also has the tonal finesse and spatiality required to admirably serve classical music and acoustic jazz.
 

Joseph Audio Pulsar
$ 7700
What’s special and maybe even distinctive about these 2-way, bass-reflex compacts is their potential to combine all the greatest sonic qualities of a excellent mini-monitor with these of a bigger speaker. With a midrange purity that equals ribbon and electrostatic styles, and the dynamic weight of a larger speaker, the Pulsar is the closest factor to that not possible dream of a small speaker that can produce the SPLs of a a lot bigger transducer without having sacrifices in inner detail or harmonic purity.

Vandersteen Treo CT
$ 7990
A loudspeaker of uncommon musicality and precision. Building upon the R&ampD that went into the flagship Model Seven, the 4-driver, medium-scale Treo CT conveys a single-driver-like coherence that immerses the listener in the really moment the recording was captured. It combines uncanny image specificity, color, and texture with an enveloping sense of air and immersion. At least some credit should go to the Model Seven-derived CT (carbon tweeter), which is as transparent and open as it is extended. Basically a passive version of the Quatro Wood CT, the Treo could not have quite the significant bass slam of that model, but you hardly miss it due to its excellent pitch definition.

Endeavor E-3
$ 8000
For $ 8k you get a nicely developed and voiced speaker capable of satisfying your every single musical need, be it rock, classical, jazz, blues, or Katy Perry. These speakers are versatile, dip deep into the low finish, offer terrific soundstaging and imaging, and do all of this for not a lot of cash. A “must-audition” for any person buying in the sub-$ 15k category.

JansZen zA2.1
$ 8750 (plus $ 495 side-firing tweeter choice)
This unusual design—with compound electrostatic elements flanked by dynamic woofers above and below—offers an extraordinary sonic experience. A controlled horizontal pattern, a vertical pattern that basically eliminates early floor reflection, and extraordinarily low distortion all combine to give a really pure sound. With woofers and electrostatic components set ideally, in-area response is exceptionally flat and the sound virtually perfectly neutral. Bass is surprisingly extended for a speaker of moderate size. Optional side-firing adjustable ring-radiator tweeters generate a much more “spacious” sound.

MartinLogan Montis
$ 9995
The Montis is state-of-the-art in all the regions exactly where electrostatics shine: supremely smooth and organic tonal balance (slightly forgiving in the 2k-4kHz variety), with a transparency that rivals PS’ reference Quad ESLs, a dynamic variety that is fairly beyond the capability of any Quad, and for that matter any other ESLs of his knowledge, and an capacity to reproduce vocalists, instrumentalists, and ensembles to life size. By any reckoning this is a really great speaker program capable of supremely satisfying reproduction of all kinds of music. 

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