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Recent Bookshelf Speaker Reviews

Opalum Audio Flow .4810 Speakers Preview

Opalum Audio Flow .4810 Speakers Preview

When you think of Scandinavian design, you think either cheap or expensive. There really isn't any in-between. While pricing for the Opalum speakers hasn't been announced, we're betting it isn't going to be cheap. With integrated amps, a unique powering method, and gorgeous looks, we're sure the new Opalum speakers will turn heads. We're just not sure if they will open wallets. Honestly, we'd love to get our hands on a pair to see how they perform. If they sound half as good as they look, that will make them light-years better than many, similarly-styled offerings out there.

While pricing for the Opalum speakers hasn't been announced, we're betting it isn't going to be cheap. We're sure the Opalum speakers will turn heads, we're just not sure if they will open wallets.

— March 10, 2013 18:30 in Bookshelf Speaker Reviews

Fluance XLHTB 5.0 Speaker System Preview

Fluance XLHTB 5.0 Speaker System Preview

Given our experiences with the Fluance XL7F floorstanding speakers, we believe the XL7S surround (bookshelf) speakers and XL7C center speaker will be quality products. For those looking to make their first foray in home theater, looking for a present for a budding home theater nut, or just looking for a second system for their home, the Fluance XL Series speakers will easily fit the bill. Being able to mix and match the bookshelf, floorstanding, and center channel means that, no matter your room, you can find a configuration that you, and your spouse, can live with. Fluance put together a good looking, and nice sounding matching 5.0 system including their XL7F towers, XL7C center and XL7S surrounds for under $800. That's a pretty darn big deal.

Given our experiences with the Fluance XL7F floorstanding speakers, we believe the XL7S surround and XL7C center speaker will be quality products. At $799.99 they won't break the bank either.

— February 28, 2013 21:05 in Bookshelf Speaker Reviews

Angel City Audio Trinity L/R & Center Loudspeaker Review

Angel City Audio Trinity L/R & Center Loudspeaker Review

The first thing I noticed about the Angel City Audio Trinity L/R & Center loudspeaker system was the first-rate piano black finish. It was smooth and glossy with no imperfections. The Trinity L/R speakers sounded really sweet when I first heard them at the Audioholics GTG event and continued to do so once I got them into my audio room. I found that the cabinets were built extremely well and their measurements showed them also to be well-designed speakers. Although these speakers are not perfect and of course none are, I would definitely recommend them for a smaller room with some room treatment on the side walls. The three (LCR) speakers worked very nicely together which gave for an enjoyable movie and music experience.

This is a review of the Angel City Audio Trinity L/R & Center speaker system which employ excellent cabinetry and premium parts.

— February 25, 2013 22:10 in Bookshelf Speaker Reviews

Anthony Gallo Acoustics Strada 2 Speakers Preview

Anthony Gallo Acoustics Strada 2 Speakers Preview

Anthony Gallo Acoustics (AGA) showed off its new Strada 2 bookshelf speakers. The Strada 2's look a lot like their predecessor and have the same sleek and modern look. They feature updated driver technology, and a new drive circuit for the proprietary CDT 3 tweeter. The Strada 2's dispersion/wave launch pattern has also been recalibrated to project what AGA calls a "holographic sound field" into the listening area. They claim the effect is designed to be mostly independent of room acoustics. In addition, Anthony Gallo increased the efficiency of the new Strada 2 by 95% and so it will play just as loudly as its previous incarnation with just half the input power.

Anthony Gallo Acoustics (AGA) showed off its new Strada 2 bookshelf speakers. The Strada 2's look a lot like their predecessor and have the same sleek and modern look. They feature updated driver tech

— January 08, 2013 13:50 in Bookshelf Speaker Reviews

Triad Cinema Reference CR-1 Loudspeaker Preview

Triad Cinema Reference CR-1 Loudspeaker Preview

To mark Triad's 30 year anniversary they are releasing the most "capable" loudspeaker they have every made, the Cinema Reference CR-1. The CR-1 is not cheap at $15,000/ea, but it is designed specifically for large screening rooms or home theaters. Triad claims that the CR-1 has ample headroom to handle 15-30 seat rooms. At only 10" deep it is certainly thin to undertake such a large task, but that is because it is made to go behind an acoustic transparent screen or be mounted on the wall. It can also be placed out in the open on an optional stand. It sports a 15" bass driver, dual 8" midrange drivers, and a proprietary Air Motion tweeter. We don’t expect the CR-1 to fly off the shelf, but it could be the answer for someone looking for a discrete, large-room speaker with great dynamics. The CR-1 is slated to ship 4th quarter 2012.

To mark their 30th anniversary Triad has released the CR-1, a brand new flagship LCR speaker specifically designed for 15-30 seat theaters.

— October 15, 2012 21:00 in Bookshelf Speaker Reviews

XTZ Divine 100.33 LCR Loudspeaker Preview

XTZ Divine 100.33 LCR Loudspeaker Preview

At an estimated (based on the Euro price) $2000 each, the XTZ Divine 100.33 LCR loudspeaker system isn't exactly an impulse buy. But considering the technology that is going into it, the price seems more than fair. With dual 6.5" ceramic midranges and a 1" tweeter, the ability to tune the bass and tweeter response, and gorgeous Walnut or Piano Black finishes, they are certainly eye catching. The 100.33 have only recently started shipping and we are not sure when they'll be coming to the states. When they do, we're hoping to get a pair in for review.

With ceramic midranges and tweeter, the ability to tune the bass and tweeter response, and gorgeous Walnut or Piano Black finishes, the XTZ Divine 100.33 are certainly eye catching.

— October 10, 2012 20:25 in Bookshelf Speaker Reviews

Emotiva Pro Airmotiv 5 Speakers Review

Emotiva Pro Airmotiv 5 Speakers Review

The Airmotiv 5's are Powered Studio Monitors and they're new from Emotiva Professional. The Airmotiv 5's are two-way powered speakers that can each receive either an RCA line level input, or a balanced XLR. There are three speakers in the Airmotiv studio monitor series, the 4, 5, and 6. We chose the middle of the pack, which has a single 5-1/4" polypropolene composite cone woofer and a 1" x 1-1/4" high-frequency folded-ribbon transducer. It's the ribbon tweeter that gives the speaker it's unique look and which also gives it it's signature sound. I recently had a small speaker shootout that involved many of the products I had in for review. This included bookshelf speakers, active studio monitors, passive monitors and some towers. That's an eclectic mix, but within that smorgasbord of boxes were these. And they rocked.

The Airmotiv 5's are Powered Studio Monitors and they're new from Emotiva Professional. The speakers are 2-way powered speakers that can each receive either an RCA line level input, or a balanced XLR.

— August 05, 2012 22:00 in Bookshelf Speaker Reviews

Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 65 Speakers Review

Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 65 Speakers Review

Definitive Technologies StudioMonitor 65 speakers make me want to listen to music. I like to ease into my reviews. Talk about build quality, what sets them apart, how they're made... And then move onto listening tests. These speakers make me want to jump right into telling you about the listening tests. No, actually, THESE speakers make me want to build a room onto my house just to listen to them. Obviously, I'm excited about these new speakers from Def Tech. They're billed as, and really developed to be, studio monitors, hence the name - StudioMonitor 65's. That means that at least one of the design goals was to create a speaker with enough dynamic range, fidelity, and finesse to be usable by recording studio professionals as a reference speaker for mixing and mastering music.

Definitive Technologies StudioMonitor 65 speakers make me want to listen to music. These Def Techs are amazing and they will make you want to build a room just for them.

— July 30, 2012 07:10 in Bookshelf Speaker Reviews

Triad Bookshelf Speakers for Nexus Q Preview

Triad Bookshelf Speakers for Nexus Q Preview

Did Triad cut corners to meet a certain price point with the Triad Bookshelf Speakers for Nexus Q? Sure. But we are still talking about a pair of Triad speaker for less than $400 a pair. That's a fraction of the price of others in the Triad stable. If you've always been interested in Triad but didn't have the money, this may be your opportunity. These could very well be the underground go-to recommendation for bookshelf speakers. We can't wait to get a review pair to see what Triad can do on a budget.

Did Triad cut corners to meet a certain price point with the Triad Bookshelf Speakers for Nexus Q? Sure. But we are still talking about a pair of Triad speaker for less than $400 a pair.

— July 09, 2012 22:40 in Bookshelf Speaker Reviews

KEF LS50 Mini Monitor Preview

KEF LS50 Mini Monitor Preview

KEF spec's the LS50s down to 79Hz at -3dB and 47Hz at -6dB. This is pretty amazing response for a mini-monitor. The thing that makes the KEF LS50 mini-monitors so exciting, however, is the price. While $1500 a pair may be a bit extreme for some buyers for a near-field monitor, given the level of technology that has gone into them, the LS50s sound like an absolute steal to us. If you are looking for some high end speakers for your office, den, or other near-field environment, you'd be crazy not to give these a listen.

Preview: The thing that makes the KEF LS50 mini-monitors so exciting is the price. $1500 a pair may sounds reasonable to us given the level of technology that has gone into KEF LS50s.

— June 14, 2012 06:05 in Bookshelf Speaker Reviews

MartinLogan Motion 15 / LX16 Bookshelf Speaker Review

MartinLogan Motion 15 / LX16 Bookshelf Speaker Review

MartinLogan is typically known for their hybrid-electrostatic loudspeakers; however, they are now trying their hand at more traditional speakers, with a twist. The Martin Logan LX16 (Motion 15 latest version) two-way bookshelf speakers ($799 pr.) utilize a proprietary Folded Motion tweeter. Martin Logan has reached a new price point, and consumer demographic, with the entire Motion Series. I found the LX16s to stand up to the MartinLogan name. No, the LX16s cannot really compare to MartinLogan’s iconic hybrid electrostats, but they shouldn’t be expected to at only a fraction of the cost. The LX16s have a beautiful finish, excellent aesthetics, and come in a reasonably small package. The 5.25” midrange driver hammers out a surprising amount of bass, and the Folded Motion tweeter is crisp and clean, if not a little bright. These speakers would work great in a standalone 2.1 system, or as main speakers in a 5.1 system. If you are in the market for good speakers with above average looks, give these a listen. The Motion 15's have just been released which are identical in performance to the LX16's but cosmetically refreshed.

MartinLogan LX16 / Motion 15 two-way bookshelf speakers ($799/pr) feature a folded horn and a 5.25” mid woofer. Good sound and looks go hand in hand with these babies.

— May 09, 2012 17:30 in Bookshelf Speaker Reviews

EMP E55Ti Tower / E56Ci Center / E55WI Surround & ES1010i Subwoofer Review

EMP E55Ti Tower / E56Ci Center / E55WI Surround & ES1010i Subwoofer Review

When my sister-in-law tasked me to build her a home theater, she had three goals in mind: a system that would play cleanly at high output levels, be reasonably priced and “classy” looking. EMPtek Impression series of products seemed like the logical choice. We’ve had good experiences with their E55Ti towers and ES1010i subwoofer, so it was time to evaluate their new E56Ci 5 driver 3-way center channel and 4 driver bipole E55WI surround on-wall speaker system to get the big picture of perform of an entire EMP speaker configuration. This review explores a 7.1 EMP Impression Series speaker system’s performance while also offering valuable set-up and installation tips to ensure you too can achieve the three goals we set out for. Read the review to find out how good looks + good sound wins big WAF while also satisfying the discriminating Audioholic ear.

This is a review of the new EMP E56Ci Center Channel & E55WI On-wall surround speaker system integrated with E55Ti towers, and dual ES1010i subwoofers. Valuable set-up info is given.

— April 02, 2012 14:25 in Bookshelf Speaker Reviews

Paradigm Cinema Speakers Preview

Paradigm Cinema Speakers Preview

Regardless of your needs, the Paradigm Cinema Speakers has a solution for you. Especially on a budget. With 5.1 systems starting at $1000 and tons of upgrade options, users should find all they need. From the satellite Cinema 100 speakers to the MTM Cinema 200 speakers, to the much larger MMTMM Cinema 400 speakers, all room sizes are pretty much covered. While the drivers don't change, the level of output and extension of bass does. Even those looking for a single speaker LCR have an option in the Cinema Trio. Add to that the compact Cinema Sub and Paradigm has set their sights directly at the budget conscious crowd that doesn't want to settle for poor sound.

Regardless of your needs, the Paradigm Cinema Speakers has a solution for you. Especially on a budget. With 5.1 systems starting at $1000 and tons of upgrade options, users should find all they need.

— March 14, 2012 08:05 in Bookshelf Speaker Reviews

Axiom Audio VP160v3 Center Channel Loudspeaker Preview

Axiom Audio VP160v3 Center Channel Loudspeaker Preview

Axiom Audio has added another center channel to round out its comprehensive center lineup. The VP160v3 (MSRP $570 shipped) is based on the well established W(T/M)W arrangement of drivers which is done to improve off-axis response compared to conventional horizontally mounted MTM designs. We like the direction Axiom Audio is taking with this new center channel. They built the product on a well established design principle to ensure good on and off-axis performance while also designing it to be a tonal match to their M60v3 floorstanding speakers. The VP160v3 is front ported and includes gel like rounded feet to help decouple it from panel resonances if placed inside an entertainment center. Initial feedback from forum users on the Axiom website and our forums indicate the VP160v3 is off to a successful start. Many users have made the upgrade from the VP150 claiming MUCH better vocal intelligibility on and off axis.

Axiom Audio introduced their VP160v3 center channel to round out their offerings and tonally match their M60v3 speakers. The VP160v3 employs a W(T/M)W design for improved off-axis response.

— February 02, 2012 16:15 in Bookshelf Speaker Reviews