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NHT Classic Four Floorstanding Speaker Conclusion


The NHT Classic Fours surprised me right off the bat withFour-front-no-grill-shadow.png their unexaggerated, smooth mid-to-high-end character, their clear vocals and their surprisingly good bass extension and impact. In the weeks I lived with them, they never grew fatiguing, never became tiresome, never wore out their welcome. I’ve had some outstanding similar-sized and –priced speakers in my home in the past few years for review and extended evaluation: the $2,200/pr. B&W CM8 and the $2,500/pr. Atlantic Technology AT-1. Both are fine speakers, and easily among the best in their size/price category. However, I’d rate the NHT Classic Four as a slight but definite step ahead of both of them, especially in terms of less midrange coloration with an almost total lack of midrange “honk” or “blat.” The NHT is a conspicuously and intentionally wider-dispersion design, and that could be what I’m reacting to.

I do take a little issue with what I consider to be NHT’s having oversold the Classic Four’s bass performance. Let there be no mistake—their bass is solid, musical, detailed and deep. But it’s not a subwoofer-like bass. I’d either like to see the bass rated realistically with an accurate, sane  -3 dB qualifier or, even better, I’d like to see (and hear!) a 12-inch woofer version of this speaker. I’d even spend my own money on those.

But overall, the care taken in the design, manufacture, and choice of quality materials was evident at every point along the way where the user interacts with the NHT Classic Four. This product has been thought through from start to finish and it’s both rare and pleasurable to experience that. As I mentioned previously, I’ve been intimately involved with the development and manufacture of consumer electronics for quite a long time, and I recognize the quality choices that NHT has made along the way in bringing the Classic Four to completion.

Hats off.

NHT Classic Four Review

MSRP: $1,349/ea (Currently “on sale” on the NHT web site for $1,199/ea.)

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About NHT [from the company’s description on its web site]:

NHT was founded in December 1986 and shipped its first product, the Model 1 in 1987. Since then, NHT has challenged the notion that the very best sound reproduction must come at a premium price. We take tremendous pride in our products. These are the loudspeaker systems that we as audio enthusiasts would want to own; that will provide a lifetime of listening pleasure.

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
Build QualityStarStarStarStarStar
Treble ExtensionStarStarStarStarStar
Treble SmoothnessStarStarStarStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStarStar
About the author:
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Steve Feinstein is a long-time consumer electronics professional, with extended tenures at Panasonic, Boston Acoustics and Atlantic Technology. He has authored historical and educational articles for us as well as occasional loudspeaker reviews.

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Recent Forum Posts:

ichigo posts on June 01, 2018 20:10
I think the NHT Classics were unbeatable early on…but the street price went up over 50% after the recession, a real shame, which totally changed the speakers they were competing with.
DigitalDawn posts on May 23, 2018 08:36
Shalmaneser, post: 1249767, member: 67624
You mean there's life after NHT? Where does one go for better price/performance?
It's not easy to find better speakers for the price. But speakers are often a personal taste, so I'm sure there are other Brands/Models out there that folks would like. I was close with the original owners (Chris Byrne and Kenny Kantor) of NHT. Great guys.
TechHDS posts on May 22, 2018 15:54
ADGT, As usual I over looked the Thread, goes back to 2011, very old Thread. Gene, done made his mind up long time ago on which 3. Bad habits are sometimes hard to break I gotta start reading the dates when Threads are posted. I forget just how Oldsome of you old timers really are.

AcuDefTechGuy posts on May 22, 2018 15:38
I must have missed this thread completely. But regarding the bass, I recall someone (Home Theater Magazine or SV) setting the Classic Four as “active” or at least “partial active” bass by using a separate external amp and crossover and removing the metal jumpers from binding posts. This does not remove the internal XO, thus I mentioned “partial” active. But the external amp and XO powered the woofers. And this would produce lower bass Frequency. So the 27Hz is probably with the ext amp and XO powering the woofers.
Shalmaneser posts on May 22, 2018 09:33
DigitalDawn, post: 1249755, member: 78241
I used to own 3.3's – great speakers with their 12" side firing drivers. I ended up selling them to a guy in Australia about 13 years ago.
You mean there's life after NHT? Where does one go for better price/performance?
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