ProAc Tablette 10 Signature Review

October 6, 2022 § Leave a comment

While I would strongly argue that the overall balance of the Tablette 10 Signature is inherently ‘neutral’ (if, understandably, light in the bass), it’s perhaps more neutral to the intent of the musicians, engineers and composers than to a dreary, yet correct, set of audio benchmarks.

I had difficulty listening to the Tablette 10 Signature by bringing myself back to listening critically. Every time I listened to a track on a test-disc album, I added the rest of the album… often followed by something I was drawn to as a result of those tracks. Eventually, I’d turn to the next test track… and repeat the distraction process. Either I suddenly developed ADHD, or these loudspeakers inspire you to listen to your music wide and deep; I’m going with the… oh look, a squirrel!

Wilson Audio Alexia V Full $80,000 Review

October 3, 2022 § Leave a comment

The Alexia V has more than enough slam and attack to pressurize a room and pound the listener in the chest, should the music call for it. That’s a hallmark of Wilson speakers, that I know my friends in the music business appreciate and will enjoy even more through the V. What really grabbed me immediately when listening through the Alexia V, was the midrange. It’s just magical. The midrange is liquid in the way that mercury is liquid, rather than an undefined globule of water. Mercury has delineated edges yet a smoothness and an unmistakable appearance. The Alexia V’s midrange is also unmistakable and will present one’s favorite music, on a platter, again for the first time. 

I couldn’t be happier with my new Wilson Audio Alexia V loudspeakers. The look of the Silver Ice Pearl premium finish is stunning and the sound quality is second to none. It feels good to own an instant classic.  

KEF LS60 Wireless Speaker System $7,000 Review

October 2, 2022 § Leave a comment

As a comparison to the LS60 Wireless, Gordon used his current Simplifi reference system, comprising “an NAD C 658 streaming DAC-preamp ($1999.99) connected with Benchmark Media Systems Studio&Stage XLR interconnects to a pair of Elac Navis ARF-51 active floorstanding speakers ($5399.96/pair).” While his system had “more ringing clarity in the middle and upper octaves” when he played “Fool on the Hill,” Gordon described in his review how the KEF’s sound was superior with almost everything he heard. To Gordon’s ears, the KEF system emerged as the winner. In fact, just after the review was published, Gordon decided to purchase the LS60 Wireless system and make it his new reference.

Gordon’s high praise for the LS60 Wireless system is the reason why we recognized this KEF offering with a Reviewers’ Choice award when the review was published. And while it’s too early to know if the LS60 Wireless will receive a Product of the Year award (or if it’s a contender for Product of the Decade, as Gordon mused), the system is being recognized with a Recommended Reference Component award right now.

Audiovector R6 Arreté $37,000 Review

October 1, 2022 § Leave a comment

We’re pleased with the stereo imaging. That rear-firing midrange is subtle in operation but helps to give the R6’s soundstage a lovely sense of air and space. Image focus is sharp and the speakers have the ability to layer the soundstage well and keep the image stable even when the music becomes demanding. 

Oh, and the R6s play loud without issue, keeping their composure even when listening levels rise to party levels. Of course, your amplifier has to be able to deliver the grunt necessary for that to happen. A rather specific claimed sensitivity of 91.5dB/W/m and a nominal impedance of 8 ohms certainly suggests that these towers aren’t going to be particularly awkward to drive. But, the rated power handling of 450 watts indicates that Audiovector expects customers to partner them with some beefy electronics.

Gradient 1.4 Loudspeaker $7600 Review

September 30, 2022 § Leave a comment

The Gradient 1.4s are thrifty, indeed, in the realm of high-end prices. And there really are no other speakers that I know of that can do exactly what they do. Like their ancestors, the Gradient 1.3s, they present the sound of recordings in a unique way. They are available in the USA, but not very widely as yet. When shows resume, I hope many people will get to hear them. Meanwhile, if you are really serious about getting your room out of your system and hearing recordings as they actually are, the Gradient 1.4s are, in the words of the Michelin Guides, worth a journey.

Zu Soul 6 Review

September 29, 2022 § Leave a comment

Swapping out the hard floor bolts for a pair of tall carpet spikes resulted in an easy gap, and filled out the bass to more preferable levels as well as improving the mid range response just a tad. One might consider that out of the box Zu speakers take a little more tinkering than your average speaker, but even the most basic setup efforts require adjustments of some level to achieve any type of bespoke experience. Roughly a quarter inch to ⅜ off the top edge of carpet provided plenty of balance to the sonic equation, allowing for the bass to reach deeper and with obvious benefits to the overall presence. How much bass exactly? Pumping a full range paper cone driver does have its limits on both sizes of the frequency range. With the coaxial tweeter, Zu looks to make up a lot of the compromises with the supplemental driver.


September 25, 2022 § Leave a comment

Many small and inexpensive speakers claim greatness, but few achieve it. The JBL L52 Classic Bookshelf Speaker is one of the best of those few. It achieves big speaker status to a greater degree than pretty much any bookshelf/stand-mount speaker I’ve listened to. It produces a clean and clear sound that is balanced across the frequency range. It delivers strong but controlled bass that reaches lower than you’d expect. You can place them straight or toed, wide or narrow, and they’ll create a huge sound stage that goes far beyond the confines of your room. And they look amazing. The retro style in this case is simple and to the point. The real walnut veneer adds a touch of high-end and the grille can only be called cool. And if you don’t want them to stand out, get the black grille.

Stenheim Alumine Five SE Loudspeaker $72,000 REVIEW

September 24, 2022 § Leave a comment

Bottom line: Like the superb Estelon X Diamond Mk II, the Stenheim Five SE is not just a great speaker; it is one of high-end audio’s greatest speakers. Its ability to generate truly deep, linear, powerful bass, unusually rich and lifelike tone color, near-visible three-dimensional images, and astounding detail and dynamics from such a modest enclosure is not just a surprise; it is one for the ages. For those of you looking for the high-end answer to a limited listening space, look no further. Hie thee to the nearest Stenheim dealership—pronto. In cones-in-a-box loudspeakers, you just don’t find this big a gift in this small a package every day (or every decade). 

Klipsch La Scala AL5 Review

September 22, 2022 § Leave a comment

One of my favourite loudspeakers currently on sale, Klipsch’s La Scala AL5 is a mighty design that sounds like few others available and makes music absolutely captivating to listen to in the process. Although huge and heavy, it’s not actually the company’s flagship – that accolade goes to the £17,500 Heritage Klipschorn AK6 – but is a far more practical proposition for anyone in terms of space. It’s far from perfect – as are all speakers – but it has a unique charm and an enthusiasm for music that’s hard not to love. Match carefully to a smooth sounding source and amplifier, and you’re close to hi-fi nirvana.

Magico A1 $10,000 Review

September 17, 2022 § Leave a comment

As we’d expect from a cabinet of this size, the standmount excels when it comes to reproducing vocals. And not because the midband is anyway emphasised at the expense of the bass and treble. Sure, it can’t quite match the ‘in-you-head’ illusion of demo-quality vocals displayed by the likes of Avantgarde horns, but challenges such as Gregory Porter’s Hey Laura and Richard Burton’s spoken word introduction at the beginning of Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds are deftly handled, revealing a seamless all-of-a-piece integration that is deeply impressive.

Even lower frequencies – so often the Achilles’ heel of even the best standmounts – keep up the good work. Listening to the Volle Dynamik remix of Yello’s Oh Yeah, taken from the 2009 album The Race sees the bass delivered with effortless drive with no sign of artificial bloom or boom. It simply descends very smoothly and then quietly exits so the absence of that missing octave goes by barely noticed. And while a glance at the specs suggests that the Magico isn’t the most sensitive of speakers, the A1 still manages to soak up plenty of power and push out those SPLs as if its very existence depends upon it.

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