• SoundStage! InSight - Estelon Lynx Wireless Intelligent Loudspeaker (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh's Five New Solid-State Integrated Amplifiers (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Amphion's Krypton Loudspeaker (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Anthem STR Preamplifier and Power Amplifier (December 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh Laboratory MA252 Integrated Amplifier (November 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Hegel H90 and H190 Integrated Amplifiers (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - How Hegel's SoundEngine Works (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight  - Estelon History and YB and Extreme Loudspeakers (September 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - What Makes Hegel Different? (August 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Estelon Extreme Legacy Edition Loudspeaker (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion Overview and Technologies (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! Insight - Totem Acoustic Signature One Loudspeaker (June 2017)
  • SoundStage! Encore - The Cowboy Junkies'
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Anthem's STR Integrated Amplifier (May 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Paradigm's Perforated Phase Alignment (PPA) Lenses (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Paradigm's Persona 9H Loudspeaker (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Contrasts: Dynaudio's Contour and Focus XD Speaker Lines (February 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - New Technologies in MartinLogan's Masterpiece Series
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Dynaudio/Volkswagen Car Audio (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Gryphon Philosophy and the Kodo and Mojo S Speakers (January 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- What's a Tonmeister? (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - AxiomAir N3 Wireless Speaker System (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 90 (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Gryphon Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Dynaudio History and Driver Technology (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - The Story How Gryphon Began (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Devialet History, ADH Technology, and Expert 1000 Pro (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Devialet's Phantom Loudspeakers (August 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh Home Theater and Streaming Audio (July 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh MC275 Stereo Amplifier (June 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh History and Autoformer Technology (June 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - NAD Viso HP50 Headphones (May 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - GoldenEar Technology's Anechoic Chamber (May 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - PSB's M4U 4 Earphones (April 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - GoldenEar Technology's Triton Two+ and Three+ Loudspeakers (March 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- KEF's LS50 (February 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Monitor Audio's Platinum II Series (January 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Pryma 0|1 Headphones (December 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- KEF's Blade Two Loudspeaker (November 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- KEF and the Uni-Q (October 2015)

Norway’s Hegel Music Systems makes CD players, DACs, and amplifiers -- integrated, pre-, and power -- and since its founding has focused on solving the problems that plague contemporary amplifiers, such as harmonic distortion. In fact, harmonic distortion so intrigued founder Bent Holter that, in the late 1980s, he wrote his thesis on the subject. Among the technologies to come from this research has been Hegel’s patented SoundEngine circuitry -- now reincarnated as SoundEngine2 -- which seeks to retain the original detail and dynamic range of the signal with error-correction technology. The various stages of an amplifier -- input, gain, output -- are usually connected in series. The trouble with this is that any distortion produced in one of these stages is then sent on to the next stage to be amplified, along with the signal. At the end of this series, this cumulative distortion is then, hopefully, minimized by a global feedback loop.

I’ve become well acquainted with Monitor Audio in the past few years, having visited their offices in Rayleigh, just east of London in the UK, in 2014. I reviewed their Bronze 6 loudspeaker in 2016, and recently I used as my reference loudspeaker the flagship model of their previous generation of Silver models, the Silver 10 floorstander. I respect Monitor’s no-nonsense approach to loudspeaker design: not much pomp and circumstance, just sound engineering and modestly attractive looks.

Monolith THX Ultra 15” subwoofer measurements can be found by clicking this link.

The Monolith THX Ultra 15” subwoofer (product no. 24458) is a radically different product for Monoprice. As I’ve written previously on SoundStage! Xperience, Monoprice’s business model is to sell products that are pretty good, yet are more affordable than those of most competitors.

Reviewers' ChoiceI’ve owned or reviewed half a dozen KEF products over the past five years, and with good reason. KEF makes sensible, high-quality, well-engineered loudspeakers. But for all my experience with this British brand, I’d never heard any of their affordable Q speaker models.

There’s a never-ending controversy about which type of phono cartridge is better: moving-coil, moving-magnet, or moving-iron. I fall firmly in the MM/MI camp. It’s not that I don’t appreciate MCs -- some MCs I’ve heard have created an almost magical sound -- but I’ve resisted, for a number of reasons:

Note: Measurements taken in the anechoic chamber at Canada's National Research Council can be found through this link.

Bowers & Wilkins has had an action-packed two years. In May 2016, the storied English loudspeaker maker was bought by EVA Automation, then a 40-person startup run by a former Facebook executive, the stated goal of the acquisition being to marry EVA’s expertise in automation with B&W’s prowess in audio engineering. B&W also launched the 800 D3 loudspeaker, the top model in the company’s flagship 800 Series Diamond line. More recently, B&W announced its new 700 Series of speaker models, the successor to its outgoing CM Series. Does the new line continue the magic of past Bowers & Wilkins models, or does it strike off in a bold new direction for one of the high end’s biggest players?

Note: Measurements taken in the anechoic chamber at Canada's National Research Council can be found through this link.

Reviewers' ChoiceA couple years ago, a buddy of mine shot me an e-mail telling me that he was hoping to buy some speakers for his dad, whose speakers from college had finally bitten the dust. He needed three pairs of bookshelf speakers, and wanted to spend a total of somewhere between $300 and $500 USD -- “Nothing fancy, as he probably couldn’t tell the difference between new ones and the ones he currently has.”

The United Kingdom’s history of making sound-reproduction equipment is long, and Wharfedale has been there from almost the beginning. Wharfedale Wireless Works was founded by Gilbert Briggs in 1932, when wireless meant AM radio, and by the 1950s the company was firmly established as an important maker of loudspeakers. Today Wharfedale is owned by the International Audio Group (IAG), whose other brands include Audiolab, Castle, Ekco, Luxman, Mission, and Quad.

Reviewers' ChoiceI’ve never been fussy about audio cables. When I moved into my present house more than a decade ago, I bought an enormous spool of Monster Cable S14-2RCL, a 14-gauge, two-conductor speaker cable specified for in-wall use. What was important for me was that I could safely run it under floors and through walls to reach other rooms while minimizing the cables’ visual impact. Sound quality? It’s always seemed to me that the main factors responsible for determining a system’s sound are the speakers, amps, and source components.

Pro-Ject Audio Systems, an industry leader in turntable manufacture and design based in Vienna and with manufacturing facilities in the Czech Republic, offers a wide range of electronics, including phono stages. The Tube Box DS2 ($699 USD) is in the upper half of the company’s range of phono stages -- it’s a member of the DS2 line, which is just below the top, RS line, with a few features not included in the standard DS models or, below that, the S models.