Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

  • SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Reference 160M Amplifier (February 2019)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Livio Cucuzza on Audio Research's Industrial Design (November 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Past, Present, and Future (October 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - KEF's New R Series for 2018 (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio Moon 390 Digital/Analog Preamplifier and Streamer (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - EISA 2018-2019 Awards Introduction (August 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio's $118,888 Moon 888 Mono Amplifiers (June 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Totem's Tribe Tower (May 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion's Three Newest Argon Loudspeakers (April 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Making the Hegel Mohican CD Player (March 2018)
  • 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)

Your correspondent recently found himself in London’s Canary Wharf, where billions are made and lost every day and where a host of British motorcar companies recently showed off their wares. They wouldn’t let me drive them, but these British cats sure know how to set up a car stereo. Here are my favorites:


Naim: Bentley’s Continental GT is a favorite of the rapper set, and not just because it comes factory equipped with major bling. British audio icon Naim was commissioned to create an entertainment system worthy of a Bentley, and it delivered! The GT’s stereo uses an 1100W, 13.2-channel amplifier and a DSP processor featuring eight modes and a dynamic EQ that alters tone controls to compensate for ambient noise. The cabin has 13 drivers and two subwoofers situated throughout. And the sound? I don’t know if car audio gets any better. The good news is that the audio system is free . . . with the purchase of any $182,500 GT (USD).


Bang & Olufsen: Aston Martin’s new Rapide is a design masterpiece, so it seems fitting that Bang & Olufsen, a company known for industrial design, set up the car’s hi-fi. Featuring 1000W of ICEpower amplification, 15 speakers, and high-def seat-back video screens, the Rapide has an entertainment system that puts most home theaters to shame. Cool features include what I hoped were Q-inspired laser cannons, though they turned out to be two B&O Acoustic Lens tweeters that rise from the dash. There’s also a DSP system that senses how many people are in the car and where they’re seated. Perhaps the most gee-whiz feature is that the system lets the driver focus the sound in the front, in the rear, or just around the driver. The latter effect is the most amazing DSP I’ve ever heard, and it makes the passenger-side speakers feel a heck of a lot closer. Yours to enjoy for a paltry $215,000.


Bowers & Wilkins: British speaker maker Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) plays a big part in separating the new Jaguar from its competition. The XJ sport sedan can be fitted with a 1200W multichannel amp, 20 B&W speakers, two 8" backseat video monitors with touchscreen remote (natch), an Audyssey MuItEQ system, and a (surprisingly small) 30GB hard drive to store tunes. Though not quite on the same level as in the higher-end cars, the B&W system was massively ahead of, say, the audio that comes with a BMW 5 Series. A relative bargain at $2200, plus $72,500 for the car.

. . . Colin Smith