Since Revel's formation in 1996, few other speaker makers have garnered as much critical acclaim for their products. Revel speakers have a reputation for not only sounding wonderful, but also measuring well and having striking good looks. The only problem with Revel's original Ultima series speakers was their price, at which even veteran audio reviewers blinked twice.
Of all the subwoofers I've reviewed over the years, the one I remember as being the most satisfying overall is the Bag End Infrasub-18. It went lower than any sub I've had in my system, and its integration with the main speakers was the most natural. At any level that I could tolerate, the low bass had an authority that left other subwoofers sounding just a bit strained.
Canadian speaker manufacturer Paradigm Electronics is but a 90-minute drive from Niagara Falls, New York, home of the classic heart-shaped-tub honeymoon suite. The few months I spent with the Paradigms were a honeymoon of sorts. An Armenian and a sextet of Canadians—and they said it wouldn't last! Now, after two months, the honeymoon may be over—but will the magic go on?
After six months of pushing, pulling, schlepping, measuring, and listening, Keith Yates wraps up his in-depth, three-part look at some of the most ambitious subwoofers on earth. We gave him a break last month, but now he's back to have a look at the final four candidates. For your room-shaking pleasure, he gives you the scoop on state-of-the-art contenders from CoDrive, Snell, Triad, and Velodyne.
For two decades now, Danish manufacturer Dynaudio has been known for making superb speakers in small cabinets. No, such designs can't produce the robust bass that larger speakers can muster—that's a simple factor of physics, not of design. But Dynaudio's track record should intrigue anyone interested in buying a compact speaker.
Two years ago, when I visited the B&W facilities in Worthing, England, I heard a demonstration of that company's then-new flagship, the Signature 800 ($16,000/pair). I salivated at the prospect of reviewing a home theater package anchored by these impressive speakers, but ultimately put off requesting them in favor of slightly more manageable and affordable designs.
Why I can never watch Super Speedway in my home theater again.
Even I can't believe how far I'll travel for a great home theater demo. Hidden up in the cold, cold reaches of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, is the headquarters of D-BOX Technologies, which features the coolest faux living room in North America. I aimed to try their Odyssee motion simulator firsthand. My brother told me that home theater gear depends upon the demo perhaps more than any other product, and this was never truer than with the Odyssee.
In Part II of the perhaps most ambitious report on subwoofers ever to appear in print, Keith Yates gives you the lowdown on four more contenders, from one that uses a water-filled membrane in its design to a model popular for producing gut-wrenching rumbles on theme-park rides.
In this multi-part review, home theater designer Keith Yates gets down and dirty with some of the most ambitious subwoofers on the planet. Six months, 5000 measurements, four dozen batteries, three sore backs, and two big bare spots on the lawn, all for one thing: to get to the bottom of the bottom end, to separate Real Wallop from Codswallop.
Never mind that the cabinets are made in Denmark and the driver technology is German and Danish—Aerial's latest speaker system is American in its size, scope, and reach-for-the-stars performance. It's meant to fill a big space with big sound.
Most high-end speaker companies arrived late to the home-theater party. Dedicated to 2-channel music playback, they eventually split into three groups. One group would banish you to the Mines of Moria if you even uttered the words "home theater" in their presence. Another recognized the bottom-line impact of multichannel and reluctantly designed a few home theater pieces—perhaps a simple center and a subwoofer—for their dealers to sell along with their 2-channel models. A third developed a little more enthusiasm for home theater and built serious centers, subs, and surrounds to match the sophistication of their traditional designs.
The history of high-end audio and video is littered with companies who made fine products but failed. Kloss Audio/Video, California Audio Labs, and Dunlavy Audio are but a few of the illustrious firms that did not survive. Genesis almost joined these ranks. Founded in 1991 by Arnie Nudell, Paul McGowan, and Mark Shifter, Genesis quickly made its mark with outstanding speakers and digital electronics. Yet in December 2001, Genesis closed its doors.
I've had a soft spot for PSB speakers ever since I reviewed the first Stratus Gold for Stereophile back in 1991. Counting updates (the Gold i was introduced in 1997), the Gold has been PSB's flagship speaker for 12 years. That's quite a run in speakerland, where new models sprout like mushrooms.