Home Theater Review

 

Floorstanding and Audiophile Loudspeaker Reviews

While the rest of the home theater world may be cashing in on the LED HDTV craze, you still need a pair of floorstanding loudspeakers if you're trying to achieve a true, full-range sound in your home theater. For the audiophile in you there's nothing better than pair of reference grade floorstanding loudspeakers from the likes of Bowers & Wilkins, Revel, Wilson Audio, Paradigm and more. Tight on space? Today's modern floorstanding loudspeaker isn't the boxy black coffin from days of old-many have become streamlined pieces of art featuring finishes that rival some of the world's most exotic cars.

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Sony SS-CS3 Floorstanding Speaker Reviewed

Sony SS-CS3 Floorstanding Speaker Reviewed

By Brent Butterworth

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

The low price of Sony's new SS-CS3 tower speakers is sure to turn some heads; and, as Brent Butterworth discovers, so will their performance. Read More

 
Infinity R263 Floorstanding Speaker Reviewed

Infinity R263 Floorstanding Speaker Reviewed

By Brent Butterworth

Overall Rating
5 Stars
 

Ask some old audiophile (like me) about Infinity, and he'll probably tell you about the Infinity Reference Series speaker, which broke the $40,000/pair price barrier way back in the 1980s. Or he might talk about the Servo Statik 1, which... Read More

 
MartinLogan Motion SLM-XL Floorstanding Speaker

MartinLogan Motion SLM-XL Floorstanding Speaker

By Myron Ho

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

Myron Ho digs into one of his favorite brands of speakers with a classic form factor designed for a new era of buyers. Read More

 
Cambridge Audio Aero 6 Floorstanding Speaker

Cambridge Audio Aero 6 Floorstanding Speaker

By Brent Butterworth

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

Brent Butterworth reviews the Cambridge Audio Aero 6 and, in doing, discusses the trouble with tweeters. Are the Aeros audiophile worthy? Read on to find out. Read More

 
Neat Acoustics Ultimatum XL6 Floorstanding Speaker

Neat Acoustics Ultimatum XL6 Floorstanding Speaker

By Terry London

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

The English-based speaker company Neat Acoustics has been in business for over 20 years producing very highly regarded stand-mount and floorstanding models in the European market. Throughout the years, I have had the pleasure of listening to different Neat Acoustic... Read More

 
Bowers & Wilkins CM10 Floorstanding Speakers

Bowers & Wilkins CM10 Floorstanding Speakers

By Brian Kahn

Overall Rating
4 Stars
 

Bowers and Wilkins are a well-repected brand in the audiophile world. Does their latest model measure up to that reputation? Brian Kahn takes a look at the new CM10's in detail . . . Read More

 
Episode Landscape Speaker Kit and Burial Subwoofer

Episode Landscape Speaker Kit and Burial Subwoofer

By Brian Kahn

Overall Rating
4 Stars
 

I was recently introduced to Episode Speakers by Sean Killebrew, who reviewed the company's in-wall speakers and had good things to say about them. When I was asked if I wanted to dig up my backyard to run wires and... Read More

 
GoldenEar Technology Triton Seven Loudspeaker Reviewed

GoldenEar Technology Triton Seven Loudspeaker Reviewed

By Dennis Burger

Overall Rating
5 Stars
 

While evaluating the GoldenEar Triton 7 speakers, Dennis Burger decides that price is not a factor if a speaker moves you. Read More

 
Boston Acoustics M340 Floorstanding Speakers

Boston Acoustics M340 Floorstanding Speakers

By Myron Ho

Overall Rating
5 Stars
 

Myron Ho is quite impressed with the Boston Acoustic M340 floorstanding speakers, yet there is one thing that he finds a little disappointing . . . Read More

 
Lawrence Audio Double Bass Speaker

Lawrence Audio Double Bass Speaker

By Terry London

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

Terry London is always looking for new reference speakers. Will The Lawrence Double Bass Speaker from Lawrence Audio be his next pair? Read on to find out . . . Read More

 

Everything You Need To Know About Floorstanding Audiophile Speakers

1.0 An Overview of Floorstanding Audiophile Loudspeakers
2.0 Types of Floorstanding Audiophile Loudspeakers


2.1 Dynamic Speakers
2.2 Electrostatic Speakers
2.3 Planar Speakers
2.4 Ribbon Speakers
2.5 Horn Loaded Speakers
2.6 Bi-polar Speakers

1.0 An Overview of Floor-standing Audiophile Loudspeakers
The floor-standing loudspeaker is your traditional audiophile speaker. Because of their large size and to-the-floor design, floor-standing speakers have the most bass, the largest soundstage and often overall the best sound money can buy.


2.0 Types of Floor-standing Audiophile Loudspeakers

2.1 Dynamic Speakers
Dynamic loudspeakers use traditional speaker drivers normally connected via a crossover network that sends the high frequencies to the tweeters, the midrange audio to the midrange driver and the low-frequency material to the larger woofers. Dynamic speakers can commonly be found as two-way bookshelf speakers, three-way floor-standing speakers or in even more complex configurations. Dynamic speakers are the most popular design of speakers in the audiophile and home theater markets.

2.2 Electrostatic Speakers
Electrostatic Speaker designs use a high voltage electrical field to drive a thin membrane between two perforated conductive plates called stators. Unless paired with a hybrid design using dynamic woofers (like MartinLogan speakers do), electrostats don't need a crossover system the way traditional dynamic loudspeaker systems do.

Fans of electrostats love their linear and low-distortion sound. Electrostats are very hard to drive and therefore need very powerful amplifiers to get high levels of sound pressure. An AV receiver is not a good match with a true electrostatic loudspeaker system. Electrostats are not known for their ability to reproduce deep bass and are, in most cases, physically very large.

2.3 Planar Speakers
Planar speakers use a thin membrane to create a three-dimensional sound that is beloved by a small group of older audiophiles. The most famous type of planar speaker is the Magnepan. Design flaws and technological limitations make planar speakers difficult to use in home theater applications. Also, don't let their thin size make you think they can be placed near a wall and still sound good. Planars need a lot of space between the speakers and the back wall of a listening room to sound their best. Planar speakers require a lot of power to play loudly and generally still can't keep up with dynamic or even electrostatic designs.

2.4 Ribbon Speakers
The term "ribbon" in the context of a conversation about speakers generally refers to the concept of using a thin ribbon driver, along with other, normally dynamic drivers to create the three-dimensionality and characteristic sound found in planar or electrostatic speakers without sacrificing power and dynamics. The most famous ribbon loudspeaker company today is Wisdom Audio, which makes the most expensive in-wall, ribbon-loaded speakers on the market today.

2.5 Horn Loaded Speakers
Horn speakers are used in cinema applications and in many recording studios. Horns have a distinctive sound on the high frequencies and are the speakers of choice for installations behind perforated screens, as they are highly efficient compared to traditional speakers and therefore will play loudly enough to make the behind-screen application sound good. Klipsch is the most well-known company currently selling horn loaded consumer-grade speakers.

2.6 Bi-polar Speakers
Bi-polar speakers fire both from the front and the back. Planar and electrostatic designs are bi-polar, which helps to create their distinctive three-dimensional sound. Bi-polar speakers can be dynamic or any number of other designs. Bi-polar speakers are more subject to the acoustics to the room than more traditional designs. Bi-polar rear and side-channel speakers have been in use in THX-certified theaters for more than a decade.