Van L Speakerworks Silhouette Speakers

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silho-thumb-autox26eee2-11327.jpgHigh Points

  • The build quality and physical appearance are at a high rate, which is what I'd expect from hand-built speakers.
  • The Silhouette offers innovative strategies, such as a proprietary wood woofer driver, ambient recovery circuitry, and time-aligned transmission line cabinet.
  • The Silhouette produces a wide and spacious soundstage that does justice to music and would work extremely well for home theater systems.
  • Because the Silhouette uses a transmission line to enhance its bottom-end extension and dynamics, subwoofers will not be necessary, even if this speaker were used in a home theater system.
  • The Silhouette renders very natural timbres and tonality throughout the midrange frequencies.

Low Points

  • The Silhouette's highest frequencies lack that last bit of extension you can find in speakers that use more exotic and expensive ribbon and AMT drivers.
  • I found the physical appearance of the Silhouette to be quite attractive. However, its traditional look might not fit in an ultra-modern room motif.


Competition and Comparison
The first speaker that would be in the price range of the Silhouette, and therefore be a natural competitor, is the Vienna Acoustics Mozart Concert Grand SE, which retails for $3,500. I found the performance of the Vienna Acoustics speaker to be quite close to the Silhouette from the midrange up. However, the Silhouette's bass extension, punch, and ultimate volume levels were at a much higher level.

The second speaker in the price range of the Silhouette, a speaker that I have auditioned, is the Nola Contender, retailing for $3,600. Compared with the Silhouette, the Nola Contender's high end was minimally a little more airy and extended. An area where the Silhouette outperforms the Contender is its overall ability to play at a much higher volume level and stay composed and uncompressed, along with a much deeper and extended bottom end.

The Van L Speakerworks Silhouette speaker offers excellent soundstaging, natural timbres/tonality, and deep extended accurate bass, and it can play at high volume levels while keeping its composure. The craftsmanship - which is apparent in the woodwork of the cabinet and veneer, as well as its innovative wood cone woofer, time-aligned transmission line cabinet, and ambient recovery circuitry - leads to a high-performing musical speaker that is quite competitive with more well-known brand names. The very slight omissions - the speaker's slight lack in very high-end frequency extension and the fact that it doesn't quite develop the three-dimensional imaging of individual players - do not get in the way of enjoying the music. When considering the strengths of the Silhouette that allow it to perform at a high level in both a two-channel and home theater system, the Silhouette has a lot to offer the consumer. Based on its performance, and if you like a more traditional-looking speaker, I highly recommend you put the Silhouette on your audition list.

Additional Resources

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HTR Product Rating for Van L Speakerworks Silhouette Speakers

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