Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Budget Speakers Compared

This site has moved to AVReport.com

AVReview UK compares 4 pairs of bookshelf speakers in the price range of up to £200:

... certain sacrifices have been made to cut costs. Trademark Kevlar drive units have
B&W Model DM303
been foregone in favour of a simple two-way design featuring a 160mm woven fiberglass dome mid/bass driver accompanied by a 25mm metal dome tweeter. But the design does share a similar Nautilus tapered tubing system to that found in far more expensive B&W speakers – the premise being that sound radiating back from the tweeter is absorbed to improve clarity and reduce time smearing.

Plus points: Quality construction; detailed, expressive performance
Minus points: Low frequencies lack control
This loudspeaker has just come out and is an improved version of m30i from Missions' Home Theater collection:
Mission m31i
... low frequencies stand firm even in the face of the most challenging bass-heavy tracks producing surprising weight, depth and scale for such small speakers. Bi-wiring options allow dynamics to extend further creating an all-encompassing soundstage. And the once murky midrange now delivers vocals full of detailed expression and subtle changes in natural intonation. Only the faintly upfront treble causes a case for concern but partnering the speakers with a smooth-natured amplifier, like NAD’s C532CT, will even things up.

Plus points: Competitive price; surprising bass performance; improved midrange
Minus points: Treble can sound occasionally aggressive
Monitor Audio Bronze B2... the B2s produce an unbiased, honest performance enhanced by an energetic sense of tuneful timing that’s guaranteed to get your toes tapping. The refined sound carries plenty of detail, especially from the expressive midrange, and extensive dynamics satisfy all sorts of musical tastes without ever seeming sonically stretched – a rarity at this price point. At normal levels, low frequencies are tightly controlled and authoritative but raising the volume to extreme levels can leave the sound a little rough around the edges.

Plus points: Great value for money; engaging upfront presentation
Minus points: Slightly short on refinement
The sound succeeds on every level although it’s the speaker’s superb integration that reigns supreme, giving them a wonderfully clear and cohesive sound. Considering the cost, detail and dynamics are nothing short of exceptional creating a true to the original sound full of natural expression and subtlety. Only bass depth can be bettered but that would risk compromising their wonderfully contained composure.

Plus points: Quality construction; versatility; class-leading clarity and superb integration
Minus points: Bass could delve deeper

And, in conclusion, AVReview's heart goes to Diamond 9.1 and here is why:
  • Wharfedale’s Diamond 9.1 claims the class-leading title. The beautifully balanced, refined delivery sounds effortless with any assortment of musical affection. And few speakers can equal their insightful subtlety without sacrificing scale or authority – an absolute gem in every aspect.
I must say that all of these speaker available in US and most likely anywhere in the world. The comparison review is very useful since I know there are a lot of folks who are in search of bookshelves. For one, a friend of mine faced the same problem in choosing bookshelves. He ended up getting B&W DM303. I am sure he would have been more aware of what's out there and what to look for if this review was available. But hey, he is happy and that's what counts. And please take any loudspeaker review as an advice only and do not base your purchase on it. Have a listen. You may or may not agree with the review.

Source: AVReview UK

Posted by Mike at 12:38 PM
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