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5 Reviews
rating  4.6 of 5


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Reviews 1 - 5 (5 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Roger a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 9, 2001

Bottom Line:   
My experience with the Near 50Me was very much like owning a British sports car; When they were working, they were a true joy. Unfortunately, they broke down quite frequently.

I purchased a pair of 50Mes in early 1994. I believe at the time they listed for $1600, and I bought the display pair for $1100. I hooked them up to a Hafler Transnova 9300 and was simply ecstatic with the wonderful sound. They had great imaging and tight bass, really very nice overall.

The "honeymoon" ended after about one month when I noticed a buzzing coming from one of the woofers. I brought the speaker back to the dealer. He surmised that a small separation had developed between the metal cone and the rubber surround. No problem, he called Near and they shipped out a new woofer. 10-14 days later I was back in "sonic heaven".

This lasted for several months...then I heard another buzz. This time it was coming from the midrange of the other speaker. Same drill. Couple weeks later, back in business. Few more months went by, and you guessed it, another buzz. The woofer that had not been replaced was buzzing.

By this time, I was getting pretty tired of my Near speakers, or at least the frequnt trips back to the dealer. The dealer was wonderful though, and even put me in touch with the owner of Near (no I don't remenber his name). He explained that there were a few processing glitches in some of their early drivers, but they had all been resolved. He wanted the dealer to send my speakers back to the factory for inspection and he promised to send me some sound dampers to be placed on the side of the speakers (never saw those). I agreed.

In the meantime, the dealer gave me a pair of Spica TC-60s with matching stands, to use as "loaners" while my speakers were at Near. Several weeks passed with no word from Near. In the interim, I was really becoming quite attached to the Spicas. They were every bit as good as the 50Mes, except for their low bass. I mentioned this to the dealer during one of my routine "update calls". He said I was welcome to keep the Spicas if I wanted, in exchange for my 50Mes. I did it...and I haven't seen the dealer since (kind of a shame, he was a really nice guy!).

Reccommendation: You might want to shy away from early examples of 50Mes. If what the gentleman from Near said was true, my case was probably not isolated. On the other hand, any 6-7 yr old speaker has probably already shown any manufacturing weaknesses and may have already been updated. When they work, they work VERY well.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $1100.00

Purchased At:   Elite Audio

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Steve a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 16, 1999

Bottom Line:   
The NEAR 50me is the James Brown of speakers. These really work and do they deliver. I have two sets. One is the rear on a sound surround system and the other is in the family room on a receiver and cd combination that is really the 3rd system in the house. Even though I have other speakers I still return to the NEARs with great enjoyment. They simply disappear. If you cannot get NEARs to image, change hobbies. They really deliver. Bi-wire if you can, especially on longer runs.

I did have a mid-range go out. All I did was send t back to NEAR and within 10 days I had a new one no questions asked. This is a simple job with a screwdriver and a soldering gun.

I give them my highest recommendation. They are sometimes available in the used market for half of retail which makes them a real bargain.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1997

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Bill Erskine a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 11, 1998

Bottom Line:   
I heard these at a dealer and fell in love, then was able to get a good price on the marketplace. These speakers are a great compramise between standard driver designs and electrostatics'. The technology and design of the metal/ceramic drivers is far superior than most manufacturers are putting into their efforts. I finally have a sytem now where I can hear the difference in interconnects, speaker cables and other various components and the 50ME just keep on sounding better. I have heard better sound out of speakers two or three times this price but not for $2000.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audio Enthusiast

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Gary Frost a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 5, 1997

Bottom Line:   
In to $2000 price catagory for Full-Range speakers put these on your short list
to listen to!!! My original plan for speakers was small two-way monitors for
imaging and detail and stereo subs for all that bass energy. My pre-amp has
an 80hz THX crossover and I figured this will give me the best for music and HT.
After much research and review I purchased the B&W CDM-1. (Stereophile class B
at $1100 a pair? WOW, they must be good) They did sound quite good but I found
the excessive mid-bass hump (+3db at 100-300hz) beyond "warm" and quite
offensive on male voice. Try as I did, I could not tame it: stuffed the port,
well away from the rear wall, etc. Enough of the B&W, this is a review of NEAR.
There are no NEAR speakers in Stereophile recomended components but the B&W
dealer here carried them and I found some good reviews here on the web.
I began to wonder if I wasn't expecting too much of a 2-way design to get to
80hz and have all the midrange detail I was expecting. So I brought the 50Me
home for a try. This is a 3 way design using ALL METAL drivers:
1 inch tweeter, 4 inch mid, 8 1/2 inch woofer, crossover at 4000 & 235 hz.
It is a vented design (on the rear) with Bass extension near 30hz.
I can easily say that these speakers have it all over the CDM-1 in detail,
dynamics, tonal balance, and are at least the equal in imaging.
(This is not even considering the additional bass extension of the 50Me.)
These are neither "bright" nor "warm" but, like the 3 bears, just right for me.
They are extremely detailed and balanced thru the entire range 35-20k hz they
cover. The crossover from mid to tweeter is seamless, even at close listening.
I listen to a wide variety of music, accuracy and precision are important to me.
I find it difficult to select a speaker "character" based on musical taste.
My wife, who was beginning to wonder as I hauled speaker after speaker home
for eval, (and said they all sound the same...) Said "WOW, it sounds like they
are right in the room." I took the subs back & am now happy to say I can quit
listening to the stereo and start listening to music again!!!!
OK, there must be some fault: they are 4 feet tall and the tweeter is about
44 inches from the floor, a little too high for sitting and having the tweeter
at ear height (as usually recomended). I have not found this to be a problem.
The mid-range is at ear height and this seems to work just fine.
( I have them bi-amped using the Parasound 806 )

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Duration Product Used:   an Audio Enthusiast

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Joe Pasko a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: October 1, 1997

Bottom Line:   
Excellent imaging and definition. Transients were spectacular.
Highly recommended in it's price range !

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile

Reviews 1 - 5 (5 Reviews Total)

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