Signet SL 280ex Floorstanding Speakers

SL 280ex

NA

User Reviews (12)

Showing 1-10 of 12  
Ryan Fuller   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 19, 2010]

I agree with the general praise for the Signet SL280, in my case the Signet SL280 U versions. I have owned mine since 1996. No foam on the surrounds is a good thing, since my aged, but well liked AR TSW's just gave up that ghost. My system is of the same age as the speakers, with Rockford Fosgate separates (NOT car stuff-the only home offering made by that Hafler company: RF 200 and RF 2000) driving them. My source is a cheap Sony DVD player The sound is good enough to always stay interesting. The highs are bright, and get more so at high volume, but I have found this with most metal tweeters. The effect does not compel me to engage the tone controls on the preamp, which are bypassed. I have found that these speakers can produce bass that is tight and scary all at the same time. The mids and highs are good until driven hard, then the whole thing kind of collapses into a mash of detail. Of course, I am talking about levels far exceeding normal levels. And these speakers will get very loud. Also I must be fair, I do not bi-wire, and my electronics are hardly tops. I would like to hear this pair driven with some "new blood", and when I can write that check, I will. I have a late 70's Luxman power amp, and a mid 90's Carver pre that I will rotate in just to listen for comparison. My ratings are based on value(I paid $400 for the pair at a store that vanished a decade ago) and overall(not five stars - but maybe 4.5) I like my Signets, so they will continue to stay with me.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
catsam   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 29, 2003]
Strength:

They do everything well. Very well built; heavy and solid like large bricks.

Weakness:

There is a slight brightness in the treble but it isn't too objectionable. It may just be miscalibrated ears.

Other speakers have come and go at my house but these remain. I have had these since 1993 and they still serve me very well. They were seriously pushing my meager budget back in 1993 but looking back it is the best money I spent. They seem to do everything well. I hear detail in music and there is a convincing soundstage. The midrange is solid and bass is superb for a speaker of this size. Treble may be slightly bright but not too bad at all. I intend to keep these for a very long time.

Similar Products Used: Pinnacle AC850, NHT Superones + sub, PSB Alphas + sub
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Noumena   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 20, 2003]
Strength:

tight bass, soundstage, work well on wide range of music. With rear port need to be placed quite into your sound room.

Weakness:

Lack of deep bass, need "warm" amplification and interconnects to really shine.

I have owned these babys since 1992. I have the 280 BU (blasck utility) version and have enjoyed them all these years. I agree with review below. I have them mounted on Target, shot filled three post 12 inch stands. This greatly assists in delivering a tight bass down to the mid thirties. I haven't modified them but added a slight felt damper to the tweeter as with the old big box Snells. This helps reduce a slight grain, brightness in the tweeter and rounds out the sound increcibly. I also use a BBE sonic enhancer to time correct (this greatly improves the clarity in my old AAD jass CD reissues) They consistently upset many audiophile friends with their sooundstage. And my stereo buddy only bested me recently but powering his B&W 802's with dual belcanto monoblocks, and a Barclay CD player (wow).. Apparently Signet while putting in the Scanspeak drivers could have been charging about twice the price for them. They received a full Stereophile review and a class C rating, bordering on Class B. The review appeared in 1991 and they made it to Recommended Components. I love em, keep them four feet off the back wall, bi wired with Kimber up top and Monster below. Nad 502 CD to an old Luxman receiver with Straight Wire Osiris. Wonderful, wonderful. May even have them re-veneered and rewired internally and go another 12 years. Next speakers, if I change will be Totem or Harbet

Similar Products Used: Tannoy 12 inch golds, Totem Signature 1, B&W 802, many auditions.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Scott L   [Aug 15, 1997]

I am in agreement with Jason Cuadra's review, but I might add:The speaker did convey the weight of many pieces. Jennifer Warnes vocals from "The hunter" track 8, 'way down deep" was magestic and transparent. These speakers sing well, and when mated to a servo 1200 velodyne sub, a star is born.
These are among my favorite series of small speakers. For those not familiar with Signet you MUST listen. They are versitile and will do well with good electronics.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
C Baker   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 18, 1999]
Strength:

They are a fantastically musical speaker. I AB'ed them against some really fine high end, much higher priced B&Ws, Definitives, Meridians, PSBs, Snells and Vandersteens and found them to be extremely well balanced throughout their range, uncolored with near pinpoint image and depth. They held their own against speakers 2 to 3 times their price. They excelled at dynamic transients(snare shots, string plucks). They have a smooth, accurate, non-fatiguing high end with a tight, well damped low end that somehow seems to go below their actual measured output(especially when positioned properly-not hard to do).

Weakness:

They will not go as low as some other speakers in this price range but they make up for that with a midrange that will have you looking around the room for the vocalist.

Its hard to believe these are a 2 way system. I defy anyone to tell these are 2 way in blind test. Pair these with the right sub and you'll have a system that is very hard to beat at any price. Check out the 'Sterophile' review.

Similar Products Used: really fine high end, much higher priced B&Ws, Definitives, Meridians, PSBs, Snells and Vandersteens
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
clay   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 23, 2001]
Strength:

compact, visually attractive, great balanced sound

Weakness:

none at this price point

This review is about the 280, not the 280EX...I actually
owned the 280ex for about a week but took them back since
i already owned the 280s. There wasn't much difference in the sound and i really couldn't afford the second pair of speakers at the time. I will say the EXs were a phenominal speaker and exhibited all the excellent traits of the smaller 280...
I've owned the 280s since '93 and they have never dissapointed. Thru the years I've auditioned many speakers
and owned and later sold a few, but i've always held onto
to these beauties. I tried to replace these with a pair
of Proac Response 2s, but the proacs were a little too
polite for my taste...the signets just sounded more "live". I then traded the Proacs for the Thiel CS1.5s...the thiels looked great but were too bright and
i always found myself cranking up the volume as if the thiels were holding back the music. Again, the thiels failed the "live" test. I just found the Signets sounded
more "live" and had better balance than the others. I traded the Thiels for the PBN Montana SP IIs. Now the Montanas are great speakers...balanced, smooth, never fatiguing, and the black piano finish looks great. I've
had the Montanas for about 3 1/2 years and couldn't be happier, but i still love my 280's and would never sell
them. You'd be surprised at how well the signets compare
to the $3500 Montanas.
To sum up, i have never found a speaker for under $2000
that can beat the signet 280s. If you're looking for a compact design for medium rooms which will play extremely
well on all types of music, sound great at all volume levels (within reason), these are one of a kind. Unfortunately, they are no longer made, but if you can find a pair second hand, buy them. My 8 year old 280's look brand new and i've never had a problem with them. I may
eventually sell my Montanas and upgrade to even more expensive speakers, but the 280s will never leave my house.

Similar Products Used: vandersteen, thiel, PBN Montana, Martin-Logan
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
CHRIS   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 30, 2001]
Strength:

These Signets absolutely ROCK! I know there are higher priced speakers out there that may go lower or have a bit more refinement, but they cost a hell of a lot more!

Weakness:

Really, none, considering price range. Build quality is outstanding. They can get a little boomey if you push too much bass.

These are killer speakers. They are so well rounded... sweet highs, awesome mids and bass that rivals a lot of subs. Great soundstage. Excellent detail. I don't really know why they didn't take Signet to the next level in terms of recognition.

Similar Products Used: Vandersteens, Infinty, Snell.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Joseph Patrell   [Nov 15, 1998]

Signet Tower speakers. We've had these for 10 years and enjoy them with every play. Now we have to replace these with bookshelf speakers because of space limitations. It's being tough to find bookshelf speakers that will perform as well as the Signet.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Ben   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 16, 2001]
Strength:

Warm, smooth sound. Great bass.

Weakness:

Not super efficient.

I shopped a lot for speakers and I am still very happy with these Signets. They are very balanced and detailed, particularly on horns, strings and vocals. They also pump out some serious bass, rivaling a lot of subs I've heard. They also look really nice. In this price range I think they are about the best speakers around.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Robb Harrell   an Audio Enthusiast [Oct 08, 1997]

I've owned apair of these Signets for three years and I am constantly impressed.
I"ve ran all kinds of music through them and they handle each very well.

A" MUST REVIEW" COMPONENT!

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 12  

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