Editorial Reviews

Audio How To: What To Buy? – How To Set It Up?

One of the biggest and arguably best problems right in home audio is that there are too many great manufacturers out there. It is mind boggling to know where to start.  Or even worse, what to buy now, that you can build around over time.

Here is a list of products that the AudioReview Editor’s feel are worth your time and careful consideration.  A list of great products from great manufacturers.

We will be adding more products over time, so make sure to check back.  If you think something should be on the list that isn’t, write it in the comments below.  Heck, write out what you think would be a perfect starting system.  Lets help the newbies out.

And just having the equipment isn’t enough, you must set it up correctly to get the most out of your gear.  Use our expanding how to guide to get the most from your system

Last Updated: 02.08.2011


How To Guides

- Non-Audiophile Guide to Getting Great Sound

- Suggested Books to Read

- Audio Vocabulary

- Determine Your Needs

- Guide to Finding and Buying Used Audio Gear

- more articles to come

Analog & Digital

- articles to come

Your Listening Room

- articles to come


Suggested Components

floorstander

bookshelf

amplifier

headphones

Floorstanding Speakers Bookshelf Speakers Integrated Amplifiers Headphones

cables

turnable

cartridges

ipod

Cables Turntables Cartridges iPod Audio

Monitor Audio RX6 ~ $1200
MonitorAudioRX6
Floorstanding Speakers

Monitor Audio RX6 are the latest model in an outstanding line of floorstanding speakers. Their predecessor, the RS6, had extremely favorable reviews in Stereophile, WhatHi-Fi and from AudioREVIEW users. The RX6 has a 5 of 5 from WhatHi-Fi and made the AudioREVIEW forums drool when the images were released. They are on my list of most recommended speakers for about $1000.

Specifications

  • System Format: 2 1/2 Way
  • Frequency Response: 38Hz – 35kHz
  • Sensitivity (1W@1M): 90dB
  • Nominal Impedance: 6 Ohms
  • Recommended Amplifier Requirements (RMS): 40-125W
  • Bass Alignment: Dual Chamber, Bass reflex with differential tuning.
  • Drive Unit Complement: 1 x 6″ RST® Bass driver.
  • 1 x 6″ RST® Bass/Mid driver.
  • 1 x 1″ (25mm) C-CAM® gold dome tweeter
Other Recommend Floorstanding Speakers – Wharfedale Diamond 9.6, Paradigm Reference Monitor 7, Axiom Millennia M60 Ti, B&W 683, Magnepan Magneplanar MMG

Also see our Editor’s Best Floorstanding Speakers under $1000 Guide


Magnepan Magneplanar 1.7 ~ $2000
Magnepan1.7
Floorstanding Speakers

Magneplanar 1.7 are the latest model in an outstanding line of floorstanding speakers. Their predecessor, the 1.6, had extremely favorable reviews. The 1.7 have done even better. With reviews now in from around the audio media world, these speakers are being paired with equipment 5 to 10 times their price. If you like the Maggie sound, of openness, cohesiveness, and detail, these maybe the last speakers you’ll ever buy.

Specifications

Description 3-Way, Full-Range, Quasi-Ribbon
Freq. Resp. 40-24 kHz
Rec Power Read Frequently Asked Questions
Sensitivity 86dB/500Hz /2.83v
Impedance 4 Ohm
Dimensions 19 x 65 x 2
Other Recommend Floorstanding Speakers from Magnepan – Magnepan Magneplanar MMG ~ $600

Also see our Editor’s Best Floorstanding Speakers under $1000 Guide


Zu Audio Omen ~ $1500
ZuAudioOmen
Floorstanding Speakers

Zu Omen’s are loud, fun, and rocking. Plus they have devilishly good looks. Zu Audio is all about putting the fun back into HiFi at an affordable price. At Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2010 Zu all over the place. Paired with a lot of different equipment their sound was bold and had a live’esk sound that reminded me of guitar amps.

Technical features

  • Efficiency: 98 dB 1W/1m
  • Impedance: 12 Ohm
  • Height: 36″ tall + footers
  • Footprint: 12″ square
  • Tube and solid-state friendly!
  • Cabinet: MDF with real maple skin
  • Manufactured in Ogden, Utah, USA
Other Recommend Zu Audio Speakers - Soul Superfly
Also see our Editor’s Best Floorstanding Speakers under $1000 Guide

Salk Sound Song Tower w/Ribbon Tweeter~ $2700
SalkSongTower
Floorstanding Speakers

Jim Salk has received a huge amount of positive fan fair for his great sounding and sometimes extremely well finished speakers. The Song Tower with the upgraded ribbon tweeter is certainly well worth its value. Plus when you order from Salk Sound you can work with Jim and his team to get just the settings you want. A bit laid back, or a bit more forward sound.The Song Towers offer an extremely transparent high end and a clear and detailed mid range. They produce sufficient bass to please, but can be paired with a sub if you are really looking for thump. They might even make the spouse happy if you get a sweet looking custom finish.

Technical features

  • Design – MTM 2-way Mass-loaded Quarter Wave Tube Transmission Line
  • Drivers – custom RAAL with the ribbon tweeter upgrade, (2) Seas ER15RLY midwoofers
  • Response – OW2 – 42Hz – 20KHz (+/- 3db)
  • RAAL – 42Hz – 60KHz (+/- 3db)
  • Sensitivity – (dB/2.83v/1M) 88db
  • Impedance 4 ohms minimum 6 ohms nominal
Other Recommend Salk Sound Speakers – SoundScape 12
Also see our Editor’s Best Floorstanding Speakers under $2000 Guide
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  • derek says:

    Monitor Audio speakers have always been a favorite choice for me. Smooth roll-off the highs, very tight sounding bass response without being overpowering, and mids that make your favorite vocalist sound even sweeter.

    Nice job of picking components that won’t break the bank.

  • adam says:

    Derek -

    Really – you found Monitor Audio speakers rolled off at the high end – not what I normally hear about them. What amplifier or rest of the system, source for instance, did you pair them with, or heard them paired with? Not saying they are harsh, but the RS6 I’ve heard had a slightly thin airy high end. Good if you were looking to hear the room in a recording, but definitely didn’t help with a black whole for a stage.

  • DBoy says:

    There is lot of PMP that sound better than iPod
    for less than 800

  • Jack says:

    For those of you who have trouble justifying big speakers to your significant other (like me), try the Silverline Minuets. They are small enough that they can sit on a desk and they absolutely rock. They go low enough that they don’t demand a sub but I recommend one.

  • Rubén says:

    Hi all,
    Iam newbie in this forum.
    Is the new Magnepan similar in soun dto the olds models?

    Best Regards
    Rubén

  • Rubén says:

    I currenlty have Apogee and for my they are not surpassed even today in the planar range.

  • Rubén says:

    I miss said that full planars like Apogee is very demanding on room space and position

  • Rubén says:

    But when they are paired with a good power amp is IMHO one of the more realistics speakers

  • Rubén says:

    A few years ago change the olds ribbons with new ones (manufactured in Australia) and sound even betters than the originals.
    More extended, transparency, air

  • Rubén says:

    For full potential the Divas must be actively biamped

  • Lorenqo says:

    planar speakers all sound wimpy and apogees require a amp you could use for arc welding to drive them properly. maybe there ar PMP that sound better than Ipod but they’re not tha good either. the Hifiman is a real audio product and with it’s versatility is a bargain reelly

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