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Why Are Audiophiles Afraid of Powered Speakers  Print E-mail
Home Theater Feature Articles Audio Related Articles
Written by Jerry Del Colliano   
Tuesday, 01 August 2006
Article Index
Why Are Audiophiles Afraid of Powered Speakers 
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Powered Speakers to Consider
Meridian: Meridian has a range of high-end, performance-oriented speakers that have not only amps in them, but also sophisticated DACs and software that allow their engineers to upgrade your speakers for better performance without you sending them back to England. System connectivity is a breeze, and it’s great to have the simplicity of only a few components to run a topnotch home theater.

Genelec: Known best in the pro audio world, Genelec is carving out a very nice niche for themselves in the custom home theater market. Somewhat utilitarian in their look, these speakers remind me of the sound of Wilson speakers, which have been my reference for nearly 10 years now. At a fraction of the price of the Wilsons, Genelecs are very worth seeking out for an audition.

Meyer Sound: The biggest secret in high-end loudspeakers is the Meyer Sound X-10. Priced up there with Wilson MAXXs and other big-baller loudspeakers, the X10 isn’t the prettiest date to the prom (to be kind), but industry types who have great ears are raving about this speaker. At a recent studio demo, AVRev.com editor Bryan Southard noted that the X10s are the only speakers he has ever heard that can recreate the true energy of a live drum kit. As a powered speaker with a horn tweeter, they might scare off some audiophiles, but it must be noted their horns don’t sound like stereotypical horn speakers. Top studios worldwide are installing Meyer Sound X10s into their mastering labs while the most cutting-edge custom installers are using X10s for their larger installations. Meyer also makes smaller speakers.

Linn: Known as the company that taught the high end world the value of a good source component - Linn makes some of the finest powered speakers in the world. A recent move into the most lofty worldwide studios has Linn as an increasing part of the music mastering process, but many consumers are taking that studio sound home with them. The Artikulat Series from Linn are a complete line of power speakers that I have heard and are about as resolute as you will find at any price. When you consider the level of refinement you are getting in terms of amps, cables, cabinet, drivers and crossovers - no wonder these speakers sound so good.

XHifi: The desktop speaker to the stars. XHifi snuck a powerful digital amp inside their slick little subwoofer cabinet that powers both the sub and the speakers. For your MP3 collection at your desk or in your home office, do you really need a full-blown home theater receiver? XHifi prefers to provide you with 2.1 channels of studio-grade digital amplification and some surprisingly open-sounding small speakers.

Wasatch Audio Labs: A newcomer to the world of ultra-high-end speakers, Wasatch is designed and implemented by former AVRev.com video writer Mike Levy. Using the Australian room correction DEQX, these $40,000 speakers are better-looking than the average powered speaker and have the added value of being able to be tuned to your room by a professional acoustician. Meyer X10s also come with room tuning included in their lofty price. Getting the most from your high-end loudspeakers at the ultra level normally requires room tuning, treatments and set-up using very sophisticated measurement equipment. Without question, it is worth every penny.

Definitive Technology: While not fully powered, most Definitive Technology speakers have beefy amps inside of their towers, which allow them to crank out bass from their internal subs like few speakers in their class.

MartinLogan: Most MartinLogan speakers are not powered in terms of having amps in them, but their technology requires power. For someone fearful of taking the leap into fully powered speakers, the classic sound of MartinLogan is always a consideration. On the right material, nothing competes with the sound of a MartinLogan speaker in terms of clarity and openness.


 

 
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