10 Unique Floorstanding Speakers That Will Turn Heads 
Home Theater Feature Articles Audio Related Articles
Written by Dick Ward   
Monday, 18 October 2010

Sometimes your home theater needs more than just a great sounding set of speakers.  Sound quality is essential, but so is a bit of style, a little flair, some panache for many discerning audiophiles with a pension for great design.  There's something to be said for having a conversation starter in your home theater as well.  How better to do that than picking a set of loudspeakers to dazzle not only the ears but the eyes as well?  Here are AVRev’s Top 10 picks of floorstanding speakers that will make your guests do a double take at your audio setup:

Bowers Wilkins NautilusBowers & Wilkins Nautilus

We kick things off with the tried and true Bowers & Wilkins Nautilus. It's designed after the shell of the sea creature of the same name and to incredibly cool effect.  Unlike the nautilus pompilius itself, which can only grow to a size of 10 inches, the B&W Nautilus is massive, measuring 47 inches high, 43 inches deep and 17 inches wide.

It may seem like there's more form than function here, but the strange sharp tube aiming towards the back of the Nautilus is actually there for an acoustic reason.  B&W channels sound from the back of the drivers into the tail, eliminating unwanted audio.

Wilson Audio MaxxWilson Audio MAXX 3

The MAXX series has been around since 1998 and was not only reviewed incredibly well, but sold well to boot.  Wilson Audio is now on to the third iteration of the line, keeping audio quality as the primary focus.

It seems obvious that audio is the focus of the MAXX line, since the visuals are so dreadful.  The MAXX 3 looks like different things to different people, but whether you see a hunched over old man or an old-school arcade cabinet you almost certainly see a speaker that you don't want in your living room.

The MAXX 3 isn't pretty, but it's what's on the inside that counts. For starters, Wilson co-designed and reengineered midrange drivers to suit their needs and completely overhauled the crossover.  The aesthetic look exists for a reason too – it ensures that you're getting an even mix from every speaker, rather than just hearing the mids as you might sitting in front of other speakers.

Greensound FloeGreensound Floe

There are plenty of speaker manufacturers around that employ strange shapes in order to set themselves apart.  It's not that the Floe isn't odd looking – it definitely is – but the look is only the second most interesting thing about it.
 
Rather than employing traditional speaker construction, the Floe projects sound through a large glass sheet.  The folks at Greensound Technology boast that their design offers full 360 degree sound and a speaker that will last forever, without ever breaking down.  The company offers glass subwoofers in addition to the glass floorstanding speakers.

Deuvel PlanetsDuevel Planets

You're not going to find a set of speakers like the Duevel Planets anywhere else.  They enclosure itself isn't much to talk about since it's just a tall rectangle, and the up shooting speakers aren't too out of the norm.  It's the "planets" that set these speakers apart.

There are two chrome balls suspended over each of the top firing speakers – a five inch woofer and one inch tweeter – to aid in dispersion and create omnidirectional sound.   Planets speakers aren't just designed for high-end home theaters either, since they run just over $1,000 each.

MartinLogan CLX ArtMartinLogan CLX Art

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention a set of electrostatic speakers from MartinLogan.  You won't surprise anyone familiar with loudspeakers with these – they're fairly ubiquitous.  If you're showing them to someone who expects traditional speaker design though, they'll be blown away.

The CLX Art utilizes the same electrostatic technology that you're familiar with from MartinLogan, but they've got a look that's all their own.  They sport a 57 inch double diaphragm transducer with a slight curve to enhance dispersion and ClearSpar spacers to stiffen the assembly.

MartinLogan's CLX Art also incorporates EcoSound material thanks to a partnership with Klip BioTechnologies.  Not only does it provide better damping than MDF, but it's made of renewable bamboo and post consumer recycled wood and paper so it's good for the environment.


 

 

 

 

Davone RithmDavone Rithm

Davone of Denmark has one very interesting speaker in the Rithm.  It's a mix of gloss black side panels and a veneer of pressed walnut and beech.  What's more, it looks almost exactly like the Star Trek Starfleet insignia.

The Rithm is designed to mimic the shape of acoustic panels that are used in anechoic chambers to absorb sound, which allows it to further dampen internal reflections.  The trademark curve also helps with rigidity, and helps to rid the speaker of unnecessary vibrations.

Oheocha d2-xctO'heocha D2-XCT

Davone may have the Star Trek theme down, but O'heocha's D2-XCT takes the cake when it comes to speakers that look like something out of a science fiction movie.  They bring 1950s serials to mind specifically, and sport that extremely cool retro-future vibe.

The D2-XCT consists of a pair of steel plates which enclose the crossover system and 18 polished aluminum fins that give the crossover casing the look of a turbine.  It's odd to be sure, but it keeps the crossover cool.

It also features a trio of outrigger feet equipped with isolation spikes which keep unwanted resonance at bay.  They're also upgradeable, and can be altered to fit a 360 watt amp and 24-bit wireless connectivity.

SW Speakers Magic FluteSW Speakers Magic Flute

The SW Speakers Magic Flute uses the same jet turbine shape as the D2-XCT, but takes things a step further by isolating each speaker into its own individual cabinet.  The result is something that looks more like a plane wing than a loudspeaker but what it lacks in aesthetic charm; the Magic Flute aims to make up for with audio quality.

SW Speakers says that the separation and turbine shape help to create audio that's free from outside interference.  The company also utilizes carbon fiber in the build of the Magic Flute, which creates a more rigid structure.

The Magic Flute sports a simple crossover that aims not to interfere with the musical path.  It boasts a range of 36Hz up to 25kHz thanks to a pair of 5.75 inch mid-woofers, an 8.5 inch bass woofer and a one inch tweeter, which can be tilted down 10 degrees for proper alignment in smaller rooms.

Opera CarusoOpera Caruso

Sadly, English speaking audio enthusiasts may be out of luck when it comes to finding much information on the Opera Caruso, and the company's website isn't exactly helpful in that regard.  Still, there's something about this speaker that just demands attention.

The look of the Caruso is elegant from one side and a bit overstated from the other, giving it a sort of classy art-deco quality.  It sports one tweeter and four mid-range drivers on the front, four bass drivers on the side and four tweeters in the rear.  



Morel Fat Lady

It's only appropriate that we stick with the opera theme to finish off the list, and it's an opera tradition that brings it all to a close.  Of course you've heard the saying "It's not over 'til the fat lady sings."  It's one that Morel is fond of, particularly when they have their own Fat Lady speaker in mind.  

Morel Fat LadyThe speaker itself looks more like a guitar or a cello than anything else.  Of course, that would have to be a cello that made of carbon fiber, fiberglass and epoxy resin – the components of the Fat Lady's unique cabinet.  Those ingredients come together to provide a light and strong frame for the Fat Lady.

The Fat Lady's tweeter is 1.1 inches and boasts a 28mm Acuflex dome.  Both the mid and bass units utilize Morel's 3-inch underhung External Voice Coil and Dynamic Linear Impedance Stabilizer technology that helps keep a smooth impedance curve no matter what the condition.

Morel's loudspeaker uses absolutely no internal damping, allowing the cabinet to sing with the drivers and turn the energy into sound, but stop immediately when the drivers do.  The company says that the end result is a speaker that sounds like it has no cabinet at all.

 

What speakers do you think are the most eye-catching floorstanders?






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