Computer Speaker Reviews

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Michael Lavorgna  |  Jul 16, 2012
I reviewed the ADAM ARTist 3s back in October 2011 and while I very much enjoyed them, the built-in DAC which is limited to 16/48 playback gave me pause. I wondered aloud if the Adam A3Xs might be the more interesting option for the music-loving powered desktop speaker seeking audiophile seeing as it leaves out that DAC, does away with the 3.5mm minijack connection forcing you to get a DAC to sit in between your computer and speakers which is a good thing for you and your music (trust me) while it keeps pretty much everything else, all stuffed inside a less fancy cabinet. Yea, you could just get a 3.5mm to Stereo RCA cable to connect your computer to the A3Xs but that's like feeding a thoroughbred astroturf. My hunch was I'd love the ADAM A3X, you know love in a manly hi-fi kinda way, and I'm not afraid to tell you up front—I was not wrong.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 07, 2011
I have to admit that prior to this review I didn’t know ADAM from Adam (I know you saw that coming but I couldn’t help myself). I received an email from Roger Fortier, V.P. ADAM Audio USA asking if I’d be interested in reviewing a speaker from their Multimedia line. I perused the line which includes the subject at hand, the ARTist 5 which is a larger monitor, the floor standing ARTist 6, a sub and a center channel. I selected the ARTist 3 mainly because my domain in terms of speaker reviews extends to the edges of my desk. That is until someone decides to put a USD DAC into a floorstander.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 13, 2013
Being Single
Single driver speakers have some fairly straight-forward pluses and minuses—they only use a single driver to reproduce everything. So that means no crossover which, contrary to some adherents of the single driver way, is not necessarily an evil one way or another but most single driver speakers I've heard, and I've heard a bunch, tend to do at least one thing really well and that thing is immediacy. But what does immediacy really mean? From my way of hearing, it means that the sound of the music coming out of a single driver speaker sounds incredibly present as if the music is caressing your ears, intimately. Single driver speakers can sound seductive. The Ancient Audio Studio Oslo powered speakers use a single driver.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 30, 2012
Masters and Slaves
If you've read the specifications for the Audioengine 5+ speakers, you'll notice that the left speaker is the Master making the right the Slave. What this really means is Audioengine has stuffed all of the non-passive parts like the 50W per channel Class A/B amp into the Master which makes a lot of sense to me for a speaker that's sold in pairs. You'll notice that some other powered desktop speakers can be purchased solo so each one has to contain the works. The Master/Slave relationship helps save on parts cost but it doesn't necessarily skimp on performance as we shall see and I got to hear.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Nov 25, 2015
Just Ask Audioengine
If you look at the Audioengine website, you'll see something rarely seen; links to positive reviews of their products from non-audio press: PC Magazine, Macworld, Wired, PC World, and even Gizmodo, haters of all things with the word "Hi". Of course Audioengine also gets positive reviews from the audio press. How do they do it?
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 15, 2017
Just Don't Call Me Late To Dinner
To call the Bluesound PULSE Soundbar a soundbar is like calling the iPhone a phone. What the Bluesound PULSE Soundbar really is, is an all-in-one music and movie sound system (well, you can add a sub and multiroom stuff with other Bluesound devices). Why review a soundbar? Didn't I just say it doesn't make sense to call it a soundbar?
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 10, 2012
Hi-Fi In-A-Box
Smoke and a pancake? Flapjack and a cigarette? No? Cigar and a waffle? No? Pipe and a crepe? Bong and a blintz? No? Amp and a DAC? The CEntrance Audiophile Desktop System combines the CEntrance DACmini™ PX DAC/Amplifier ($1,475) with their MasterClass 2504 speakers ($700) and throws in a USB cable, speaker cables and perhaps most surprising and unusual of all, a Pelican 1550 Carry Case with component-hugging padded inserts to keep your Audiophile Desktop put while in transit. This attention to practical portability kinda begs you to take the Audiophile Desktop on the road.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 11, 2012
The Reserve Series (tm) speaker cables from CEntrance

During the review period of the CEntrance Audiophile Desktop System (ADS), CEntrance announced they would be coming out with 'upgraded' CEntrance-branded & designed speaker cables for the ADS package. So I held onto my review ADS and waited for the new/upgraded pre-production speaker cables to arrive and they have. What's even better, just like me, existing owners will be getting their very own upgraded speaker cables gratis which to my mind equates to a class act(ion). But wait just a gosh-darned minute! Cables couldn't possibly matter so why go to the trouble?

Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 12, 2015
What do we want, ideally, from an active desktop speaker? I know, everything.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 14, 2016
"I don't believe in frettin' and grievin'"
When using the Dynaudio Xeo 2s, all one need do to get music from your computer to your ears is connect the hardware with a Toslink cable and plug those suckers in. The Xeo 2s can process up to 24-bit/192kHz PCM data, there are 65W amps for each driver, and the master speaks to the slave wirelessly. Just add music.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 11, 2015
Less Stuff
The Dynaudio Xeo 4s and the larger floor standing Xeo 6s plus the Hub need just two things from you—a source(s) and power. That's it. That's all you need for a complete Hi-Fi. Interested?
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jul 24, 2014
Alpha Dog
The new entry level Alpha line from Focal is meant to bring Focal quality to the discerning listener on a budget. I very favorably reviewed the more upscale Focal CMS 40 (see review) and the top of the line Solo6 Be (see review) so I was more than excited to see this new lower-priced line from Focal. The Alpha 50s are the smallest monitor in the Alpha series which also includes the Alpha 65 and Alpha 80. The 50s are equipped with a 5" woofer/midrange, the 65's with a 6.5 midrange/woofer, and the 80s, you guessed it, an 8" mid/woofer. I opted for the 50s for this review because that's what Focal recommends for extreme nearfield listening (2-3 ft.).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Apr 24, 2013
The Focal CMS 40 powered speaker is referred to as a monitor on the company's website. A subtle distinction perhaps but a monitor is meant for monitoring records during production whereas a speaker is meant to be used when the production work is done. So a monitor is a tool for listening whereas a speaker is a tool for enjoyment. Some listeners, like audiophiles, for example, do both and a speaker like the Focal CMS 40 is practically made to order.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 02, 2013
Earth Movers
Why not? I mean, if you were me, wouldn't you? In an exchange with Bruce Brown, Owner and Engineer at Puget Sound Studios (see our Q&A), Bruce mentioned that he was using the Focal Solo6 Be monitors (as well as the Twin6 and Sub6 in a 5.1 array) in his recording studio. And that information stuck in my head and poked at me when I recently thought about desktop speakers to review. And I thought why not? Rated at 40Hz - 40kHz with a 150W rms, BASH® amp for the midbass/bass driver and a 100W rms class A/B amp for the treble, these bad boys max out at 113dB SPL (peak @ 1m). So yea, they work really well as nearfield desktop earth movers.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 27, 2014
Single Driver Plus DAC
The Fujitsu Ten Eclipse TD-M1 Wireless Speaker System houses a single 8cm (3") driver in each speaker powered by a 20W digital amp. There's also a 24/192 capable DAC, which Eclipse refers to as a Non-Oversampling DAC, as well as 2 asynchronous USB inputs, one Type A and one Type B, a 3.5mm mini analog stereo input, Wi-Fi and AirPlay connectivity. So you can connect your computer via USB and your iOS device either hard wired or via AirPlay and since the TD-M1 has its own Wi-Fi on board, you don't even need to have it connect to your home network.