From the Pulpit

From the Pulpit

Of Carroll Shelby, phono cartridge loading, and my budget reference system…

Firstly, regarding Carroll Shelby: For those that may not know, Mr. Shelby passed away on May 10 (a day I will always remember as it is my birthday). Rather than try to sum up his life in a single page (which would be impossible to do), I just thought that I would draw attention to this fact and to my own limited exposure to his company and foundation. read more…

Sunfire Atmos Subwoofer available in Q2

We have seen home theater accessories from Sunfire before, such as the Sunfire Theater Grand Processor TGP-401.

They have just announced the Atmos small subwoofer made for home theaters, and it is supposedly “the most powerful subwoofer in its class”. read more…

Auditorium 23 solovox



Don’t let the architecture fool you. This speaker’s got a lot of power behind its meager exterior.

Check the Amazon website here for more information on this product.

Auditorium 23 SoloVox: Paying Homage

Auditorium 23’s SoloVox is a one-of-a-kind speaker with major sound quality.

Keith Aschenbrenner of Auditorium 23 located in Frankfurt, Germany, stands out. Early on, Keith discovered the magic and majesty of earlier designs which have left their mark on him both as a music lover and audio designer. He’s best known in Europe for his well reviewed Rondo loudspeaker, his modifications of the Verdier turntable, and his step up transformers. My guess is that his relative anonymity is the U.S. is about to change with the introduction of the SoloVox loudspeaker, the first component in his new Homage Series.

The SoloVox is unlike any speaker you’ve come across. It’s a stand mounted open baffle design. The stand is integral to the speaker, but unlike other similar designs, the stand is hollow and is not to be sand filled or deadened in any way. Whereas a conventional speaker has six exposed sides, the SoloVox has fourteen exposed ‘sides.’

The speaker sports not merely an open back (which allows you to look directly into the back of the driver), but beautifully curved side vents which channel (but do not amplify) part of the back wave to the sides of the speaker.

Unlike his earlier designs, including the Rondo, the SoloVox can be set up near the back wall. I found the speakers sounded their best in my room about 30” from the rear wall and about 7” apart from one another.

Because of their design, the SoloVox are very sensitive to set up. Placed too close together, male voices will seem too chesty and reverberant. This effect also disappears with break-in. Placed too far from one another and the sound becomes a bit unfocused and ethereal. I’ve heard it with both an 8 watt 300B SET amplifier and a 13 watt EL84 push/pull amplifier – both to great effect.

The fit and finish is superb. The wood veneer is flawless (the speaker is available now only in a light oak finish); the wide front baffle features curved corners as do most of the wood pieces of which the remainder of the ‘cabinet’ is constructed.

The SoloVox features a single PHY-HP driver. As implemented in the SoloVox, the driver makes absolutely no attempt to cover the entire frequency range. Output falls off precipitously above 12KHz and has little output below 40-50Hz (Another widespread misconception is that full range drivers cover the full audible frequency range. They don’t – certainly not with equal output top to bottom).

The SoloVox is a 15 ohm speaker that’s roughly 96dB sensitive. It’s a very easy load for an amplifier.

With the exception of Fostex (and Radio Shack), full range drivers are very expensive. In addition, full range drivers take a near eternity to break in. They hardly move when playing music which means that the surrounds rarely get a workout and so they have to be played nearly constantly for hundreds of hours before the drivers loosen up. The PHY is no exception

It’s always difficult to sort the sound of the driver from the sound of the speaker in which it’s implemented.

After all, some designers are capable of turning cow’s milk into vintage wine, while others can prepare sushi grade tuna as flavorful as rubber. Full range drivers are no exception to this rule either.

The SoloVox is by a large margin the best full range driver speaker I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard many.
What makes the SoloVox so special? A number of things actually: above all else, however, is the SoloVox’s natural, unforced way with music. The music comes across as completely independent of a speaker system. This illusion is essential to the musical experience.

Other speakers have the character of being immediate, transparent and present. In the case of the SoloVox, it is the music which is immediate, transparent and present, not the speaker. The speaker behaves as if it is not there at all. Part of the magic must be that the SoloVox is a full range crossover-less design. Another part is that there is no amplified back wave passing through a horn. And part of the magic is the open baffle, resonating ‘cabinet.’ Everything is designed to work in sync with the music.

The SoloVox is a very misleading speaker. There is ‘so little’ of it. No cabinet, no crossover, one driver per side. But it is designed like a fine musical instrument. It’s a very complex and difficult speaker to build.

Every piece of wood has to be finished just right, curved in just the right way, distanced from every other piece in just the right way, and so on. If anything is off, the parts simply will not work together. That makes it even more amazing that Aschenbrenner pulls it all off in a way that makes the end product look simple and uncomplicated- It is anything but.

Music played through the SoloVox is not only natural, unforced and effortless- it’ s rich, full, detailed and resolute. The speaker displays a tonal neutrality and accuracy of timbre that I’ve rarely experienced in other speakers, regardless of price.

The effortlessness and openness is accompanied by a dynamic realism that’s simply astonishing. The dynamic realism is invariably among the first things visitors in my listening room comment upon. To my ears, the dynamic realism is just the flip side of the relaxed and unforced nature of the sound. There is literally nothing holding the sound back in any way.

The SoloVox is not designed to excel on large scale classical music or heavy metal. It’s not the ideal speaker for fans of Mahler or Metallica. It doesn’t flatter such material.

The SoloVox doesn’t create the majesty or energy of large scale classical music, but it does present it ‘to scale,’ and ‘in balance.’ I don’t feel cheated listening to large scale classical music on the SoloVox; I’m just not riveted. The key to the SoloVox is balance: balance by limiting its extension at both ends of the frequency range; tonal balance; dynamic balance – that is, dynamic consistency from top to bottom (within its audible range).

I have one other observation to make that may be puzzling to some and controversial to others. The SoloVox sounds much better with vinyl than with digital – no matter the quality of the digital source. I’m not the only person to pick up on this disparity. Other reviewers and listeners who’ve heard the speaker with both digital and vinyl agree.

For what it’s worth, my interpretation is that the SoloVox displays digital as the incredibly processed medium that it is. Digital clashes with the SoloVox’s essential nature. Analog, by comparison, fits the SoloVox like a glove. This is not to say that digital doesn’t sound good through the SoloVox. It does; it’s just that digital sounds, well, digital. If you want to hear all everything SoloVox is capable of, you’ll need to spin some vinyl – which I would recommend under any circumstances.

Set up correctly, which is easier on the body than normal given how light the speakers are, the SoloVox are not only among the best speakers you’ll ever hear, they might teach you how to listen to music and what to listen for. The SoloVox have changed how I listen to music. This is a speaker that not only pays homage to the great speakers of the past, it does so in its own unique way; it doesn’t atte mpt to relive or revive the past so much as it learns from the past and puts its own stamp on an approach to music making that should never go out of style.

Even at the somewhat princely sum of $9,500.00/pair, it’s a bargain as it beats nearly all musically important dimension speakers three/four times its price. And just to let you know- I bought the speaker.

Technical Info:

Analog: Rega P3, Denon DL-103 cartridge, Auditorium 23 moving coil step up

Digital: Sony Playstation

Tuner: Voice of Music AM/FM Stereo Tuner model 1465 (1960s vintage)

Preamp: Shindo Laboratory Monbrison

Amp: Shindo Laboratory Cortese F2a, Fi 45 Prototype, Fi 421A, JC Morrison 6B4G monoblocks, Red Wine Audio Signature 30

Integrated Amp: SAC Thailand Minute

Speakers: Auditorium 23 SoloVox, DeVore Fidelity Super 8, The Horn Shoppe Horns (original 108Σ version)

Cables: Shindo interconnects, Auditorium 23 Speaker Cable, PHY interconnects

Stand: Finite Elemente Pagode

Accessories: Wiremold L10320 outlet strip, PS Audio Ultimate Outlets and AudioPrism Quiet Lines. Room damping provided by lots of books.

Room size: 13′ w x 16′ d x 9′ h

Review component retail: $9,500/pr

See the Amazon page for AUDITORIUM 23 SOLOVOX Review here

Alpine swe-1042



Great price for a sub. Perfect for small enclosures (maybe less than 2 or 3 cubic feet), and definitely plenty kick for an SUV, van or cab. You might want to experiment with enclosures before dropping one in the trunk of a car, but it’s definitely strong enough for that location. I would say this is the perfect starter sub.

read more…

Sonance RK10W Rock Outdoor Subwoofer

Sonance RK10W Rock Outdoor Subwoofer Sonance recently unveiled its latest outdoor weather resistant rock subwoofer, the RK10W with rubber surrounding. So no matter where you place the subwoofer, you can rest assured of its sturdiness. read more…

Blue Sky SAT 8 Compact Midfield Monitor, SUB 212 Subwoofer Monitoring System

Blue Sky SAT 8 Compact Midfield Monitor, SUB 212 Subwoofer Monitoring System

As the owner of a mid-sized project studio, I’ve always used nearfield monitors for mixing and kept oversized consumer speakers (or even small PA speakers) in the rear of my large control room for clients who wish to track without headphones, or to “hype” my clients with loud playback.

However, I’ve always had a yen for some midfield monitors to expand my mixing palette, better fill the room, and further inspire performers.

In my use, I have found the SAT 8 threeway powered midfield monitor with SUB 212 powered subwoofer from Blue Sky was what I was longing for. They have proven to be very useful for my large control room environment — yet the transition was quite difficult or, should I say, educational. read more…

digiZoid Introduces the zo Personal Subwoofer for Portable Audio

zo personal subwoofer for portable audio, the latest addition to digiZoid’s unique audio enhancement technologies, is a first-of-its kind audio device. It has been specially designed to enhance the sound quality from any type of listening system of media player. read more…

Leon Speakers Aaros A10-UT Subwoofer

Leon Speakers Aaros A10-UT Subwoofer The all-new Aaros A10-UT Subwoofer by Leon Speakers will truly add new dimension to your living room. It is a 10 inch ultra-thin subwoofer packed with music skill and theater-grade performance. Designed to meet every viewing demands, this subwoofer can be customized to complete any room decor. read more…

MacBook now has Portable Subwoofer

Why do we always associate a Subwoofer stereo located in the hot car next to us at traffic lights, with 4 young men listening to the doush, doush being belted out while the car is literally vibrating with rythum ? read more…

Velodyne SC-602 Dual Subwoofer Amplifier

Velodyne Acoustics, the globally recognized manufacturer of advanced subwoofers, has come up with an easy-to-use and affordable dual-mono amplifier, the SC-602. Capable of controlling up to two subwoofers, the SC-602 is the latest addition to the SC-600 Series. read more…

Focal CMS 40, CMS Subwoofer

Focal CMS 40, CMS Subwoofer

Hooray for the little guys: Though they are small in stature, the Focal CMS 40 near-field studio monitors — along with the accompanying not-so-small Focal CMS Subwoofer — pack a one-two wallop of clarity and affordability. The CMS 40 is the little brother to the increasingly admired CMS 50 and CMS 65 (both of which also pair up with the CMS Sub) but whatever you do, don’t discount the CMS 40 as a tiny, unwanted tagalong.

For those of you not in the know, Focal (pronounced fo-kal) was founded in 1979 in Saint-Etienne, France by Jacques Mahul. Mainly known for audiophile speakers and speaker components throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, in the late ‘90s Focal moved into high-end car audio systems and even manufactured speaker and driver assemblies for pro audio companies (such as KRK for its very popular 6000, 7000 and 9000 series of monitors before the company was sold and then turned to China for parts). read more…

SV Sound MBS-1 Speakers and PC12-Plus Subwoofer

SV Sound MBS-1 Speakers and PC12-Plus Subwoofer


  • Speakers: MBS-01
  • Type: Two-way Two-Driver, stand-mount
  • Tweeter (size, type): 1″, Scan-Speak AirCirc silk dome Woofer (size, type): 6.5″, Peerless Nomex cone Nominal Impedance: 6 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 84db
  • Recommended Amp Power (watts): 20–250
  • Selectable Tweeter Attenuation: 0db or -3db
  • Frequency Response: 48 Hz – 25 kHz ± 3 dB
  • Available Finishes: Black vinyl with Gloss Black, Rosenut, or Oak side panels
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 10.3″ x 16″ x 13″ Weight (pounds): 27
  • Price: $948/pair
  • Subwoofer: PC12-Plus
  • Connections: Line-level RCA, Speaker Level Binding Posts
  • Enclosure Type: Sealed or vented, adjustable
  • Woofer (size, type): 12″, 12.4 Plus Woofer w/ Composite pulp/fiberglass cone
  • Power Rating (watts): 525 RMS, BASH Crossover Bypass: Yes
  • Available Finishes: Black fabric Dimensions: 40” (tall), 16” (diameter) Weight: 60 Pounds
  • Price: $949
  • SV Sound 877 626-5623

SV Sound has a long and successful history of building American made, world class subwoofers at below reasonable prices; and before this review I had not had the pleasure of hearing that reputation for myself. After a chat with Ron Stimpson, we concluded that an upgraded version of an SVS classic, the PC12-Plus subwoofer, as well as their newer foray into the above 120hz world, the MBS-1 monitor speaker, would make for a nice speaker system and review article. A week later, I came home to two large boxes in my entryway. Luckily, the PC12-Plus is small enough that it does not require freight shipping like the larger SVS models; i.e. PB12-Plus. read more…

Sweet Home Theater Setup – The Unlikeliest Subwoofer

What I really love about the very sweetest of home theater setups is how they take the room they’re given and work with it.  And you can see from the pic at right that this was not a room that screamed “sweet home theater”. read more…

KEF HTB2SE-W Wireless Subwoofer

Here is the newest member of the KEF’s Wireless Family. The HTB2SE-W Wireless Subwoofer is in-fact old wine in new bottles! The HTB2SE Subwoofer had been a part of KEF Home Theater line of 5.1 audio systems. read more…

Page 1 of 41234

Copyright © 2000-2018 HighFidelityReview – Hi-Fi systems, DVD-Audio and SACD reviews - HQ Hi-Fi Review Theme by