Is there anything that's more 'of its time', than loudspeaker design?
Back in the sixties, it was large corner units sporting paper drive units of impressive sensitivity; given that most amplifiers could barely muster 10 Watts back then, they had to make a Watt go far!
In the seventies, we moved to big, wide baffle speakers, often found on chromium plated tripod stands with castors; a long way from where we are now! More sophisticated plastic cones appeared, which needed power but distorted less. Just as well that amps were getting
Eighties speakers got sleeker, smaller and harder to drive. Complex crossovers and clangy metal dome tweeters ruled. Lucky that the transistor amps of the day were getting more powerful.
The nineties was the great floorstanding decade, with small footprint column designs everywhere. Interesting new cone materials like high definition aerogel surfaced, making for superior sensitivity, and there was a move back to smooth cloth dome tweeters. All this coincided with the valve amplifier rival.
In the past decade, things have simply got more diverse. In this issue we showcase several examples of contemporary speaker thinking; Triangle's Antal [p10] is a great do-it-all modern floorstander; quite nineties in profile but packed with the latest drivers and tuning. Revolver's Cygnis Gold [p34] is a 'big banger' that's closer in size to huge, high-end seventies designs, but again uses contemporary tricks in its cabinet, crossover and drivers. My Audio Design's My Clapton Grand MM [p68] is very eighties in dimensions, and uses a coaxial driver the like of which I haven't seen since the sixties. Yet it's all bang up to date technologically, and sounds it...
This issue shows that loudspeakers (and indeed hi-fi design in general) is getting ever more varied, and the result is more exciting products and a better choice for the customer. So whether you're after a new £1,000 CD player from our supertest [p15], a great valve amplifier such as the Triode Corporation TRV-88SE [p78] or a stunning turntable like Brinkmann's Bardo [p100], I hope you'll like this month's bumper issue. Enjoy!
David Price, editor
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