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Cambridge Audio S30 Speakers, Dark Oak (Pair)
Cambridge Audio S30 Speakers, Dark Oak (Pair)

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars real bargain, June 3, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I own several pairs of bookshelf speakers from HSU, Polk, Pioneer, Wharfedale, Monitor Audio, Behringer and Ascend Acoustics. These Cambridge S30's are my new favourites. Frankly, I have no clue as to how the engineers from Cambridge Audio managed to create sound so huge from speakers this small.

Testing the S30's I popped in Brendan Perry's 'Ark', which is very well recorded, and quickly reveals obvious and not so obvious weaknesses on any speaker it's played on. What emerged from these diminutive speakers completely surprised me, the sound seems to be omni-present and floats almost seamlessly throughout the room; these speakers have wide 'sweet spot', making off-axis listening a pleasure rather than a pain. The soundstage is absolutely HUGE, trouncing every other bookshelf pair I own with the exception of the HSU-MKII's, which in terms of staging and imaging are the best I've ever heard. As far as tonal characteristics are concerned, I would describe the sound emitted from the S30's as very slightly warm in tonal coloration, and in terms of tonal dynamics as lively and engaging, and slightly 'forward'. Imaging is spot-on, I can pinpoint every instrument with total precision, and I can't recall when I had so much fun simply listening to music from a pair of bookshelf speakers.

Highs and mids are beautifully refined, and roll off just right, without appearing bright and fatiguing. Oh and by the way, when I say refined, I really mean *refined* - hearing these little speakers perform has given me listening pleasure far beyond what I expected; the music coming through these speakers is so realistic, lively and vivid, it puts many of my more expensive speakers to shame.

Bass is shockingly good - punchy and competent by any standard, but especially given the small driver size - and - never - boomy. Comparing it with my other bookshelf speakers, only my Wharfedale 10.1's and Monitor Audio M2's perform a bit better in terms of a rounded and competent bass, but not by much. Needless to say, if you want bass below 55Hz, a subwoofer is a must with these speakers.

To sum it all up, I would say that despite the obvious shortcomings that come with speakers in this price- and size-class, what makes these speakers so special is that they are so incredibly vivid and engaging in their presentation. There are many other speakers that try to achieve similar presence and realism, but fail - the Polk RTI's for example, which achieve an inferior 'vividness' by emphasizing certain frequency bands. Which is not to say that the Polk RTI's are bad speakers, yet they have nothing on the S30's.
In fact, I've got several pairs of speakers that *should* be much better than the s30's, at least judging by price and size, and to be fair some of them do better in certain, isolated areas, but as far as their performance as a whole is concerned, these other speakers are strangely inferior.

Here's a list of A/B comparisons to some of my other speakers, please take into account that a) these comparisons are completely subjective, b) based on my taste only, and c) this doesn't mean that any of these speakers are 'better' or 'worse', they're just different. When I use the term 'better', I really mean more suited to my personal taste.

S30's vs HSU-MKII:
While the HSUs are project a somewhat larger soundstage, the S30's trounce them with sheer realism and vividness. Compared to the S30's the HSUs are not as engaging. While the HSUs are definitely lively, the S30's simply sound better, and more balanced. This is a very close contest though, and for home-theater use I would still prefer the HSUs for their phenomenal imaging and staging abilities.

S30's vs Monitor Audio M2:
Compared to the S30's the M2's sound almost sterile, and somewhat lifeless. On the other hand, that's exactly what monitor speakers are supposed to do - reproduce whatever recording is played on them without any discernible tonal coloration. I do prefer the S30's over the M2's for listening though, simply because they 'draw me into the music' more.

S30's vs Pioneer SP-BS41-LR 2:
The Pioneers shine with deeper more engaging bass, however the mids and highs on the S30's simply outshine the Pioneers. Very close call though, the Pioneers are excellent speakers that really shine in almost any situation. For people looking for Wharfedale Diamond 10.1's and not being able to find them, buy the Pioneers, which sound very similar to the Wharfedales.

S30's vs Wharfedale Diamond 10.1:
This is somewhat closer, the Wharfedales have better bass and are beautifully rounded, the S30's have an edge due to their engaging vividness. Overall though the Wharfedales are the better, more sophisticated speaker. At very high volumes the S30's will begin to show some strain, even though they don't loose control - the Wharfedales though remain beautifully composed and unconstrained at higher volume levels.

S30's vs Behringer Truth 2030p:
Again no contest, the Behringers, which sound similar to the Monitor Audio M2's, appear sterile and lifeless compared to the S30's.

S30's vs Polk RTI A1:
Where the S30's present a clear, vivid and realistic sound, the Polk's sound artificial, simple as that. There is such a thing as the 'Polk Sound' and a lot of people like it very much, I'm just not one of them. I would encourage any budding audiophile to give the Polk RTI A1/A3 series a listen and make his or her own judgement, Polk speakers are very easy to find in most big-box electronic stores, and they are well worth the money.

S30's vs Ascend Acoustics CBM-170se:
The Ascends, while reaching higher and deeper, can not touch the S30's in terms of presentation; they sound similar to the Behringers and Monitor Audio M2's.

Bottom Line:
Every once in a while some clever, ingenious company will come up with a clever, ingenious product that far exceeds its monetary value; this is definitely one of those products. If you're looking for some exceptional bookshelf speakers, you found them.
Comment Comments (15) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 30, 2013 12:08 PM PDT


Panasonic VIERA TC-L32U3 32-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV
Panasonic VIERA TC-L32U3 32-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV

51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great TV and Yeah - it absolutely works with a PC, April 30, 2011
This TV hooked up to my PC's HDMI port without problems, and produces a crystal-clear, sharp picture. For people complaining about 'halos' around screen fonts etc., turn down the 'sharpness' setting in the picture settings. If you have overscan issues and the edges of the screen appear cut off, switch to 'HDMI2' mode in the settings and your screen will display properly.
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 26, 2012 9:54 AM PDT


Monitor Audio - Silver Series 6 - Floorstanding Speaker - Each - Black Oak
Monitor Audio - Silver Series 6 - Floorstanding Speaker - Each - Black Oak

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value for the money., April 10, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These speakers are fantastic. Once they're properly broken in, they're neither warm or bright, but rather dead neutral, and will only reproduce what's actually recorded without any discernible tonal colouration. Properly positioned, they throw a wide sound-stage and image very well. No matter what I throw at them, classic, pop, metal or jazz, these speakers handle everything flawlessly, and are a true joy to listen to.

Upper Frequencies:

I'm very impressed with the gold-anodised tweeters, they're more detailed than your average dome tweeter, yet not bright or fatiguing; usually more detail in the upper frequency band means much brighter and often fatiguing sound, but this is clearly not the case with these speakers. I've noticed some people complain about the Monitor Audio speakers being bright, speaking for myself I didn't notice any harsh upper frequencies, but the alleged brightness might be a break-in issue. The highs on this speaker are crisp, and never fatiguing. I do run these speakers on a tumbe amp though, if you use a solid state amp your milage may vary.

Mids:

The midrange is exactly what it's supposed to be: Lots of dynamic headroom, and lush sound all around. The sound pressure levels emitted from these speakers is enormous, and will put a smile on every budget audiophile's face. Instruments seem to 'vibrate' in the air in front of you, and recordings come to live in a grand manner.

Lows:

For many speakers in this class a subwoofer is a must, not so for these. I'm not sure I buy the claimed 42Hz lower frequency limit, seems to me the drivers roll off somewhat higher; nevertheless bass reproduction is outstanding, these babies pack some serious punch for their size, and make enough boom-boom for my taste. Bass is precise and very satisfying, I don't see how one could do very much better with bookshelf speakers.

Other:

The craftsmanship on these speakers is flawless, everything about them screams quality and precision. They're rock solid, sturdy and very well made.

Are these the best speakers ever made? Certainly not, but in the $300-600 price range you'll be hard pressed to find anything better. If you're looking for a 'warmer' sound, also look at the cambridge S-30's which despite their smaller size and price present a more lively and engaging soundstage than the M2's. This isn't to say that the M2's are worse than the S-30's, it's just that the M2's are flatter in response than the S30's which can make them appear somewhat lifeless in direct comparison. However, if you want a flat, uncoloured monitor-like reproduction of your recordings, the M2's are your best bet though.

Note of caution: Be sure to match these speakers with some proper electronics; Yamaha, Sony, Denon etc. receivers will not do these speakers justice as they tend to a:) sound overly bright and/or b:) don't supply the necessary 'ooomph' when matched with quality audiophile-grade speakers. For serious budget audiophile amps look at Marantz, Cambridge, NAD or other class A or A/B amplifiers.

UPDATE:

I've now owned these speakers for close to seven months. Once again I can confirm that speaker break-in is not a Myth; these speakers sounded great to begin with, but after a seven month period of daily use they have opened up and sound even better.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 23, 2012 11:09 AM PST


Pioneer SP-BS41-LR 130 Watt RMS 2-Way Speakers (Pair) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Pioneer SP-BS41-LR 130 Watt RMS 2-Way Speakers (Pair) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entry Level Audiophile Speakers, March 25, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Having read the good reviews on these speakers on this and other sites, I decided to order a pair. For me, these speakers had one distinct purpose - to replace a pair of much-loved Wharfedale Diamonds 10.1's in my garage before the Phoenix Summer Heat cooks 'em to death.
Well, having hooked these speakers up and after a 36 hour break-in period I can say that they far exceed my expectations: These speakers are very neutral, transparent, and just the right bit laid-back, but still with a good amount of 'sparkle'.

High's are somewhat rolled off, but that suits me just fine because they're not fatiguing. There's plenty of enjoyable, sparkling high's coming from the soft dome tweeters.
Mids are crystal clear, if somewhat 'nasal' in the upper mid range, maybe a crossover at 3200Hz instead of 2500Hz would have been produced a fuller midband? Not sure, and it's not a big deal, mids sound great overall and I'm nitpicking here.
Bass is pretty darn phenomenal for a speaker this size, and has to be heard to be believed - very well done.

All in all these Pioneers sound very much like the Wharfedale's they're replacing, but at roughly one third the cost. I do hope the Pioneers will survive the summer heat in my garage, that will be the ultimate test:)

One thing to consider is that all that bass response comes at a price: Reduced speaker sensitivity and impedance, which means you need some good electronics to drive these speakers to sound their best.

Bottom line - I think Pioneer has a winner here, sure - there are certainly better speakers out there, but not at this or twice the price of these. I'm not really a big fan of anything Pioneer, but any company that makes speakers like these at this price point deserves my enthusiastic praise, since they up the competition by bringing the latest audiophile technology and design to a much broader market.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 3, 2012 4:47 PM PDT


Seiko SKA371P1 Stainless Steel Kinetic Dive Watch
Seiko SKA371P1 Stainless Steel Kinetic Dive Watch
Offered by E Watch Stock
Price: $240.00
15 used & new from $240.00

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome value., February 24, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm a bit of a watch enthusiast and have high standards when it comes to anything that I slap on my wrist for daily wear. I spent a lot of time researching this particular model, and finally pulled the trigger. The watch arrived in record time and in perfect shape as expected; when it comes to convenience, quality and reliability Amazon scores really high marks in my book.

This watch is very heavy and quite large, much heavier and larger than comparable models from Seiko such as the SKX007, or the 'Black Monsters', which I also own.I have a large wrist and the watch fits me nicely, but people with a small wrist might want to stay clear of this particular model or run the risk of having their wrists rubbed raw by the sheer heft of this watch. I had to remove one link from the band to size it to my needs. Once adjusted, the watch feels great on my wrist, very comparable to the feel of an Omega Planet Ocean - solid, hefty and confident.
I don't much care for the 'skeleton' type hands, I would have preferred the regular 'solid' type hands. However, given the watches excellent lume, I can clearly read it in the dark, and the visibility is on par with my other Seiko dive watches. Also, I would have preferred the crown to be located at the 4 o'clock position, but that's again a minor issue.
The craftsmanship and finish of this watch is what impresses me most, the finish of the watch is FLAWLESS.
Seiko once again outperforms my expectations, and I'm very happy with this purchase.
The watch is very accurate, and only loses half a second per week, which is phaenomenal for any quartz watch.

A word about Kinetics: Any Kinetic watch with the 5m62xx movement such as this one, will have to have it's battery replaced in about 8-10 years time. The 'Kinetic Storage Unit' in this watch is a Li-Ion battery, and eventually loses the capacity to hold a charge. I really think that the advertising regarding Seiko Kinetics is misleading, many people buy Kinetics under the impression that they will never have to replace any battery, when it's clearly not true.

NOTE OF CAUTION: Unless you're an expert, do not attempt to resize the band yourself, this watch uses the dreaded but very reliable Pin/Collar combination to securely attach the links to each other; it's very easy to loose the very, very small collars, and they're very difficult to replace since they have to be ordered from specialty shops.
You should spare yourself the trouble though and just have it resized at your local jewelers:)

[..]


Seiko Men's SKX779 "Black Monster" Automatic Dive Stainless steel Watch
Seiko Men's SKX779 "Black Monster" Automatic Dive Stainless steel Watch
Offered by GLOBAL TIME
Price: $212.00
5 used & new from $212.00

5.0 out of 5 stars <CLOCKS><MY><WORLD>ONE><TICK><AT><A><TIME>, February 28, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If the Spartan's from the movie '300' would have worn watches, it would have been this one:)

Pro's:
Remarkably accurate (3-6 seconds fast a day).
Super tough and yet elegant design.
Superior workmanship.
Easily readable under any condition.
WOW Effect! - This watch is a real looker, people notice it and ask questions about it.
Low, Low price.

Con's:
Very Heavy, and quite large, this watch is for people who don't mind carrying a huge chunk of metal on their wrist.
Low Power reserve, about 16-22 Hours in my case.
Will make the owner stare at it for lengthy periods of time:)

Summary:

Great watch, Great price! Get one and then go out and buy another one for your best friend, he will appreciate it:)


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