Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

To Doug Schneider,

I am looking for high-end audio systems based on active powered speakers for a 7.2 system in a 25’ x 20’ x 9’ space. Not only for theoretical reasons, but also for space and aesthetic reasons, I thought one would naturally favor systems which have amplifiers and subwoofers built into the front speakers. But I have not been able to find such speakers. In other words, I would have bought on the spot the Vandersteen 5A if it was fully active as it already has a subwoofer built in, or B&W if they built an amplifier and subwoofer into the 800D. By doing that, we eliminate amplifiers, subwoofers and thick cables, which are eyesores.

By the way, I need in-ceiling rear and side speakers because of a grand piano in one corner and furniture in another. Amazingly, despite what I consider the commonsense approach, I have not been able to find such systems. I would appreciate your advice. Thank you.

Desperately yours,

You bring up some very good points. First of all, active speaker systems do make a lot of sense, not only for aesthetics, but performance as well. The problem is that audiophiles haven’t been that accepting of them for a variety of reasons, none of which has to do with performance or commonsense. As a result, although you can find active speakers if you look hard enough, they aren’t as prevalent in the market as passive ones.

In-ceiling and in-wall speakers are a different story -- they’re extremely popular and many manufacturers make them, so they’re quite easy to find. The brands I’d look to for these products are Paradigm, PSB, Pioneer and Revel. Although there are many more companies besides these, the offerings from these four are excellent. . . . Doug Schneider