Speaker pack­ages

( Wiz­ard/Grif­fin/Mer­lin/Thor)

Sound + Image - - News -

Our Speaker Pack­ages of the Year bring to­gether full 5.1-chan­nel sys­tems of speak­ers, in­clud­ing sub­woofer — ob­vi­ously th­ese can be ex­tended for more chan­nels by adding ad­di­tional units of the rear (or pos­si­bly front) speak­ers to meet your needs. We are keen to em­pha­sise the com­plete and ut­ter dif­fer­ence be­tween the kind of cheap ‘home the­atre in a box’ of­fer­ings sold with TVs in chain­stores, and a proper set of speak­ers from a hi-fi man­u­fac­turer like th­ese.

Our win­ning pack­age un­der $5000 makes this point per­fectly. Th­ese are hi-fi loud­speak­ers all — Richter Acous­tics is an Aus­tralian loud­speaker maker es­tab­lished al­most 30 years ago, now with its flag­ship Leg­end Se­ries up to its fifth version, with sig­nif­i­cant re­vi­sions all round. This im­pres­sive 5.1-chan­nel pack­age uses, in all, four mod­els from the Leg­end group to de­liver its im­pres­sive re­sults — stereo Wiz­ard speak­ers in­tended for duty as the front stereo pair ($1899 per pair, and recog­nised in their own right on p55), the Grif­fin cen­tre chan­nel ($599), the Mer­lin book­shelf-sized sur­round speak­ers ($869) and the Thor sub­woofer ($1499). In­di­vid­u­ally they would come to $4866, but as a pack­age they cost $4399.

All of th­ese speak­ers are avail­able in black oak or Jar­rah fin­ish, and all are fit­ted with four gold-plated bind­ing posts suit­able for bi-wiring.

The Thor sub­woofer is also a Se­ries V unit. This is a nice big unit fea­tur­ing a mix of tra­di­tional and mod­ern tech­nol­ogy. Tra­di­tional in that it has gen­er­ous di­men­sions of 500 by 440 by 450mm, but also mod­ern in us­ing a 300W Class-D am­pli­fier offering 82% ef­fi­ciency and low dis­tor­tion, and an Ana­logue De­vices DSP sys­tem for controlling the sig­nal, in­clud­ing offering sep­a­rate home the­atre and mu­sic modes.

The Wiz­ard stereo speak­ers pre­sented an ex­tremely at­trac­tive mu­si­cal per­for­mance (see p55), while the other speak­ers shared the gen­eral tonal char­ac­ter­is­tics, and whether we in­voked home the­atre re­ceiver EQ to do its stuff or not, the sur­round sound imag­ing was highly ef­fec­tive, with good han­dling of a male voice walk­ing around the perime­ter of the room in Dolby Dig­i­tal 5.1, and ex­cel­lent im­pact from the street-gun bat­tle in the movie ‘Heat’. We had a good 140W on tap for each chan­nel, yet at thun­der­ous lev­els the speak­ers re­mained clean and pre­cise and con­trolled, of­ten at thrillingly high lev­els..

The Thor sub­woofer was sim­ply ex­cel­lent, and well bal­anced for the sys­tem at about a third of its to­tal cost. We found its mu­sic mode de­liv­ered a more even re­sponse than the home the­atre mode, so we stuck with that.

The Leg­end Se­ries V speaker sys­tem from Richter pro­vides pound­ingly good home cin­ema, with a great sub­woofer and the sub­tlety for mu­sic too. Win­ner! More info:

www.richter.com.au

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