Week 49, 2017: Speakers for 3-D stereo imaging, Cambridge Audio Aeromax and Axiom Audio LFR880 review

Sound Advice

By Don Lindich

Week 49, 2017

Q. I am in college and want to buy speakers that make a realistic 3-D soundfield. Ohm Walsh speakers are outside of my $1,000 budget. What do you recommend?

-R.F., New York, NY

A. As you obviously know, Ohm Walsh speakers are one of the best choices for reach-out-and-touch-it, 3-D sound. If you can stretch your budget, until the end of January 2018 you can save 15% on Ohm stereo speakers with coupon code HNY15, and 20% on home theaters with code HTS20. ohmspeakers.com

It takes unconventional technology to produce convincing 3D sound. Here is one unconventional recommendation that fits your price point, and one you can aspire to someday!

Cambridge Audio Aeromax speakers use a unique driver called a Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) to reproduce all frequencies above 250 Hz. That is almost all audible sound except for the low bass, which is handled by conventional woofers. The BMR drivers look like small flat discs a few inches in diameter. The disc moves back-and-forth like a conventional speaker to reproduce the midrange, while the surface of the disc vibrates to create the treble. It really works, as the Aeromax soundstage is wide, deep and precise. As I listened to orchestral music I could sense ascending rows of performers front to back, left to right. They also created images outside the confines of the speakers.

Great imaging is nothing without great sound, and Aeromax satisfies here as well. They have tight, solid bass, a rich, pleasant midrange and open and effortless vocal reproduction. They sound good with all musical genres but if you like jazz or big-band music, these speakers are one of the hottest tickets out there as brass and percussion are especially well-rendered and realistic.

Cambridge Audio Aeromax speakers are absolute gems that more people need to know about, given their imaging capabilities and excellent sound. They are also a tremendous value. The Aeromax 6 towers I reviewed are $1,299/pair, and the stand-mounted Aeromax 2 speakers are only $599/pair.

For something spectacular that represents a lifetime investment, consider Axiom Audio’s LFR880 Omnidirectional Speakers. These unique, technologically advanced speakers have separate sets of drivers on front and back, each requiring its own separate, amplified signal. A Digital Sound Processor (DSP) takes the stereo output from your preamplifier and converts it into four signals tailored to create an omnidirectional sound pattern. These signals are then sent to a four-channel amplifier, which drives the speakers. The DSP also makes the speakers’ sonic output even more accurate.

I knew the system would be good, but was unprepared for what I experienced. The Axiom Audio LFR880 system produces a captivating combination of beautiful sound with a huge, holographic soundstage. They effortlessly create big, solid and stable images, the bass is clean, defined and strong, the midrange full and even, and in listening you realize their precision and accuracy. Piano reproduction is some of the best I have ever heard, with fast attack and perfect tonality. The speakers can be subtle if need to be, and if you have a big room and a good recording you can reproduce the power and majesty of an orchestra.

A combo with the LFR880 speakers, the DSP and a 4-channel Axiom ADA1000 amplifier is $5,380. This may sound expensive, but given their performance it represents a bargain in the world of high-end audio.

Television soundbar savings: If you have trouble understanding television dialogue and missed it the first time around, ZVOX has re-activated their promotional pricing until year-end. The AV200 AccuVoiceTV Speaker is $199, and the SB380 soundbar is only $249. zvoxaudio.com