As you all know, someone would have to be completely deaf not to hear the enormously loud word-of-mouth for SVS subwoofers. A product has to be good in order to develop the sort of cult following (people who will instantly rush to the defense of the product when its detractors speak) without massive marketing campaigns, etc. SVS subwoofers provide everything anyone could ask for in the realm of bass - tightness and definition, deafeningly loud levels, and near bottomless extension, with exceptionally low distortion. The accolades and loyal customer following SVS products have acquired are no doubt very much deserved. It was only a matter of time before someone asked the question, "when will SVS begin to make speakers?" In typical SVS fashion, the reply came quickly and from one of the company's founders - SVS will someday stand for Stimpson-Vodhanel Speakers, instead of just Subwoofers. Instantly, there were shouts of praise and "I'll bet SVS Speakers become the best speakers in the world!" from the SVS supporters. But I have to wonder whether SV Speakers will ever really live up to the hype that surrounds them. The world of speakers is a very different world from the world of subwoofers, and there are very different considerations. It is easy to make a good subwoofer, because there are a definite set of characteristics that people ascribe to a truly good subwoofer. It will have good bass extension. It will be able to provide pants-flapping, hair-waving output levels in a room up to and including a certain reasonable size. It will track the signal accurately, without boom or overhang. Total harmonic distortion will be low, and frequency response through its operating range will be maximally flat. It would help if it wasn't huge, either. If you can design a subwoofer that can do all these things and not break the bank, it's going to do very well in the market. SVS has done all these things, and as a result their product line has become a hit. It is true that some of these ideal characteristics can be applied to designing speakers. It would be nice if the speaker had a flat frequenct response. It would be nice if the bass wasn't boomy, and the treble didn't ring. It would be nice if the speaker didn't distort the audio signal too badly. It should be able to play loud. The thing is that there is a less definite formula for achieving all of these ends. You first have to decide whether you want your speaker to be a two-way or a three-way, or perhaps a two-and-a-half-way. A two-way is simpler but you can't use an appropriately large midbass driver for bass all the time because the midbass driver has to be small enough not to be beamy through the upper end of its range. Or you could cross over a little lower and use a tweeter with a lower resonant frequency. But the tweeter needs to have a diaphragm with low enough mass to be able to have high frequency extension without a supertweeter, in which case the speaker would become a three-way. Also, when you lower the crossover point to the tweeter, you lower the power handling in the treble. This is generally negligible untill you start talking 200 or 300 watt amplifiers because a very small amount of the amplifier's power is actually needed for the treble. The vast majority is necessary for the bass (which is why subwoofers have massively powerful amplifiers). The midbass driver is usually the limiting factor in power handling, unless a really marginal tweeter is used or unless the amplifier is driven into clipping (or both). A bigger voice coil can be used, and a bigger magnet, but these things increase price and affect transient decay characteristics. In the subwoofer range, slight deviations in transient decay characteristics are much more obvious (sometimes brutally so), and they contribute to what is called the voicing of the speaker. SVS has developed subwoofers that are extremeny accurate through their bass range but even with the wide array of considerations involved in building subwoofers, there are still others added on to that when you move into full-range speakers. Cone materials change the sound. Kevlar, aluminum, polypropylene, aerogel, woven carbon fiber, solid graphite, paper, wood pulp, solid wood, etc. have their own properties of sound transmission through the diaphragm material itself. Then the damping of the cone's edge becomes an issue, to prevent the sound from traveling back to the center of the cone and causing distortion. Diaphragm mass needs to be kept low, and the power of the motor structure will also play a part in transient accuracy. That's assuming you even use dynamic drivers for the midrange and the treble. Planar ribbon drivers are another option, one that has been widely embraced by a company called Veritone Minimum Phase Speakers (VMPS) which I mentioned before in the "Speakers dat don't get no love" thread. VMPS uses a driver built by a company called Level 9. This planar transducer is also found in the highest model of computer speakers made by Monsoon, but the driver is of such special capability that VMPS found it to be superior to every other planar midrange available, which is why they use it. The planar midrange extends cleanly and smoothly down to 166 Hz, and a similar driver would be an option for SVS, even if they decide to use the ones made by Bohlender-Graebner, as Martin-Logan does. (The ATF transducers are actually the Neo8 and Neo3 drivers by Bohlender-Graebner.) That's just a small sampling of what considerations SVS would have to make in designing a full-range speaker. And furthermore, because sound-affecting imperfections in drivers become more and more apparent as the drivers are called upon to reproduce a higher-and-higher portion of the audio spectrum, it is inevitable that whatever speaker SVS produces, it will have a voice of some sort. The tradeoffs that speaker designers make will have a greater effect on the speaker's overall sound. The thing is that everyone will prefer different voicings that come from different sets of tradeoffs that the designers made. That's why we home theater fans haven't whittled all the speaker manufacturers in the world down to a select two or three that we can conclusively say provide the 'best' performance, or even all subjectively agree is the 'best' like we have in the world of subwoofers. Even if SVS manages to water down their speakers' sound as much as possible in order to escape their 'voice', even by doing that they will have simply given their speakers a different voice. (Just like how when people say that there is no such thing as religious truth, they have just stated what is, for themselves, a religious truth, one they live their life by. I guess one could say that a speaker's 'voice' is like their religion.) That is why I say that SVS Speakers won't be as earth-shattering in the world of loudspeakers as SVS subwoofers have been in the world of subwoofers. And if our hearing in the bass range was just as good as it was in the upper ranges that a full-range speaker must produce, then we'd probably be a lot more hesitant to buy a subwoofer we've never heard, just from word-of-mouth. Flame Suit [ON] I should be a columnist in an audio magazine.