FrontRunners: Salon Culture

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The Massachusetts-based boutique speaker company Revel kept its original Salon speaker unchanged for eight years while it waited for significant technological improvements to emerge. The wait clearly was worth it, for the new Revel Ultima Salon2 ( displays extraordinary engineering. The speaker, priced at $22,000 per pair, features a tweeter made from beryllium, an exceptionally light and stiff metal that yields a detailed, dynamic sound. Three titanium-coned woofers provide intense yet tuneful bass. . . . Personal music players tend to have plenty of options, but the sound quality often disappoints. However, Denmark’s Bang & Olufsen focused on quality rather than quantity while designing its $600 Beosound 6 MP3 player ( The compact, stainless steel device offers a clutter-free navigation system, while the speakers generate almost no noise, and the padded earphones cover the ears solidly but comfortably. . .  In the case of the BeoVision 8 flat-panel television, a desire to improve audio performance led Bang & Olufsen chief designer David Lewis to an entirely new visual aesthetic. The TV sits atop a protruding “stage” that holds two front-mounted speakers and a downward-facing, 4-inch woofer. The unusual arrangement produces what is surely the fullest sound ever heard from a 32-inch flat-panel TV. Columns on each side of the screen evoke theater curtains. Ultimately, the TV’s unique appearance may attract even more attention than the images it displays.

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