Thursday, May 19, 2011

Manzanita Audio Solutions at Lone Star Audio Fest

These unusually large "stand-mounted" speakers are from Manzanita Audio Solutions and use a simple and retro approach to create big sound for a modest price. All three of the models offered by MAS are open baffle designs and are designed to be powered by modest, unassuming amplification. Based around such drivers as a 12" treated paper cone woofer and a 3.5" paper mid/tweeter (both with Faraday rings), the Manzanitas can hit 37 Hz and throw up a wide, detailed soundstage. While two of the models only offer 82.5 dB sensitivity, MAS says they can be powered with as little as 25 watts per channel. A High Efficiency model, pictured at the top, offers a 97 dB efficiency that's a perfect match for SETs.

While the frames around the edges may look unfinished in the pictures, the Manzanita baffles are actually constructed with nine layers of New Zealand Radiata knot-free Pine and shaped by a CNC. They, as well as the rest of the cabinets, can be sanded and stained to order.

Best of all, the Manzanitas start at just $987 a pair (the High Efficiency model runs $2750 a pair) and have a full one-year warranty. While I think I would prefer to see a floorstanding model--the big Manzanitas on those skinny bases looked very top-heavy--I was very impressed with the overall sound. You can contact MAS at 830-895-0594 or email them at

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