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Wave Crest Audio HVL-1​
By Jim Wilson (theJman)



There seems to be a renascence of value in the speaker market; I know of three different sets currently sold that are inexpensive, yet not cheap when it comes to sound quality. I've been fortunate enough to review two of those three, and I couldn't be happier about it. The Wave Crest Audio HVL-1 are the newest to catch my attention, and don't be at all surprised if they become very popular. They're pretty generic looks wise, but man do these things sound amazing. Were I blindfolded and forced to guess their price I would have speculated they cost about twice what they do. Smooth, balanced and poised the HVL-1's should be prized by every audiophile on a budget. Virtually impervious to volume, and capable of producing incredible nuances, these speakers are a true bargain.


For the full review Click Here
 

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Why no pictures of the individual drivers, and inside of the cabinet?
That would have been nice to see.
 

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Why no pictures of the individual drivers, and inside of the cabinet?
That would have been nice to see.
To quote from the review...

I was unable to verify their claim that the cabinet is made from 5/8" MDF though; the material used to seal the midrange to the front panel was pretty strong. Couple that with an extremely tight tolerance between the drivers frame and the panel cutout and I feared some damage might occur if I kept trying to pry it out, so I opted for discretion instead (due to that, there are also none of my customary driver and inside cabinet pictures for this review).

;)
 

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To quote from the review...

I was unable to verify their claim that the cabinet is made from 5/8" MDF though; the material used to seal the midrange to the front panel was pretty strong. Couple that with an extremely tight tolerance between the drivers frame and the panel cutout and I feared some damage might occur if I kept trying to pry it out, so I opted for discretion instead (due to that, there are also none of my customary driver and inside cabinet pictures for this review).;)
Thanks - I skipped over that part.
 

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Great read as per usual Jim!! I guess I like generic looking speakers 'cause I kind of like the look. Doesn't look "cheap" per say. Fit and finish seems good from the pics.

Keep it up, we appreciate the work you put in!

cheers
 

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Jim,

Thank you very much for the review.

For those of you with any questions, I will try answering them in a timely manner.

And for those wishing to order, use the discount code "jman" and you will receive 15% off of your order.

-curtis
Wave Crest Audio
 

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Great write up Jim. Wish I had time to listen to more speakers, the wife is glad I don't:). I always like reading the reviews but will most likely stick with my Klipsch setup as I like all my speakers outside of the sub to match. I have some Energy speakers I use at work. Great to hear you could help out someone with your extra gear also. Maybe we could have a donation list or something like that I'm sure we all have stuff we don't need or use,but how to make it work could be a nightmare.
 

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Great read as per usual Jim!! I guess I like generic looking speakers 'cause I kind of like the look. Doesn't look "cheap" per say. Fit and finish seems good from the pics.

Keep it up, we appreciate the work you put in!
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoy the reviews. Comments like yours make the effort worthwhile.

I don't think the HVL-1's look cheap, just a bit generic. But that's the MO on the 3 value speakers I alluded to; spend the money to make them sound good. I'm definitely fine with that.

Regarding the fit and finish... the midrange was so stinkin' tight I wasn't able to get the thing out! I have no issue with how these things were put together.
 

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JiAnd for those wishing to order, use the discount code "jman" and you will receive 15% off of your order.
I've hit the big time - I'm a discount code now! :D
 

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Great review as always Jim. I may pick these up soon and I don't need any speakers, but your excitement got me well excited too.:D
For the record, Joe (afterlife2) is the one who sent me the Fiona Apple CD. Now everyone knows who you are my friend! :T
 

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Excellent review and discussion of Music from a fellow Animals lover, Pink Floyd's version of course.
I am glad to read the entire layout in way of a subjective set of findings with reasons and some further discussions.

Thank You, I look forward to more. :clap:
 

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Nice review Jman.

I had the HVL-1 for almost a month, and did some A/B comparisons with Mordaunt Short Aviano 1 and Cambridge Audio S30. Here are my thoughts on the comparisons:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1481164/b...t-hvl-1-mordaunt-short-aviano-1-htd-level-two

Some points of your review I really agree with - on the plus side, I found the midrange to be very nice as well. On the negative, I also thought the cabinet was a bit lightweight and hollow sounding, and could've benefited from thicker walls.

Interestingly, I found the tweeter to be a bit lacking in refinement - not sibilant per se, but not as smooth as better tweeters I've heard. On some material, the I thought speaker came off as a little edgy and bright, due to both both the tweeter and to the leanness on the low end. While the quality of the bass from the HVL-1 was good, I thought the S30 clearly had better bass - more punch, but no less tuneful.

Regarding my criticisms of the HVL-1 - keep in mind, when I did the comparisons, I was nitpicking. All in all, it's a very nice speaker for the price... right up there with the Cambridge S30 in that price range. The Boston Acoustics A25 at refurb pricing (I think it was around $160-170 per pair) is also a bargain, although I liked the Kortec tweeter in the A25 less than those in the HVL-1 and S30, so to me, the small extra cost would be worth it.

I now have the Arx A1b, and am pretty impressed with them. I'm curious how the HVL-1 and Arx would stack up if I A/B compared them directly... but other than the low sensitivity, I have not had any obvious gripes with the A1b for the money... so I have to think I would prefer them.
 

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I now have the Arx A1b, and am pretty impressed with them. I'm curious how the HVL-1 and Arx would stack up if I A/B compared them directly... but other than the low sensitivity, I have not had any obvious gripes with the A1b for the money... so I have to think I would prefer them.
I think the jman has reviewed both speakers........maybe he could care to comment?
 

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Nice review Jman.

I had the HVL-1 for almost a month, and did some A/B comparisons with Mordaunt Short Aviano 1 and Cambridge Audio S30. Here are my thoughts on the comparisons:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1481164/b...t-hvl-1-mordaunt-short-aviano-1-htd-level-two

Some points of your review I really agree with - on the plus side, I found the midrange to be very nice as well. On the negative, I also thought the cabinet was a bit lightweight and hollow sounding, and could've benefited from thicker walls.

Interestingly, I found the tweeter to be a bit lacking in refinement - not sibilant per se, but not as smooth as better tweeters I've heard. On some material, the I thought speaker came off as a little edgy and bright, due to both both the tweeter and to the leanness on the low end. While the quality of the bass from the HVL-1 was good, I thought the S30 clearly had better bass - more punch, but no less tuneful.

Regarding my criticisms of the HVL-1 - keep in mind, when I did the comparisons, I was nitpicking. All in all, it's a very nice speaker for the price... right up there with the Cambridge S30 in that price range. The Boston Acoustics A25 at refurb pricing (I think it was around $160-170 per pair) is also a bargain, although I liked the Kortec tweeter in the A25 less than those in the HVL-1 and S30, so to me, the small extra cost would be worth it.

I now have the Arx A1b, and am pretty impressed with them. I'm curious how the HVL-1 and Arx would stack up if I A/B compared them directly... but other than the low sensitivity, I have not had any obvious gripes with the A1b for the money... so I have to think I would prefer them.
Your review was very nicely done. It's obvious you took quite a bit of time to go through all of those speakers, something I can certainly sympathize with. :D

The S30's 4.5" midrange it a bit too small for my needs, but I had been keeping my eye on the SX-50 and SX-60. On Black Friday I found a pretty good deal on the SX-50's so I bought some. First pair came in damaged though, so I had to get them swapped. The replacements got here a few days ago, but I haven't had the chance to even hook them up yet.

The A1b's are very familiar to me - I actually reviewed those - so I do understand why you like them. They're also an excellent value, and are actually one of the three sets of inexpensive speakers I alluded to in my HVL-1 review.
 

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I think the jman has reviewed both speakers........maybe he could care to comment?
Guess we were typing at the same time... ;)

From my perspective, I would give the edge in the tweeter department to the Arx. That planar is very sweet sounding. Midrange is a toss up; the driver in the Arx is probably better, but the way the HVL-1 is tuned makes them more similar than dissimilar. Each has a smooth and refined sound, replicating voices with excellent pitch and tone. The PVC wrap on the HVL-1 was better - the Arx had some seams pulling free on the ones I had. The HVL-1 is physically smaller, and the front-firing port is more to my liking. HVL-1 can play loud without breaking up or compressing too much, but the Arx can get just a bit louder.

For people who fancy sound quality both of them are a solid value - to be honest, I don't think you can go wrong either way.
 

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Your review was very nicely done. It's obvious you took quite a bit of time to go through all of those speakers, something I can certainly sympathize with. :D
Thanks.

The S30's 4.5" midrange it a bit too small for my needs, but I had been keeping my eye on the SX-50 and SX-60. On Black Friday I found a pretty good deal on the SX-50's so I bought some. First pair came in damaged though, so I had to get them swapped. The replacements got here a few days ago, but I haven't had the chance to even hook them up yet.
I think Jim Z may have pointed it out, but Cambridge is being modest calling that a 4.5" driver....OR, most other manufacturers are being generous calling their 5.25" woofers 5.25". The S30 woofer measured pretty close to the 5.25" in the NHT Absolute Zero and Energy RC-10 - I posted the actual measurements somewhere at AVS, but don't really remember where.

The SX-50 is the same size cabinet as the S30, so despite the differences in specs, I'd bet the woofers are the same size frame... To be honest, the woofer in the S30 looks like it might be a tiny bit bigger from the images of each speaker, but hard to say.

No doubt the S30 has it's limitations, but I think it would surprise you... Certainly curious how the SX-50 would compare. Shame the pair you ordered was damaged - that's such a letdown when you're waiting so (im)patiently for them to arrive. :D

The A1b's are very familiar to me - I actually reviewed those - so I do understand why you like them. They're also an excellent value, and are actually one of the three sets of inexpensive speakers I alluded to in my HVL-1 review.
I actually read your Arx review awhile back... In all honesty, it played a part in me considering those speakers again. There are a few Arx owners than are a bit overbearing in their support of the brand (to put it nicely), and it really turned me off to the brand for awhile. I am glad I gave them a shot though. No, the A1b is not my "perfect" speaker, but it is a good one for the price.
 

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The S30's 4.5" midrange it a bit too small for my needs, but I had been keeping my eye on the SX-50 and SX-60. On Black Friday I found a pretty good deal on the SX-50's so I bought some. First pair came in damaged though, so I had to get them swapped. The replacements got here a few days ago, but I haven't had the chance to even hook them up yet.
The S30 and SX50 cabinets are about the same width - both alphaiii and I have
measured the S30 woofer - it is not the average size 4-1/2 woofer >> it really is
on the 5 inch side - Cambridge was modest on their measurements >> and also,
the SX50 has a lighter weight cabinet. You may get 1/4 inch more woofer with the
new Cambridge SX50, along with a lighter weight cabinet.
 

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Guess we were typing at the same time... ;)

From my perspective, I would give the edge in the tweeter department to the Arx. That planar is very sweet sounding. Midrange is a toss up; the driver in the Arx is probably better, but the way the HVL-1 is tuned makes them more similar than dissimilar. Each has a smooth and refined sound, replicating voices with excellent pitch and tone. The PVC wrap on the HVL-1 was better - the Arx had some seams pulling free on the ones I had. The HVL-1 is physically smaller, and the front-firing port is more to my liking. HVL-1 can play loud without breaking up or compressing too much, but the Arx can get just a bit louder.

For people who fancy sound quality both of them are a solid value - to be honest, I don't think you can go wrong either way.
Agreed, they both have a nice midrange. You know, one other thing I appreciate about both of these speakers is the lack of upper bass boom and low-midrange coloration.

Yes, the HVL-1 sounded a bit lean to me, but I would prefer than over it making male voices sound kinda boomy, and muddying up the low midrange (exactly my gripe with the Mordaunt Aviano 1 in the comparison thread I linked).

I moved to a new house between owning the HVL-1 and A1b, but based on the speakers that made the trip with me (Wharfedale Jade 1), the new living room doesn't provide as much low end reinforcement (slightly larger room, ceilings about 2ft higher, and speakers placed further from the corner, which in this case, also has an open doorway). Despite this, I don't find the A1b lean, so I suspect it either extends a bit lower, has a bit more output down low, or both. Either way, I still find it articulate and lacking in boom or coloration.

Regarding the fit/finish - while the HVL-1 is about as plain Jane as they come, at least there was no sign of unevenly applied or peeling vinyl. With the Arx line, it seems that peeling corners aren't a rare occurrence, and one of mine has some bubbling of the vinyl near the driver cutouts. Add to it that the faux black ash is one of the more generic I've seen, and I do have to say the fit/finish is adequate at best, IMO. I would like to at least seem them improve on the application/durability of it, as I can live with the plain looks. Still, I can't argue with the sound or the parts quality.
 

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The S30 and SX50 cabinets are about the same width - both alphaiii and I have
measured the S30 woofer - it is not the average size 4-1/2 woofer >> it really is
on the 5 inch side - Cambridge was modest on their measurements >> and also,
the SX50 has a lighter weight cabinet. You may get 1/4 inch more woofer with the
new Cambridge SX50, along with a lighter weight cabinet.
I'm not even sure the SX50 has a larger woofer. Given that the cabinets are the same width, the new woofer may even be a tiny bit smaller.... hard to tell with that wider black trim around it.
 
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