Review: Snell LCR7 XL Bookshelf Speaker

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Snell LCR X7

Performance-wise, these $6,000-per-pair bookshelf speakers are tops with a clear high end and nearly limitless power handling.


Jul. 06, 2009 — by Audioholics.com

The LCR7 XL is one of Snell’s premier speakers that features a design by Snell Chief Engineer Joe D’Appolito memorializing the 30th anniversary of Snell Acoustics. Using a D’Appolito array (or Mid-Tweet-Mid, MTM for short, design) and the renown SEAS XL drivers, the LCR7 XL represents the pinnacle of what you can achieve through components and experience.

At $6000 a pair, they certainly seem to be sparing no expense. Performance-wise, they are tops with a fantastically clear high end and nearly limitless power handling. These are speakers you can drive practically until your amp gives out since they seem to have no real upper limit. There is a standard LCR7 version without the driver and crossover upgrades that retails for $2000/pair.

Build Quality
The first impression of the Snell Acoustics LCR7 XL was not as positive as you might think. They were single-boxed encased in a plastic bag with a foam end cap. I much prefer plastic as it actually protects rather than just gives some sort of pseudo-impression of quality. With a speaker like the LCR7 XL, you certainly don’t need to put on airs.

The speakers are only 7” wide and a bit over 8” deep but a whopping 19” tall. You’ll probably recognize these measurements resemble more of a center channel than a bookshelf - and you’d be right. D’Appolito designs are optimized for vertical orientation, but in the right situations, they can also function well horizontally for center channel duties. The LCR designation should give this away as the speaker is designed to be used as a Left, Right, or Center channel.

Underneath the grill you’ll notice the copper highlights of the woofer phase plugs and ring around the tweeter. The front baffle is black and the drivers are inset. The woofers are 5.25” with magnesium cones. The tweeter has a Sonotex dome (a proprietary fabric from SEAS) and a neodymium magnet. As mentioned, the drivers are all manufactured by SEAS, a Norway based driver manufacturer known for some of the highest quality transducers and in business since 1950. If you think Snell is skimping on the drivers, you’re sadly mistaken. These are components of the highest order which is reflected in the retail price of this product.

Setup
I set the LCR XLs about 8 feet apart and 8 feet from my prime listening position. They were wired with Ram Electronics HS series cables and powered by either a Denon AVR-2307CI pushing Seymour AV Ice Block 5001 500 Watt Ice Block Monoblocks or the Emotiva RSP-1/RPA-1 combo. Source was either a Denon DVD-3910 via analogue to the Emotiva combo or HDMI to the Denon or PS3 to the Denon. Digital cabling was provided by Impact Acoustics and analogue by Blue Jeans Cable.

The first thing I do when I set up a pair of speakers is play with positioning. Even before I did any measurements, I knew that the LCR XLs should be placed off axis. Pointed directly at me, the high end of the speakers was piercing and bright. Way too much for my taste. With the speakers off axis, I found the sound much more pleasant and remarkably accurate (I’ll reserve the rest of my comments for the listening section). I ended up with the speakers pointed nearly directly forward with just a slight toe in of maybe 5 degrees. The sweet spot of the LCR XLs was frankly amazing with a very wide but defined center image that could be discerned from a number of seats in my home theater.

Click here to read the full review on Audioholics.com.


Product: Product Name: LCR7 XL

Price: $6000

Performance: 4.5 out of 5

Value: 2 out of 5

Pros:

  • Looks
  • Fantastic high end
  • Ruler flat midrange
  • Build quality

Cons:

  • Grills very difficult to remove, damage edges
  • Pricey
  • Require sub
  • Packaging substandard


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