NHT (Now Hear This) speakers have been audiophile favorites for going on 23 years. I loved the original SuperZero, SuperTwo, Model 3.3, and Evolution speaker systems; each was in its own way a classic design.
The new SuperZero 2.0 is an update, rather than a replica of, the original SuperZero. The new, shiny black laminated speaker is an understated jewel, but the SuperZero 2.0's price tag is $99 vs. $125 for the original model. NHT now sells speakers through dealers and factory-direct.
I recently heard the SuperZero 2.0, and the sound was vivid, with a lot of soul. Bass seems full, but buyers craving maximum bass power should consider adding NHT's new Super 8, 8-inch subwoofer ($349), which is designed to turn the SuperZero 2.0 into a full-range system with response extending to below 40 Hertz. With the Super 8 and five SuperZero 2.0s you'd have a complete 5.1 satellite-subwoofer system for under $850, which is 30 percent less expensive than the equivalent NHT system would have cost in 1994.
The company claims the new speaker offers higher power handling, lower distortion, improved detail and better off-axis response than the original version. The speaker features a new 4.5-inch pulp cone woofer and a new 1 inch silk dome tweeter, both drivers are fitted to a sealed enclosure that measures a compact 9 by 5 by 5.5 inches.
The SuperZero 2.0 speakers I heard in New York were played with a Sherwood RX-4503, 100-watt stereo receiver that NHT sells on its Web site for just $129. Hook up your iPod to the Sherwood and a pair of SuperTwo 2.0s, and you'd have a killer hi-fi for $327. You can also use the receiver in a stereo home theater, and if you miss surround sound, switch on the RX-4503's Dolby Virtual Surround (from two speakers) or Dolby Headphone processing for a surround effect over standard stereo headphones.
The SuperZero 2.0 will start shipping in early November, the Super 8 sub in early 2011. The Sherwood RX-4503 receiver is available now.