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NHT SuperPower speaker, a power to be reckoned with?

NHT's best-selling SuperZero speaker has been an audiophile favorite for ages, and now there's a self-powered version with a built-in 90-watt amplifier.

The original NHT SuperZero speaker was an immediate hit with audiophiles when it was introduced in 1993, and the current SuperZero 2.0 ($198 a pair) is still the company's biggest seller.

The NHT SuperPower, on the DeskStand Steve Guttenberg

NHT (Now Hear This) was in New York last week demonstrating its newest creation: the SuperPower speaker ($199 each). It's a near twin of the SuperZero 2.0, but the new one comes with a built-in 90-watt power amplifier. Just hook up the little speakers directly to smartphones, portable media players, tablets, video games, entertainment systems, and, of course, desktop and laptop computers, and bask in the sweet sounds of NHT's latest achievement.

Like its predecessors, the SuperPower features NHT's time-tested 4.5-inch woofer and 1-inch silk dome tweeter. The drivers are acoustically suspended in a sealed box that's immediately recognizable for NHT's sleek black laminate finish. The SuperPower's 10-gauge carbon steel DeskStand ($59 per pair) isolates the speaker from the surface on which it rests, and help the SuperPower deliver an expansive soundfield.

The speaker features a preamp circuit that extends bass extension to 72Hz. Want more bass? Add NHT's Super 8 subwoofer ($299 when purchased with the SuperPower). The tiny 11-inch cube sub features a 110-watt amp and an 8-inch woofer.

When I heard the SuperPower last week the sound was clear and bright, and the imaging was broad and spacious. I liked what I heard, but wished the SuperPower on its own had a bit more warmth and bass fullness. That said, hotel room demonstrations rarely communicate the gear's true potential; the a la carte SuperPowers may be potent enough on their own without a sub. We'll see.