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NHT SuperZero 2.0: A classic speaker reborn

NHT's sweet little $99 SuperZero 2.0 speaker looks and sounds like a winner.

NHT SuperZero 2.0 and NHT Super 8 subwoofer; they will rock your world NHT

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.

Sherwood RX-4503 stereo receiver Sherwood

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.