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Infinity IL10 review:

Infinity IL10

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The Good Warm yet detailed sound.

The Bad Not the sleekest-looking design.

The Bottom Line Delivers high-end sound for a real-world price.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

7.0 Overall
Infinity's trickle-down technology strategy has endowed the entire Interlude series, including its least-expensive model, the IL10, with a rare level of refinement and quality. There's something altogether special about the way the IL10 so clearly depicts the form and substance of music. This magnetically shielded, medium-sized bookshelf speaker sounds awfully big. Music-only systems in small rooms won't require the services of a subwoofer. But the IL10's affinity for home-theater derring-do clinched the deal for us. Infinity's trickle-down technology strategy has endowed the entire Interlude series, including its least-expensive model, the IL10, with a rare level of refinement and quality. There's something altogether special about the way the IL10 so clearly depicts the form and substance of music. This magnetically shielded, medium-sized bookshelf speaker sounds awfully big. Music-only systems in small rooms won't require the services of a subwoofer. But the IL10's affinity for home-theater derring-do clinched the deal for us.

Engineered to sound great
Infinity went all out and developed its own magnetic and electromechanical modeling programs to predict how the moving parts of a speaker system would perform and interact while playing music. The design engineers then focused on reducing resonances that affect the sound of instruments and voices.

The IL10's 1-inch Ceramic Metal Matrix Diaphragm (CMMD) dome tweeter is a near-identical twin of the oh-so-refined $2,000 Intermezzo 2.6 tweeter. The IL10's 6.5-inch CMMD woofer is inherently damped yet is extremely rigid, which may be the reason it sounds so nice. The IL10's supersolid, 1.5-inch-thick, sculpted front baffle provides a secure foundation for the woofer and tweeter.

The IL10 is a large, handsome bookshelf speaker; we found the review samples' vinyl-wrapped finishes attractive, if not quite the equal of a genuine wood veneer. Oh, well. You can mix and match natural maple, cherry, or black finishes with warm platinum grilles. Burgundy and blue grilles are available for an additional $30. The IL10's gold-plated bi-wire binding posts are equal-opportunity wire wranglers; they accept every type of speaker connection.

Unless you're a fan of bloated bass, you'd better keep the IL10's rear-mounted port at least a foot away from any walls. Actually, the best IL10 setup scenario would include Infinity's metal floor stands, the new $199-per-pair FS-ITM/ILs.

Sounds like...
The IL10s are warm-sounding speakers. Their juicy demeanor seduces rather than attacks your eardrums; they're more Ella Fitzgerald than Britney Spears. The IL10's wide-open imaging is especially nice--the sound never stuck to the cabinets. You can practically see the instruments and voices hanging out in three-dimensional space between the speakers.

We also set a couple IL10s in our home theater, both as front and rear speakers, along with an IL36c center and the awesome IL100s sub. The IL10 speakers were dynamic, full-bodied performers, which blended smoothly with the subwoofer. The Haunting DVD sounded dynamic, superclean, and totally nonfatiguing. The IL10s are also tolerant of the gritty edge heard on older films, such as Taxi Driver and Apocalypse Now.

Judged as either nearly full-range left and right main speakers or as surround speakers, the $400-per-pair IL10 speakers are more than fairly priced. And they certainly perform as well as some high-end speakers that cost double the IL10s' asking price.

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