Sound Qual­ity

For­get the flash­ing lights – it’s the sound that counts

Mac Format - - RATED | KIT -

Even though the Cre­ative’s T30 Wire­less are the least ex­pen­sive speak­ers on test, they nonethe­less pack a vol­ume punch when it comes to gam­ing. Mean­while, mu­sic benefits from clear mid­tones and higher fre­quen­cies. The bass is weaker, though, and sounds a lit­tle muf­fled on tracks where it should be tight and punchy.

Wharfedale’s DS-1 of­fered the sec­ond cheap­est speak­ers in the group, and it pro­duces firmer bass and a warm, nat­u­ral sound that works well with acous­tic tracks. How­ever, their 14W out­put is rather mod­est, and they sim­ply don’t have the sheer mus­cle needed for louder dance or rock tracks.

Edifier’s Luna Eclipse, on the other hand, pumped out 74W that made grind­ing gui­tar so­los, for in­stance, feel al­most painful at times. Th­ese speak­ers are cer­tainly not sub­tle, but if it’s power you want then the Luna Eclipse packs a real punch for £150.

De­spite their mod­est size, Au­dio­engine’s com­pact A2+ speak­ers pro­duce a warm, ex­pan­sive sound, backed up by an un­ex­pected beefy 60W out­put. Re­mem­ber, there’s no Blue­tooth, but the USB in­put will ap­peal to purists who un­der­stand and ap­pre­ci­ate the work­ings of DACs (dig­i­tal to ana­logue con­vert­ers).

The Har­man Kar­don Nova speak­ers look great, and they sound great too – within a cer­tain range, any­way. We found that the sound be­came a lit­tle indis­tinct at lower vol­umes, and you may need to raise the vol­ume to bring out the de­tail in any tracks that have more lay­ered ar­range­ments, for in­stance.

Fi­nally, if you don’t care about flashy de­sign then the Roth OLi POWA-5 is an out­stand­ing choice. You'll no­tice they need plenty of desk space, but they sound re­ally great, pro­duc­ing a rich, de­tailed sound and taut, firm bass that worked well for rock, dance and acous­tic tracks. And with a 80W out­put they can def­i­nitely hold their own at par­ties too.

Har­man Kar­don Nova


£220 har­mankar­

Roth OLi POWA-5


£225 rothau­

Wharfedale DS-1



Roth’s con­tender more than makes up for its looks with rich, de­tailed sound.

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