Forget the flashing lights – it’s the sound that counts
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
Roth OLi POWA-5
Roth’s contender more than makes up for its looks with rich, detailed sound.