What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Buyer's Guide Best Buys -

KEF Egg £350

Awards 2016 Our 2015 Best Desk­top Speaker Over £200 have a dis­tinc­tive de­sign and flex­i­ble con­nec­tiv­ity – and a stun­ning, con­sis­tent per­for­mance. Size (hwd) 27 x 13 x 17cm Pow­ered Yes Fin­ishes 3

Ruark Au­dio MR1 Mk2 £330

Best desk­top speaker, Awards 2017 Gor­geous retro de­sign and su­perb sound make the Mk2s an up­date that man­ages to be even more ap­peal­ing than its pre­de­ces­sor. Size (hwd) 17 x 13 x 14cm Pow­ered Yes Fin­ishes 1

Tan­noy Eclipse 3 £300

Best floor­stander un­der £400, Awards 2017 A speaker that’s easy to set up and part­ner, this is the most tal­ented bud­get floor­stander we’ve heard in years. Size (hwd) 96 x 27 x 29cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 1

Fyne Au­dio F302 £400

July 2018 The su­perla­tive F302s’ full-bod­ied pre­sen­ta­tion and low-end pres­ence make this an­other easy rec­om­men­da­tion for this brand. Size (hwd) 93 x 19 x 27cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 3

Q Acous­tics 3050 £470

Best floor­stander £400-£800, Awards 2017 An­other 2015 Award-win­ner, and no won­der. The pow­er­ful 3050s are so tal­ented, they give speak­ers closer to £1000 a run for their money. Size (hwd) 100 x 20 x 30cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 5

Dali Zen­sor 5 AX £800

April 2017 An ex­cel­lent, con­ve­nient ‘sim­ply-add-source’ pair of speak­ers. You’ll need to be care­ful with part­ner­ing to get the best from them though. Size (hwd) 83 x 16 x 28cm Bi-wire Yes Fin­ishes 3

B&W 683 S2 £1150

Oc­to­ber 2014 Tremen­dously tal­ented speak­ers. We’re im­pressed by their power, scale and del­i­cacy – they’re won­der­fully ver­sa­tile per­form­ers. Size (hwd) 99 x 19 x 36cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 2

Fyne Au­dio F501 £1200

June 2018 An­other thrillingly ac­com­plished ef­fort from Fyne. Part­ner them well and they’ll de­liver a de­tailed, re­veal­ing and con­fi­dent sound. Size (hwd) 98 x 20 x 32cm Bi-wire Yes Fin­ishes 2

Mon­i­tor Au­dio Sil­ver 200 £1000

Best floor­stander £800-£1200, Awards 2017 The lat­est gen­er­a­tion of Sil­ver speak­ers bring a sense of fun that was lack­ing in pre­vi­ous ef­forts. They are great all-round per­form­ers. Size (hwd) 88 x 16 x 24cm Bi-wire Yes Fin­ishes 6

Neat Iota Al­pha £1385

Best floor­stander £1200-£2000, Awards 2017 If you want fuss-free floor­standers that don’t dom­i­nate the room, then there are few bet­ter al­ter­na­tives than this en­ter­tain­ing ef­fort from Neat. Size (hwd) 45 x 20 x 16cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 4

PMC Twenty5.23 £2970

Awards 2016 PMC has cre­ated a ter­rific pair of floor­stand­ing speak­ers. Match them with a suit­ably tal­ented sys­tem and they will sing. Size (hwd) 91 x 16 x 33cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 4

Spen­dor A4 £2195

Best floor­standers £2000+, Awards 2017 The A4s com­bine Spen­dor’s tra­di­tional strengths with a generous dose of en­ter­tain­ment. At this price, they’re one of the few we’d rec­om­mend. Size (hwd) 83 x 17 x 28cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 3

Q Acous­tics Con­cept 500 £4000

Jan­uary 2018 One of the most im­pres­sive high-end speak­ers we’ve heard in re­cent years, these of­fer in­sight, great bass and wide-rang­ing dy­nam­ics. Size (hwd) 115 x 40 x 35cm Bi-wire Yes Fin­ishes 2

Spen­dor D7 £3500

Fe­bru­ary 2014 When it comes to in­sight and pre­ci­sion, these un­fussy floor­standers set the stan­dard at this price. They de­liver a huge sound for their size. Size (hwd) 95 x 20 x 32cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 6

Sonus Faber Venere S £4800

March 2017 There are more an­a­lyt­i­cal al­ter­na­tives avail­able, but there are few that de­liver mu­sic in such an ap­peal­ing man­ner. Im­pres­sively mu­si­cal. Size (hwd) 124 x 39 x 48cm Bi-wire Yes Fin­ishes 3

ATC SCM40A £6280

April 2014 The price looks steep but fac­tor in built-in am­pli­fi­ca­tion and ex­cep­tional sound, and the SCM40AS emerge as some­thing of a high-end bar­gain. Size (hwd) 98 x 37 x 34cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 2 Pow­ered Yes

PMC Twenty 26 £5750

Novem­ber 2014 This range of speak­ers hardly puts a foot wrong. Here, it’s the in­sight­ful yet re­fined bal­ance and im­pres­sive lev­els of de­tail that win the day. Size (hwd) 109 x 19 x 44cm Bi-wire Yes Fin­ishes 4

Tan­noy Kens­ing­ton GR £9950

Au­gust 2015 Along with that tra­di­tional ap­pear­ance comes real sub­stance. These are gen­tle gi­ants, bal­anc­ing fi­nesse with force in a mighty ap­peal­ing way. Size (hwd) 110 x 41 x 34cm Bi-wire Yes Fin­ishes 2

JBL K2 S9900 £44,000

Best Temp­ta­tion, Awards 2017 A fan­tas­tic pair of speak­ers that de­liver a spell­bind­ing mix of dy­nam­ics, in­sight and fi­nesse. Among the best speak­ers money can buy. Size (hwd) 120 x 56 x 35cm Bi-wire Yes Fin­ishes 2

Dali Spek­tor 1 £160

March 2018 A small speaker that in­her­its all the Spek­tor 2’s good traits, pump­ing out an en­er­getic and en­ter­tain­ing sound for an af­ford­able price. Size (hwd) 24 x 14 x 20cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 2

Mis­sion LX-2 £160

Best stand­mount speaker un­der £200, Awards 2017 Mis­sion’s most con­vinc­ing speaker in quite some time, the LX-2S are one of the best bud­get speak­ers you can buy. Size (hwd) 31 x 19 x 25cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 1

Q Acous­tics 3020 £190

March 2018 These lov­ingly con­structed boxes de­liver an ex­cep­tional com­bi­na­tion of re­fine­ment, in­sight and dy­nam­ics. We can’t fault them. Size (hwd) 26 x 17 x 23cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 5

Dali Spek­tor 2 £200

Best stand­mount speaker un­der £200, Awards 2017 The ‘2’ com­bines Dali’s tra­di­tional strengths with a generous dose of en­ter­tain­ment that even Mis­sion and Q Acous­tics strug­gle to match. Size (hwd) 29 x 17 x 24cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 2

Mon­i­tor Au­dio Bronze 2 £280

Best stand­mount speaker £200-£400, Awards 2017 For their size, these Mon­i­tor Au­dio Bronze 2s dig deep in the bass. They’re ton­ally bal­anced and im­pres­sively de­tailed too. Size (hwd) 35 x 19 x 26cm Bi-wire Yes Fin­ishes 4

Dy­nau­dio Emit M20 £600

Awards 2016 An­other pair of en­ter­tain­ing standmounters from Dy­nau­dio, the M20s com­bine sweep­ing dy­nam­ics with bags of in­sight. Size (hwd) 36 x 22 x 27cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 2

KEF Q350 £530

Best stand­mount speaker £400-£800, Awards 2017 KEF has de­liv­ered a speaker that’s a cut above the rest, with a so­phis­ti­cated, in­sight­ful pre­sen­ta­tion that be­lies its mod­est price. Size (hwd) 36 x 21 x 31cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 2

Mon­i­tor Au­dio Sil­ver 100 £650

April 2018 An­other su­perla­tive speaker from Mon­i­tor Au­dio’s Sil­ver range. Its clear, bold pre­sen­ta­tion and punchy sound set it apart from the pack. Size (hwd) 38 x 23 x 33cm Bi-wire Yes Fin­ishes 6

Quad S-1 £500

July 2016 They’re only small, but the S-1s are smooth, in­ti­mate and in­sight­ful – es­pe­cially in the midrange – as well as be­ing a sight for sore eyes. Size (hwd) 29 x 16 x 24cm Bi-wire Yes Fin­ishes 2

Acous­tic En­ergy AE1 Ac­tive £1000

June 2018 An ac­tive speaker that de­liv­ers punch, drive and rhyth­mic abil­ity. It out­per­forms plenty of more ex­pen­sive hi-fi com­po­nents. Size (hwd) 30 x 19 x 25cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 3

ATC SCM11 (2013) £1300

Best stand­mount speaker £1200-£2000, Awards 2017 These are the most tal­ented standmounters any­where near this price. The trans­parency of their sound com­pares with far more ex­pen­sive ri­vals. Size (hwd) 38 x 21 x 25cm Bi-wire Yes Fin­ishes 2 Pow­ered Yes

Dy­nau­dio Xeo 2 £1200

Best ac­tive speaker, Awards 2017 A pair of hi-fi speak­ers that are much more than they ap­pear. Blue­tooth, hi-res sup­port and a ver­sa­tile sound make this a for­mi­da­ble pack­age. Size (hwd) 26 x 17 x 15cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 2

Neat Mo­tive SX3 £1045

Novem­ber 2015 If you’re tight on space, or don’t need an over­pow­er­ing sound, these ar­tic­u­late, fun-lov­ing speak­ers should be a shoo-in for your short­list. Size (hwd) 33 x 16 x 20cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 4

PROAC Stu­dio 118 £1075

Novem­ber 2015 Weighty, de­tailed bass, lively tre­ble and a good nat­u­ral bal­ance over­all. The en­ergy of the 118’s per­for­mance will pro­vide hours of en­joy­ment. Size (hwd) 38 x 19 x 24cm Bi-wire Yes Fin­ishes 4

Revel Con­certa2 M16 £1000

Best stand­mount speaker £800-£1200, Awards 2017 One of the best speak­ers we’ve heard be­low the £1000 mark. Make sure to part­ner well to get the best out of them. Size (hwd) 37 x 22 x 27cm Bi-wire n/a Fin­ishes n/a

ATC SCM19 £1995

Awards 2016 It’s quite a trick for a speaker to be highly an­a­lyt­i­cal with mu­sic, yet never sound clin­i­cal or pas­sion­less. But so it is with the SCM19S. Size (hwd) 44 x 27 x 30cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 2

Dy­nau­dio Spe­cial Forty £2500

Best stand­mount speaker £2000+, Awards 2017 When paired with tal­ented elec­tron­ics, these standmounters will shine, of­fer­ing a con­fi­dent, mus­cu­lar and sub­tle sound. Lots of fun. Size (hwd) 36 x 20 x 32cm Bi-wire No Fin­ishes 2

Totem Sky £1800

Au­gust 2017 A hugely en­joy­able lis­ten, de­liv­er­ing one of the most mu­si­cally con­vinc­ing pre­sen­ta­tions we’ve heard any­where near this price. Size (hwd) 31 x 16 x 23cm Bi-wire Yes Fin­ishes 3

KEF Ref­er­ence 1 £5000

July 2018 These are su­perb all-rounders that work well across a wide range of mu­sic, sys­tems and rooms. The ded­i­cated stands are pricey though. Size (hwd) 44 x 21 x 43cm Bi-wire Yes Fin­ishes 3

“A speaker that be­lies its ex­tremely rea­son­able price tag at ev­ery turn” “Hats off to Q Acous­tics: these speak­ers are an­other stag­ger­ing achieve­ment”

“Among the best floor­standers we’ve heard at this price”

“Thank­fully, sound qual­ity is good whether you lis­ten to them up close or from across the room”

“We liked the Zen­sors when we first heard them, but by the end of our time with them, we loved them”

“Quite sim­ply, these are su­perb speak­ers of their type”

“The Threes turn in a mu­si­cally en­gag­ing per­for­mance that com­pares to the best at this price”

“There are few speak­ers that man­age to de­liver mu­sic in such an ap­peal­ing man­ner” “Once up and run­ning, these ATCS are deeply im­pres­sive speak­ers”

“Once up and run­ning it doesn’t take long to re­alise the A4s are tal­ented” “Ca­pa­ble of a per­for­mance that strongly chal­lenges al­ter­na­tives up to twice the price”

“There’s plenty of at­tack here, yet enough in the way of in­sight and re­fine­ment to keep us happy”

“These new Sil­ver floor­standers pass ev­ery test and have a great deal of fun while do­ing so”

“An all-round pack­age that’s very hard to pick holes in”

“The F501s are an ex­tremely con­fi­dent calling-card”

“If you’re look­ing for top class, com­pact floor­standers, we can’t think of a bet­ter al­ter­na­tive”

“Spen­dor has a rich his­tory of mak­ing ter­rific speak­ers. You can count the D7s among them”

“There’s enough sonic qual­ity to place them on the top rung of speak­ers at this price” “They charm and thrill. They make us happy or sad as the mu­sic de­mands. We can’t get enough of them”

“For their size they de­liver a de­cent dose of low-end punch, and are loud enough for most sit­u­a­tions”

“The way these speak­ers han­dle dy­nam­ics is im­pres­sive”

“They are hugely tal­ented per­form­ers, but it takes a lit­tle while to ap­pre­ci­ate how good they are”

“Part­ner these Missions with a bit of care and they’re as en­ter­tain­ing a bud­get box as we’ve heard in years”

“Un­like some speak­ers that favour cer­tain mu­sic gen­res, the Emit 20s are game for ev­ery­thing”

“If you’re look­ing for re­ally small bud­get speak­ers, buy these”

“Nail­ing a record­ing’s am­bi­ence is high on the Sil­vers’ ‘to-do’ list, but at no point do we feel we’re sac­ri­fic­ing res­o­lu­tion”

“The Q350s dis­play a level of clar­ity and sub­tlety un­heard of at this price”

“They sound far big­ger and more au­thor­i­ta­tive than a 36cm-high speaker has any right to”

“Take just a bit of care, how­ever, and you’re bound to have a lot of fun with the 118s”

“We like the SCM19S’ abil­ity to ren­der a large sound­stage and pop­u­late it with well fo­cused in­stru­ments”

“Ver­sa­tile, easy to house and pack­ing a hugely ac­com­plished sound wor­thy of their ask­ing price”

“They pound out crescen­dos with rel­ish, re­fus­ing to harden up or com­press, even at high vol­ume lev­els”

“These speak­ers ex­cel at com­mu­ni­cat­ing the chang­ing mo­men­tum of a song”

“Sim­ply put, these AE1S do ev­ery­thing they do with a flour­ish”

“The real pin­na­cle of the Mo­tive SX3S’ tal­ents is their true devo­tion to hav­ing a good time”

“Tonal bal­ance is good, with no part of the fre­quency range stick­ing out to dis­tract”

“When it comes to speak­ers, there are few bet­ter ways to spend your money”

“Rather than ex­cel in a few spe­cific ar­eas, they per­form well across the board”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.