We’ve examined over two dozen pairs of audio system for this information over the course of a number of updates. Listed here are some rivals which are nonetheless accessible:
The Dayton Audio B652-AIR set had good upper-octave readability due to a ribbon tweeter however provided nearly no bass. Listening to the opening of Huge Assault’s “Teardrop,” we nearly couldn’t hear the bassline. That is additionally the one speaker set we reviewed that used the cheaper spring clips that don’t settle for banana-plug connectors.
The ELAC Debut B6 is a former runner-up choose that has now been changed by the Debut 2.0 B6.2, so its availability is proscribed.
The ELAC Uni-fi UB5 pair provided superb bass response and element however with a smaller soundstage. These audio system additionally had a much less engaging end and have been tougher to drive than another fashions.
We used KEF’s LS50 mini-monitor audio system as a reference for our assessments. These audio system are extra broadly acclaimed than every other bookshelf audio system launched prior to now decade—and we predict they reside as much as the hype. From the development to the sound replica, the LS50 set simply outclassed each competitor we examined. The soundstage was bigger and extra detailed, and the bass was deeper and higher outlined. The LS50 mannequin ranks far past different audio system in construct high quality, because it’s very heavy and extra stable, with nearly no resonance if you knock on the cupboard. The LS50 pair is one of the best bookshelf speaker set we listened to. It’s costly, however it affords an audible distinction. It’s additionally accessible in a powered wi-fi model, the LS50W.
Micca’s MB42X set is small and compact, however this pair sounded poor subsequent to all the different contenders. The bass was missing due to the small woofer, and the treble had a harsh, metallic sound. Beck’s voice throughout “Misplaced Trigger” sounded completely different right here than on the whole lot else, as if the tonal stability of the audio system was mistaken.
The Monitor Audio Bronze 1 pair provided good bass response and a big soundstage, however the treble was muted subsequent to that of different audio system, which made recordings sound uninteresting.
Monoprice’s Monolith Ok-BAS audio system use a bass port design that permits for prolonged response. They’re pretty tall black packing containers that aren’t engaging, and whereas the bass was current, it wasn’t tight or detailed. Recordings generally sounded hole, as if recorded inside a field.
Polk Audio’s RTI A1 audio system produced a big soundstage and many element, however that they had a very vibrant, ahead treble that over time turned exhausting to tolerate.
We favored the efficiency of the Polk Audio TSi100 rather a lot. This pair’s soundstage was extra open than that of the price range audio system we examined, with extra readability and superb bass, however its unique asking worth of $219 a pair was notably greater. This speaker now sells for much less. If yow will discover the TSi100 audio system for a great worth, we advocate them.
The Q Acoustics Idea 20 audio system had vibrant, clear treble however lacked authority within the bass division. The construct high quality is nice, however we don’t see a lot want for bi-wiring audio system on this worth vary, and the included binding publish connectors made it exhausting for us to make use of some banana plugs we had.
The Q Acoustics 3020 is a former prime choose that has been changed by the 3020i, so its availability is proscribed. The brand new mannequin affords some clear efficiency enhancements and extra end choices, however the 3020 remains to be a fantastic speaker.
The SVS Extremely Bookshelf audio system’ extra-large, 6½-inch woofers produced a room-filling bass that the opposite audio system merely couldn’t contact. This SVS pair’s bass went deeper, had higher definition, and helped the audio system create a bigger soundstage than their rivals mustered. In case your tastes run extra towards rock or hip-hop and fewer towards jazz or different acoustic music, or in order for you affect from film soundtracks with out a subwoofer, the SVS set is likely to be the best choice. However most listeners will get extra out of the KEF Q150’s superior midrange and treble efficiency.
Wharfedale’s Diamond 220 set had good element and good bass however sounded boxed in. These audio system produced a soundstage that was slender and confined to the middle of the room, whereas different audio system created a extra expansive stereo picture. Except for the soundstage, the standard of the sound was good, and we favored the construct of the audio system, however all of us most well-liked a sound that was extra open.
Different speaker fashions didn’t make the minimize early on:
Audioengine’s P4 pair is engaging and based mostly on the corporate’s widespread A5 set, however evaluations say this passive pair works higher for near-field listening (corresponding to at a pc) than in a front room as bookshelf audio system. Folks advocate the energetic A5 audio system as a substitute.
The Bose 301 Sequence V design has a rear-facing driver that creates a big however diffuse sound. Evaluations say this design generates a big soundstage however produces muddy outcomes, so we weren’t .
Cambridge Audio’s SX-50 audio system have good buyer evaluations, however skilled evaluations describe this set as “extra purposeful than particular.” In a class crowded with well-reviewed merchandise, that evaluation wasn’t sufficient to make us wish to consider this pair.
We thought that the Dayton Audio B652 set, which had no ribbon tweeter, was worse than the newer model with the ribbon tweeter, so we excluded it.
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