Loudspeakers are the miracle of our age - just a box with some drivers, yet ble to reproduce every sound from the growl of a guitar to the perfect vocal of a soaring aria. In this category we announce our loudspeakers of the year - from small portable speakers up to smart multiroom wireless units and on to conventional loudspeakers small and large, delivering the ultimate in hi-fi happiness. And if it's bass support for both movies and music you're after, our subwoofer award-winners will surely oblige.
You can read the Judges' Comments below: for the full details on each and every winner, check out the Special Awards Issue of Sound+Image magazine, on sale in December in print and digital editions. Print subscriptions here; digital issues here!
Now let's meet the winners!
STANDMOUNT LOUDSPEAKERS OF THE YEAR UNDER AU$2000
Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2 Anniversary Edition
Judges’ Comment: Even better than the standard 606 S2, and resplendent in the new oak finish with white baffle, these are standmounts that truly sing. Click to read What Hi-Fi?'s full review.
FLOORSTANDING LOUDSPEAKERS OF THE YEAR UNDER AU$2000
Richter Harlequin S6
Judges’ Comment: The latest Aussie-designed Harlequins deliver Richter’s signature size and quality of sound from a stylish and usefully compact floorstander.
LOUDSPEAKERS OF THE YEAR AU$2000-$5000
Paradigm Premier 800F
Judges’ Comment: The overall frequency balance is just perfect, a natural sound serving all genres of music beautifully.
LOUDSPEAKERS OF THE YEAR AU$5000-$10,000
JBL Synthesis HDI-3600
Judges’ Comment: JBL became one of the world’s most famous loudspeaker manufacturers by building extraordinary speakers. The HDI-3600 is the latest of them.
LOUDSPEAKERS OF THE YEAR OVER AU$10,000
Vivid Audio Kaya 25
Judges’ Comment: Loudspeakers look like large boxes because that’s the easiest way. But it’s not necessarily the ideal way, as Vivid Audio’s Kaya 25 attests.
SMART SPEAKER OF THE YEAR UNDER AU$500
JBL Link Music
Judges’ Comment: The mains-powered Link Music offers great sound for the price, with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Google Assistant and AirPlay 2.
SMART SPEAKER OF THE YEAR AU$500-$1000
Denon Home 250
Judges’ Comment: Solid sonic performance backed by HEOS platform’s wireless multiroom abilities and easy and extensive access to music. Click to read our review of Denon's Home range.
SMART SPEAKER OF THE YEAR OVER AU$1000 (joint winner)
Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge
Judges’ Comment: Despite offering zero physical inputs, the Formation Wedge is an undoubtedly premium performer in the wireless speaker space, with real visual style and a luxuriously expansive sound. Click to read What Hi-Fi?'s full review.
SMART SPEAKER OF THE YEAR OVER U$1000 (joint winner)
Naim Mu-so Qb Gen 2
Judges’ Comment: Find the right home for the Naim Qb and you won’t be disappointed in its sound, while the app, remote and useful inputs all score points towards this award.
PORTABLE SPEAKER OF THE YEAR
JBL Link Portable
Judges’ Comment: With Bluetooth, Google Assistant and AirPlay 2, waterproofing, battery operation and good sound, the JBL Link Portable is a winner.
SUBWOOFER OF THE YEAR UNDER AU$5000
Bowers & Wilkins DB4S
Judges' Comment: The DB4S delivers rich, satisfying, full-bodied bass from an attractive cabinet, along with app control for fine adjustment.
SUBWOOFER OF THE YEAR OVER AU$5000
Judges' Comment: Magico’s ASub is a phenomenally good-sounding, high-performance subwoofer with astoundingly flexible computer-based room and speaker tuning.