We have Awards for new stars at the budget and premium ends of the market and some old favourites in-between. There's a triumphant pair for everyone here, whether you’re after small speakers for your desk-top, want to upgrade your set-up or are looking to put the finishing touches to your high-end dream.
Dali’s new Spektors 2s (£200, top) pick up our budget standmounter Award, beating last year’s winner, the Mission LX-2 (£160) to the title. The Dalis have a sense of fun their best rivals can’t quite match, and they deliver class-leading levels of insight, dynamics and rhythmic precision. They're surprisingly unfussy when it comes to partnering equipment: they sound perfectly good at the end of a microsystem, but pamper them and they’re capable of captivating.
If you have a bigger budget, you must consider KEF’s Q350s (above). These largish standmounters use the latest version of the company’s distinctive Uni-Q driver array to great effect - they sound expansive and informative, delivering a depth of insight and dynamic subtlety even top contenders such as Dynaudio’s Emit M20s can’t match. Factor in excellent build and finish, and you have (in our opinion) the finest £500-ish standmounter around.
Other standmount winners include Monitor Audio Bronze 2s (£280), Revel’s Concerta2 M16 (£1000), ATC’s evergreen SCM 11s (£1300) and Dynaudio’s Special Fortys (£2500).
If floorstanders are more to your taste, 2017 has been your year.
We have new premium winners in the form of Monitor Audio Silver 200s (£1000, above), and the quirky but immensely capable Neat Iota Alpha (£1385). These products are remarkably different in many ways – the Silvers are elegant, slim designs while the Neats are short, squat and look like nothing else we’ve seen. But when it comes to sound, both are superb, doing their job with distinction.
Our floorstander category tops out with Spendor’s rather lovely A4s (£2200). Repeat winners - no mean feat - include Tannoy’s Eclipse Threes (£300) and Q Acoustics' 3050s (£470).
We’ve got Awards for powered products too - you don’t need separate amplification to make them work. If you’re after a desktop set-up or just small speakers to make your TV sound better, we point you unerringly towards Ruark Audio’s MR1 Mk2 (£330, above). These build on the excellence of the originals at a still-competitive price.
If your budget is more generous and your demands greater, we’re huge fans of Dynaudio’s Xeo 2s (£1200). Despite a fairly hefty price rise this year they remain terrific performers, serving ip a quality of sound hard to better at the money - even with separates systems.