It’s been another brilliant year for speakers. We have new floorstanding winners at every price point, which contrasts strongly with the return of a whole host of favourite standmounters.
There’s an excellent option here for everyone, from something to use with a microsystem to the kind of speakers that can make a high-end set-up shine.
Fyne Audio has made quite a splash this year by bagging two Best Buy awards, one for the £400 F302 and the other for the more premium F501 (£1200, pictured above). The company may be a start-up, but the people behind it have been in the industry for decades - and all that experience shows in the superb all-round performance and carefully honed engineering of these floorstanders.
Dali is another company that wins multiple Best Buy awards this year. It not only retains pole position with the (still) terrific Spektor 2 standmounters (£199), but also walks away with our mid-price floorstanders gong with the Oberon 5s.
The latter are compact towers small enough to fit into most rooms without dominating, yet still have enough in the way of low-end reach, loudness capability and soundstage scale to impress when partnered with suitable electronics.
Moving up the price points, we’re really impressed by KEF’s stylish and talented R3 standmounts. Placed on some solid stands and fed by appropriate electronics these boxes deliver a sound of impeccable clarity and enough authority to belie their comparatively slim dimensions. They go loud too, while having the refinement to avoid undue harshness and aggression.
Any speakers that can end the ATC SCM 11s’ decade long domination have to be good, and these KEFs certainly are.
At the £2000 price tag, we don’t think you can find better floorstanders than ProAcs slightly gawky-looking Response DT8s, which are wonderfully articulate performers that deliver vocals with considerable skill and render appealingly fluid dynamics.
If traditional passive speakers aren’t your thing, we implore you to consider Acoustics Energy’s brilliant AE1 Active active speakers. Each box packs in 2 x 50 watts of power amplification, so all you need to do is add a source with a volume control and off you go. When it comes to outright performance it would be hard to do better without spending a lot more.
Completing the seemingly never-ending winners list are old favourites such as the Ruark MR1 desktop speakers, Monitor Audio’s Bronze 2s (£280), the Revel Concerta2 M16 (£1,000) and Dynaudio's Special Fortys (£2,500), as well as another two fantastic new arrivals: the not-to-be-missed Mission QX-2 (£499) and mighty Spendor A7 (£2995).
With each speaker in with a 1/14 chance of taking home the enviable Product of the Year award, the announcement on 7th November really will require a lengthy drumroll.