Best speakers 2024: reviewed and recommended by our experts

While wireless speakers or all-in-one systems may offer convenience and take up less space, a really decent pair of hi-fi stereo speakers is your best bet when it comes to prioritising genuine audio quality. 

Our expert guide to the very best stereo speakers includes bookshelf and floorstanding models ranging from budget models all the way to high-end options. Whether you're looking for your first pair of speakers as you build a music system, upgrading an old pair of budget speakers or splashing the cash on a premium pair, we'll have something here for you. 

Every pair of speakers here has been comprehensively tested in our dedicated listening rooms by our experienced reviewing team, and compared with the best-in-class models in their respective price bands, ensuring that you'll be getting our genuine first-hand advice. 

You'll even find some of the best prices from around the web for each model, so you can make the most of your budget, but be sure to check whether the figure quoted is for a pair of speakers or just one. 

You can read more about how we test speakers, get the best tips on choosing the right speaker for your needs, or scroll down to see our top picks.

Written by
Kashfia Kabir
Written by
Kashfia Kabir

I'm the Hi-Fi and Audio Editor of What Hi-Fi? and have been reviewing hi-fi speakers for over a decade. I have tested and listened to every pair of speakers listed below, and can genuinely recommend each model for their excellent build quality, superb sound and value for money at each price level. Regardless of your music preferences, I'm confident you'll be able to find a speaker that suits your needs and sonic tastes. Just remember to take care when matching with your source and amplifier and, if you're able to, always demo before buying.

The quick list

Best speakers overall

KEF LS50 Meta in royal blue

Featuring innovative technology and exceptional sound, these KEFs are the best speakers for the money. (Image credit: KEF)
What Hi-Fi? Awards winner. These KEFs are brilliant entertainers and could be the only speakers you'll ever need.

Specifications

Type: Standmounters
Drive units: Uni-Q (25mm tweeter and 13cm mid/bass)
Ported: Yes (rear)
Bi-wire: No
Impedance: 8 ohms
Sensitivity: 85db
Dimensions (hwd): 30.2 x 20 x 28cm
Weight: 7.8kg
Finishes: 4 (carbon black, titanium grey, mineral white, royal blue)

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptional sonic transparency
+
Subtle and precise presentation
+
Innovative technology

Reasons to avoid

-
Don't place them in a bookshelf or up against a wall

The original LS50 speakers were absolutely terrific in their own right, but KEF eventually decided that they could do better. Eight years on from the original LS50, the LS50 Meta were born, and they've proven to be a truly worthy upgrade.

KEF reworked the LS50’s Uni-Q driver array, where the tweeter sits in the throat of the mid/bass unit, taking in all the refinements that KEF has developed over the past eight years and adding something new in the form of Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT). MAT is KEF’s way of coping with the sound that comes off the back of the tweeter dome via a circular maze of tubes on the back which absorbs sound more effectively and results in cleaner, less distorted highs.

While the basic sonic character is instantly familiar, the Meta have gained serious new levels of clarity and finesse that the original speakers couldn't manage. The LS50 Meta sound clean and tight, but they still offer muscle and dynamics to give your music plenty of oomph, character and interest.

As far as we're concerned, the LS50 Meta are some of the finest sound-per-pound (or dollar) speakers around, setting the standard at this level to which others should aspire.

Read our full KEF LS50 Meta review

Best budget bookshelf speakers

Elac Debut B5.2 lifestyle

A talented and unfussy pair of budget speakers. (Image credit: Elac)
What Hi-Fi? Awards winner. Arguably the most capable standmounters we’ve heard at this budget price.

Specifications

Type: Standmounters
Drive units: 25mm tweeter, 13cm mid/bass
Ported: Yes (front)
Bi-wire: No
Impedance: 6 ohms
Sensitivity: 86dB/W/m
Dimensions (hwd): 34.1 x 18 x 23.4cm
Weight: 5.9kg
Finishes: 1 (black ash)

Reasons to buy

+
Detailed and organised sound
+
Solid build
+
Unfussy nature

Reasons to avoid

-
Some might prefer the richer midrange tone of the Dali speakers
-
More premium models around if you're willing to spend more

If you're in the market for talented, unfussy and deeply engaging standmounters, the Elac Debut B5.2 remain some of our favourites. The affordable standmounters are brilliant performers for the money, and even though they're not costly, they're versatile and unfussy about where you place them. Add to that some really rather remarkable level of detail, dynamics and tonal sophistication, and you're looking at a seriously attractive budget proposition. 

Much of the speakers' skill is thanks to the redesigned 5.25cm mid/bass cone. It uses a fresh blend of aramid fibres, the stiffness and damping of the cone have been improved, while a responsive tweeter adds life to the top end. They're nicely made, too, and while they won't set the world alight with their looks, they won't draw any negative attention, either.

Tonally, the comparable Dali Spektor 2 have a bit more warmth, while the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 offer serious balance and cohesion. Still, the Dalis are seriously capable of making the best of any recording, even those that aren't particularly decent in the first place.

Elac has been at this hi-fi lark for a while now, with the Debut B5.2 feeling like the culmination of a lot of experience and nous. For this sort of money, they're truly exceptional.

Read our full Elac Debut B5.2 review

Best budget floorstanding speakers

Wharfedale Diamond 12.3

Affordable, wonderfully refined and well made – these Wharfedales are terrific towers. (Image credit: Wharfedale)
What Hi-Fi? Awards winner. These Award-winning floorstanders are entertaining and affordable.

Specifications

Type: Floorstanders
Drive units: 25mm tweeter, 2x 13cm mid/bass
Ported: Yes (rear)
Bi-wire: Yes
Impedance: 8 ohms
Sensitivity: 89dB
Dimensions (hwd): 97.5 x 18 x 34.8cm
Weight: 19.6kg
Finishes: 3 (light oak, black oak, walnut pearl)

Reasons to buy

+
Superbly balanced presentation
+
Expressive and revealing midrange
+
Pleasing build and finish

Reasons to avoid

-
Perform best if given a little room to breathe

The Wharfedale Diamond range is something of a classic series already, and its truly outstanding, affordable floorstander model may be the pick of the litter. It's now a three-time What Hi-Fi? Award winner, and those don't come around very often, we can tell you. 

At 98cm tall, the Diamond 12.3 aren't a particularly imposing pair of floorstanders, so they'll fit into most spaces without much fuss. As for build quality, the cabinets are carefully crafted with a traditional straight-edge design and a tidy feet arrangement. The 12.3 are available in four finishes – black, walnut, white and a classy light oak – all of which belie their relatively modest price tag.

In terms of sound, they're smooth, even-handed and much more refined than you'd expect given the price. They're even rather good at dealing with shoddy recordings - feed them a poor signal and they’ll round off rough edges and downplay unwanted aggression without sounding like they’re unduly smothering the music. 

If you're looking for reasonably-priced floorstanders that will fool your friends into thinking you've paid a lot more, the talented Wharfdale 12.3 are the pair for you.

Read our full Wharfedale Diamond 12.3 review

Best mid-price standmount speakers

Standmount speakers: Bowers & Wilkins 607 S3

B&W’s latest entry-level 607 S3 speakers win us over with a clean, refined and detailed sound that’s also entertaining in spades. (Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)
What Hi-Fi? Awards winner. B&W’s smallest, entry-level speakers are a delight.

Specifications

Drive units: 25mm tweeter, 13cm mid/bass
Ported: Yes (rear)
Bi-wire: Yes
Impedance: 8 ohms
Sensitivity: 84dB
Dimensions (hwd): 30 x 16.5 x 20.7cm
Weight: 4.65kg
Finishes: 3 (black, white, oak)

Reasons to buy

+
Improved clarity, refinement and openness
+
Punchy, dynamic and lively sound
+
Knows how to have fun
+
Classy build and finish

Reasons to avoid

-
Sweet treble can sound a touch forward
-
Needs care with system matching
-
Price rise over predecessors

B&W's entry-level 607 S3 speakers are the British brand enjoying a real hot streak. The smallest and most affordable stereo speaker that B&W makes, the 607 S3 have replaced the previous Award-winning 607 S2 Anniversary Edition speakers, amping up the levels of performance in the process.

The 607 S3 standmounters have been updated throughout, boasting a new 25mm titanium decoupled double-dome tweeter, a new elongated tube loading system, a revised motor assembly for the 13cm Continuum mid/bass driver and higher-quality crossover components. The two drivers overlap to improve integration, while B&W claims the use of titanium should result in more refined and detailed high frequencies. All of that has led to some serious gains in terms of sonic performance.

You will need to be careful about partnering, though, as that rather forward, excitable treble does need some balancing out. Get it right and you'll be handsomely rewarded with a detailed, cohesive, agile and energetic sound. The overall presentation is more open-sounding than the previous iteration, while the higher sonic reaches are sweet and refined as each note lands with precision are genuine verve. Basslines are taut and firm, and while they don’t go as bone-shatteringly deep as bigger speakers (or even as big as the bigger 606 S3), they certainly land with impact.

Best of all, the 607 S3 will appeal to anyone who likes their music to take them on something of a metaphorical journey. The British-made towers are immensely fun to listen to, offering clarity and refinement running parallel with a zippy, deeply musical core. So many manufacturers prioritise analytical detail to the detriment of dynamics and musical interest, but B&W S3 haven't fallen into that trap: they're a delight from top to bottom.

Read our full Bowers & Wilkins 607 S3 review

Best mid-price floorstanding speakers

Floorstanding speakers: Q Acoustics 5040

New cone technology and a shift in sonic character results in an excellent new phase of performance. (Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)
What Hi-Fi? Awards winner. A superbly insightful and entertaining performance from new Q Acoustics floorstanders.

Specifications

Type: Floorstanders
Drive units: 25mm tweeter, 2x 12.5cm mid/bass
Ported : Yes (rear)
Bi-wire : No
Impedance : 6 ohms
Sensitivty : 91.5dB
Dimensions : 97 x 18 x 28cm
Weight : 18kg
Finishes : 4 (black, white, oak, rosewood)

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent clarity and detail resolution
+
Expressive dynamics
+
Fine build and finish

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs care in system matching
-
Not as forgiving as previous Q Acoustics models

Q Acoustics' new 5000 series sits in between the budget 3000 series and the premium Concept range. The 5040 is the smaller of the two floorstanders in the range and should fit neatly into most rooms, with a solid and well-made build quality and an unassuming, uncomplicated design. 

New to the range is the Continuous Curved Cone design for the mid/bass drivers. This new driver has a geometry that Q Acoustics claims to combine the rigidity advantages of a standard conical cone profile with the high-frequency break-up characteristics of a more flared design.

Q Acoustics' previous efforts have tended to be unfussy, but these 5040s need a bit more care with positioning and partnering equipment to get the best out of them. Pair them up with more refined partnering electronics and the 5040 sound wonderfully clear and precise, with ample grip and agility to deliver an intoxicating sense of fun. We're keen on the way these towers sound composed and controlled, and that sense of organisation doesn’t fade when the music becomes demanding or complex - they're spacious, well-focused sound with impressive stereo imaging. Tonally, these floorstanders sit just on the lean side of neutral, but not so far as to cause issues or fatigue. 

While the more expensive Wharfedale Evo 4.4 provide a sophisticated alternative, Q Acoustics 5040 are even-handed performers that simply step out of the way of the music and let songs shine. When partnered with care they deliver a wonderfully expressive and insightful performance that’s class-leading at this level.

Read our full Q Acoustics 5040 review

Best premium standmount speakers

KEF R3 Meta in indigo gloss special edition

KEF knocks it out the park again: the R3 Metas are wonderfully transparent, refined speakers that are hugely entertaining performers, too. (Image credit: KEF)
What Hi-Fi? Awards winner. Innovative tech upgrade elevates these classy speaker to new entertaining heights.

Specifications

Type: Standmounters
Drive units: Uni-Q driver array (25mm tweeter, 12.5cm midrange), 16.5cm bass
Ported: Yes (rear)
Bi-wire: No
Impedance: 4 ohms
Sensitivity: 87db
Dimensions (hwd): 42.2 x 20 x 33.6cm
Weight: 12.4kg
Finishes: 4 (black gloss, white gloss, walnut, indigo gloss special edition)

Reasons to buy

+
Transparent, refined, expressive sound
+
Even tonal balance with plenty of fun
+
Innovative technology
+
Excellent build and finish

Reasons to avoid

-
Sounds best when positioned away from a wall and paired with equally talented kit

KEF is another hi-fi brand operating around the peak of its powers, and the R3 Meta are a wonderful showcase of what the Kent-based company can do. Bolstered by KEF's innovative MAT (Meta Material Absorption Technology) innovation (see the Award-winning LS50 Meta above) and its Uni-Q driver design, these standmounters are real winners.

They're gorgeous-looking speakers, with impeccable finish and build quality from what is still quite a blocky profile. KEF's 12th-generation Uni-Q driver array has been tweaked to accommodate the puck-sized MAT contraption (which absorbs 99 per cent of unwanted radiation from the tweeter), and the resulting sound is dazzlingly clear, insightful and pure. The KEFs have a graceful nature to them that hides just how accomplished they are, with a transparency and easy nature that allows them to handle any genre thrown at them.

The R3 Meta are spacious, dig deep, perform admirably both at loud and low volumes and are delivered with precision and accuracy that seems to come oh-so-easily to them. Best of all, they're also hugely fun to listen to, and you'll be drawn into emotive vocals, punchy bass lines and tactile guitar plucks when you pump your favourite music through them.

Pair them with some equally talented partnering kit and the R3 Meta standmounters will soar and shine like an eagle above the clouds.

Read our full KEF R3 Meta review

Best premium floorstanding speakers

Floorstanding speakers: PMC Prodigy 5

The Prodigy 5 are wonderfully talented performers with a keen sense of musicality. (Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)
What Hi-Fi? Awards winner. PMC’s slimline floorstanders deliver a sonic masterclass

Specifications

Type: Floorstanders
Drive units: 27mm tweeter, 13cm mid/bass
Ported : Yes (front)
Bi-wire : No
Impedance : 6 ohms
Sensitivity : 87.3dB
Dimensions (hwd): 90.5 x 16.5 x 23.7cm
Finishes : 1 (black)

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous, expressive and refined sound
+
Great value for money
+
Unfussy about placement

Reasons to avoid

-
Inevitable aesthetic sacrifices
-
Potentially low perceived value 

PMC has something of a reputation for high-end hi-fi, and while the superb Prodigy 5 have wound up as our best premium floorstanders on this list, they're actually miraculously good value. 

To achieve this, the Prodigy 5, much like their five-star Prodigy 1 standmount siblings, have been designed to eke out as much sound-per-pound punch as possible, letting considerations over design and aesthetic flourishes fall away in the pursuit of the best audio you can get for the price. 

Boy has the effort paid off, though. PMC has hit the sweetest of sweet spots with the Prodigy 5, balancing subtle details and musical flourishes with a perceptibly heightened sense of presence, poise and confidence. In terms of sonic performance, we didn't hear many better speakers this year, and it was the Prodigy 5's musical chops that really earned them that 2023 What Hi-Fi? Award. Looks may be important to some, but PMC's dedication to all things sonic has paid serious dividends in our books. 

The Prodigy 5 seem to be adept at giving the best of all worlds without a hint of sonic sacrifice. While comparatively priced rivals substitute space for precision or dynamics for subtlety, PMC’s unassuming towers are truly comprehensive performers. There's so much scale and breadth to them, yet they never seem to sacrifice the intimacy or nuance of a piece, either. It's a remarkable trick, and one that had us wanting to test more and more tracks to see what the Prodigy 5 could do with them.

All in all, a marvellous success story. Worthy winners, indeed, and an excellent pair of slimline floorstanders.

Read our full PMC Prodigy 5 review

How to choose the best speakers for you

First things first, decide on a budget. Your components should be evenly matched, both tonally and in terms of price, so consider this before breaking the bank on a new pair of speakers that the rest of your kit can't do justice. If anything, an overly expensive amp or source will strain and stretch your speakers, and while some may be able to cope, others will be worse off as a result of some overly ambitious pairing kit.

You also need to make sure your speakers fit your room. Most speakers require a degree of space to sound their best, so be sure not to buy speakers that are too big for your listening area, and make sure you're the right distance away from your new purchase. 

This is also a good time to consider whether you want bookshelf or floorstanding speakers. Bigger speakers mean higher volumes but, again, you need the space, and more driver units don't always mean better sound.

There's also the choice between passive and active speakers. Most speakers on this list are passive - they have no amplification inside, so require a separate amplifier to work. Active speakers with amplification (and sometimes DAC and streaming smarts) are increasingly popular and can connect straight to your source, no amp required, though they do require a connection to mains power. Check out our pick of the best active speakers if you're curious.

For a more detailed explanation of everything you should consider, check out our complete guide to choosing the right speakers.

How we test speakers

Here at What Hi-Fi? we review hundreds of products every year, including plenty of speakers of all shapes, sizes and types. So how do we come to our review verdicts? And why can you trust them?

The What Hi-Fi? team has more than 100 years experience of reviewing, testing and writing about consumer electronics. We have state-of-the-art and acoustically treated testing facilities in London and Reading, where our team of expert reviewers perform all of our in-house testing. This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency, reliability and clarity at all times. We always ensure we spend plenty of time with the speakers, trying them with different partnering electronics, in different positions in the room and with different genres of music. 

All products are tested in comparison with rival products in the same category, and all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than a single reviewer, helping to ensure consistency and avoid individual subjectivity.

From all of our reviews, we choose the top products to feature in our Best Buys, such as this one. That's why if you take the plunge and buy one of the products recommended below, or on any of our other Best Buy pages, you can be confident you're getting a What Hi-Fi?-approved product.

You can read more about how we test and review products on What Hi-Fi? here.

Recent updates

  • February 2024: Updated 'how we test' process and added FAQ section to help buyers in their decision to buy hi-fi speakers.
  • November 2023: What Hi-Fi? Award-winning products labeled following the announcements of the 2023 What Hi-Fi? Awards Best Buys and Product of the Year winners.
  • October 2023: Added PMC Prodigy 5 entry following five-star review.
  • August 2023: Added Bowers & Wilkins 607 S3 and Q Acoustics 5040 entries following five-star reviews.
  • May 2023: Added KEF R3 Meta entry following five-star review.

F.A.Q.

Are hi-fi speakers worth it?

The short answer, as you'd expect us to say, is a resounding yes.

If you prioritise sound performance and you have the space for a pair of speakers and proper amplification and source to power and feed them, then hi-fi speakers are entirely worth it. A good passive pair with not only reward you with great sound, but they should keep that sound and performance going for a good while if you've bought from a reputable brand. There are very few, if any, speakers above which we feel fall short when it comes to durability and robustness. 

If you're after a more space-saving solution, however, the market has expanded to cater for your needs. A decent pair of active speakers where the amplification (and sometimes source) is built into the speakers (such as the KEF LS50 Wireless II) can save you from having to deal with multiple extra boxes, whereas some of the finest wireless speakers (Sonos Era 100, Sonos Era 300) and all-in-one hi-fi systems (Naim Mu-so 2, Ruark Audio R410) give impressive sound with many extra features thrown in.

If you really do care about sound, though, a dedicated hi-fi setup is the way to go, and a pair of decent passive speakers is essential to that very worthwhile pursuit. Plus, you can keep building and expanding your system to tailor it to your exact tastes, needs and budgets.

Are bookshelf speakers better than floorstanders?

There's no right or wrong answer here. Our standmounts vs floorstanders article gives great insight and detail about the differences between the two types of speakers, and pros and cons of each form.

For a quick rundown, you need to consider a few things. First, the size of your room matters, as larger floorstanding speakers usually need more space to breathe on account of their larger sound field. Bookshelf or standmount speakers tend to work better in smaller rooms, but we'd still recommend that you place them on stands rather than inside or on bookshelves, to ensure you get the best performance.

Loudness levels are another factor, as smaller units aren't able to fill up big spaces so well. Floorstanders' large cabinet volumes and (potentially) larger drive units offer a bigger scale of sound, but can sometimes sacrifice a little cohesion or sonic unity in the process due to multiple drive units being used. Sometimes, not always, mind.

If you'll be using your speakers for movies as well, or you favour deep, plunging bass levels, larger units are the way to do it. If the only place to put your speakers is on your desk or you'll be sitting close to your speakers, you'll want small bookshelf units. Just bear in mind that the quantity of bass doesn't necessarily equate to better quality of bass, and how a speaker is engineered to deliver the best balance and quality of sound differs from model to model.

How much should I spend on a pair of speakers?

This is another "piece of string" question. There's no limit, and the general advice is that the more you spend, the better sound you get. Bear in mind compatibility and pairing, though, as a decent pair of speakers can be let down by cheap partnering kit. On the flipside, a more affordable pair of speakers might actually suffer if you pair them with more high-end kit, as the speakers can be forced to work harder to satisfy the demands of a high-end amplifier, say.

If you're just getting started, the price ranges above should give you a decent indication of what the more "sensible" parts of the market have to offer. We've also labelled every speaker so you have a sense of where they fall in terms of affordable, mid-range or premium, to give you a general lay of the land. 

All of our speakers are tested on a "cost-per-sound" basis, so prices are heavily factored in when awarding a star rating. The question you should be asking, as we always do, is not "are these speakers expensive?", but rather "am I getting the best value for money considering the performance I'm receiving?".   

MORE:

Buying advice: How to choose the right speakers and get the best sound

Looking for a bargain? How to buy second-hand and vintage speakers

Check out our full list of What Hi-Fi? Awards 2023 winners

12 of the best songs to test your speakers

Kashfia Kabir
Hi-Fi and Audio Editor

Kashfia is the Hi-Fi and Audio Editor of What Hi-Fi? and first joined the brand over 10 years ago. During her time in the consumer tech industry, she has reviewed hundreds of products (including speakers, amplifiers and headphones), been to countless trade shows across the world and fallen in love with hi-fi kit much bigger than her. In her spare time, Kash can be found tending to an ever-growing houseplant collection and hanging out with her cat Jolene.

With contributions from
  • F8lee
    What? No Magnepans on the list at all??
    Reply
  • psalvet
    What? No Focals on the list at all? The list does not have credibility.
    Reply
  • Sliced Bread
    Or ATC / PMC, but to be fair the list cannot go on for ever :)
    Anyway PMC seem to have priced themselves out. The GB1i was released at £1500 back in 2008 and was their entry level floor stander. The equivalent now is the Twenty5 23i of e £3850. I’m sure they’re better, but as a small entry level speaker is it £2350 better? The reviews indicate not.
    Reply
  • Sliced Bread said:
    Or ATC / PMC, but to be fair the list cannot go on for ever :)
    Anyway PMC seem to have priced themselves out. The GB1i was released at £1500 back in 2008 and was their entry level floor stander. The equivalent now is the Twenty5 23i of e £3850. I’m sure they’re better, but as a small entry level speaker is it £2350 better? The reviews indicate not.
    Couldn't agree more. British made speakers are becoming damned expensive.
    Reply
  • Jpanic4
    I noticed that the Triangle Br03 is not on the list anymore. Would you not consider them for this list anymore?
    Reply
  • mehtoa
    F8lee said:
    What? No Magnepans on the list at all of speakers??
    You are right.
    Reply
  • AndyS
    OMG what a bad review, ok the budget end and perhaps the mid price range is ok, I might disagree with most of their choices but that's personal. When they move on to the top end and the most expensive speaker is £3300 that is a joke. Ok it is a lot of money but to say they are the best speakers in the top end of the market is a farce.
    Reply
  • nopiano
    AndyS said:
    OMG what a bad review, ok the budget end and perhaps the mid price range is ok, I might disagree with most of their choices but that's personal. When they move on to the top end and the most expensive speaker is £3300 that is a joke. Ok it is a lot of money but to say they are the best speakers in the top end of the market is a farce.
    Yes, the terminology needs some work, as even the magazine’s own best buy listings include ATC actives and Martin Logan electrostatics, to name just two!
    Reply
  • Quadrophonic.4Ever
    What no "Theophany" speakers?
    One surely cannot state "the best" without trying all available, otherwise the best (you decide upon) are in fact limited by your inability to source AND TEST all speakers, sourced from "everywhere around the world", not just from within your own country, or even from within your closest city.
    One must test ALL, from any country world wide.
    So?
    What about New Zealand's Theophany Speakers?
    I'm sure Garth would love to explain all he knows, about the speakers he designed.

    I know his speakers, as I went there one time, to showcase my surround sound system, such that I wasn't at all impressed that he didn't let me try his speakers.

    Instead "insisting" that I set up (whatever I had brought with me), in a small OUTSIDE grassed area, underneath some trees, between a couple of corrugated iron sheds - which did absolutely NOTHING to enhance the way my total "surround" sound system, was heard as.
    Unlike his own "inside the house" set-up, which was in a dedicated sound "player" room, where he INSISTED that I sit in a "precisely-in-the-center" master listening position.

    Thus:
    He listened to mine, (in an off-hand walking around method, outside (between a couple of tin sheds, under the trees), whilst he tried to tell me HIS system was way better, in a dedicated sound-proofed room, with several frequency split multiple speaker "channels" , containing a lot more speakers, than the miserable (cheap) small box speakers I had brought with me, (as a backup in case I wasn't allowed to, or couldn't be supplied with enough, of anyone else's speakers).

    Hence why, after being TOLD to sit in one place and admire the "best position" to hear a movie he played (on a huge TV), I deliberately got up and (having asked him to keep it playing, as he stopped it as soon as I stood up) I deliberately walked around his (demo) room, as well as into various corner areas, and out the back towards his kitchen/lounge areas, to "hear" the various nodes and dead listening areas, all the while turning towards him and commenting on the different "sweet spots" that were or WERE NOT in that environment, until I found the one position where the sound actually self-cancelled itself out, with almost no sound at all.

    THAT was when I said, well - your system doesn't sound as good as the cheap speakers I used OUTSIDE, when standing here, pointing down to my feet (in the archway between the demo room and his kitchen).

    I was ushered out into his speaker "parts" room (behind his outside workshop shed) to be shown some new unboxed speakers, that he took one of, and with absolute carelessness, hooked some test wires onto it's exposed back "terminals" to play some TEST tones through, which sounded absolutely horrendous, as if a burnt out coil was "rubbing" on it's magnetic core, whereupon he got one of his elder sons, to swap the test tone frequency (in a different room area, out of my sight) and then changed the polarity of his "test leads", to again play the same (or similar) test tones, far clearer and louder, after which he tried to tell me that the PHASING was all that much better with the system polarised correctly, however being an Industrial Electrician, I told him, that simply reversing the terminals does absolutely nothing, to a speakers actual sound, as the speaker gets an alternating current, (of several different frequencies with differently played TONES - which reverses the "played" frequency polarities way faster than a person can flip a switch, on each and every sinusoidal waveform's highest & lowest peaks, even if a single tone is generated to run a test, not like the "music" which he was using, which already had a LOT of different frequencies within it, all peaking at different rates, thus pushing and pulling that non-mounted speaker in every direction since Sunday.

    Thus, I (an outsider with good spacial awareness to the sound made by various electrical pulses), told him, that his so-called reasoning between my outdoor cheap speaker boxes, and this open backed non-mounted speaker, were idiotic to compare, given that the speaker he "held" in his hand couldn't be described as better, given the way he was holding it.
    Up and closer to me in the second playing.

    I told him, that even if it had been "clamped" in a set position, without any box to hold it's back-pressures within, it's diaphragm would still over extend on each available maximum equated peaks, given the different numbers of cycles each frequency used, during his so-called tests, where I couldn't see what was being played, or whether or not any bass, treble or volume settings had been altered.

    As the test equipment was in another room of his workshop, out of sight from where he was holding his single speaker, with me being placed even further away from the other room.

    He was actually slightly angry, that I pipped his arrogance, as I am sure he had assumed I wouldn't know the test settings had been changed, to back his claim that a speaker's polarity made any difference, or that his obviously way more expensive speaker/s were of a different class, to the cheap speakers I had used.

    Thus, I am not convinced, that your "own" suggestions of better or best speakers are the actual best.

    My responce is this.
    To your own article of:
    """Your curated list of the very best stereo speakers you can buy for your money"""
    As regarding your article on the main What Hi*Fi website, on:
    Whatever you budget and requirements, these are the best speakers you can buy.

    re:
    {quote]Dec 19, 2019
    Best speakers 2024{unquote]
    ???
    Did you (at any time) use an SPL meter, placed 1M from each tested speaker, to get a genuine comparison of perfection, before making the claim of "best" anything.?
    Reply
  • Quadrophonic.4Ever
    The 126.3dB "tested SPL result" (2003 NZ National Sound-offs) - obtained from WITHIN MY VAN (fitted with the cheapest "ad-hoc" speakers) using a 7.3+1 surround sound system that I invented back in 1965, and which I had hand-built myself, into my 1996 Mitsubishi Delica 4wd 7 seater van, with (at that time) the rearmost 3 seat bench unit had been removed, whilst I had the rear hatch OPENED UP, and the two front doors "open" and all windows also open.

    Just because I wanted everyone in the park at that year's Blossom Festival, to hear the quality of sound, rather than a simple BASS loudness.

    I was told to close all my windows and doors, for the second run, which I did WITHOUT the four sub & sub/subwoofers running, to ensure that neither my closed windows nor my windscreen would crack with any extension pressure thus created, and that I wouldn't have to "high output my Bass speakers," letting just the main channel speakers and the tweeters, to RUN HIGH and without any of the Neon and fluorescent lights operating, which resulted in a crispier higher tone sound, and a DROP of just 0.3 Db at 123.0 Db.

    I had been laughed at, by almost all contestants there, when trying to get my van "included" in the sound-off contest, but most of the jaws that had been flapping with SMART comments beforehand, (about the motley collection of old 2nd-hand speakers in the van) stopped making derogatory noises afterwards.

    I placed third overall.

    Not bad for an OLD DAD.
    Reply